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It is not too late to do a bit of planting

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

The last week has definitely shown us the power of weather… it has also shown me all the things which need to be done before winter.

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Staking trees and large shrubs is so important, many have rocked loose, which is not too bad, as long as you firm them down as soon as possible. If the holes fill with water for any length of time, it will cause the roots to rot. Stake trees no higher than a third of their main stem, and preferably use two stakes on opposing sides to prevent the tree from snapping in the wind.

Polytunnels and glasshouses are also very vulnerable structures, and should be checked for tears or cracks regularly. Polytunnels, if they are in a very windy spot causing you worry, can be strengthened by putting netting over them and pinning that down. Any tears which occur should be taped as soon as possible using special polytunnel repair tape. This is UV and wet resistant, and does not work loose.

Timber fencing, pergolas and panels should also be checked as these can all rot, yet can look perfectly sound…until a storm blows through and lifts them. In my experience, pergolas can seem perfect, however they rot down near the ground and often the whole thing collapses unexpectedly.

Wind break can pose another headache during the winter, so it is worthwhile doing a thorough check and refastening any loose bits as well as cutting off any torn pieces.
It is not too late to do a bit of planting, especially bulbs can still be a good investment. Most places are selling their stock off at half price now, and bulbs can be planted into January, really. They will flower a bit later, but the following year they will be in sync with their natural flowering times again.

One of the best bedding plants for any weather is the Bellis, or the Batchelor's Buttons – small daisy flowers. They really cope with anything, and keep flowering cheerfully right until the end of March. Violas and Pansies are also great, and cyclamen are colourful additions to any pot, as long as they do not get too much rain on their heads.

As I often write, my favourite winter plant is heather, which thrives in bleak, windy or wet conditions.

This is a quiet time in the garden, though plenty of plans can be made, as well as preparations. Taking stock of what grew well for you, as well as what failed, should be recorded – either to avoid buying them next year, or to remedy the reason something did not do well. This is especially true for the vegetable and fruit garden. As part of my veg garden regeneration, I am building fruit cages. There was no fruit to be had this year, partly because I was too late checking, and partly because the birds were checking right on time! So, fruit cages it must be!

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Try a universal contour wrap

It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s resolutions and plans to get the health and fitness levels in check. Which in turn always improves mood, energy levels and that fabulous just-worked-out glow to your skin, which is super anti-ageing. It even helps in collagen and elastin production. As we age and the […]

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It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s resolutions and plans to get the health and fitness levels in check.

Which in turn always improves mood, energy levels and that fabulous just-worked-out glow to your skin, which is super anti-ageing. It even helps in collagen and elastin production. As we age and the body slows down, so does cell growth. It’s a proven fact that movement increasing circulation and improves skin age and glow….

Even if it’s just a 30-minute walk, it will get the blood flowing and the skin glowing.

If you need a little motivation, a push in the right direction, or if you have been losing weight steady for a little while, this exercise wrap is the thing for you.

Suitable for both male and female, it will help to tighten skin, even out its appearance, and detox the body which helps you to lose weight, especially when combined with a healthy food plan. It’s massively motivating to plan the week’s food and choose healthy options where possible when you feel accountable to someone else.

One body wrap is great, but a course of three body wraps is amazing. We recommend doing one a week for three weeks, while following a low-calorie healthy food plan (no skipping meals).

Sea clay will be applied to your skin, and bandages wrapped on in a specific technique to lift and tighten the skin. Electrodes are applied, giving a light pulsing to the core and thighs, and finally you are tucked up into a heated blanket.

You will feel amazing after all that! An Indian head massage or facial can also be added to the treatment.

Here’s the science bit – Key ingredients of sea clay: Bentonie has excellent draining properties for full body detox, skin clarification and purification; Magnesium Sulphate stimulates peripheral skin circulation, exfoliating and anti-inflammatory; Magnesium Chloride is a valuable mineral salt that permits cellular balance, combats stress and fluid retention, anti-bacterial properties; Zinc Oxide has bacterium properties and anti–inflammatory agents; and Sodium Chloride detoxifies tissues and tightens the skin.
To make an appointment or for more information call Jill on 064-6632966

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Important date reminders about CAO applications

The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process. Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in […]

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The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process.

Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in interactive flipbook or to download from www.cao.ie, which also has a lot of resources to help applicants and parents.

To register, log on to www.cao.ie and click on Apply, it will ask you first to input your personal and contact details along with the category of applicant you are. Once you create a password and submit payment you receive you CAO number which means you are registered. It is advisable to go through the Demo Version of the CAO form first which is available on their website in the ‘Student Resources’ section.

Applicants who register before January 20 at 5pm will be charged the discounted application fee of €30, which increases to €45 up to February 1. Once you have registered you have until February 1st to add and change your courses, free of charge. On May 5, the Change of Mind facility will open and you will have the change to change your courses, with certain restrictions, up to July 1 at 5pm.

Course choices

You have the option of filling in 20 courses in total – 10 choices on level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degrees) and 10 on level 7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees / Higher Certificates) and it is advisable to fill as many as you can to give yourself the best chance of being offered a place on a course you like.

It is essential though that you research carefully all the courses you are going to include. Often students are careful about their first couple of choices but don’t research the courses that are further down the list well enough. Don’t make this mistake. Every course you put down should be one that you are genuinely interested in and willing to do so consider all options carefully. The majority of level 7/6 courses have progression routes onto level 8.

Order of Preference

This is the golden rule of the CAO and a very common mistake made by students every year. Always put down your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points from the previous year. Points for courses change each year and you will not know the points for 2022 until the day that the Round 1 offers are issued by CAO, which is usually a couple of days after the Leaving Cert results come out. Also you don’t know what points you are going to get until those results come out and it will be too late to make changes to your CAO application at that stage.

Restrictions for the February 1 deadline

While you will get the opportunity to change your course choices later in the year, there are certain restrictions to take note of regarding the February 1st deadline. If you are applying for ‘restricted courses’ they must be added in by February 1as they require some other form of assessment apart from Leaving Cert points such as an aptitude test or a portfolio.

Such assessments are usually carried out between February & April. Students who are applying for Medicine must apply to do the HPAT by January 21 on https://hpat-ireland.acer.org/.

Any students applying for the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) or DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes must have applied to CAO by February 1.

You then have until March the 1st to complete those applications and up to March 15 to have supporting documentation sent to CAO (see www.accesscollege.ie). In the case of mature applicants, most HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) require applications to be in by the February 1 deadline.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or email info@mycareerplan.ie

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