Santa at The Shandon; Giving Time and Memories

I know before I start to type that keeping this short and sweet is not really an option.

If you want it in a nutshell, here it is.  The Magical Winter Wonderland Experience at The Shandon Hotel and Spa is indeed a wonderful, wintery and magical experience.  From the moment you arrive until check out, it’s Festive Fun for everyone.

For us, it was a perfect family Christmas calm in the midst of all the madness of December.

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The Shandon Hotel and Spa outside Dunfanaghy

We booked this after a few friends recommended it last year.  Now, we’re big fans and regular enough frequenters of The Shandon, but we’ve never stayed with the girls before. 

We wanted somewhere this year where we could switch off, relax and fully enjoy a hustle or queue free Santa visit.  I also wanted to be warm while we waited for Santa and as it turned out, with all the flus and sniffles in our house over the past few weeks, this was a good Mammy-call.  There was no queueing or standing around freezing your tootsies off…Santa comes to your room at a prelocated time… perfection. 

We arrived at 4pm.  The receptionist checked us in but also made a fuss about telling the girls about the Elf that was missing in the hotel.  Excitement levels started to mount as the girls realised we were on a “sleepover!” 

We were delighted to be put into one of their Master Suites, on the 5th floor overlooking the bay.  These suites are huge and bright and new.  The bathroom was stunning with a jacuzzi bath at the window. (We didn’t get a chance to use this, but we shall be back!)

We got changed from our winter woolies (we’d just watched Daddy jumping into the River Swilly at The Polar Plunge in Rathmullen!) and went down to the bar for barfood. 

The food never disappoints.  I opted for a steak sandwich instead of my usual seafood platter and Himself had the steak burger.  The girls had pizza and nuggets and chips and all plates were cleared quickly. Not having to drive, we were able to have a drink with our dinner too, something which never happens when we’re out and about with the kids. 

At 6pm we headed down to the Winter Wonderland. It was so beautiful. Trees and bears and penguins and lights and ALL the pretty you can imagine, carefully created and perfectly pulled off.  Narnia was particularly impressive. Who doesn’t love a 6 foot polar bear eh?

Upstairs, Mrs Claus was awaiting with juice and cookies for the kids.  There were crayons and pictures and fairy wishes and Santa letters and a post box… lots to do and see.  Then Mrs Claus and her elf called all the kids over to her sofa for storytime. There was a collective wave and sigh by the parents as we all sat back to watch Mrs C entertain our minions!  There was even a glass of wine for the parents if you wanted one.  

Mrs Claus was fantastic; in character from the second we arrived, fully engaged with every single child and superb in her ability to entertain.  She took them all on a Polar Bear Hunt and every single child was captivated by her. (The Director in me would cast her in the morning! Bravo!)

After a photograph with her, we toddled up “to bed”.  Pjs went on and we all snuggled up on our bed to watch Arthur Christmas.  At 7.30pm, a knock came to the door and there he was; the main man himself; Santa! 

And not just ANY Santa.  This was without a doubt THE REAL SANTA.  He knew their names and everything! “Don’t be hiding Princess” and “My my Mini-Me! You are getting tall!” had their jaws dropping.  Also, he was able to tell them about how when their Daddy was wee and he had to wait for him to go to sleep before he could deliver his presents.  AMAZING! 

He spent 10 full minutes talking to them and listening to them and laughing with them.  Oh what a joy this was to witness. He sang Jingle Bells along with them and gave them their gifts before saying goodbye.   The gifts were excellent too; arts and craft stuff.  

Santa was just wonderful and gave one thing that no other Santa we’ve ever seen gave; time. 

The girls weren’t rushed or hurried and it was genuinely the most enjoyable ten minutes. Watching their wee faces as he told them tales about their Daddy was priceless. 

Well after that, there was no sleeping, so off we went back downstairs in the jammies. (them, not us. We’re not that bad!)   We had hot chocolate and dessert. Apparently the chocolate brownie was incredible. I didn’t taste it as I was tucking in to my Christmas pudding… boozy bliss I tell you.  And of course it was accompanied by a wee Baileys to officially kick off Christmas. Would have been rude not to. 

The hotel was filled with families of all ages and the atmosphere was electric.  The foyer was a forest of happy kids playing with their Santa gifts and happy parents smiling and talking as we headed up to our room.  

We eventually got everyone tucked in; I’m not sure how really as the excitement levels were immense by bedtime.  (Comfiest beds in the world by the way.)

Breakfast next morning was, as always, superb.  I always love how the bacon is properly cooked. There’s nothing worse that pink rubbery slices!  There is nothing you can’t have for breakfast here. Smoked Salmon, cheese, porridge, full Irish, cereals, smoothies and of course the pancake machine! 

We didn’t use the pool simply because our youngest has been a bit fluey all week, but we chilled out before having (one last) milk and cookies in the bar. 

Carolynne and Gert and and their team have made Christmas so magical here.  The receptionists, the elf helping Mrs C, Santa, Gary and his team in the bar, the breakfast team and waiting staff – all professional and smiling and brilliant at their jobs, we can’t praise you all enough. 

December is a manic month in our house.  We’ve always squeezed a Santa visit into the midst of the chaos, and while we always enjoy it, this year was different.  We stopped. We switched off and we spent 24 hours with our girls. We were relaxed and it was truly magical and we’ve both come home a bit more relaxed and ready for the final few days of the year. 

And the girls got to MEET SANTA, not just see him. 

I know that the weekends are fully booked, but there is still limited availability for midweek.  They’re also hosting Sunday lunch with Santa so check that out. 

I’ll let you all know once it goes on sale for 2020, (but not until after I’ve booked our room first!)

Carolynne and team, take a bow. 

You’ve created something magical and helped us to create magical memories. 

See you soon!

Mammy x

 

*reviewing because I want to.  I’m nice like that. You make me smile with your business, I’ll make it mine to tell everyone! 

Songs Offending My Darlings?

I am offended…

Given that everyone is now allowed and encouraged to be offended by absolutely everything, I’ve decided to crack down on the lyrics of other Christmas songs which, let’s be honest, are incredibly offensive to offendable people who like to be offended.

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Last year’s uproar about the dreadfully offensive lyrics of Christmas classic croonfest “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is being spouted again by the EOTs  (Easily Offended Types).  It quite rightfully opened the door* for all sorts of uproar about every lyric ever written ever.

(*the door was not opened or held open by the song or for the song, but rather automatically so that basic manners might not be perceived as chauvinistic by the easily offended).

It’s only taken us 70 odd years to realise the utterly heinous and terrible connotations of dominance and kidnapping in the lyrics of this shocking song.  How were we so naive?

How could we ever have misconstrued the lyrics as a playful interaction between a man and woman, who, at the end of a date are toying with the idea of getting the leg over. How dare we see it as a coy, flirtatious exchange in which the man is trying to extend the cuddle time, and the woman, (who quite obviously wants to stay) is playing a little hard to get… by choice.  What were we THINKING?  I mean, he’s obviously an evil-demon -from-hell-Mantype.

There’s no way he’s just a man.  Or you know, that she’s just a woman, who (shock horror) doesn’t mind the idea of coitus, even though 1940s society would have frowned upon such frivolity.

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Shit Lads, what were we thinking? (Sorry,I shouldn’t say lads. Ladies? No, that too is offensive as it has the word lad in it… )

I am indeed offended by the lyrics.  I shall ignore the fact that it’s one of my favourite Christmas songs and jump onto the offended bandwagon, just because it is cool to be offended by anything and everything.

I am also joining in with the campaign to change or bleep out the word “faggot” from the classic “Fairytale of New York”.  It offends me.

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Actually, so do the the words “Cheap and lousy” as they suggest that I am not willing to spend money.  I ‘m offended by the glorification of betting and gambling in the line “Came in eighteen to one” and the OBVIOUS ageism in “An old man said to me won’t see another one”.

I’m also offended by the suggestion that I “can’t face it all alone” or that “I could’ve been someone”.  Do NOT TELL ME I can’t be ANYTHING I WANT TO BE!  You are OFFENDING MY RIGHTS!

Can we also take out the word “arse” as, you know, offended… And while we’re at it, let us change the title.  Because we should NOT be telling our daughters that Fairytales are a thing.  That is making them grow up into the type of woman who gets trapped by the evil demon from hell mantype who wants to drink with her and doesn’t want her to catch cold… Irresponsible parenting is personified in the title.  I am offended.

Other Christmas songs that we shoud just ban while we’re at it, are:

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Frosty the Snowman.  I am offended that this particular snowman is a man.  Also, the fact that he is “made of snow” offends me because it suggests that he is weak. He also tells us he’ll “be back again someday”.  This offends me as sometimes, people leave  This line therefore is giving our children a false sense of security.

“I saw Mammy kissing Santa Claus” must also go.  It reeks of adultery.  Where is poor Daddy? Mammy is conveyed as a slut here. She is EXACTLY what the woman in “Baby it’s cold outside” would have turned into, had we not saved her by being offended…

Rudolf the red nosed reindeer...WHY do we feel the need to differentiate between him and the others based on the colour of his nose? Borders on racism I tell you.  Offended.

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“Jingle Bells” obvious sexual connotations.  “All the way” is putting me under pressure.  One-horsed open sleigh is OBVIOUSLY animal cruelty.  Why aren’t there two horses? And to be politically correct, why is a horse doing the job of a reindeer? Discrimination or equinism gone too farf?  Offended.

“All I want for Christmas is you”  offends me.  It suggests that all women only want a man.  Are we not perfectly capable of being fully rounded, successful and whole beings ALONE? Offensive.

“Santa Baby”  promiscuous wench, bordering on prostitution. Slapper she is in her fluffy cuteness…Offensive.

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“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – full of threats.  Obvious threats.  “You’d better watch out.  You’d better not cry.”  Obviously abusive language. Offensive.

“Driving Home for Christmas” offends me.  What if I don’t have a car? What if I’m a stay-at-home-parent or a work-from-homer who is ALREADY at home? Do you think I want to be listening to a song which puts pressure on me to drive somewhere, JUST so I can drive home again?

I’m dreamin of a White Christmas”  –  eh racist no?

“Live Aid”  –  Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you?  Well now THAT is just offensive.

Actually, can we move away from Christmas songs?  There are many other offensive tunes on our radios each day.

“Dontchya wish your girlfriend was hot like me” offends me.  What if Nicole Sherzimeister actually means it and is going to steal my Husband who might agree that she is indeed “hotter” than his plain old boring wife?   Offended.  (And genuine cause to hate the perfect one obviously.)

Bohemian Rhapsody?   –  Violence!  Offended by Mama pulling a trigger.  I’m pretty sure the word Fandango should offend me too…

Dance Monkey?  –  I am offended that you think my dancing makes me look like a primate.

Would you like me to go on?  I could you know?  I could find offense in fucking Nursery Rhymes if I felt like it.

But do you know the thing about being easily offended?

It means NOTHING!  NOBODY GETS HURT AND NOBODY ACTUALLY CARES IF YOU ARE OFFENDED.  You don’t get a rash.  You don’t get a badge.  You just get tired with all the energy it takes to be OFFENDED BY EVERYTHING ALL THE FECKING TIME!

Have I offended you?

Whatever.  You’ll survive.  Write a letter to Santa or The Grinch.  He can put you on his ever growing “offended” list.

It’s on the page after the Naughty List ends.

 

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Some Things I’d change about Christmas…

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​If I were Queen of the whole world (as opposed to my own little corner), there are a few things I would change about Christmas…

  1.  Christmas jumpers should be permissable for wearing from December 1st.  To all occasions, without eye-brow raising, without judgement…unless you are judging how fucking FABLIS it is is comparison to your NOT Christmassy, everyday, boring Jumper.

2. Only competent drivers should be allowed on the road from the 11th until the 24th.  Because Christmas Eve is on a Monday, the last minute panic (and for some, ALL their shopping) will have to be done over one long weekend.  This would not be a huge problem if everyone knew how to DRIVE.  The town will inevitably stand still with non-moving cars and the special Dumbasses who the Grinch or some other Gremlin sends down from Dumbass Land, and who ONLY come out to drive on Christmas Eve and who test the patience of EVERYONE else by not using INDICATORS or knowing what a fucking YELLOW BOX is.  They are not even real people.  I think they’re like Matrix people who we can all SEE blocking the roundabout or taking 2 hours to reverse their Corsa into two spaces, diagonally, but they’re not ACTUALLY real… they can’t be.  That level of Dumbass doesn’t exist does it?


3. The shops should all close at 1pm on Christmas Eve.  Why? So that the creturs working in them get to GO HOME to their families of course! Be nice to retailers Ladybelles.  You might be stressed, but they’re still working. When I am queen, the whole world shall shut down early and Christmas shall be forced to begin at a decent hour.
4. Anyone who parks in a disabled spot or a parent spot without good reason or genuine need, should be zapped by a glitterfying lazer and beamed to a 1980s Tellybox set like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where they shall have to stay until Boxing Day, being continuously whipped by a mansized Bosco.  Better still, their CAR should be zapped away from them as they lock it so they can see just how fucking difficult it is to suddenly have an unnecessarily long distance to navigate a wheelchair or crutches or 3 screaming kids and 10 bags, just because they think they’re more special than the rest of the world.  Pricks. (Note…this applies all year round. 🤐)
5. Children and Hims should not be allowed to get sick before or during Christmas.  It’s hugely unfair on the Mamma Bears who are already trying to fit ALL THE EVERYTHING into their lunchbreaks and do the full grocery shopping in 8 minutes flat enroute to the school gate.  It is highly inconvenient and terribly upsetting when your minions suddenly feel poopy at this time.  Of course it could always be worse… especially if your Him decides to do his annual Nutcracker rendition and act out the part of the useless and slightly tragic wooden soldier who needs something fucking magical to instil life and joy into his bones again.  Of course I’m not referring to my own Him here.  😇He is a Braveheartesque soldier at all times😲😲 and never succumbs to manflu or calls for his Mammy when his Her tells him to “man the fuck up.”
6. Cars will have a secret “other” boot.  This will stop the drama of “How the feck will I get the stuff that isn’t really there and can never be seen by little eyes into the house before they decide to open the boot to throw their schoolbags in?” Such a debachle!
7. All Mammies will be allowed to drink tea or grapes or gin as early as they like from the 20th.  Sorry…the 19th 😂😂until at LEAST January 3rd.  This shall be law.

8.  Baby it’s Cold Outside and Fairy Tale of New York should be played on repeat in every shop from now until Christmas Eve, especially for all of the OFFENDED people who like to be OFFENDED so much that EVERYTHING OFFENDS them.  Yeah, that’s a whole other post…

Oh and everyone shall smile always, and wear big hats (which will ALL be made XL to fit humongously craniumed wenches like S-Mum) and we shall all be lovely to each other and sparkle like glittery unicorns because ’tis the fucking season and all that.
How was your day?

Are we there yet? 🎄🎅🦄🎄🍷🎅🎄🦄🍷🎅🎄❄⛄🎄🎅🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

Dear Santa…

Dear Santa,

I hope that you and Mrs. Claus are well. I have been the bestest Mammy I could be, (most of the time), this year.

For Christmas, Mammy would like diamonds around my neck, a spa break and a big hug from a Fablis Chanel coat.
(Oh! And a book deal at long last would be nice too, but plenty time for that in 2020. 😜)

Mammy would also like:
🤶An uninterrupted shower
🎅To experience the joy of independent excretion on the porcelain throne…alone
🤶For the children to recognise Daddy as the other perfectly capable adult who can do things for them in our home.
🎅For some, even only a few, sentences to start with “Daddy” rather than “Mammy”, just for one day.
🤶A lie in.
🎅For all of the seasonal bugs and sniffles to bugger off for a week!
🤶For a laundry fairy to magic away the pile, just for a few hours

But, while all of these things would indeed be wonderful, Mammy must say Santa, that really, I need nothing.

As cliched and silly as it might sound, I have everything I want right in front of me. As much as I give out about the daily pains of being a “fulltime-everything-to-everyone”, I would’t have it any other way.

These two little minions are mine. They are my carbon copies; a perfect little mixture of myself and my Him. For all their tantrums and chaos, they are my world. They give their Daddy and I so much fun every day.

I’m glad I have their mucky little faces slabbering biscuits all over me, and their snottery noses to wipe. With each tantrum, I see two headstrong little girls who will change the world one smile at a time, and I know that they will be fine. Their arms around my neck are my diamonds.

And as for My Him? Yes I might give out that he spends too much time with our Jim, but that’s OK too. He’s the hardest working man I know, just like my own Daddy. I wouldn’t have him any other way. We lead crazy busy lives, but at the end of every hectic day, we come home to each other. He’s my big bad handsome man. He’s the only person in the world who knows me better than I know myself. He’s my Him and he’s the only hug I need this Christmas.

Uninterrupted showers are overrated. Soon enough, I shall have privacy in the bathroom once more. I will eventually find myself missing the fat little fingers against the glass.

The snots and sniffles and puking, thankfully, come and go. How blessed I am that they do. The tears and tantrums might be plentiful, but they are outweighed by smiles and giggles that make the world chuckle in unison.

And they can “Mammy” me as much as the want. That’s what I’m here for. That’s what I am.

So yes Santa, “things” would of course be nice, but as for getting me what I need? Don’t worry. I don’t need anything. In the midst of the mess and laundry and chaos and tears and noise and stresses, it turns out that when I think about it, I have everything I could ever want right here already.

Have a wonderful Christmas Santa.

Lots of love,
Mammy xx

Rushe to Raise – How the Grinch Stole…the SHOW!

Well #RusheToRaise is all over for another year.

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Emmet and Maria with The Grinch

Our third annual Rushe to Raise Fundraiser has allowed us to raise €2000 for two worthy causes here in Letterkenny.

Myself and Emmet once again sponsored the screening of a Christmas Classic with our friends at Century Letterkenny.  This year, thanks to Noel O’Donnell & Co. Ltd, we were able to have a very special guest with us on the day.

The Grinch (provided by Best Ever Mascots) came along to entertain the queue, and he absolutely stole the show.  He had the 200+ strong crowd in stitches of laughter before they even got into the cinema.  And then he wreaked havoc on them as the sat awaiting the screening to start.

Myself and Emmet wish to thank everyone who, as always, happily come out to support us when we run events like this.

It is a lot of work and yet it’s so magical being in our local cinema with so many friends and family to kick off the festive season each year.

This year, everyone left with their own snowflake decoration to hang on the tree in their own homes.

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And everyone left with a happy heart and smiles on their faces.

We will be donating all of the proceeds to our causes as all expenses are covered by Rushe Fitness.

So the Paediatric Ward in Letterkenny University Hospital and the Donegal Hospice will each be receiving €1000.