Rushe to Raise from Home!

It’s that time of year again. Rushe to Raise is back!

Everything might be different this year, but Emmet and I are still running their annual Christmas Movie fundraiser… However this year, we are moving it online, with all proceeds going to the Jack and Jill Foundation. 

Usually, hundreds of families and friends meet at Century Cinema to ring in the festive season with the our wee family.  Over the last three years, we’ve shown The Polar Express, Santa Claus The Movie and last year, who could forget the rascality of The Grinch?

But this year, we are simply asking that you join us, VIRTUALLY, to watch your favourite Christmas movie, from the comfort of your own home.

 Anyone anywhere can join in. 

 Simply choose YOUR favourite Christmas movie, donate, take a photo/selfie and post it on your social media using the hashtag #rushetoraise.  Remember to tell us what you are watching too! 

 The photo can be of your family/housemates, of your telly, of the hot chocolate you’re drinking… as long as it’s Christmassy!  

And of course, you can also take part and donate without sharing on social media.  Every little helps.

We are gutted that we can’t meet as usual this year to enjoy the atmosphere, but obviously, an event is impossible.  So instead, we are hoping to flood social media with images of smiling faces and in doing so, to raise much needed funds and awareness for the Jack and Jill Foundation. 

Jack and Jill provides families with nursing care, support and end of life care, to babies and young children.  So many families around Ireland and indeed here in Donegal, have needed, currently need and unfortunately will need the services of this incredible charity. We only hope that we can help them, even in a small way, in the amazing and important work they do.

  Rushe to Raise is always a wonderful family occasion and many people see it as part of their annual tradition now.  We can’t wait for 2021 to bring it back to the town and to celebrate together, but this year, we will celebrate together, apart.

Usually, tickets to our event are €10 per person.  Obviously in the current climate, we could never specify an amount. It’s been a tough year for everyone.  Every donation, no matter how much, will help.  €16 provides ONE HOUR of care to a family, so that might be a guide to people who can donate.   We truly will be grateful to everyone who joins in.

Rushe to Raise will take place on Sunday 29th November and you can post and tag anytime that day. 

 Make it an occasion. 

Dress up. Stay in your Pjs. Have popcorn and hot chocolate. Light the fire.

But most importantly,  enjoy!

We can’t wait to see your smiles and movie choices on the 29th.  Don’t forget the #RushetoRaise

Lots of Love,

Maria, Emmet and our girls.

Plan B and Banana Bread?

Banana bread; I never actually did get around to baking one.

I did eat a slice that someone else baked, but that was the height of my lockdown success.

Lockdown as we know it has passed, thankfully, and yet there is a new type of lockdown coming at us tonight.

It seems to be a steam train that we can’t stop… maybe using trains as a metaphor is futile here in Donegal. A big bus? A huge tractor… whichever you use, it’s coming at us and the brakes aren’t working.

But as always, with every cloud, we can look for a silver lining. Can’t we? For me, that silver lining is school.

This time, hopefully, lockdown won’t include homeschooling, and with all the luck in the world, will not be as restrictive as the first one. At least with the kids still in school, those of us who work from home can ACTUALLY work, as opposed to trying to work between feeding the kids and you know, parenting?

And those of us with kids of school going age, might actually be able to GO to work as our children will be continuing with school.
Hopefully.

But most importantly, our kids won’t have to go through as much upheaval as we will this time around. And that can only be a positive.

For me, trying to teach from home was the highest height of lows in my almost 20 year career. I hated every single sorry minute of it, and while I did my very best to teach from home for the months of April through to June, I am absolutely not afraid to admit that it almost broke me. Almost.

Despite what some will have you believe, teachers did our best. Damn it we did a good job, but my own children were pretty much ignored for chunks of the day and homeschooling of my OWN daughter did not happen as I tried to keep providing education for my other babbies.

But hey. I’m not complaining. I’m really not. I just don’t ever want to go back to that again. I love being back in school, and as difficult as it is, (and by God it is difficult), being back in classrooms with young people is good for the soul. It’s what teachers AND students need. Teaching is never just about passing knowledge and hitting curriculums. It’s about so much more than that. Masks and all.

So even with the impending restrictions that we face again tonight, hopefully, we’ll be able to keep the constant of school going for everyone.

There was a camaraderie about the last lockdown wasn’t there? All in this together and finding our way through the “New Normal” and all that zoomyjazz?
I wonder however, how much of that is lost.

Because this time is different. We’re all fed up.

We’re all scundered as we say here in Donegal. We’re all disappointed that it’s come to this.
The novelty of Lockdown has well and truly worn off.
And people’s patience is thin.

The seeming contradictions of the plans and restrictions are not helping. If anything, they’re pitching people against each other. And that is the main difference this time.

Why can he do that but I can’t do that?
How is she allowed to do that , but I have to do this?

The list of questions like this is pretty endless right now.

And yet, on we must go. Once more into the abyss I suppose.

The next few weeks will determine the next few months. We all need to buckle down and try to keep the chins up.

We might not have the lovely weather or same sense of newness that wound us together last time round. But we do still have each other and this time, thankfully, our kids will have some semblance of normality.

And if we can all keep that going, and try to remember that we’re all facing this shitstorm together, who knows, we might actually get things back under some control.

I probably still won’t bother baking a banana bread however… I don’t even like banana bread.

But I’ll happily cheer you on as you bake yours.
Because that is how we are going to get past this.
By cheering each other on.

And by letting each other do what we have to do, whether we agree with them or not.

Chins up Chickies.
We’ve got this.

#holdfirm

My Fablis FitPinks

If you follow me on social media, chances are you are well used to seeing my bum clad in various colours and styles of FITPINK gym and athleisure gear.

I’ve been a brand ambassador for this company for a while now.

I don’t work with many companies. I rarely do collaborations anymore and I never do advertising for brands.  I’m a writer, not an advertiser.

However as a fitness instructor, I happily endorse these leggings.

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I run Rushe Fitnesswith my husband Emmet.

 

Let me tell you about my friend Jenni and how I ended up helping her to promote what is certainly one of the most successful small companies in Ireland.

Jenni is based in Donegal and her range is designed in Donegal. You can read her story in her own words here.

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I love to support new Donegal companies, so I bought a pair.

I loved them.  I wore them and, as a gym owner and blogger with a humble but highly engaged following, I slowly watched many of our female clients begin to wear the leggings to class.

They are squat proof, structured, absorb sweat beautifully and look great.  I particularly love the Compression style which keeps my mum tum feeling nice and secure.

Jenni and I were put in touch via a mutual friend and we quickly became good friends, both online and in real life.  We share a few characteristics you see…

We’re both busy mums, we both work hard, we both have a passion for fitness and both shared an impatience for poor quality gym gear.

Jenni’s selection of products and styles has been growing.  She is open to suggestions about what women in gyms need.

After I wrote a blog about almost pulling a muscle while wrestling out of a sportsbra, Jenni quickly designed and sourced a front-opening bra which has saved my muscles and possibly my life on daily basis.

She has vision and she has standards.  If something isn’t right, it doesn’t get sold.

I’ve been delighted to try and test her gear over the past year and I am literally working and living in it at the minute.

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With my daily (sometimes twice daily) Rushe Fitness LIVE workouts, the leggings are getting washed constantly.  They wash and wear like a dream, remaining just as stretchy and secure as their first wear.

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The leggings are fashionable and functional, and with a range of teeshirts, hoodies and sportsbras, and more products in the pipeline, FitPink Fitness is set to go from strength to strength.

I’m proud to have been a supported of this Irish brand from the start and I look forward to watching her successes in the future.  

And there’s more… by supporting Jenni’s beautiful brand, you are supporting women and girls all over the world. For every item she sells from her range of gym leggings and t-shirts, Jenni contributes  to Plan International’s Girl Fund to provide dignity kits to girls and women in refugee camps in some of the world’s poorest regions.  Learn more.

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You can check out all of the FitPink range on her website.

And if you’d like to join Emmet and myself in our Rushe Fitness LIVE community, hit here.

*I am an official Brand Ambassador for FitPink and am provided with gym gear to test and wear.  I am however under no obligation to write this review.  As always, my opinions are my own and I would not endorse a product or brand without fully believing in them.

Riddle Me This… HOW is the ‘Big Shop’ Suddenly Causing Meltdowns?

So if you follow me on Instagranny, you’ll have seen me having a huge rant/meltdown after doing my shopping yesterday.

Not because of anyone else.
Not because of anything negative.
Not because of the shop.

Just about me.

And the realisation that something as simple and “normal” as doing the “big shop” had reduced me to a nervous wreck.

Yip. Me.

The very weirdo who doesn’t mind being in a bar or crowded place alone, who can happily spend a full day wandering around London on my own, and often, whose very joy DEPENDS on wandering around Dunnays ON MY OWN, got into the car after doing the shopping yesterday and freaked the feck out.

My heart was racing.
I was out of breath.
I had the fizzy fingers that I used to get when my anxiety was being a bitch, and I needed to decompress before I could even think about driving.

It was like a tidal wave of relief CRASHED over me once I closed the door.

What used to be one of my favourite things to do, has become something that I dread.

I hate it.

I hate the silence.
I hate the lack of eye contact.
I hate the absence of small talk and polite hellos.
I hate the heightened awareness of EVERY move made by everyone.
I hate the fear of stepping too close to someone by accident.

I hate the apocalyptic soft voice over the intercom reminding me to stay safe… it reminds me of ‘Children of Men’…a movie which I once taught as futuristic dystopian escapism, but which rings far too true these days.

I hate the whole thing.

But mostly, I hate my own weakness and how something so normal can freeze me to my core.

I hate feeling so weak.
I hate wearing the mask.
I hate the fact that so many of my friends and family are working on various frontlines every day, wearing these masks, and I can’t help.

I hate the fact that I melt down after wearing it for 30 feckin minutes.

I felt weak that I was complaining about doing the shopping. I mean Jesus wept, seriously Maria. Aren’t you lucky you having little else to be stressing about? Poor you my arse.

Yip. Absolutely. And I hate feeling so pathetically weak and I hate that I allowed something trivial to upset me so much.

But then, I read the hundreds, and I mean HUNDREDS, of messages from followers last night and this morning.

From women (and men) just as usually confident and capable as me, for whom the big shop has also become a terrible gauntlet run that frightens and stresses them.

And I don’t hate my weakness anymore.

I’m certainly not alone.

And yes, I’ll get on with it, and I’ll continue to do it for as long as it’s deemed essential by the people who are working to keep us all safe.

And I’ll pull up my big girl knickers and keep doing it, (in turns with Himself mind!), because, kids need food and all that jazz.

And I’ll remember that were all in this together, even though we have to stay 2 metres apart.

And I look forward to the day when this is all over, because then, I can promise you, I shall be skipping through the aisles, singing and smiling and hugging EVERYONE.

And there’ll be nothing they can do to stop me!

Rushe to Raise Presentation Time

We dropped off our proceeds from our ‘Rushe to Raise’ Fundraiser today.

The Donegal Hospice and the Children’s ward at Letterkenny University Hospital received €1050 each.

Maria & Emmet with staff from Donegal Hospice

The hospital are using the money to buy a respiratory machine to help little babies, and the Hospice are using it to help them do what they do best.

With the staff on our Paediatric Ward at Letterkenny University Hospital

Am a bit emotional if I’m honest.

Yes, we’re chuffed that we can help, but in the scheme of things, it’s only money. And there is SO much that money can’t buy.

What these people do every day is invaluable.

It goes beyond a wee cheque.

But we truly hope that the little bit helps.

Much love,
Us and our girls.

Xxxx