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It's time to celebrate one of the biggest holidays in the employment calendar; National Sickie Day. *Tosses confetti*

We figured it's time to do some healthy digging and find out what gems people were using to call in sick to work, and we also desired to know the dumbest excuses too. Natural curiosity gets the better of us…

Employment Law Experts (ELAS) are saying that the estimated number of employees calling in sick in 2017 on National Sickie Day was… wait for it…350,000 WORKERS. Wow.

Why is the first week of February just too unbearable for everyone to face their jobs? A combination of factors are predicted, such as the first weekend after Dry January and the first post-Christmas pay-day.

mean girls wink GIF by T. Kyle

ELAS have also predicted that National Sickie Day will cost the British economy around £45 million (€51.3 million), due to hours lost, wages and overtime. Good God, that's a LOT of wasted labour.

According to a survey by AXA PPP, using the flu excuse seemed to be satisfactory for four out of 10 bosses. However, eight percent of managers weren't convinced by a single one of the nine 'best excuses' listed below…

The number one excuse for ringing in sick (according to the boss) was the flu, with back pain coming in second, and injury caused by accident in third place.

Stress, elective surgery, depression, anxiety, common cold and migraine finished up the top nine, with 'none of the above' in 10th place, meaning there were some other crackers outside of the top 10 that we just NEED to hear.

According to ELAS, the absolute WORST excuses in 2016 for missing work were:

“My only pair of work trousers is in the wash”, “It’s my dog’s birthday and I need to arrange a party for him”, “The dog ate my shoes”, “I got arrested”, “I lost my PPE”, and of course; “I stayed out partying last night and haven’t had any sleep”.

Classic. Other contenders were; “My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift”, “I have no way to get to work” and “My wife earns more than me so I have to look after the kids”

Ah lads, you've got to do better than that. A bit of creativity would go a long way with that lot…

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It's going to be a bitterly cold week, by the looks of things. Met Éireann have just issued a status yellow weather warning for Ireland, with snow and ice predicted.

They updated their website this morning, writing: "Very cold this week with showers of hail, sleet and snow, frequent across the southwest, west and north, where some significant accumulations are possible this evening and overnight."

"There will be widespread frost with icy stretches on untreated surfaces." they added, stating the potential for further significant snowfall on Thursday around the country.

The warning will be updated tomorrow morning, and will be in place until Saturday at 6pm.

Today, we're expecting a cold day with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered wintry showers, as rain and sleet clears eastwards.

There is also a risk of hail and thunder in Atlantic coastal areas, with the western half of the county expecting showers and snowfall.

Maximum temperatures will range from two to five degrees, let's hope we don't get snow like last year. 

Thursday will see sleet and snow continuing across the south of Ireland, but the northern half of the country should remain dry. Severe frost is incoming on Thursday night, with temperatures of just one to four degrees.

Yikes…wrap up warm out there. Hopefully it doesn't drop too far below zero degrees.

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The UK Arctic blast may be heading towards Ireland, according to the predictions of weather experts Met Éireann and Midland Channel.

There's a possibility of heavy snow and disruptions, so people are preparing for some seriously cold frost.

If the UK's forecast is anything to go by, severe sleet could hit the country this weekend. The UK are facing severe sleet and snow at the moment, which could easily come our way.

According to the Midland Channel;

"As skies remain clear this evening temperatures will fall away quiet rapidly across the country with a widespread ground frost likely as air temperatures dip to as low as -2 or -3 degrees Celsius.

"Showers during the day have lead to rather damp road conditions and as temperatures fall below freezing some icy stretches are likely. Do take care if you are travelling this evening, especially on secondary roads."

cold william h macy GIF

If anyone remembers the Beast From the East in 2018, they can recall the chaos caused by the snow. I mean, a Lidl was destroyed for God's sake. 

A yellow warning for snow and ice across the country has been issued by the Met Office, who are calling the warning an "arctic blast".

Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said:

"Things are turning colder, but it is just more typical winter conditions. It has been so mild this winter that it will be a bit of a shock to the system even though temperatures will be average for this time of year or just below."

Met Éireann also claimed that Ireland possibly could see a fall of snow on Thursday night.

"The freshening southerly winds will become strong southeasterly on Thursday night ahead of rain developing in the west."

"Temperatures will be below freezing in places and the rain will be preceded for a time by a fall of snow as it spreads eastwards across the country."

Batten down the hatches, lads, and whip out the blankets ASAP.

frozen snow GIF by funk

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Met Éireann has issued a status yellow weather warning today for five counties, with heavy rain expected to hit the east of the country until Wednesday morning.

The official warning is in place for Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath. Motorists have also been urged to take extra care on roads this morning as a result of the wet weather.

Forecaster Pat Clarke said: "The next 24 hours will be the coldest and the wettest."

Clarke continued; "Obviously drivers will have to be careful. There could be some water on the roads and there is the possibility of hail."

A wind-chill factor around coastal areas will contribute to the frosty feel of the weather, with temperatures expected to fall to five degrees.

"There is the possibility of downpours and there may be some thunder mixed in," Mr Clarke said. Dublin Fire Brigade have also issued a road warning:

Unusually, the current inclement conditions have predominantly hit the east coast, Met Éireann says.

The weekend is expected to be far less damp, on Thursday the temperature will rise to 8 degrees and fewer showers will occur.

In terms of traffic, AA Roadwatch has urged motorists to slow down as roads across the country are very slippery this morning:

"Roads are damp or wet in much of the country this morning following overnight rain. It's particularly wet in parts of the midlands and along the east coast."

"When driving on wet roads slow down and leave a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front."

West Munster is getting the best of the weather at the moment, but tonight will be cold with further rain and hail showers scattered nationwide.

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Protecting your hair from the harsh winter elements can be tricky at best, but we’ve got you covered. Think of us like cuddly pals who are strangely obsessed with keeping your hair flawless in winter. 

From static frizz to brittle split ends, there are all kinds of reasons why Christmas season wreaks havoc on hair. 

Hat-head aftermath and cashmere-caused static are two major culprits, but applying heat to your locks from blow-drying wet hair also leads to trouble in hair paradise.

"How do I go from Coldilocks to Snow Queen this Christmas?", we hear you ask. 

Introducing our cheat sheet for your winter hair:

1. DON’T leave your house with wet hair, this is a one way trip to Flu Land. Wet hair can also break easily if it’s frozen from the drop in temperature, just don’t do it gals.

2. Try to keep a balanced temperature in your home so you don’t have massive shocks when you leave the house or come in from work: this can irritate both your skin and scalp.

3. Turn the hot water in your shower down just a tad, your hair will thank you later.

In the winter, we all crave scalding hot showers to allow our bodies to regulate its temperature after spending all day in the cold, but hot water isn’t good for your hair, it actually dehydrates it.

By keeping it just above lukewarm, you’ll prevent having dry skin and scalp. Keep the moisture in your mane, huns.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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To prevent those precious oils from escaping, we recommend Argan oil products. Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil has ingredients like buckthorn oil and pumpkin seed oil, which are both rich in fatty acids for retaining moisture.

4. Coconut oil is also renowned for treating dry and brittle hair in winter. Use 100% organic coconut oil from your local health foods shop and spot the difference in time for Santa to make it down the chimney.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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5. John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7-Day Treatment targets deflated hair fibres—plumping them up for days, some say it even lasts a week. John Frieda, you Christmas angel.

6. Use heat protection before blow drying your hair, try Tresemmé Keratin Smooth 7 Day System Heat Activated Treatment. It’s heat-activated, which means the substance is offering a semi-permanent solution to that crown of stray hairs. MAGICAL.

7. OUR TOP TIP: We are absolutely WORSHIPPING Santa’s little hairdryer right now: LanaiBLO.

Keep your hair dry and bouncy with volume by using the Limited Edition Rose Gold LanaiBLO.

Let it snow then let it blow, we say. They promise to keep your hair shimmering and shiny with an ultra sleek finish, it’s also an ideal gift for your loved ones if you’re stuck for a present.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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However, this hairdryer is so gorge that you’ll most likely want to keep it all to yourself… we know we do.

It’s lightweight, has an ultra long cord so you can dry your hair without having to linger near the plug socket and comes in three colours; pretty-in-pink, snow white and midnight black.

It’s technology works to seal in moisture and counteract frizz, leaving those locks more stylish than ever for all those Christmas parties and celebrations.

Those of us who still have a 90's heavyweight hairdryer will know the struggle of trying to dry your hair with the equivalent of a minor breeze. *sigh*

Holly Willoughby, Dani Dyer, Made in Chelsea’s Binky and Rosie, Frankie Gaff, Una Healy, models Rosanna Davidson and Lottie Moss are among LanaiBlo's famous clients, and for a good reason.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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8. Join the micellar water trend, ASAP. It's not just for skincare, the substance is now being used to revitalise limp hair.

Herbal Essences have just released their renew Micellar Water & Blue Ginger Shampoo and Conditioner, which contain special antioxidants for removing dirt and oil from the hair's surface.

Free from silicones, gluten, colourants and parabens, it purely works to refresh hair with gently cleansing micelles for bringing your hair back to life. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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There you are ladies, use this cheat sheet to defy the elements this winter and you'll have the best hair in the North Pole. Guaranteed. 

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With winter quickly approaching, most families dread the onset of seasonal ills. From contracting the common cold to coming down with a serious case of the flu, there is nothing as frustrating as a blocked nose and a sore, scratchy throat when you’re trying to sleep during a long cold night.

Why does the air become so dry in the winter? When the cold winter weather sets in, we tend to crank up our heating system which causes overly dry indoor air. While your heater increases the temperature in your home, there is no moisture added to the air. As a result, the relative humidity drops considerably.

If you haven’t thought about the benefits of using a humidifier, here are five reasons why you should consider humidifying your household when the cold winter weather sets in.

 

1. Reduction in the Spread of Viruses

Unlike those old wives’ tales, there is research behind why you should keep your air moist. There was a time when doctors would suggest leaving windows open for those suffering from colds and flu. Although they didn’t have the science yet to prove it, we now know that influenza viruses hate moist air and are less likely to spread throughout the household if you use a humidifier. No, you don’t need to open a window to let the snow in, get a humidifier!

2. Relief from Sinusitis

While you may not come down with a cold or flu—sore, dry noses are prevalent in winter months. Most households are heated with dry heat and, as a result, many people suffer from what is called sinusitis. It’s simply an inflammation of the sinuses, but you can find a great deal of relief from a humidifier.

3. Hydrates Dry Skin

The same dry heat that causes an inflammation of the sinuses can create havoc on your skin. If you find that you suffer from dry skin, humidifying your household can bring you relief. Some people have reported that they can even cut back on the amount of moisturizer they apply during the winter because the moist air in their homes helps to protect their skin.

4. A Better Night’s Rest

As silly as this might sound, humidifiers can offer the benefit of improved sleep, especially if your partner is known for those loud snores that keep you from drifting off. Considering that humidifiers keep the air moist and moisture keeps the nasal passages clear, a humidifier just might offer the relief you are looking for.

5. Promotes Faster Healing

A humidifier can help reduce the symptoms of a common cold, influenza or even allergies.A humidifier keeps your nasal passages clear which helps speed up the healing process if you’re feeling under the weather. For people with bad allergies, there are even humidifiers which can help purify the air.

When all is said and done, keeping the home humidified in the winter months can truly be beneficial to your health. However, if you don't want to spend the money on a humidifier and would like to use natural solutions to combat dry air this winter, try these alternative ways to increase humidity at home.

Keep in mind, if you’re struggling to fight the dry air in your home, it is vital not to overuse your heating system, especially when a simple jumper may suffice. It will obviously take intervention on your part, but these are five very important reasons to use a humidifier during those long, cold winter months.

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Met Éireann has given us some chilly news today: cold and frosty winds could pair with low temperatures to give us a bitterly frosty Bank Holiday Weekend.

Forecasters are now saying that this arctic weather could go on until the end of the month, so prepare yourself for an emotional goodbye to the recent warm tropical spells.

Daytime figures look like it will be a struggle to stay above zero, while the nights will see temperatures drop to minus two at least.

The big chill is predicted to arrive on Thursday night, with Met Eireann claming that "The cold and bright weather continues through the weekend with daytime temps of 7 to 9 degrees; the nights will be frosty with temperatures falling to between -2 to +2 degrees.

Met Eireann also added that temperatures for the long October Bank Holiday weekend will be “below average” and that we might get pelted with hail showers throughout.

"Early indications suggest it will be cold and windy over the weekend with a mix of sunny spells and showers, some of the showers will be heavy with the risk of hail and thunder. Daytime maximum temperatures will be in the high single figures and with the risk of frost at night, especially on Sunday night."

This is going to be a shock to the system, to say the least.

The chances of an early Halloween bonfire are looking fairly slim, put away those fireworks lads.

cold bill murray GIF

Our advice is to arm yourself with some hot water bottles, fluffy socks and a onesie.

Winter is coming, people. Even Jon Snow is wrapping himself up, burrito-style.

 

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We can already hear it; the snot-sniffing in the office, the ‘Jaysus! I’m frozen!’ as we close windows and doors in the hopes of keeping the heat in.

Yes, the evenings are getting darker, the days are getting colder and flu season is well and truly upon us.

But we don’t have to live in fear of the day we’ll wake up with a runny nose and a throat like sandpaper, no there are things we can do to prevent it.

While they might not guarantee a flu-free winter, these ten things can help boost your immune system which will make it harder for the pesky thing to start.

1. Garlic

2. Sweet potato

3. Turmeric

4. Dark leafy greens

5. Onions

6. Berries

7. Beef

8. Green tea

9. Pinto beans 

10. Chicken soup

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Brace yourselves! – It's about to be bloody Baltic. 

Just when we thought the weather finally looking up, a fresh arctic blast is forecast to grip the entire country for five days next week.

Remember last year when Storm Ophelia pretty much shut the country down for a day – well, get ready for round two. Only this time we have snowstorms, plummeting temperatures, severe frosts to look forward to. 

According to Met Éireann, Tuesday to Saturday is expected to be "exceptionally cold" with "significant wind chill and severe frosts." – lovely! 

Temperatures will fall to as low as -10C in some places with daytime temperatures remaining below freezing. 

Are you having a laugh, Joanna? 

We've been told to stock up on essentials (Dairy Milk, Tayto, Gin and tonic – you know yourself) and prepare for possible school closures. 

But of course, as we well know, us Irish have a bit of a tendency to over exaggerate these types of things – Teresa Mannion we're looking at you – so only time will tell. 

But hey, maybe we're wrong. Maybe we'll all be telling our grandchildren about the big freeze of 2018, maybe it'll have its own slot on this year's Reeling in the Years? 

Either way, it's always wise to heed warnings and take care when driving in freezing temperatures – even if we are overreacting. 

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Ireland is set to experience temperatures as low as minus five degrees tonight, as the cold snap continues, bringing severe frost and icy patches with it.

AA Roadwatch has asked drivers to be extremely careful when travelling on the roads this weekend.

They have been advised to allow extra time when travelling.

Barry Aldoworth warned drivers, “Watch in particular for areas of roads where they might be covered by trees, because they will take longer for ice to defrost, meaning that the roads could stay slippier for longer."

He added, “Sunday is traditionally a quieter day on the roads, but if you are one of those making a journey to the family, or if you have been down the country for the weekend and you are coming home, just allow yourself some extra journey time.”

Met Éireann has issued a Status Yellow weather warning nationwide. They shared that Ireland is set to experience very cold temperatures, with the lowest ranging from zero to minus five degrees.

It is set to turn very cold with severe air and ground frost returning. They have also warned the public to be aware of icy patches on damp, untreated surfaces.

Stay safe out there! 

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Wrap up warm – the cold weather isn't going anywhere just yet.

Commuters are urged to take extreme care this morning as a low temperature warning remains in place across the country.

Last night saw temperatures drop to as low a minus four degrees Celsius in some places, resulting in widespread frost and treacherous conditions.

The cold weather looks set to continue today with maximum temperatures ranging from three to seven degrees.

Showers of sleet and hill snow are also expected, particularly in parts of the north.

Tonight will be mainly dry in the midlands and eastern parts of the country, though scattered showers will become widespread by morning.

Temperatures will become slightly milder overnight with highs of one to five degrees Celsius.

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As the last few fireworks light up the sky and the Christmas sections in shops getting bigger by the day, it's safe to say that winter 2017 is officially here.

And with that, there is a definite chill in the air as temperatures look set to plummet over the weekend.

Tonight will see temperatures drop to lows of one to five degrees, with gusty northwest winds set for the Atlantic coasts.

Tomorrow will be a cool but bright day with sunny spells as well as the odd shower over the northern half of the country. Highs of seven to 11 degrees.

Sunday night will see temperatures drop back to between one and five degrees once again, with some grass frost expected for the eastern half of the country.

It's a similar story for the rest of the week, with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers.

Wrap up warm, ladies. It looks like we're in for a cold few months.

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