Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What a difference a few months makes!

One of the nicest experiences of Operation Transformation was having people over to my house for dinner. Don't get me wrong, I could always cook.....I just never bothered that much! After my first disastrous attempt I became quite a dab hand at this dinner party stuff. This weekend I had two very special guests, Clare and Lucy.
And before you ask, yes I did an Operation Transformation dinner, namely Beef Casserole from last year's food plan.
See I can cook other things besides chicken!
I also did Melon and Grape starter and Crunchie Bread pudding for dessert.
Whoever thought, "Oh let's put a Crunchie and bread together was a genius", it's gorgeous!

We had a great catch up, reminiscing about our "journey" together. After a few glasses of wine we were very anxious to see a photo of the three of us at the early stages. So of course we had to Google ourselves. We ended up in tears of laughter. All I could think was
"Who on earth let us go on national television looking like that?"
Thankfully there was a bit of a transformation or I'd never set a foot outside my front door again!

Another huge change in our life is that the following morning we were up bright and early 
Well, 9,30am on a Saturday morning is practically in the middle of the night for me!
and took part in Mullingar's Parkrun.

That is something that none of us would have even contemplated this time last year.
Imagine what we'll be up to this time next year!

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Shrinking Violet!

One of my favourite parts of Operation Transformation was the make over and catwalk show at the end. I channelled my inner diva and sashayed my way down the catwalk. I LOVED my dress!

I got another chance to wear it this weekend to the AIMS awards,
Amateur Irish Musical Societies.
LMVG were up for five awards

  • Best choreography
  • Best ensemble
  • Best male singer
  • Best female singer
  • Best overall show.
But best news of all, before I headed off for the weekend I had to bring my dress into the dressmakers
TO GET IT TAKEN IN!
Yep, 2 inches off all around since the show finished.

When I was picking it up, the dressmaker took a few photos for her website. She then told me
"If you want to wait around for a while Bressie is coming in to pick up his suit!"
Unfortunately I didn't have the time, but I'd love to know
Was he getting it taken in, or let out???

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The price of fame!!!

One of the side effects of having been on national television twice a week for two months is that people recognise your face. There is no safe haven!
Last weekend I was attending my nephew's graduate art exhibition in Limerick. As I was heading down the motorway around lunchtime I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and I wouldn’t be getting anything until later that evening. I suddenly spied the Barack Obama Plaza sign and decided to pull in for a quick bite.
When I entered the food court my eye was drawn to the Supermac’s sign. Being totally honest I have not had any fast food this year, but for some reason I had a longing for a burger and chips.
“Everything in moderation”, I said to myself as I joined the queue. I was reading the overhead menu when I suddenly felt as if I was being watched. I glanced around my fellow customers and caught their eyes. There were a few knowing winks, a couple of nods and even a
“Tut, tut, if Karl Henry could see you now!”
I suddenly lost my appetite but I was at the counter by this stage. I gave my order in a hushed tone, leaving out the garlic and cheese dip that I had been so looking forward to.
“For here or to take-away?” I was asked.
I knew there was no way I would be able to eat anything under all those watchful eyes, so I was soon out hunched down in my car, scoffing my food.

I don’t think there would have been a bigger reaction if I had been caught buying heroin! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Your face is familiar."

One of the side effects of having been on national television twice a week for two months is that people recognise your face, even if they can't always remember where from.
Last weekend I was attending my nephew's art exhibition.There were some speeches first so I was wandering up and down the rows looking for a seat to plonk my ass on.
A man, around the same age as myself looked at me, puzzled, and said the familiar words.
"I know you from somewhere. Tell me where and when?"
This was a little unusual as it is usually women who recognise me from the show.

I looked from him to his wife who was sitting expectantly beside him. I don't know what came over me, but I replied
"Eh, Copper Face Jacks ???"


I don't know whose jaw dropped further, his or his wife's! Before an unmerciful row broke out I quickly added
"Or maybe Operation Transformation."

Thankfully both burst out laughing and I will not be cited in the divorce proceedings!



Monday, June 13, 2016

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Saturday morning saw me heading off to Limerick for my nephew Niall's graduate art exhibition in LSAD. It's hard to believe that only a few short years ago he was getting me out of a spot of bother by painting my Confirmation display
http://www.nols-agirlforallseasons.com/2014/04/jesus-christ-superstar.html
and now here he is....a fully fledged artist.

At first glance these seem like typical passport type portraits. However they are based on the deconstruction of the stereotypical portrait genres. These are virtual portraits of non existent people. He took photos of his family, friends and randomers and each portrait is a combination of between 2 to 10 people. As you study them you begin to see that perhaps the eyes, eyebrows, lips etc don't match.
In some it is difficult to decide if the subject is male or female.
Art imitating life???




















Niall was hoping that by erasing individuality you could also eradicate prejudice and preconceived bias towards the subject.

This is my favourite...and the start of my art collection!

Having studied his paintings for quite a while I became a bit artistic myself. I liked the whole idea of merging facial features into one another. Here is my masterpiece.


I think it's quite Eurovision winner circa 2014

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Run Fat B**** Run

Towards the end of Operation transformation we had to set goals for ourselves to achieve in the following months. As I had unearthed a new found love of running I registered for the Vhi women’s mini marathon. I had walked it several years ago but I was hell bent on running the 10k this time round.
Once the programme finished I set about my training for a 10k. While I had no problem with the shorter distance, I found it very hard to keep focused on the longer one. There was a fortnight when I didn’t do any training. Before this if I had fallen off the wagon I’d have given up completely. This time I had a good talk to myself and started back at a lower level and was soon back on track.

Bank holiday morning arrived and I set off for Baggot Street. I still hadn’t run 10k or anything near it. I hadn’t decided whether to run 5k and then run/walk the rest of it, or to walk 1 min and run 5 mins for the full course. During the week as I basked in the glorious sunshine I worried that it would be too hot for running on the Monday. As I drove up towards the darkening clouds I figured that wasn’t going to be the main problem. Sure enough as I joined the throngs of women walking towards the starting line the heavens opened. I was wondering how on earth we were going to run in soaking clothes when suddenly I was hit on the head by a rain poncho! The lovely people in Dublin’s  Little Museum were standing on their steps throwing out the rain coverings to all the passers-by. That has to be the nicest idea ever.

As I had never run a 10k before and had no personal time to enter on the registration form, I was in the walkers group. We were corralled into an area and waited for our starting orders. The rain stopped and the atmosphere was fantastic. After a short delay the crowd started to surge forward and  we were off.
I soon realised that running was not an option as we were so close together. My heart sank a little bit as although I knew I couldn't run the full distance I did want to run some of it. Suddenly two joggers passed me by and I was off like a greyhound after a hare! I figured that they could do all the hard work of finding a path through the crowd and I’d be in their wake. I guess we must have almost doubled our distance because of all of the weaving in and out we did. Thankfully the crowds thinned out a bit after a while and my path became straighter.
I decided on the walk 1/run 5 mins routine so I put on Karl Henry’s podcast and kept going. Thankfully it didn’t drown the cheers of the people who lined the streets cheering us on. When I passed the 5k mark I was feeling fine. “I can do this”, I egged myself on.
And keep going I did. As I was approaching the 8k mark I got the shock of my life. The sign said  9k! How did that happen? I was closer to the end than I realised. This spurred me on and suddenly I could see the finish line ahead of me And then the weirdest thing happened , I started to well up with tears, Seriously, what was that about? I knew that it was going to be physically draining but I wasn’t counting on the emotional side of it. As I crossed the finish line my emotions swung around again and I was elated. I almost forgot to check my time, my main goal was to just finish the thing!
I completed the course in 1 hr 15 mins, which is exactly 1 hr 15 mins faster than I’ve ever done it before!

 I’m going to give myself a few days to recover and then I’ll get back to training. I’ve set myself a new goal.

Next year I’ll run the entire 10k!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Summer is coming!

One of my reasons for losing weight was that I had a wardrobe of clothes that didn't fit me. I was dammed if I was going to spend a fortune on new larger ones. Now, almost two stone lighter I find that I HAVE to buy new ones as they still don't fit me. But hey, its sooooo much easier to have to buy clothes because my own are too big.
So that was what brought me to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on a glorious afternoon when I really should have been out in my garden. I decided to get the shopping part over and done with as quickly as possible.
So unlike me.
I was approaching the far end of the centre when my ears heard a very familiar sound. My heart started to pump and I got butterflies in my stomach. It was the rousing strains of
A Song of Fire and Ice
a piece well known to all Game of Thrones fans/fanatics.
I rounded the corner to be greeted by....... The Throne!!!

Okay so it wasn't the ACTUAL throne, but it was a darn good replica. Of course there was the sign that said it you parted with your hard earned cash you could sit on it and get your photo taken.
Who would be so gullible?
Why, ME of course!

I took my place in the queue and was amazed at the number of children who were dying to get their photos taken. I hope it was just because it's a real cool throne and not because they are fans of the show!
My geek dream came true....

An afternoon of shopping and GoT. 
Could this day have been any better?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fashion Police

It never ceases to amaze me how the kids can notice the most minuscule detail and yet miss the most obvious ones
eg something written in large letters on the board!

This morning was the start of another glorious day and I strolled into school in my summer finery.
I was met by one of the Infant girls.

"Ms. Noeleen, I love your dress and your necklace."
"Thank you very much."
"I have a pair of sunglasses the same as yours....only mine don't have a silver D and G on them."
And off she skipped merrily to rejoin her friends.

I had to take off my glasses and check what was written on them.
Sure enough there it was.
But how on earth did she notice that from a distance?

I can rest easily in the knowledge that we are teaching our pupils the two most important things in life
Reading and fashion!