Jimmy & Christina 11 November 2016

My wee (!)  brother Jimmy got married to the most exquisite bride I ever saw, Christina, on Friday. I know it hasn’t fully sank in yet! I had the honour of being a bridesmaid, and we had the most wonderful day.

My family is literally still on a high. It was such a blessed and genuinely happy day. It’s hard not to be totally happy for them as they have been the epitome of true love for many’s a year.

It’s been a beautiful experience. From sunrise in the gorgeous RoCo hair, giggles and the most perfect make up by Kendra. We were pampered and felt like princesses, I also feel like I have made a few new friends as we have been living in each other’s pockets this last week or so! I feel like the colours and happy memories of getting ready have been emblazoned into my mind. I really had a special, happy morning. Thank you Christina and Kendra, Clodagh and Kim at RoCo for such a great start to the big day.


These are just wee snapshots, a bridesmaid doesn’t have much time for photos, so we will rely on Natalie Doherty photographer extraordinaire for the ceremony photos and more. I’m not doing the day justice but I just wanted to document it a little.

The ceremony was at St. Patrick’s Church Pennyburn and we were delighted that Fr. Gerard Mongan officiated. He has been a great family friend from way back when when myself, Jimmy and best man Paddy were altar servers and he was a deacon 15 years ago! He made the Mass so personal and he was so generous and funny. It all ran completely smoothly and every guest was commenting on what a beautiful mass it was. Jimmy and Christina just lit up when they saw each other and it was an absolute privilege to witness their official and spiritual union.



The venue, The Redcastle Hotel and Spa is an absolute dream and I wish I could have stayed in the peaceful ocean view hotel for a week! It’s just across the border in Donegal and we got whisked there in a beautiful vintage car.


It rained but it hardly mattered and it was such a warm and right feeling to have all your family surrounding you to help two very loved and special people commit their lives to each other. It was touching to see how much my parents enjoyed it, how proud they were and how blessed they felt. I barely have a photo here but my 7 siblings and I are a source of pride (for some reason! Ha) to my mammy and daddy and they said they preferred it to their own wedding day because we were all there this time!!


How absolutely divine is my new sister-in-law?


Jacob really stole the show. He danced with 18+ people (he counted in bed the next morning) and he had the time of his life. My Daddy also had a great line in his tear inducing speech ‘For 20 years until Jacob came along, it was just you and me in a house full of hormones.’ He spoke directly to Jimmy about how much he loved and was proud of him and everyone was fighting down the feels. I was actually really proud of my Daddy and his speech (although he was so nervous) was just amazing. A lady came up and called him ‘heart man’ after it. Love is the most important.

Jimmy was almost annoyed at my Daddy for nearly setting him off before his speech. Jimmy also spoke straight from the heart and got choked up when he spoke about his new beautiful, kind and intelligent wife. I have the best men folk.


We danced the night away and some of the special requests were perfect. My parents had asked for The Obvious Child by Paul Simon as they always danced in the kitchen with the wee siblings to it. Everyone was up and it was a moment. Also the best man requested ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ by the Undertones and it was hilarious. The first dance was a Coldplay song Against the World and they were so beautiful and in love it would break your heart in the best possible way.


If I could always look this good at 2.am!


My room had a helicopter pad right outside. And the sea!


The view from the honeymoon suite balcony after breakfast next morning!


Way home 🙂

This beautiful photo from Ann-Marie Appleton.  Looove it. 


So once more a huge and heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to the new Mr and Mrs Mc Callion. I love you two so much and am so very proud of you. Your wedding was a dream. Thank you for everything. So many people have been touched by this love story and this beautiful celebration. Have an unforgettable honeymoon in Mexico and New York. See you when you come home, for the next chapter.




Jonathan Unleashed – Meg Rosoff

I almost met Meg Rosoff once. I was volunteering for the first time at the Humdinger Children’s Book Festival and she was actually taking the only adult event of the festival about novel-writing I think. I had to creep into the room to retrieve my purse so that I could buy lunch. I wish I could have taken part in that class! I think I was going through a big break up then, and I kind of am again and I loved this book, because poor Johnathan reminds me so much of me.

Jonathan is a twenty something who has just moved to New York, got himself a decent apartment with somewhat dodgy conditions, is a creative soul stuck in an advertising job that he hates (he isn’t allowed to write tag lines more interesting than ‘Gel Pens! 20% off!’ He has a pretty, efficient go-getter girlfriend Julie who he is somewhat amazed that he blagged, but we can gradually see is completely wrong for him.

So, the best thing about the book are Dante and Sissy, Jonathan’s brother’s Collie and Spaniel that he has entrusted to Jonathan for six months or so while he finishes a contract in Dubai. He feels they are wise, they are watching and judging him, and he worries that they are unhappy, and not reaching their potential. He takes him to Dr Clare the vet, who asks are they whining or tail-chasing or acting aggressive?

I know they’re dogs,’ he said, struggling to explain. ‘But I get the feeling they’re dissatisfied. Dante should be herding sheep, at the very least. He’s so intelligent. And Sissy…she doesn’t complain, but I often get a sense that she’s missing something. Grouse? I don’t know. They both just seem a bit-off.’

‘I have other concerns. What if Dante’s boredom reaches a peak and then one day, suddenly and for no reason, he takes a dislike to some small child and lunges, ripping its face off? And someone films it on their phone and it goes viral and there’s a massive lawsuit and it makes the cover of New York Magazine. I’d probably end up in jail and they’d make an example of Dante. You couldn’t really blame him and he’d probably have to be put down.’

This particular exchange and many others made me laugh out loud. Jonathan is highly strung, anxious, not where he thinks he should be and I just recognise this worrying SO much.

Julie, the girlfriend who is driven and pretty, gets promoted at her job with Brides 360 blog. She is asked to take part as a real bride for a photograph series for their next issue. Jonathan doesn’t realise what she’s suggesting for an uncomfortably long time.

‘But just at that instant and impulse took him. A crazy impulse to do whatever crazy thing arose because maybe if you said yes to things that terrified you, your life would change direction, open up, get exciting….Wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a person you knew (and maybe even loved) every night for the rest of your life? no more worrying about meeting the right person, no more doubts about the future. He liked the idea of embracing adulthood at a concept and not worrying too much about the fine print.’

No, no, no I want to scream! Only recently have I realised just how common and dangerous this kind of compromise can be and I wrote a little about my experience.

Jonathan is always falling in love with people, like the beautiful French lady in the bakery that welcomes dogs, and he confides in the wonderful Greeley, no one knows what gender, the boss’ PA. He/she gives wonderful spiritual advice.

Jonathan’s relationship with the dogs is wonderful and hilarious, his work escapades increasingly crazy and hyper, I loved his relationship with Max, the best friend who told him Julie wasn’t right for him from the start despite being a complete lad. His thoughts about the wedding, burying of real feelings, referring to it accidentally as a funeral, no one speaking about it, although funny, is very stressful and Jonathan gets actual physiological symptoms which affect his whole life.

You’ll have to read it to find out what happens, but this wonderful witty and intelligent story about growing up in your twenties is a real triumph for Meg Rosoff, who has mostly written YA titles before this.

James Walton in a review for The Telegraph wrote ‘In Meg Rosoff’s last book, Picture Me Gone, the main character was a 12-year-old girl peering nervously towards adulthood, not at all sure that she liked the idea of it. Now, the hugely entertaining Jonathan Unleashed features a man in his twenties doing the same.’

As you can tell, I adored this book, my 14th of the year, and looking forward to reading more by the wonderful Meg Rosoff. I’m going to miss Dante and Sissy, I think I might be becoming a dog person.


A few words on the wedding…

Well they did it. Claire and Gareth got married. Today I was exhausted and my feet are sore to the very touch but I have nothing but happy memories from what was a beautiful wedding. From the moment I opened my window and let in the morning at the end of which Claire was getting married, I knew it would be a day to remember.

Claire looked utterly beautiful and so grown up… It was emotional and it all made more sense to me seeing how happy the couple were.  So much hard work went into the day and Claire added many creative touches that are so intertwined with her gorgeous her-ness. I am so very happy for the two very special people we watched promise to love each other forever. They are very loved by their families and friends and I know they will have a great support network and I felt glad to be part of such a good group.

I’m proud of us all for standing around sipping on our glasses looking and sounding so grown up. I felt the wedding feeling of everyone being brought closer and I was heartened by it. These are my few words to mark the occasion as it’s left its own little mark on my heart. * Card by Helen McCartney Designs on Folksy – was very impressed 🙂

We are marriage age now?

Claire at her Hen Do last week. It was our first one! That's another story...

This is Claire. She is getting married in just over a week’s time. She is one of my oldest friends, I met her on the first day of secondary school in September 2000. I still have this snapshot image of her playing some silly ice-breaker game in the old ‘Sports Hall’ on that very first day. Also we have this other strange connection which I think I mentioned before, that we were Christened on the same day- at the same ceremony (there were 4 babies christened that day) and it was a photo that told us this like 13 years later.

Anyway, all this excitement of the wedding and the disbelief that my friend, my contemporary is getting married is kind of bringing some thoughts to the fore. Although it’s only Claire and Gareth who are getting married, I have a feeling that all of our friends’ lives are going to change, are entering a new stage of life. Although I still feel like little more than a child, I am now apparently of marriageable age, this hadn’t really occurred to me before now.  I feel like once one person gets married it might perhaps open the flood gates. I’m not explaining myself very well but I do feel that this wedding is a kind of landmark in my life and my friends’. Nevermind Claire, biggest day of hers. This is having a big impact on me. I joked I would have to blog about it as some sort of therapy for myself. I was texting my other friend Aisling (the bridesmaid ! aghh it’s all so real!) about this today and she said “I know, everyone moving away to do new things. We’re the group of twenty-somethings that people write sitcoms and books about!! Weeeird.” She is very good with words, and poetic for a science chick, Aisling. But anyway. This made sense but also freaked. me. out. When did I become an interesting twenty-something who is in charge of my own life? Would my life even be sitcom worthy? I think they would pass me by!

Everyone works at their own pace after all.  Claire is at a place in her life that marriage makes sense and feels right at this time. I obviously have a little way to go… if I am struggling to put my 22-year-old self with my 5 year relationship in her undoubtedly gorgeous bridal shoes at this time. We are both happy, and that is the main thing. I am looking forward to everyone getting together to wish Claire and Gareth all the love and happiness in the world, and I know that it’s good people and friends that I am surrounded with who will do the same for me when my time comes, and who I’m looking forward to bringing in this new phase of grown-up life with.