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Fatherhood and fitness

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Last week I became a dad for the first time, it was one of the happiest days of my life and an experience I will never forget. Our baby decided to arrive a little early so whilst we wanted to ensure all the “t’s” were crossed and “i’s” dotted – our little man had different ideas.

Most parents can empathise here; it’s not a perfect journey, the first weeks are tough, lack of sleep and confusion over “am I doing a good enough job here” appear daily, and I’m sure seasoned parents will tell me it doesn’t end.

I thought about the nervousness of anyone entering a new chapter in their life.

If you have been neglecting your health and fitness for too long now, it’s probably because you’ve been waiting for “that perfect opportunity”.

* “I’ll wait until the kids go back to school”
* “I’ll wait until Monday”
* “I’ll wait until the New Year”

You see the problem here is that this waiting for something to be perfect means you never get started. Perfect is the enemy of good, and perfect is the enemy of progress.

If you haven’t exercised much before it might be a somewhat uncomfortable experience. You might even convince yourself after a week or two that it’s not perfect, and after a month, those perfect results you might have expected didn’t appear. Give it time, they will!

2020 taught us that we can’t predict much. However, the healthier we are, the better prepared we can be for most things life can throw at us. To rid ourselves of “comorbidities” that can predispose us to disease or more severe symptoms of a disease, many of us now want to lose weight and address chronic health conditions. Those who are healthy want to stay that way. Others want to reduce anxiety through activity.

The above issues don’t wait for a perfect day.

The solutions aren’t one size fits all as everyone has their own unique circumstance. The solutions involve needing accountability and individualised options, not just access to equipment and a do-it-yourself fitness plan that’s unlikely to bring results.


With all the stress in our lives, we need someone to tell us the best workouts for our goals, hold us accountable from day to day, and check in regularly to make sure that we are getting results.

I’m here to tell you that your perfect time is today. Find a local coach to invest in and if you have found a good one, they will invest in you.


I know that at Activate we have the solutions to help a wide range of people, and if we don’t, we’re never afraid to help point you towards someone who can.


When you’re ready to ditch “waiting for that perfect day”, visit our website www.activate.ie and book your complimentary consultation and you’ll have taken the first step towards ditching perfect to be replaced with progress.

Lifestyle

Large shrubs are easy to care for

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

There is a whole group of plants which form the backbone of any garden, which need little care once planted, but are of great use to the new gardener.

These plants form the ‘shrubbery’ – that place in many large gardens where plants are put and forgotten about, but which give a good display and add interest to the garden. However, for a beginner, the question of what goes into these large beds, these places which you fill ‘down at the bottom of the garden’, can be quite a daunting one!

So I thought I would arm readers with a list of large shrubs which will grow in just about any condition, are easy to care for but are still attractive and worth having. These plants are generally not for small gardens as they will grow to about 1.5m x 1.2m.

An old favourite in many gardens is the Weigelia. It is deciduous with trumpet shaped flowers in summer. W. variegate has lovely brightly variegated cream and green leaves with pale pink flowers, ‘Eva Rathke’ has dark green leaves with deep crimson buds opening to dark pink flowers, and ‘Looymansii aurea’ has golden leaves with pale pink flowers. Weigelia middendorffiana is a little unusual and more difficult to find, but has beautiful yellow flowers with deep red throat markings reminiscent of a rhododendron. These all flower best in a sunny site.

There are many Berberis varieties, but Berberis ‘Rose Glow’ is ideal for any large border. It has deep purple foliage but the new shoots are bright pink flecked with white giving it its glowing name. B. Aurea has golden foliage, and B. ‘Helmond Pillar’ has red-purple foliage and a columnar habit.

Another ideal purple foliaged plant is Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’ which really will grow in any condition adding height and width to a large border. It does have flowers, the buds of which are pink opening to cream, but it is its foliage and tall arching branches which make it a winner! P. ‘Dart’s Gold’ has golden foliage, and is equally attractive in its own sunny way.

Philadelphus, or mock orange, is a plant which should be in everyone’s garden. It has white flowers which are highly scented. P.’Lemoinei’ is an excellent variety, a strong grower and tolerant of wind and cold. It has single, white flowers. ‘Boule d’Argent’ has double flowers and is also very reliable. There is a lovely miniature, albeit spreading, Philadelphus suitable for a smaller garden, growing to about 60cm, called ‘Manteau d’Hermine’. It is very easy to grow also. ‘Belle Etoile’ is probably the easiest to find and will reward you with masses of fragrant white flowers.

A great evergreen shrub is Drimys lanceolata. In early spring it has clusters of creamy coloured, insignificant flowers – which are a haven for bees and pollinators at that time of year. I never realise mine is flowering until I walk past and hear the buzzing! The leaves are deep green, glossy and leathery, but the shoots are a bright to deep red, making it quite striking. This is an ideal plant for flower arrangers as its stems are so unusual.

As usual, I have run out of space, but next week I will continue this list of useful, hardy, low maintenance staples!

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Lifestyle

Inheritance rights of cohabiting couples

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Question: My partner and I have two young children together. We live together but we are not married and haven’t got around to making our wills. If something happened to one of us, would we automatically be entitled to each other’s estate?

Answer: It is important for you and your partner to discuss the matter of inheritance sooner rather than later. Because you are not married, neither of you is automatically entitled to inherit anything from the other. If your partner dies without a will, you have no right to any share of their estate no matter how long you have been together. So, for example, if you live with your partner but they own the house, you could be left in very difficult circumstances if they were to die unexpectedly.


If you own items jointly, these automatically pass to you and are not part of your partner’s estate. However, you might need to pay Capital Acquisitions Tax if the inheritance is above a certain threshold or value.


If your partner has not made a will or has not provided for you, you may be able to apply to the courts to provide for you from your partner’s estate. This is known as the redress scheme for cohabiting couples. If you get redress by a court under this scheme, you may be exempt from paying Capital Acquisition Tax.
However, making a will can ensure that proper arrangements are made for you and your dependants and that any property is distributed in the way you both wish, subject to certain rights of spouses and children. Tax planning advice can help reduce or minimise the amount of tax your partner or family must pay. A solicitor can help you draft a will or you can draft one yourself.
You can read more about inheritance rights of cohabiting couples on citizensinformation.ie.

During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

You can also get information and advice from:
Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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Lifestyle

Make your feet look and feel great

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Finally it’s that time of the year when we have to get our toes out and dust off the sandals and that means we have to prepare the feet for some sun and sand. Both men and women can treat themselves to pedicures!

They are important for many reasons as they help to enhance the feet by having the hard skin removed, old polish taken off and new polished perfectly applied. A deluxe pedicure can improve the circulation, reduce dead skin cells, and improve your mood. It generally makes the feet look and feel amazing. One of the added benefits of a pedicure is a boost of circulation to the foot and lower legs. Poor circulation can lead to numbness in the feet or swelled joints. The effects of our jacuzzi jets, hot water with tea tree and peppermint foot soak, followed up with a lower leg and foot massage, increases the blood flow around the body to improve joint mobility and helps to reduce swelling and pain.

Our feet are exposed to some harsh conditions, whether you’re in high heels all day, wellie boots, hiking boots, runners etc, it’s easy to forget to look after your feet. Having a pedicure should be considered a necessity not a luxury. This can help avoid a number of issues from cracked skin or painful calluses on feet to ingrown toenails. I hear from clients all the time that a pedicure can be incredibly relaxing and reduce stress. There is a blissful effect from the massage but it is also a great way to set time aside for you. It’s a great way to feel pampered and relaxed with the added effect that the toe paint is a constant reminder of the feel-good factor long after the appointment.

The treatment is incredibly relaxing and highly recommended for everyone, old and young, male and female. We soak the feet in hot water with jacuzzi jets; this helps to soften the skin straight away. Our pedicure chair includes a back massager, then the nails are cut, filed and buffed. A nail drill is used if required to reduce thickened toenails. Cuticles are then trimmed, pushed back and old polish removed. The exfoliator is applied on the entire lower leg and foot, followed with foot rasping on the stubborn hard skin. A massage is performed on the lower leg and foot. You can then choose from a wide selection of OPI polishes, or Gelish UV polish can be applied for a longer lasting effect.

Finally, pedicures help promote your mental health. Just like massages, pedicures can help reduce stress. They are very relaxing and boost your confidence because they make your feet look and feel great.

For more information or to book an appointment please call Jill on 064 6632966.

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