Saturday, 30 April 2016

Depression, Anxiety & OCD

Depression is a serious illness that impacts on a person's brain.
It can be caused by changes in the brain chemistry but other causes include genetics, hormones, illness, death, stress, debt, unemployment, alcohol & drug abuse plus more.
Symptoms of depression can vary from one person to the next but some symptoms consist of feelings, thoughts, behaviours and physical problems.
Depression can affect males and females of any age.

Anxiety is also a serious illness.
It is when a person develops feelings of intense fear and/or panic.
Symptoms can include feeling scared, nervous or panicky.
Anxiety can be caused by a number of factors, some may be trauma, stress, illness, substance abuse, genetics and brain chemistry.

OCD otherwise known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is when a person has unreasonable thoughts and fears that can lead to that person doing repetitive behaviours.
As yet scientists have not found a cause as such however it could be a result of neurobiological factors, genetics or even a result of a traumatic life event.


Miss Jade is a young woman diagnosed with both depression and anxiety.
Here she openly explains her story via an interview with me.

What is your name and age?
My name is Jade and I am 26.

When were you diagnosed with depression and anxiety?
I was officially diagnosed at 16/17 years old with depression and anxiety issues, but before that I was being referred to a school counselor who wanted my parents to place me in anger management therapy.

What do your health issues consist of?
I have depression and anxiety.
I also have signs of (but not officially diagnosed) mild OCD.

What treatment have you received?
I received many forms of treatment over a period of 6 years on and off.
Firstly I was prescribed medication but after several months increasing doses I opted for therapy instead of medication. From there I had weekly sessions with a counselor while I waited for a placement with a psychologist.
From there I was referred between several therapists (so many I literally lost count) until I finally stayed with the head of the department until I was given the go ahead to sign myself off of treatment when I was 22.
I have not received any help since then, as I did not feel I needed more.
However since moving countries from Scotland to Canada early last year I have felt my depression take hold again and I am unable to receive help out here without proper coverage, which I can not afford.

What symptoms do you have?
My symptoms can range and each day is different from the one before.
With my depression I feel like I have little to no purpose.
I feel unwanted, tolerated at best, like someone who is just "there" not part of anything.
My moods can sway from just being very quiet to bursts of rage or inconsolable crying and once I hit that point it can last for days/weeks before I am able to pick myself back up again.
There is also your usual "typical" symptoms like not taking care of yourself, poor hygiene, lack of appetite, zero energy, antisocial, emotionally unstable, no motivation etc.
Basically I feel like I have no purpose or reason for anything.
I'm just "there".
There are thoughts of self harm, but I personally don't act on it because I worry for my friends and family who care for me and I know that as low as I feel now, eventually I will feel better and regret it. But to pretend the thoughts dont exists is just denial.
My anxiety is more of a day to day thing no matter how high or low my spirits are. I am highly paranoid which makes me very observant with everything.
I analyse EVERYTHING from how someone words a text, every sound I hear in our apartment, people's tone when they speak, people's body language.
When I leave my house I watch everyone around me and if some happens to walk in the same direction as me behind me I automatically suspect them of wanting to harm me in some way and I do what I can to get away from them.
I want to know what is going on around me and why.
I also need to have plans and back up plans for every scenario, even things like meeting up with friends or going a food shop.
If I feel I have no control or I'm not prepared for every eventuality then I panic and stress out.
Even conversations I plan to have with people, because I study everyone around me so well I often can plan in advance in my head how a conversation will go (almost word for word) and I have an "already planned reaction" in my head ready for it.
This also plays a part with my OCD symptoms.
I never went to a doctor to be formally diagnosed but I have a friend who is a hospital nurse who would repeatedly recommend I get diagnosed with my behaviours.
Things must be of an even number or else it bothers me and I think something negative will happen or bad luck.
I need things to be organised to me in some sort of way, usually in lines or connected in some way.
For example at our local bar I always had to sit in the same spot, my drink always sat either in line with the logo on the beer mat or perfectly within the existing glass ring stain on the bar.
My purse would sit in a direct line in front of that and my phone in line with that.
If anything moved even slightly from that line I HAD to move it back or it bothered me to the point I cant focus.
I also developed irrational fears at the same time my mental health changed.
1) Fear of the dark only when indoors.
2) Life like dolls and mannequins.
I also received therapy to help me handle these fears on a day to day basis, as they did affect me on day to day life.

How have these conditions affected you?The conditions affect me when it comes to eating because I am a stress eater, so my weight has gone up over the years.
I went from a size 8 (UK) to a size 16 (UK).
My sleep varies from little to no sleep or I sleep but have vivid dreams and nightmares.
I socialise much less now because I feel like I have little/nothing to offer in ways of friendship to people I meet.
My relationships have varied over my life having been in several abusive relationships.
I am now in a healthy relationship and due to marry next year but my mental health does cause issues and some strain on my fiance.
I find socially I over compensate because I feel I am either "strong and confident" or "a victim" and I refuse to feel like a victim to someone through any means, so I'm either there and in charge or not there at all.
For those who do not know me well this causes problems for me socially.
These days a major issue with me moved to a new country where nobody knows me, I have made very few "friends" if any.

Was there something that caused the onset of your conditions?
What is believed to have caused the onset of my issues is from when I was a child, I was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a man who lived locally to me.
He was known by everyone but only the kids knew of what he was doing, as I was his "secret girlfriend".
He was 16-18 and I was 11-13. When I was 13 he appeared outside my home drunk while I was playing with friends, dragged me off around the back of my house after becoming violent towards my friends who knew he was coming for me and tried to warn me and he tried to forcefully rape me.
This was stopped only by my father who my friends had ran into my home to get to help me.
I did not at this time understand what was happening or why.
I came from a small area so news quickly spread of an incident happening between myself and this boy/man and within days (while my parents kept me inside my house for a week to hide me while police were speaking with me) news and rumours spread that apparently I had tried to seduce him and cried rape when my dad caught us together.
By the time I went back to school I was "the girl who cried rape" and I spent the next 2 years in and out of court cases and had very few friends who stood by me.
I had kids threatening me, fighting me, bullying me, showing up outside my home, we had to move a few weeks later. The police were unhelpful and this man still stalked me several times during the 2 years building up to the trial and I had his female friends threaten me with knives. By the time I was 15 I went from top of the class student to being suspended twice for fighting (self defense) and threatened with expulsion, which my parents fought, so the school decided I only had to attend 3 classes a week so I was still legally in school attendance and I was granted early school leave once I turned 16.
I had started to bully other kids at this point as a way of self defence, to attack others first before they attacked me.
This did help deter bullies but mentally drained me and I had my first breakdown at 16, after dropping weight to almost under a size 6 and my hair started to fall out.
This also affected me sexually where I would allow boys to sleep with me but not touch me with their hands.
I was not able to allow any boys to touch me sexually with their hands until my late teens when I was finally in a solid, healthy relationship with someone who was not abusive.
Doctors also tried to prescribe me drugs to calm me down and help me sleep, when I was 14 but all it did was cause me to fall asleep in classes and I felt "doped up".
By the time I was turning 17 I had left school, had several breakdowns mentally and I was now in a very abusive relationship with a man who would later get so controlling and violent he tried to kill me twice.
I started wanting to self harm but I didn't want anyone to see any marks on my body.
I was "weak" so I went to a doctor for help.
This is when I was officially diagnosed. Several of my psychologists all agreed on the conclusion that it wasn't the molestation and attempted rape which caused my issues to develop, but everything that came after as a result of what happened which caused them.
I had to learn to value myself again, feel confident again, stay strong and beat my demons to live my life again.

Were you given medication?
I do not and did not medicate through my years of therapy because I felt that I did not want to rely on pills to live a day to day life.

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate a good and bad day?
*My good days I would rate about an 8 or 9 out of ten.
When I feel good I feel unstoppable.
Its like the world is my oyster and I can achieve anything I want.
I feel good, happy, funny, attractive, wanted, loved and I love to socialise and plan an amazing future for myself with my fiance.
*My bad days can be about an 8/10.
I feel worthless, unwanted, unloved.
I feel like I am tolerated by those around me and my existence is just that.
I'm just "there" without purpose.
My only reasons I can get out of bed each day is because we have pets who need feeding and attention and I value their life over mine.
I would not have them suffer because of me.
If not for them I don't know what I'd do with myself.

Please explain in detail what a typical bad day and a good day is like for you?
*A typical bad day; I wake up and feel empty.
I have no hopes for the day, for myself, I just function with the little energy it feels like it takes all my strength to muster.
I get up and I let the animals out.
We have 2 house rabbits so I let them out their pen for free roaming time.
I get them their veg/fruit for breakfast and they come for cuddles on the couch while I feed them.
Then they go off to do their thing and I am just "there".
I might just lay and do nothing and hope someone might try to talk to me or something might happen to give me purpose, but nothing and nobody ever does.
I have no friends out here.
Only my fiance and he works to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.
If I feel like I might be able to try and pick myself up I will try and reach out to others.
I remember from my therapy sessions how important having support around you is.
But nobody comes.
I'm not well liked by my fiance's friends. The 2 or 3 who do, when I try to explain how I feel, and that I need help, they don't understand and they tell me I'm having a "weak moment" and basically leave me to deal with myself on my own.
I might eat if I can be bothered, but often I don't until I get headaches from being hungry and dehydrated.
I might put on the TV for background noise but not always.
My fiance checks in with me when he can and I try and be OK for him over the phone but that can be a hit and a miss. My day doesn't change until he comes home and when he realises how low I feel he tries to help but nothing does and I find myself just crying until we got to bed at night.
I hate making him feel helpless but I feel helpless myself and cant pick up, or even pretend.
We go to bed and I either sleep or don't.
I wake up the next day and either I feel a bit better and I can build myself up from there or I don't and repeat the day I had before.
*To compare my good days are this.
I wake up and feel great, full of energy ready for a full day.
I get up and let the rabbits out and do their veggies and cuddles on the couch. Then I put on my fave shows or music and I make a nice breakfast for me and my fiance before we relax together.
If he is at work I make myself breakfast and either do some light exercises or I clean so I have the rest of the day for me. I shower, put on full makeup, do my hair, dress nice and I chat on social media or make plans for when my fiance finishes work.
We might stay in and have a date night at home with dinner and a movie or go out for a few social drinks or have his friends over or we go a drive for ice cream or something.
We laugh, joke, plan our wedding and have just a great day together.
We go to bed happy and in love and whatever we did that day just makes me feel so happy I cant stop smiling.
When I have a good day I LOVE my life and I make a point to sit and remember details of every moment and how perfect it is and appreciate all I have.
I also like to be creative and plan lots of art work projects for myself, even if I can't afford the materials I need yet :)
I can be strong, confident, funny, hold my head high and bow down to nobody who tries to drag me down.

What support have you received?
The support I have is my fiance and myself.
I have friends and family back home who love and support me, but it doesn't have much impact half way across the world. My rabbits are my therapy, who give me purpose on days I feel I have none.






Migraines are recurrent headaches with very severe pain.
It affects the head and is often accompanied by nausea and sometimes disturbed vision.
They eyes can feel very sore.
Sufferers can be sensitive to noise and light, they also have a lack of energy.

What is your name and age?
Name: Stephanie Cochrane, Age: 27.

When were you diagnosed with migraines?
I was diagnosed with "cluster headaches" when I fell pregnant with my first child just over 10yrs ago.
At first they were called cluster headaches thought to be caused by pregnancy but when they didn't go away after a year of having my son I was referred to a Neurologist who done a whole array of scans and tests but couldn't find any define answer to what caused them or what they are.

What treatment are you given?
I have been on many different many medications, most of which were epileptic medications which have been known to help with migraine sufferers none of which worked.

Does this condition affect your appetite, weight, sleep etc?
It's effects my sleep and my appetite as on my bad days I can barely see, let alone want to eat and can't fall asleep when they are bad.

Are there any triggers that set this condition off?
There is nothing in particular that sets them off as I wake up every day with one.
The neurologist thought it was perhaps something hormonal as they reduced in frequency when I had my second child but came back avengance when I had my third child.

What medication are you prescribed?
I take Tramadol daily which has completely changed my life.
It's the only medication that hasn't made me drowsy, as I hate the feeling and it actually keeps me pain free most of the day which I haven't had in a long time.

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate a good day and a bad day?
On a good day I would probably rate it about an 8 and on a bad day a 1.

Please explain in detail what a bad day is like for you?
A bad day for me usually means being woken up in the very early hours of the morning with my skull feeling like it's about to explode.
I usually try ice packs and warm baths to see if those help first, if not I will take my first dose of medication which usually barely touch it.
Then I suffer through another 4 hrs before I can take another dose which will dampen it down a little more and then it's usually me stuck on sofa still unable to really move or do anything, trying not to vomit whilst assuring my kids I'm fine and trying to sort them out.

What advice would you give other sufferers of this condition?
The advice I would give is find a good GP who will actually listen to you and not try and fob you off as so many did with me over the years.
I doubt I will ever be fully pain free but the amazing GP who I have just now is doing her damn  best and listened when I found a medication that's worked so much better than the rest.

Apart from the migraines, what other symptoms if any do you have?
Other than the common symptoms from migraines such as nausea, sickness their aren't really aren't any other symptoms.





POCS is otherwise known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which a hormonal disorder.
The Graafian follicles in the ovary fail to develop as they should which means they are unable to ovulate.

Emma, a young woman of 24 was diagnosed with this condition when she was aged 18.
Emma has kindly agreed to an interview with me.


What is your name and age?
Emma, 24 years.

What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This means that I have cysts on my ovaries.

When were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed when I was 18 years old. I was showing symptoms from when I was 15.

How was a diagnosis made?
A diagnosis was made by having an ultrasound scan of my ovaries.
As this doesn't always show properly I then had to have an internal inspection with a camera.
This is common.

Is this condition hereditary?
Yes, it can be hereditary.

What causes this condition?
It has no known cause (as far as I'm aware).

Is surgery required?
Surgery maybe required in severe cases.
I haven't needed surgery and probably won't need it.

What complications if any can arise?
The cysts can burst and cause severe pain.
This can then cause scar tissue on the ovaries.

What symptoms do you have?
My symptoms include:
Unexplained weight gain.
Difficulty losing weight.
Very rare periods.
Difficulty conceiving.
Low blood sugar levels.

What treatment have you received?
No treatment until I was 24.
Even though it should have been given when I was first diagnosed.

What medication are you prescribed?
I take a medicine called Metformin.
Its meant for diabetics as its meant to help your body produce insulin so it helps pcos too.

Are there any triggers?
No triggers.

Is there a cure?
No cures.

What is the outcome for your future in regards to this condition?
The outcome of my future will be that I will always struggle to lose or maintain my weight which can cause more health problems in the future.

Does this condition cause fertility issues?
Unfortunately the cysts surround the ovaries.
This means that when you're trying to conceive, the sperm can't get to the eggs and the eggs can't be released.
The doctor says I can try IVF in the future but I must lose weight.
Losing weight is proving difficult due to the pcos.
I feel like I'm stuck on a roundabout with no exits.
There is a new treatment that they are currently trialling in the USA.
If it works it will be available in the UK but not on the NHS!

What advice can you give other sufferers of POCS?
If you think you have this condition or have been diagnosed.
Don't give up.
Pester your GP for the metformin.
This had helped me a lot!
Don't just let them fob the pill off on you as this does not help.
If you are struggling with weight loss or maintaining your weight, ask your GP for further help and advice!!






Teresa is a mother of three who has been diagnosed with C.O.P.D
this condition otherwise known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a serious lung disease that makes breathing very difficult.
Sadly its "progressive" which means over time the condition will get worse.

Teresa kindly agreed to an interview with me so as to raise awareness of this condition.


What is your name and age?
My name is teresa I'm 47

When were you diagnosed with C.O.P.D?
I was diagnosed with c.o.p.d  2  years ago.

What is C.O.P.D
c.o.p.d is a lung disease.

What symptoms do you have?
It is a struggle to breath most days. 
I'm prone to getting chest infections.
I can't walk too far as I get breathless.

What medication do you use?
I use 3 inhalers and 1 nebuliser four times per day.

Is this condition hereditary?
It is not a hereditary.

What causes this condition?
Smoking is one of the common causes but in rare cases it's not so, even if you  don't smoke you can still get it.

Is there a cure?
There is no cure.

What advice would you give someone with this condition?
If you are worried  you think you might have this go to your GP as soon as possible.
If you also have asthma too as that's why I went to the doctor, thinking my asthma was playing up.
I was sent to hospital for a chest x-ray.
I waited 10  days and then I was told that I'm very poorly and that I got this condition  c.o.p.d.
I sat with my asthma nurse, I just froze.
I cried I couldn't belive it.
I'm 45, I thought.. I've got 3 kids  23/18/15.
But my nurse and doctor are the best trying to help me give up smoking as it'd making my condition worse. 
If I never went to see my GP as my breathing was getting worse and I had a bad cough I don't think I'll ever would of found out I got this condition.
Also don't ignore a cough, get it checked!





Friday, 29 April 2016

Cuddle Party Ireland

Randy Ralston from Cuddle Party Ireland kindly agreed to an interview with me.

A cuddle is when a person holds you close in their arms, puts their arms around a person's neck or back and did you know that when you cuddle the "cuddle hormone" called Oxytocin is released.


What is Cuddle Party Ireland?

Cuddle Party Ireland (a.k.a. Irish Cuddle Salon) is a local manifestation of the worldwide ‘Cuddle’ movement.  
We exist to facilitate regular, organised gatherings and opportunities for people to experience consensual, mindful, non-sexual touch and affection in a welcoming, safe, nurturing, obligation-free environment!  
We are the first and longest-running Cuddle community in Ireland.

When and why was it established?

Though touch is natural, the skills that make it welcome and enjoyable have to be learned.  
Originally, I intended for these events to simply be an entry point to positive, healing touch for those who might not have the self-confidence or feel comfortable to engage in other ways.  
I was hoping to get exposed to more potential clients for the other (somatic sexology) work I do.  
But, after seeing the truly amazing, transformative experiences people have - every time - at a Cuddle Salon, I now do them simply because they are wonderful, it is very rewarding.
There is a real need for people to connect in this way.  
I began hosting regular cuddle parties in Ireland in early 2015.

What do the workshops/playshops consist of?

Our monthly events are about 3.5 hours in duration.
The ‘workshop’ portions are very fun so we sometimes call them ‘playshops’.  
At a Cuddle Party, the first hour or so of our time together is spend discussing and practicing the rules of how we engage with each other.  
We have a series of short, interactive exercises that allow everyone to practice things like verbal consent, asking for what you want, setting boundaries, saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ easily and clearly, and exploring non-sexual conscious touch. We do this in an easy, gentle, light-hearted and fun way.  
People attending gain a level of comfort and familiarity with each other and a degree of increased self-confidence such that by the time we open the rest of the day up to free-form snuggling (and back/foot rubs, etc), people feel empowered and safe.  
It is important to note that nobody is required to touch or be touched by anyone at any time.  
Every person is entirely in choice about how and with whom they interact - if at all.  
Some people come just to chat with other warm hearted people because it’s lovely!

How can you guarantee that the session with be 100% non-sexual?

The first rule of Cuddle Party is that clothes remain on the whole time.  
We ask people to wear comfortable, non-binding clothing that is comfy, not sexy. People are also empowered, through the rules and exercises, to take care of themselves by setting and communicating boundaries, or to ask for assistance from a facilitator or assistant if necessary.
We all take care of each other and the facilitator and assistant monitor the group the whole time to ensure things are running smoothly.
Anyone not abiding to the agreed-upon rules will be asked to leave (we have never had to do this, people are generally very kind and respectful). 

You have experienced facilitators who are professionally trained and certified in Human Touch and Intimate Relating, What does each of those consist of?

Randy Ralston, you have a Californian State Certificate in Sexological Bodywork and a UK Certificate in Somatic Sex, What do both of those entail?
In addition to being a Certified Cuddle Party Facilitator, I hold a California state-approved certification in Sexological Bodywork (Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality) and a UK certification in Somatic Sex Education (Institute of Somatic Sexology). Separately to Cuddle Parties, I offer safe, customised, individual, experiential learning opportunities for private clients to consciously access sensual/erotic states without shame, guilt, or judgement.  
It is a form of somatic education - learning about the body through the body.  The coaching and teaching involves a variety of instructive modalities, helping people to discover what is possible with their own bodies.  
I teach and touch in ways that assist students in developing presence within the body, opening interior awareness, and learning how their body can feel more and more alive.
I teach people how to let more pleasure into their lives and how to be their erotic best.
I also provide relationship coaching and have run a monthly discussion group in Dublin for the past 8+ years ( )
I have learned through professional experience and extensive training how to help people touch and be touched, how to be aware of their bodies and boundaries, and how to effectively communicate their authentic desires to other people.
I wish to see everyone feel a sense of freedom and love their lives to the full.

In 2015 you were listed in the Irish Times as number 1 in the top 30 people to bring positivity to the Irish Community through work.

How did you achieve this?

I believe all people should be free to experience pleasure in their lives without shame/guilt/fear/judgement or external conditioning.
I am committed to this at a deep level - for example, I never turn anyone away from a Cuddle Party for lack of funds, I feel it is that important.  
It is warming to know that some people are beginning to notice and appreciate my efforts but I am not doing it for the recognition.

If readers are interested in taking part in a Cuddle Party, Workshops/Playshops or Private Individual Cuddling Sessions how can they get in touch?
Interested people can join our Meetup group here:
They may also like/join our Facebook page here:
Or they may email me directly:

Jacky Newcomb





How To Read Angel Cards:


Jacky Newcomb

Jacky Newcomb born October 16th 1962 lives in the UK with her husband of 30+ years and her cat called Tigger.

Jacky is an angel and afterlife expert.

Jacky is also a Sunday Times and Amazon author.

Jacky is a regular guest on national television and features in the press.

Jacky writes a monthly column for Take A Break - Fate & Fortune magazine plus various other magazines worldwide.

Jacky has also featured in her film called "Jacky Newcombe & Shirley Crichton: Angels" which is a 2005 spiritual/documentary.
The runtime is 51 minutes.
The DVD can be purchased via


An Interview With Jacky Newcomb

What is your definition of consciousness in the physical world compared to consciousness in the nonphysical world?
In our physical world we are mainly asleep; we have very little awareness of who we are, why we are here or even what our own planet looks like.
In the non-physical world we have more of an overview, we see more of what is going on and have advance notice of things that are happening (or likely to happen), a little way ahead.
But our awareness depends on our soul growth/what stage in our journey we are on.

What types of entities are common in the after life?
Human spirits, animal spirits, angels and wise teacher-beings.
Of course this is just the dimension that we are aware of as passing spirits; as we advance on the 'other side' we become aware of more and more.

What role does time and space play in reincarnation?
Time and space only exist in our earth dimension.
'Time as we know it' doesn't exist elsewhere.
Imagine, like a cd, rather than a beginning, middle or end that you travel along, you are above the CD like a pendulum and can play any track you want in any order by just dropping the point down at any place along the disk from a central point.
A simplistic explanation.
You can choose to jump into lives in any order or even 'try them on for size'n(Borrowing someone else's CD or playing a track on a different CD), learning the lessons others have learnt by 'wearing' the life for a while or playing it all the way through.
It's complicated and this doesn't even begin to cover it.

How do you communicate with angels?
Well they communicate with us all but its a matter of just tuning in.
I don't really see them in the way you might imagine but do feel guided by them.
They arrange 'co-incidences', bring signs and I sometimes hear and sense things in my mind.
I also have many experiences when I am asleep.
I also see spirits when I am asleep, I have visitations in which deceased loved ones come to visit and chat, sometimes for no particular reason and other times to pass on information.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

All About Faces

Carolyn McHugh is a freelance mobile make up artist, specialising in wedding and special occasion make up based in the west of Ireland.
She works regularly with The International School of Make up Artistry as well as Asset Models Agency and Catwalk Models Agency.
She has worked on some of Irelands best known faces and is one of the make up artists for Dublin Fashion Week.
Her ethos is to enhace individual beauty and create a tailored look for each bride/client.
Carolyn is available to travel to your home/hotel for your makeup needs and works alongside an award winning hairdresser (Melissa Moran) for wedding bookings.
You can contact Carolyn though her facebook page All About Faces or on 0879651581


Carolyn McHugh's Interview

Business Name:  
All About Faces - Make up by Carolyn McHugh

When and why did you establish your business:
I established my business two years ago. I have always had a huge interest in make up and beauty but unfortunately life got in the way of me pursuing my dreams to be a make up artist.
A few years ago the time seemed right for me to invest in myself and I availed of the opportunity to go and study make up and Ive never looked back since !!

What qualifications do you hold?
I have an ITEC qualification in Make up Artistry.
Thus is an Internationally recognised qualification meaning I can work anywhere in the world.
It is the highest standard of make up artistry qualification you can hold.
I also have a Diploma in Make up Artistry from the International School of Make up Artistry.
This September I will be pursuing more of my dreams by studying for an ITEC Lecturing qualification.
This will allow me to teach Make up Artistry in colleges all over the world.

What brands of cosmetics do you use? My clients skin and their make up finish is extremely important to me therefore I only use luxury brands of make up on my clients.
I use MAC, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Charlotte Tilbury, Estee Lauder, Shesido, and Makeup Forever. 
If a client has a preference for a certain make up brand I will happily purchase that for their use.

Do you have a booking fee?
Yes I have a booking fee for all wedding party bookings.
The booking fee is adapted to suit the clients circumstances and the size of their bridal party.
There is no booking fee for special occasion make up bookings from my salon/studio

Do you have a cancellation fee?
Any deposit paid for a wedding party booking is non refundable. 
Thankfully I have never had a cancellation yet so have not had to implement that. The reason the deposit is non refundable is that I secure dates for brides without a deposit as others are often looking for the same date.

Can cosmetics be used if a client has a skin allergy or severe acne?
I always carry out a skin analysis on each of my clients to determine their skin type and to recognise any allergies they may have.
This helps me to determine the correct product for my client.
Acne is one of the most common skin disorders.
I always treat a client with acne with sensitivity and sincerity.
I carry a range of products in my kit specifically designed to be used on clients with acne.

What does a session with you consist of? I always talk my clients trough their skin type and recommend products to suit their skin type.
Most people are unaware what type of skin type they are so are usually delighted to have this service provided to them. After discussing the type of make up look a client would like I apply a make up look to suit their face shape, eye shape etc.  One make up look does not suit all.
My ethos is to enhance individual beauty and create a tailored look for each bride/client.

What are your prices?
I charge E35 for a professional makeup application for a special occasion at my salon.
I can travel to a clients house, depending on location I may apply a small travel cost.
For bridal parties I tailor the price based on their needs, location and amount of clients in their bridal party.
All prices are available on request.

Where are you based:
I am based in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo and I also work from Tigh Gruaige Hair Salon in Claremorris also.
I travel nationwide for my clients and bridal parties.
Distance is no problem !!

How do you advertise?
I advertise though facebook "All About Faces" and instagram @allaboutfacesmua.
I also advertise in newspapers and wedding magazines.
I have recently had a full page article published in the spring edition of Weddings Now Magazine.



Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Transgender & Violence Awareness

Connie, a young transgender (male to female) was starting a new chapter in her life by becoming room mates with a young man named Joseph.
Despite only meeting previously, Connie placed all her trust in Joseph and hoped their living arrangement would be a success.
However, during the first night in her new room and while she slept Connie was violently attacked by her new friend and room mate.
Joseph violently attacked Connie with a hammer.
Later it was emerged by Connie's solicitor that Joseph's attack on Connie was motivated by hostility towards her sexual orientation.
This was an attack motivated by homophobia.
Connie was in a coma for a whole month, a state of deep unconsciousness which was caused by the severe injury she experienced.
Since the attack Connie had to undergo rehabilitation, where she not only learned to eat again but she also learned to walk and talk again.
Rehabilitation does not reverse or even undo the damaged caused due to illness or in Connie's case; a trauma.
However it helps to restore a person and their body to health and a functioning state.
Since the attack Connie has been diagnosed with epilepsy which was triggered due to the attack.
It is a disorder that is neurological.
It causes sudden and very frightening episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness and/or convulsions.
Connie now has trust issues as a result.
The justification of this is rarely questioned.
Connie has built a wall of protection around her in order to protect her from being hurt again.
Connie can't control or even predict whether or not she'll experience hurt in her life, no one can but her wall is built regardless.
Connie doesn't trust many people and she doesn't especially trust black people (Joseph is black), this however doesn't make her a racist so please don't judge her.
During 2014 Joseph was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 19 years in prison.
This doesn't mean Connie is now back to her old self, sadly its far from it.
Connie's life has changed in many ways.

Connie kindly agreed to an interview with me in regards to what happened before and after the attack.

For Connie and all other transgenders, I want to raise awareness.
Bullying, hostility, discrimination, violence etc needs to STOP!


Connie's Interview:

What is your name and age?
My name is Connie, I am 21 years old.

At what age did you become aware that you were "existing" in the wrong body?
I was 14 years old when I realised I was in the wrong body?

When did your transitioning period take place?
Did you undergo hormone treatment?
If not, do you plan to?
Did you undergo gender reassignment surgery?
If not, do you plan to?
All my sex changes are happening now.
I plan to have surgery, a breast operation and take hormones.

Have your family and friends been supportive?
Yes, my family and friends have been supportive.

Being transgender is about expression and gender identity, not sexuality however now that you are a woman do you feel sexually attracted to men?
I feel very sexually attracted to men, probably more than I should.

To those reading this blog who feel they are "existing" in the wrong body, what advice would you give them?
Don't move to Margate, be careful who you trust.

When did you meet Joseph?
I met Joseph a couple of weeks before I became flatmates with him, 3 years ago.

What was your first impression of Joseph?
My first impressions of Joseph were okay, there didn't seem anything to worry about, no alarms rang.

You became flatmates with Joseph and on the first night as you slept in your bed you were violently attacked by Joseph, what exactly happened?
The first day I moved in with Joseph as flatmates, he wasn't home.
I unpacked.
I met with friends who came to help tidy, we spent 6 hours cleaning the place.
I had a takeaway with my friends then walked them to the station.
I came back, had a cigarette with my best friend Abbie then set up my TV.
I put on a DVD and fell asleep.
As I slept I was violently attacked by Joseph, with a hammer.

You were in a coma as a result, how long for?
I woke up from a coma, a month after the attack.

Doctors should you the x-ray of your skull, it showed a hammer lodged deep inside?
What was your initial reaction?
The doctors showed me my X-Ray and I honestly felt sick.

How long were you in hospital for?
I was in hospital in total for 9 & 1/2 months.

You went through rehabilitation, what was the process?
I had to learn to eat again, plus walk and talk again.

In 2014 Joseph was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 19 years.
Do you think his sentence was right or wrong?
I think Joseph's sentence was wrong.
If we still had the death penalty, that us what he should have got.
Or send him somewhere it is done.

How has your life been since the attack?
My life is pretty strange since the attack, I can't trust a lot of people and I don't trust black people (which Joseph is).

Do you have any lasting health issues due to the attack?
I now have a weaker right side and I have epilepsy.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Transgender Awareness

From One To Another

When a baby is born they are automatically assigned a gender such as male or female, otherwise known as a binary gender but as the baby grows from child to teenager to adult a gender identity of their own is developed.
However, let's not forget those who are born as intersex which is when a baby is born with both male and female sexual organs.
When a gender identity is developed the child, teenager or adult will look upon themselves as straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or some other identity.
Gender is the attitudes, feelings and behaviours of a person.
When a person's gender identity and biological sex are not corresponding in the same way, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender.
A person’s gender may or may not be consistent with socially prescribed gender roles and may or may not reflect his or her gender identity.
Sexual orientation is the sexual attraction to members of one’s own sex
which is known as gay or lesbian, attraction to members of the other sex is known as heterosexuals and attraction to members of both sexes is known as bisexual.

When a person is "existing" in the body they were born with but not "living" with happiness it can be very difficult for them.
Some people feel they were born in the wrong body therefore they want to change and finally live as they want to.
This is known as transgender.

When a person wishes to change from one sex to another there is a process involved such as hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery.

The process of supplementing a woman's natural hormones is called hormone replacement therapy otherwise known as HRT. The oldest form of supplemental hormones is estrogen.  

For transgender women, the standard HRT regimen is inadequate

Each form of administration not only has its own specific benefits, but also carries with it a variety of differing risks.

Over the years, many different feminizing and de-masculinizing drugs have been used in order to maximize the positive benefits while reducing any negative side effects.

The hormone programs that can be used are estrogen, progesterone, anti-androgens, spironolactone, finasteride, leuprolide, flutamide, ketoconazole and cyproterone.


There was once a handsome man who didn't feel comfortable in the male body he was born with and as he grew he realised the body he was born with was the wrong sex for him.
Later in life he finally transitioned into a beautiful and stunning woman called Celeste.

Celeste Atkin kindly agreed to an interview with me so as to raise awareness about transgender.

An Interview With Celeste:

What is your name and age?
My name is Celeste Atkin and I'm 38.

At what age did you become aware that you were "existing" in the wrong body?
I've known since I was nine years old.

When did your transitioning period take place?
I started my transition in December 2012, but I don't think I will ever be complete as I'm constantly changing plus I don't really look like I did in the media 2 months ago.

Did you undergo hormone treatment?
I self medicated with hormones from July 2013 until medics took over my script in June 2014.

Did you undergo gender reassignment surgery?
Yes, I've had full gender reassignment surgery.

When did you legally change your name and are your legal documents now reedited?
I legally changed my name on 4th July 2013, my birth certificate was changed during February of this year and yes it's all fully legal and documented as female now.

Have your family and friends been supportive?
My family struggled at first but are now coming to terms with things.
As for friends, I lost all my friends when I transitioned hence my relocation to another city.

Have you received any fear, intolerance and hatred from others?
I've not received any fear or hatred from anyone, I live a regular everyday life and just get on with things.

Have you experienced and discrimination?
No discrimination at all, anywhere.

Being transgender is about expression and gender identity, not sexuality however now that you are a woman do you feel sexually attracted to men?
Yes I am attracted to guys, but I have a very specific type.
They must be well groomed, slightly girly in appearance, eyebrows are everything to me and I make brow contact before eye contact.

To those reading this blog who feel they are "existing" in the wrong body, what advice would you give them?
If you feel you are existing in the wrong body, seriously it won't pass and you won't escape it.
It's like a tidal wave and sooner or later it will engulf you.
First things first, go see your GP/medic but understand it's a long road and can be difficult.
I was very lucky in my transition but many aren't, however you will get there eventually.

What advice would you give parents/guardians of transgender children?
To the parents/guardians, we are still your children.
I know a lot of people are scared because of the physical changes but deep down you've always known us and it's just appearance that changes to match the way we know we should/wish to look.
We still love you and want you to love and accept us.

Where do you get your fashion and makeup style from?
My style has changed and evolved with my appearance over the years. 
I don't think I really base it on any particular person or look, but I'm strict in my white blonde hair, dark brows and red lips.

Who are your favourite clothes/shoe designers?
I adore Louboutins, they are my favourite shoes.
My favourite bags are my Louis Vuitton as they are just so timeless and classy. Clothes wise I'm a bit of a label queen.

What is your favourite purfume?
My favourite perfume is channel no 5 or Marc Jacobs honey

Do you have an occupation?
I'm a nail technician

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My spare time revolves around retail therapy, coffee bars, clubs and nights/days out with friends.

What are your goals for the future?
Like I say I don't think I will ever stop evolving, I genuinely think I will never be happy 100 percent with the way I look.
I will always strive to be a better me in appearance and attitude but the next stage for me is butt implants which I'm currently saving for.
Overall I'm extremely happy in how far I've come and what I've achieved in such a short timescale.
I do feel I've been very lucky as lots of girls and guys are stuck in the system for years, but I did go private for my procedures, so this speeds things up for me and my transition.


Help & Advice:

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Dublin Cookie Company

This year in Dublin, Ireland the first ever Cookie Cafe was established by Slain Cohalan and Jenny Synnott.

The home made American-style cookies consist of flavours such as sea salted caramel & pecan, banoffee, white chocolate & cranberry plus other exciting flavours that will make your mouth water.

Elaine Cohalan kindly agreed to an interview with me.


Business Name:
The Dublin Cookie Company

Contact Details:
29 Thomas Street,
The Liberties,
Dublin 8.
Tel: 083-3766401,,, Facebook:, Twitter:, Instagram: @dublin_cookie_co

When and why was the business established:
In March 2014, Jenny and I decided to try selling our cookies based on recipes that Jenny had developed over years of baking for family and friends.
We wanted to work together and create our own business.
We were both drawn to food so cookies seemed like the obvious option.
Also, at the time, it was very hard to get a good cookie in Ireland.

What produce do you sell:
We sell baked cookies, cookie dough, flavoured milks, coffee and tea

Where are your current produce manufactured:
On site in our cookie shop at 29 Thomas Street.

What was your experiences of being a baker/chef:
Jenny has baked domestically for her whole life.
She has also managed a cookery school and a resort in the past.

When did your business open:
March 5th 2016

What are your plans for the future of the business:
We hope to expand our cookie dough distribution and sell it into more retailers throughout Ireland as well as open up more cookie shops.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Lymphoedema Awareness

Support Website:


Susanne Brown, an actress from the UK is diagnosed with Lymphoedema which is a high protein fluid beneath the skin.
Swelling occurs as a result of this condition, making it seem as if the person is overweight.
The swelling can occur in the arm(s), leg(s), breast, head, neck and/or genitals.
This is normally a result of lymph vessels that are damaged or lymph nodes that have been removed.
When the condition persists in a certain part of the body, more fluid can be gained, resulting in more swelling.
No one knows the exact cause of this condition although some suggests that babies can be born with abnormalities with in the lymphatic system.
However it can also develop during puberty or later in life.
Symptoms can include heavy limbs, tightness of skin, decreased flexibility as well as swelling.

The condition is divided into 4 stages:
Stage 0 - Non Viable Latency
Stage 1 - Spontaneously Reversible
Stage 2 - Spontaneously Irreversible
Stage 3 - Lymphostatic Elephantiasis

Susanne Brown kindly agreed to an interview with me in order to raise awareness of her medical condition and kindly answered questions regarding her career as an actress.


What medication were you prescribed once diagnosed with the condition? Creams, moisturisers,dressings but no pain relief.
I had to buy that over the counter.

Have you tried or would you consider MLD which is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
In my early  stages the medical team did that.

Do you require any Compression Garments?
If so, are they available on the NHS?

Is it safe for you to use gym equipment? No

Is it safe for you to travel via plane?

Is it a struggle to find suitable and comfortable foot wear?
Yes, I often have to look for wide feet shoes

Is the condition inherited?

Is it life threatening?

What does your daily management of living with this condition consist of?Making sure I keep my legs well elevated, not eating too much salt and sugar, keeping the right temperature in a room and in the bath/shower.

Have people judged you in regards to your weight without knowing its caused by a medical condition, if so how did that make you feel? 
Yes and I have felt down about it sometimes but most of the time I am ok because I am used to it now

When and why did you first become interested in acting?
2 years  ago

What training have you had?

You appeared on Channel 5's documentary "On Benefits, Life On The Dole" how was that experience for you? So far its good because I have had a lot of good comments and a lot of people stop me  to say they saw me on tv.

What additional information can you share with me?
In regards to the documentary, On Benefits, Life On The Dole, I would say the way the programme  portrayed me and the way the papers did wasn't so good, it was deformation of character.


Susanne Brown: Actress.

Susanne Brown is now for featuring in the following films:
The Royals - 2015
You Are My Sunshine - 2015
The Wrong Floor - 2015
The Vicious Dead - 2016

Susanne has also appeared on the television series:
The Pub

Susanne appeared on Channel 5's Documentary:
On Benefits, Life On The Dole

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Green Room Beauty Studio

The Green Room Beauty Salon is a leading provider of beauty treatments and beauty products in Swinford.

"I personally have used the services of The Green Room Beauty Salon various times over the years and I will continue to do so.
The staff are attentive and polite.
The salon is clean and tranquil within an ambience surrounding"





An Interview With Megan.

Megan Durkan


What is your business called?
The Green Room Beauty Studio.

When did you establish your business?
We opened in October 2010.

How many staff members do you have?
There are four of us that work in the salon.

What beauty treatments do you offer?
We offer a variety of beauty treatments including waxing, manicures, pedicures, gelish three week gel polish, facials and microdermabrasion, massage, spray tanning, tinting , and I am the full time Makeup Artist in the salon.

Do you sell products?
We sell products such as Dermalogica, Fuschia Mineral Makeup, Crown makeup brushes, Vita Liberata Tan, Nailtiques and Australian Gold.

How do you receive customer feedback?
We receive customer feed back through Facebook and social media, we also have a comprehensive computer programme which sends automatic rating  review emails.

How would you describe your business?
I would describe my business as a woman's haven, a space to make us feel good on the inside and out.

Please explain your "make up" work?
I am a qualified makeup artist and have been in management for years in Ireland , Australia and USA.

Tell me about "challenges" in the business?
The biggest challenge is to not take things personally, I can wear my heart on my sleeve and can take offence to things which are probably not personal just business.

Please tell me about your staff?
We have a very tight knit working staff and are thankful for all their hard working, which I hope is motivating.

How do you promote your business?
I encourage others to use our services through many avenues of marketing, but I love makeup tutorials and spend too much time on social media.
We provide an excellent personal service with a smile. Your request is our demand.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

When The Big C Strikes Twice


Bowel Cancer also known as Colorectal Cancer is referred to as Cancer of the colon or rectum. 

This type of Cancer affects a person's digestive system.

Bowel Cancer occurs when cells in the bowel change and rapidly grow.

Most types occur in the large bowel.

Bowel Cancer can affect both sexes.

Treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy and radiotherapy are available.

Below are some links for help & support of Bowel Cancer with in the UK:


Lung Cancer is the uncontrolled and rapid growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs.

This type of Cancer affects the respiratory system which is responsible for the breathing.

Lung Cancer starts in the wall of the bronchi and as the cancer grows it forms a collection of cells which become a tumour.

The tumour then causes a blockage which results in difficulty breathing.

It can affect both sexes.

Surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy and radiotherapy are all forms of treatment that can be used.

There are two types of Lung Cancer; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) which is divided into 3 parts called adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma, and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Below are some links for help & support of Lung Cancer with in the UK:


Daddy's Girl

When a family member is struck down with cancer it is a sad time but when two family members have cancer its devastating.

Alisha Bowell was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and soon after, her father Alvin Bowell was diagnosed with Lung Cancer.

Alisha Bowell began her fight against The Big C and is now in her 4th year of remission, sadly her father Alvin Bowell lost his fight and passed away in December 2013.

My most sincere condolences go to the Bowell family and friends on the loss of Alvin Bowell.

Alisha Bowell kindly agreed to an interview with me in regards to her Bowel Cancer and her father's Lung Cancer in order to help raise awareness of Cancer.


The Interview:

What is your name and age?
Alisha Bowell and I'm 29.

When were you diagnosed with Bowel Cancer?
2011, I had just turned 24.

How was a diagnosis made?
I was rushed in for an emergency operation as there was a blockage in my stomach, then 6 weeks later I was told the news.

What symptoms did you have?
I had always been tired which I thought was down to my job and travelling far.
It wasn’t until 2 weeks prior that I had severe symptoms.
I couldn’t go to the toilet which was abnormal for me, I had really bad diaherea.
At first the doctors treated me for constipation.
I kept being sick and had an over extended belly.

What treatment did you receive?
I had an operation which removed the mass, followed by 6 months of chemotherapy and 2 further operations to reverse the colostomy bag and drain the fluid on my ovaries, from all surgery scar tissue.

What support was available to you?
Being that young with bowel cancer it is very rare so I did find it hard however I went to counselling and joined a teenage cancer trust.
My Family especially my mum and dad, friends and good consultants got me though it.

What is the outcome for your future?
I am now in my 4th year of remission, every year passes the greater my chances.


What is your dad's name and age?
Alvin Bowell.
(He passed away, age 69 in December 2013)

When was he diagnosed with Lung Cancer?
He was diagnosed in March 2012.

How was a diagnosis made?
Doctors had suspicions and he was then sent for further testing.

What symptoms did he have?
He suffered blood when coughing.

What treatment did he receive?
Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy.

What support was available to him?
Rest bite, care at home.

What is the outcome for his future?
His diagnosis was always terminal.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Park Hotel

The Park Hotel
Swinford Road
Co Mayo

Tel: 094 93 74922





What is the hotel called?
The Park Hotel.

Where are you located?
Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, Ireland.

When was the business established?
We opened in December 2006.

What facilities do you have?
It's a 45 bedroom hotel with a cafe bar, bistro and garden room restaurant.

Do you have spa facilities?
We don't have a spa.

Are pets welcome?
We are a pet friendly hotel.

Do you cater for events and conferences?
We have a large banqueting suite and boardroom both available as conference facilities.

Do you cater for weddings and parties?
We cater for wedding receptions up to 350 people and have been shortlisted this year for the Mrs2B awards.
We also hold civil ceremonies in the hotel.

Do you have gift vouchers available?
We do have gift vouchers available or they can be bought online on our website.

Do you have any awards?
Last night (19 April 2016) we won the "The Irish Country Hotels  Best Customer Service" award and we also have received trip advisor accolades and have a 9/10 award from

Pretty & Plastic

James Holt is a young man with a difference.
He has had many cosmetic treatments/procedures and plans to get more in the near future.

Cosmetic Surgery is when a person has an operation in order to alter and enhance their body and appearance.
Cosmetic Treatments are nonsurgical procedures to also alter and enhance the body and appearance.

Why do people want to have such treatments/procedures you may ask;
Firstly we are all born and inherited with genes, as we grow and develop over the years some of us feel our genes are "wrong" and in order to correct them we follow in the path of treatments/procedures.
Some people feel their genetics are a big motivation for altering and enhancing their body and appearance.
In some cases people have a negative attitude towards the aging process so they want to alter and enhance their body and appearance in order to look younger for longer.

In today's society, the media dictates what society views as attractive.
And for some people they feel they don't fit in.

However no matter what the reason, there is nothing wrong with wanting to alter and enhance one's body.

James is very open-minded and is a great man.
My discussion with him was a real eye-opener and I want to thank him for agreeing to this interview with me in regards to his body transformations.
I wish James the very best of luck with his future treatments/procedures.


Name: James Holt

Age: 22

How do you fund your treatments?
I fund my treatments by being a web cam model and a sugar baby.

What cosmetic treatments have you had done?
The cosmetic treatments that have had are; cheeks, lips, botox, jawline, chin, nose, filler, eye ducts, everything on my face really.

At what age did you get your first treatment and at what cost?
My first cosmetics procedure was at 17 and it was £500.

Do the treatments hurt?
No the treatments do no hurt, I love it.

Are there any side effects?
There are some side affects like swelling but not much more.

According to The Sun newspaper, it states you are "addicted to cosmetic treatments"
Is this true?
Yes I am very much addicted to cosmetics.

Also...according to The Sun newspaper, it states that Kim Kardashian is your idol and you are trying to enhance your body with cosmetic treatments in order to look just like her, is this true?
Kim kardashian isn't my idol, the sun just ran with that and I don't want to look like

The Sun newspaper also stated that you were rushed to hospital due to a cosmetic procedure that went wrong, us this true?
I was never rushed to hospital the sun totally made that up.

The Sun stated that you said the following, "I want to look really plastic and fake"
Is this true and why?
Yes I do want to look really fake and plastic, it's just the look I like.

What treatments do you plan to get in the future?
I'm getting my nose done, basically head
to toe, I'm  having loads done.

Are your friends and family supportive or do they object to your treatments?
My family are not supportive of my look.

Are you worried about any complications that may arise dye to your treatments?
I am not worried about complications, I just think about the final result.

Due to the statements made by The Sun in regards to Kim Kardashian, I asked what you'd do if you could spend 24 hours with her and you said
"I wouldn't even want to be with Kim for 24 hours, I refer Chloe Khan.
And I ask, if Kim Kardashian were to read this right now, what would you say/think?
You said " I'd be excited that she knew who I was, but not to bothered"

If someone reading this are interested in having cosmetic procedures, what advice would you give them?
My advice would be to research and speak over the phone.
Don't feel pressured once there to get procedures.

Do you have any regrets?
I don't have any regrets.

Who is your fashion/body idol and inspiration?
Chloe Khan is my everything, I love her work, ethic,style and look.
I love everything about her!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Irish Motor Neurone Disease

I recently interviewed Maeve Leahy.
She is the PR, Communications & Fundraising Officer of Irish Motor Neurone Disease.


What is your service called? 
The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) is the primary support organisation for people living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). There are currently over 350 people living with MND in Ireland.
MND is often referred to as the 1,000 day disease as most people die within 1,000 days of being diagnosed.


When and why was it established? 
It was set up in May 1985 to provide care and support to people with Motor Neurone Disease, their carers, families and friends.


What does your service supply? 
Our key services include:
*Home visiting by our two MND Nurse Specialists 
*Financial assistance towards home care 
*Providing specialist medical equipment free of charge to our clients
*Supporting research into the causes and treatments of MND
*Freefone Helpline & Information service for clients


What is Motor Neurone Disease? 
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord.
This means messages gradually stop reaching the muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting.
MND can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe.
However, not all symptoms necessarily happen to everyone and it is unlikely they will all develop at the same time, or in any specific order.
The cause of MND is not known.
There may be environmental factors that trigger the damage in people who are susceptible to the disease.
Ongoing research is necessary to find out the nature of these environmental factors, and what makes one person more susceptible than another.
MND strikes people of all ages and currently there is no cure.

How is it diagnosed? 
Usually it is not difficult for a Neurologist to diagnose MND on the basis of the history and signs.
Early signs may cause some initial difficulty.
There is no specific laboratory test. Sometimes special tests, possibly including a brain and spine MRI, are necessary to exclude other diseases. Usually, electrical tests on muscles and nerves are performed and a lumbar puncture and muscle biopsy may be done.


What are the symptoms? 
MND presents itself in various ways, depending on the particular groups of muscle fibres which degenerate initially. Wasting and weakness of muscles of the hands, sometimes one side a first, stiffness in the legs with dragging of one leg or the development of marked weakness in the legs may be the initial symptom.
Sometimes the muscles of the tongue and swallowing mechanism are affected early, with slurring of speech, difficulty in swallowing and coughing.
The disease may remain relatively stationary for some time or may progress to other limbs, to the tongue and to the breathing muscles.
Death in MND is usually caused by the combined involvement of the swallowing and breathing muscles, causing a severe pneumonia.
For a full list of common symptoms please see:


What treatment is available
Please see – a lot of very beneficial info here on this


Is it heredity? 
Approximately 10% of people diagnosed with MND will have an inherited, or familial, form.
This form of MND is extremely rare; the great majority of people diagnosed with MND (90%) have the sporadic form, occurring for no known reason.


Is there a cure? 
There is no cure, however symptoms can be managed to help the person achieve the best possible quality of life


What medication is used? 
The drug Riluzole (Rilutek) has shown to be helpful in slowing down the progress of the disease by about 3 months.



Maeve Leahy
PR, Communications & Fundraising Officer
Coleraine House
Coleraine Street
Dublin 7 

Ph: 01 873 0422
Fax: 01 873 1409


Never Judge A Book By It's Cover

Adele Joicey is a 41 year old UK woman.
A loving mother to her 4  adorable children; Erin 9, Esme 6 and twin boys Luke and Ryan 2.
Two of Adele's beautiful children; Esme and Ryan both have disabilities.

During a visit to Adele's GP due to Ryan being poorly, the doctor noticed a small mark upon Ryan's body which was unexplainable the GP referred the child over to Social Services.
Despite the fact that all children, especially toddlers tumble and fall and often present themselves with lumps, bumps, cuts and bruises.
"We can't watch our children 24/7 and we shouldn't have to either, they still need their own independence"
When Social Services became involved they addressed the case as a "non accidental injury" which meant they believed that someone, such as his mother, had deliberately hurt Ryan.

Adele has kindly agreed to an interview with me regarding her children and what happened.


Adele's Interview:

What health issues do your children have?
The twins were born 10 weeks prematurely and an ultrasound head scan when Ryan was 48 hours old detected a large bleed in his brain.
This was followed up by an MRI in February 2014 which confirmed a large part of Ryan's brain had been damaged by a stroke soon after birth.
Ryan has hemiplegic cerebral palsy and his right side is affected.
Esme has Down Syndrome and significant sensory issues so is currently being assessed for autism.
Esme was diagnosed at 8 weeks old following a blood test.
Esme has a life long learning disability, the biggest impact is speech and behaviour problems.

What support do you receive?
In terms of support we access 8 hours of direct payments per week to employ a support worker.

During a visit to your GP, a mark was found on Ryan.
What happened next?
After the GP reported the mark we had to wait for a social worker to arrive which took over 2 hours.
Afterwards the social worker followed me home and I was told that unless someone could stay with me to supervise me with the children (my partner works away) then they would remove Ryan from my care.

What happened once the Social Services were involved?
I couldn't provide a protective factor so I packed Ryan's bag.
In the meantime Ryan, who was ill and had been without water, food or calpol went floppy and unresponsive so I told the social worker I was taking him to hospital.

What happened at the hospital?
At the hospital we were joined by a second social worker and when we saw the doctor he told them he had no concerns about Ryan and I was allowed to go back home.

Have you received an apology from the Social Services?
No I have not received an apology from social services, despite 3 letters asking for one.
I have formally complained and am currently at the final stage of the process which is a request for independent review. The council has not yet made a decision on this request.

For those reading this who are in the same type of situation, what advice would you give?
For those accused by others I would say that you're not alone and not to feel isolated and worry about being stigmatised through it all as now that I have spoken out I have been surprised by the amount of people who have now contacted me and shared their story.
I felt isolated and alone and felt that I would be judged, but most contact has been very positive.

What additional information can you share with me?
Referrals to social services have increased significantly however 92% of parents are innocent.

I have worked with The Guardian and they used my story as a case study.

Monday, 18 April 2016

The Celia Hammond Animal Trust




An Interview With Naomi.

What is your charity called?
Celia Hammond Animal Trust.

Who is Celia Hammond?
Celia Hammond was a model in the 1960s, she became a campaigner against wearing fur and persuaded other models to stop wearing fur.
Later she became involved in rescuing stray cats on the streets of London and began neutering cats to control the feral population.
This gradually took over Celia's life and she gave up modeling to concentrate on her cat rescue work.

When and why was the charity established?
In 1986 Celia founded the Celia Hammond Animal Trust with the aim of opening low cost neutering clinics to provide affordable neutering for pet cats and dogs to humanely reduce the pet population by preventing the birth of unwanted litters as opposed to a situation where surplus kittens and puppies were euthanased.
The first of these clinics opened in Lewisham in S.E London 1995, and a second opened in Canning Town in East London in 1999.

Can you please share with me the history of the charity?
More about the history of the Charity can be found on our website.

What animals reside at the charity?
The Celia Hammond Animal Trust also runs a sanctuary in Brede (Nr Hastings) for animals (mainly cats)who are not suitable to be homed for various reasons. In addition to neutering animals, the clinics (and sanctuary) also help to rescue and rehome animals (mainly cats) - now homing thousands of cats each year.

Are behaviour tests carried out on the animals?
Behaviour tests are not carried out on our cats.
We take time to get to know them and assess their temperaments.
Many traumatised cats take weeks or months to regain trust in people.
The trust also rescues and rehomes hundreds of feral kittens every year to normal, domestic homes.
Socialising 'taming' these kittens can take several weeks.

What medical care is offered?
Our two London veterinary clinics employ their own vets and nurses to provide a full veterinary service to the public for their animals including neutering, vaccinations, microchipping, general treatment for sick animals and emergency care for sick or injured animals.
As well as neutering and treatments for our own rescue cases.

What type of food do you use?
We feed our cats on dry (biscuit food) and wet (tinned or pouches) commercial cat food, much of which is donated.

What fees are involved?
The rescue and rehoming part of the charities work is entirely funded by the generosity of the public who donate money to our charity. 
The veterinary clinics charge a low cost, subsidised fee to pet owners who use our clinics, the shortfall is made up with donations.

How do you promote the charity?
We promote our charity via our website, social media pages and largely through word of mouth and recommendation.

Akina Beauty & Laser Clinic|PN:place/akina-laser-and-beauty-clinic/|ID:303061&mkt_term=%2Bakina%20%2Bdublin&gclid=CjwKEAjwi9K4BRCQzq7d1c6A_XASJABueAO2J94h3puZ2EwOmNXxTJJ1BCpE49BmMWENslMmhKwMexoCoqnw_wcB#venue-menu-page?id=303061

What is your business name and why?
The business is called Akina Beauty and Laser Clinic, we had narrowed the name down to 5 different ones and then we did a poll in an office of 50 women, Akina was top of the poll.
It means spring flower.

Where are you located?
50 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 is our location, we orginally opened in Crow Street in Temple Bar but we moved to Lower Leeson St last April.

When and why was the business established?
The business was established in 2006, I had worked in the beauty industry for over 15 years working for other people and I felt it was time to do my own thing, I wanted a new challenge.

What do you provide?
We provide  a full range of beauty treatments but we specialise in skin care and laser treatments.

What qualifications do you have?
I am CIDESCO, CIBTAC and Btec qualified. I qualified as a beauty therapist in 1991.

How do you promote your business?
We promote our business in a number of different ways such as radio, social media, press adverts but word of mouth has to be our most successful promotion.

What is a typical day at work like?
No such thing as a typical day!
On days that I work on clients my day can vary depending on what treatments are booked in.
Other days are made up of admin, working on social media, training and attending meetings, launches and general business.

What additional information can you share with me?
At the moment the challenge is staying current and relevant, it is a very competitive industry so we need to ensure that we are providing our clients with what they need before they know that they need it!
We offer our clients a team that collectively has over 70 years experience in the beauty industry.
We provide a unique treatment that is bespoke to the individual client and their specific needs.
By developing a relationship with our clients we can offer the best advice throughout the year as their skin changes with time and the seasons.
We love what we do and our passion is what makes us great at what we do.

Steven Hydes, The Man With No Identity (The Gary Gatwick Story)

Abandonment of babies often leads to the suffering from physical damage due to neglect, malnutrition, starvation and abuse but Steven Hydes was infact cared for which means he was loved.
Steven was clothed, had blankets to keep him warm, he was clean and was contented when his biological mother abandoned him.
However, Steven now a grown man with a family of his own and a living adoptive family, still harbours painful wounds that are deep in his heart and mind.
The painful wounds that Steven carries with him on a daily basis are wounds of not knowing who he really is.
One of my personal mottos in life is "you can't miss what you never had" but in Steven's case he had a connection and a bond with his biological mother for approximately 10 days before she abandoned him, even if he has no recognition of this.
Steven has questions such as;
Why he was abandoned?
Did his biological mother give him a name?
When his birthday is?
What his medical history is?
And so much more.
Steven is struggling without this vital information in which he deserves to know.
Steven wants closure on his past so he can finally open the door to his future but the questions he wants answers to are holding him in limbo.
My advice to Steven's biological mother is this;

"If you are reading this and you are too scared to come forward simply make contact via letter with one of the links I've added below so you can give the answers that your biological son wants"


Steven's DNA was submitted to Geneticist Dr Jim Wilson of Edinburgh University and results confirmed that his biological parents to be from Scotland, England, Ireland, France or Germany.
Therefore I've attracted some links that maybe useful to Steven and/or his biological mother if she happens to one day read this blog.



Scotland & England

Ireland & England



An Interview With Steven Hydes aka Gary Gatwick.

Steven Gary Hydes


West Sussex, England

When were you found abandoned?
I was found on the 10th April 1986 in the afternoon.

Where were you found?
I was found in the ladies toilets at Gatwick airport.

Who found you?
A lady who worked in the duty free found me before she went to start her shift.

How old were you when you were found?
Doctors believed I was approximately around 10days old

What were you wearing when you were found?
I was found wearing two baby grows and 3 blankets.

What was your condition upon being found?
I was clean and content and was asleep, when I was found

How long were you in foster care for?
I was in foster care for around 6 months

Why were you nicknamed Gary Gatwick?
I was nicknamed Gary Gatwick after their mascot and airport

What television shoes etc have you appeared on over the years?
Over the last 12 years I have appeared on a many tv shows some of them being GMTV, The News, This Morning, also Radio and National Newspapers.
I have appeared in 2 documentaries one of them went world wide and I have appeared on The Late Late Show In Ireland.

Geneticist Dr Jim Wilson of Edinburgh University tested your DNA, what were the results?
Dr Jim Wilson was the first person to help me with DNA testing and upload it to various databases and back then my closest match was a 5th cousin but this did give me a rough idea of countries which was European with British, Irish possibly Scotland, France, Germany this is because all these countries are close together.

You have been helped by Missing Family Organisation, but how? is a non-profit community organisation `they raise funds to pay for DNA testing, they help with searches, and act as an intermediary service when biological family are found. you can read more about them at

Today you are a grown man with a family of your own.
You live with your partner Sammy Collins and your two children, Alanna & Kian.
Are your children aware of your story?
Yes, my children are aware of my story. My son is only 4 so he doesn't really understand it however my daughter who is 8 does and we took them to Gatwick on the 10th of April of this year for the first time to show them where I was found.

Despite having a wonderful upbringing within a living adoptive family, why do you want to find your biological parents?
I want to appeal for my biological parents to come forward because I would like to know who they are and where I came from.
I believe they cared for me and it must have been a hard decision they made as I was approximately 10 days old and had been well looked after.
Someone had me in their care for approximately ten days, I wasn't newly born which makes me think they did want me but possibly just could not keep me for whatever reason.
I also would like to know if I have any siblings out there, as well as medical history and just to know what my name was or what day I was born would be great.

When did you become aware you were adopted?
I have always known I was adopted.
When I was young, around age 4-5 years old, my mum would always show me the baby book she made me.
It contained all my newspaper clippings and told it to me as a story.

How do you adoptive family feel in regards to you searching for your biological parents?
My adoptive family are really supportive of my search and help me in any way they can.

If your biological mother / birth mother happened to read this blog, what would you say to her?
If my birth mother was reading this now I would say;

"It would be great to hear from you, I not angry or upset and I understand we both have families out there and I would not want to invade in your family as they may not know about me.
You don't have to come to me directly, if you don't want to.
There are "missing family organisations" you could contact or you can confide in someone to make contact.
You do not need to worry about the media or police as you will not be in any trouble. Everything would be in the strictest of confidence and I would want to protect your identity.
You have two grandchildren who would also like to meet you.
The only blood relatives I have our my children so to find any other family members would mean a lot to me.
I am prepared for anything and understand that you, my biological mother may not want to know me but just to know who you are and why would give me some achievement.
I will then have closure and I will know who I am.
I also believe that you must have confided in someone as I'm not sure you can hide a baby for ten days unnoticed and alone"

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sianagh Gallagher, GB Paraclimber

Sianagh Gallagher was born 10 weeks prematurely.
She was born with just one arm, no collarbone, a curved spine, twisted pelvis, dislocated knee and both her feet were facing the wrong way.
But despite such complications, little Sianagh fought for her life against all the odds and grew to be the young woman she is today.
Sianagh is one in a million and an inspiration to many.
Today Sianagh is a member and team captain of the GB Paraclimbing Team in England.
She competes in national and international competitions.
Sianagh has already competed in France and Italy where she was awarded the Bronze medal.
Sianagh also won the Gold medal for the IFSC Paraclimbing Cup in London, UK.
Paraclimbing is a sport for people, such as Sianagh, who have a disability.




The GB Paraclimbing Website:

The IFSC Website:


An Interview With Sianagh Gallagher:

Sianagh Gallagher


Has your disability ever been an issue for you?
Only when I'm doing minor things such as tying my laces.
This can take a lot longer and it's frustrating when I'm in a rush!
Overall, I've learnt to just get on with things because having one arm is all I've ever known.

At what age did you start rock climbing?
I started climbing at the age 10

You are a member and also the team captain of the GB Paraclimbing Team, please explain in detail what that is?
Being a member of the GB Paraclimbing team gives me opportunities to represent my country in international competitions. I get to go and compete all over the world. 
Being the team captain of the GB Paraclimbing team means that I have the responsibility for making teammates feel confident, happy and stress-free in competition environments.
If they have a problem, they can come to me and open up and express how they feel.
I help them through any situation they may be in whether it's training, life in general or problems they have regarding competitions.

You are the only one-armed climber to ever compete at an international level in Europe, how does that make you feel?
I'm the only climber who has a full missing arm that competes internationally.
This means that I don't have a 'stump' to use when I'm climbing.
It makes me feel quite nervous as I have to up my game as my competitors climb with an added stump.
It's also very exciting because I know that the climbs will be tough but I am always prepared for a challenge!

You compete in national and international competitions;
You have competed in France and Italy, you received a Bronze medal.
What exactly did you do in order to win the Bronze medal?
We have to climb two roped climbs and if I've got enough points, I have to climb a roped climb in the finals.
Depending on how high I get will determine my place in the competition. So to get the bronze medal, I was the third highest in the finals of the competition.

What is the IFSC Paraclimbing Cup where you won a Gold medal?
I won a gold medal at an international competition in Austria - Imst 2014.

What is the highest you have climbed?
The highest I have ever climbed is around 21 metres.

To those reading this who have a disability but want to achieve their personal goals, what would you say to them?
I would say, do not be afraid to adventure out of your comfort zone.
Yes, things may seem a little daunting and you may be worried that you won't do as well as others due to your disability. But don't stop trying.
Your personal goals are for you and you only.
If you want to succeed in something then go out there and do it.
Don't let anything hold you back in life because it's too unpredictable for self-doubt and "maybe tomorrow" attitudes. You really can do anything if you want it bad enough.