Calm is returning with the start of the secondary school summer holidays. The pressure is less, though I will need to offer lots of attractive alternatives to video games over the next three months. At the same time I must keep stomping on all those thoughts about how I think the summer should go. You know what I mean. Normal stuff: family outings, sport, fun in the sun, beach days, picnics, meet ups with friends, even holidays. So I’d say that reasons to be cheerful will be an absolute must for the next while! But I’m determined that this year I will focus on what we can do as a family, not on what we can’t.

HERE‘s what I came up with for this week.


You’d become a millionaire if you could bottle the joy and pride of the past few days as we watched waves of young people arriving home to Ireland from around the world to vote in a referendum about extending the rights and responsibilities of marriage to the LGBT community, followed by the excitement of the count as it became clear shortly after the boxes were opened that this could be a life-changing result for thousands of people. I am so delighted that putting a simple X in a box is going to make so many people so happy.

But I have a confession to make.

FInd out more here


The big happy smile said it all. Finally the exams were over. The weeks and months of stress, tears, frustration and boredom. If all goes well Angel will never need to sit another exam again, at least not for a College course.

For me it’s been a chance to briefly reclaim my motherhood hat before my eldest heads out into the wider world. I’ve been working hard to help her. Everything possible was done to keep life at home as calm as possible. Each day I watched and weighed how the studying was going. Offered cups of tea – not so many as to be annoying, but enough to show I cared. Random treats were added to the supermarket trolley. Anyone for Battenberg? Trips arranged to the cinema and the hairdressers, to break up the studying schedule.

More here


A little bit of light relief, badly needed right now, thanks to a great idea from Jo at Ojo’s World who realised how many things she has never done. Things that other people think are a normal part of life.

My rubbish memory means that some of you may be able to tell me that I’m wrong, but as far as I know, I have never done any of these…

Find out here


It was like a grey cloud that grew as it passed over the last sunny days of my childhood. The anxiety that began to gnaw away at my insides, my tummy aching with the pain of it. The changes of puberty, the bullying that began once looks became more important than test results, fitting in more important than standing out.

But I wanted it all. I craved success, and I needed to be accepted too. Where once I was embarrassingly self confident, I now made endless lists of everything that was wrong with me.

Read more here


That is what my daughter may be facing.

As I wrote previously here, here, here and here, it is impossible to say who is at fault, but clearly there is a lack of interest in this area and no adequate planning for school leavers with disabilities and special needs.

The letter from the Irish Health Service said it all:

The organisations “are continuing to work closely together to provide whatever service is feasible in the short term and are developing a medium term plan in relation to premises and providing a 5 day service.”

Apparently medium term can mean anything from one to five years.

More here.


The good thing about an unplanned spell of home education is that it gives you chance to visit all the places in your home town (can I call Dublin that now please?) that you haven’t been to yet. After 25 years there are still a large number on my target list, and it’s not just me either.

Today I suggested Collins Barracks, for no reason except that the name popped into my head. I had a feeling that it was about history and war, which would normally be interesting to a 14 year old, but not necessarily my son. I needn’t have worried. The first sign we saw was this:

Read more here


So Lunajack is not one of those villages with a crazy name, no it’s a way of walking. A style that owes a lot to two of this family’s favourite film characters. And my son and I were doing lots of lunajack walking today as we stepped and stumbled, swayed and slid over the rocks around the headland at Rush in North County Dublin, where I brought him to do a little gentle home educating. Except it was quite strenuous, as my calves could tell you. The reason for the rock scramble was that we spotted a Martello tower and my son wanted to visit it. But we couldn’t find an entrance from the road, so we decided to try and gain access from the beach.

Read more here