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Some of our fondest childhood memories are of family holidays, whether it was the year we jetted off to France with all of our cousins or the summer we spent travelling around Ireland, squashed in the back of the car with everything but the kitchen sink packed into the boot.

We spent hours on the beach, hosting sandcastle competitions and searching for the prettiest shell to add to our collections. We stuffed our faces with chips and cotton candy at funfairs and boogied to cheesy pop music at family discos.

As we grew older we started jetting off with friends and partners, but there’s something so sentimental about family trips.

A recent study has found that going on family trips makes both parents and children happier – no matter how old you might be. 

Researchers at the University of Toronto found that families who go on trips together share a stronger bond.

 

Lead researcher Cindy Chan shared that giving someone an experience is better than a material gift. “An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it—like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa—and is more intensely emotional than a material possession.”

The researchers believe that travelling together as a family can make everyone more content. It also keeps their relationships strong years into the future.

So, the next time your parents invite you on a trip, think twice about rolling your eyes and exclaiming how you're too old to be going on family holidays. 

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Dads are gas, and Dads on Christmas Day are especially gas.

While the rest of the family tend to evolve and mature as each year passes, there's something particularly steadfast about our fathers' behaviour on December 25.

Whether you're five or 25, you'll proffer the same presents, hear the same jokes, and endure the same digs.

And in honour of the dads in our lives, here are just 10 things every one of them does on Christmas Day.

1. Puts on the new jumper your mam bought him, and admires himself in the hall mirror when he thinks no one is looking.

"I'll cut some dash at mass, I'd say."

2. Pretends to know what he has supposedly bought for his loved ones.

"Ah, you know your mother looks after that."

3. Acts as if his one and only contribution to Christmas dinner has kept the whole meal afloat.

"Where would we be without these carrots, lads?"

4. Creates a very neat pile of the presents he's received and then disappears upstairs with them.

"Sure, I don't know myself with all my new loot."

5. Tries to make you laugh at mass before getting a bollockin' off your mam.

"Don't mind your mother, you know I'm hilarious."

6. Examines everyone else's gifts and acts as if he's discovered fire.

"And you're telling me every step you take is measured on this watch yoke?"

7. Examines every chocolate he removes from the tin, and insists they're getting smaller each year.

"In my day you could barely fit your gob around a caramel barrel,"

8. Insists there's feck-all on the box this Christmas, but manages to cram in a solid 14 hours of viewing.

"I'll watch it, but I won't be happy about it."

9. Reminds everyone about the best Christmas present he ever received as a young lad… for the 30th year in a row,

"A Raleigh racer, and Jesus, she was a beauty."

10. Invites the neighbours in, and then disappears after he's thinks they've outstayed their welcome.

"Jaysus, would she be as quick getting through a bottle of Baileys in her own house?"

 

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Christmas is officially one month away! We have yet to start our shopping and the stress of what to buy our other half is weighing us down. Finding the perfect gift for someone is a nightmare but some people have taken the stress out of Christmas by making a deal with their beau. According to new research commissioned by FUJIFILM, over half (53 percent) of women this year are planning not to gift to their partner this Christmas. 

Delving into the insights provided by over 1,000 women in recent weeks, the rationale for not giving to their other half at Christmas can be summarised under three main headings:

  • Money: After purchasing gifts for children and extended family, on top of forking out for the festive food, there is just no cash left to buy for their other half according to 48 percent of participants.

  • Inspiration: What do you buy the person who ‘has everything’ or simply ‘does not need anything’? This was the response of 27 percent of participants who are planning on ditching the Christmas gift for their partner this year.

  • Time: With women taking on the lion’s share of the Christmas preparations, it’s hardly surprising that 25 percent say that they simply won’t have time to purchase a gift for their other half on top of everything else.

The Christmas countdown is on and while some people (13 percent) will have started ticking off their gift list as early as January this year, not everyone is as organised. However, the common theme amongst this year’s savvy buyers is to shop local, with over 77 percent avoiding online UK purchases for fear of problems getting product guarantees honoured in the future or returning items in the new year due to Brexit. 

Parenting Expert Laura Erskine, has some advice for those of you who put yourself and your partner last on the Christmas list this year:

“Choosing not to buy your other half a gift this Christmas may seem like the easy option this year, especially when done on the basis of a joint pact. However, I would advise couples to think very carefully about what this says about the health of your relationship.”

“When a relationship is under strain, the lack of a gift or indeed a poorly thought out gift tend to take on symbolic proportions where the recipient believes their partner doesn’t care for them as much as they used to. This is particularly true when you witness the giver gift to family members at the same time. Likewise, when your other half nails your gift, irrespective of how much money was spent on it, you tend to feel loved and connected to your mate.”

Gift giving to your partner at Christmas time is an important part of the celebration and does not have to cost a lot of money, require a huge amount of thought, or take up too much of your time.  The FUJIFILM Imagine mobile app is everyone's secret weapon to blitz their Christmas list in record time, but with all of the sentiment and none of the hefty expense! 

The photos locked away on our smartphones hold the secret to some really amazing Christmas gifts. Simply choose photos depicting special moments shared between you and your partner, the kids or even the family pet and use them to create personalised presents they will treasure forever. You can order through the FUJIFILM Imagine mobile app, online, and on touch screen kiosks in store nationwide. Choose from personalised photo books, canvas art, phone or tablet covers and much, much more. Then, wrap it all up with personalised gift-wrapping paper to really bring a smile to their faces this festive season.

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A sad fact remains this Christmas – 60% of children in LGBT+ families have zero legal rights to one of their parents – five years on from the Marriage Equality Act of 2015.

This week, ahead of Christmas, Equality for Children have renewed their pledge to ensure that progress is made to achieve equality for all children of LGBT+ families. By Christmas 2021, the grassroots group hopes to achieve 100% parental rights for all LGBT+ families.

Sadly, this is not the case today.

 “This Christmas we think of all the children of LGBT+ families who have been left behind…As it stands today, only one parent can be a legal parent, which of course is perilous in the event of bereavement, illness and more,”  Ranae Von Meding, Equality for Children.

Currently, ONLY 40% of LGBT+ families have the same rights as heterosexual couples, leaving behind 60% of children as not having access to full legal parental rights – and this is five years on from the passing of the Marriage Equality Act of 2015

“For most Irish families, this is the happiest time of the year. It should be a time of joy and celebration. Yet for those who are still not considered a legal family, it can be a really difficult time full of uncertainty and pain,” says Ranae von Meding, CEO of Equality for Children.

It is important to acknowledge that some LGBT+ parents in Ireland now have the same rights as heterosexual parents. This is a huge step in the right direction. However, many families still fall outside of any legal framework – and in these cases only one person in an LGBT+ family can be a legal parent – leaving an unknown outcome for families in the event of bereavement, illness and more.

Despite the progress being made, LGBT+ children are #stillnotequal.

The protections promised in 2015 by the government under the Children and Family and Relationships Act, dictate a very particular LGBT+ family makeup. They finally came to fruition earlier this year and the first parental orders were issued early in the summer. This has been a source of enormous relief for hundreds of families. However, it is not enough. Around 40% of children of LGBT+ families benefit from this bill. That leaves the other 60% with no legal connection to one of their parents. And that simply is not good enough.

Equality for Children recognises that progress has been made with the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill at Oireachtas Committee stage, as well as the ongoing work from the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr. Conor O’ Mahony, to investigate parental rights for LGBT+ families using assisted human reproduction. These are significant developments and have the potential to provide pathways to legal recognition for hundreds of more families.

 Equality for Children is a grassroots campaign which was launched in October 2019 – campaigning for equality for all children of LGBT+ families in Ireland. It was started by a collective of concerned parents and allies, who were tired of waiting for their families to be given the recognition they deserve.

The campaign has garnered support from people who are willing to help across social media, fundraising, lobbying, design and more, but the task group is asking people to support them through volunteering to join them in the fight for full equality.

 “The reason why this campaign is so important is because many children of LGBT+ parents are still on the dangerous sidelines of grey legislation. We are #StillNotEqual, and our children ultimately suffer the most, until something changes. We look forward to working with government departments in the coming months to progress these crucial issues.” she commented.

To find out more or see how you can help visit their website at www.equalityforchildren.ie.

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In a year that has seen children and adults across the land seek refuge in books and films, what better theme for this year's Late Late Toy Show than The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl? 

The secret is out, and this Friday night presenter Ryan Tubridy will prune his whiskers, brush that tail and lead the charge as the enigmatic Fantastic Mr Fox in a spectacular opening number featuring favourites from the world of Dahl including Matilda, Willy Wonka's Oompa Loompas, and a nod to James and the Giant Peach. 

The opening number, some of which was filmed at The Library of the Royal Irish Academy against the beautiful and fitting backdrop of endless shelves of books, will then be bouncing over to Ryan and dancers live in studio this Friday night to kick off the biggest night of the Irish television year.

Favourites from the worlds of Roald Dahl — including Veruca Salt, grasshoppers, The Twits, Miss Trunchbull, Charlie and Grandpa Joe, as well as Mrs Fox, the little foxes, and Badger from Fantastic Mr Fox — will join Ryan for the opening spectacular. However, the song they will be performing will remain a surprise until the show airs on Friday night!

"This has been a year like no other, and therefore requires an opening like no other," Ryan exclaimed, adding, "The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl is one that understands children in a way that no one else ever has. He knew that there could be a sadness to the world at times, but that there's also great love and mischief and fun to be found."

"All of those factors have been combined to bring what we hope is a joyful, beautiful, and wonderful opening like no other to this year's Late Late Toy Show. "

"This is the dream theme for a bookish person like me, I've been talking about my love of reading since I was a little boy.
I love Fantastic Mr Fox and I'm rather enjoying being a fox for this opening because it's so different from what has gone before."

"What we have in store really captures The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl… everybody is welcome, it's going to be a night of nights in a year of years."

The show will feature not one, but two musical performance from Ryan, with the second taking place mid-show on Friday night. There is also a new international element to the show, with a selection of talented children from around the world joining together for a special one-off performance, accompanied by a very special guest singer.

Get the family together, prepare the snacks, order the takeaway and don your favourite PJs, and make sure to tune into The Late Late Toy Show this Friday night, November 27 at 9:35pm on RTÉ One.

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Our sisters drive us crazy at the best of times, but a new study has found that having a sister makes you a more optimistic person.

According to a study conducted by researchers at De Montfort University and Ulster University, people who grow up with a sister are happier people.

They may steal our clothes, forget to call us for weeks and hogged the remote like there was no tomorrow when we were kids, but researchers found that sisters are more open to communication, making their siblings feel more supported.

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Nearly 600 people took part in the study. They were asked about a variety of topics, including having a positive outlook and mental health.

The participants were aged between 17 and 25.

The team found that sisters encouraged their siblings to talk more, especially if they had something on their mind.

“Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families. Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families,” said Professor Tony Cassidy.

 

He added that boys tend to bottle things up, but we need to encourage them to communicate more too.

The researchers said their findings will help promote communication in families, which will help youths who are suffering from mental health disorders. They believe that opening up to their family will relieve some of their stress.

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Professor Cassidy added, “I think these findings could be used by people offering support to families and children during distressing times.

We may have silly tiffs with our sisters from time to time, but they are always there to cheer us up in our time of need.

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Unless you grew up in the fictional world of a Steve Martin film, chances are your relationship with your family is more complicated than you'd like to admit.

The dynamics within the family unit can be hard to wrap your head around, and while we love them dearly (flaws and all), sometimes it's necessary to take a step back from all the drama.

Well, research from Michigan State University has revealed that close friends may actually bring us more health and happiness than family members.

Researchers conducted a study in which over 300,000 participants were asked how much they value their friendships. Results showed that those who put a higher value on relationships outside the family unit were happier and healthier overall. However, this only works if you actually get on with your mates.

Another study looked at almost 7,500 people ages over 50 and examined the correlation between their friendships and the state of their health and found that those with stressful friendships were at a higher risk of developing diseases like cancer and diabetes.

The author of the study, William Chopik told The Guardian: "With friends you are more likely to do activities – they provide an outlet. You can say things to friends and they are less judgmental. There is a distance there that provides a level of honesty."

The study also concluded that people with strong social bonds of any kind, increased their chances of living longer by an incredible 50 percent.

So, next time your friends tell you they're too busy to hang out, remind them that they're actually gaining precious hours by simply enjoying your company.

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Eldest siblings, rejoice! We’ve got good news for you. A new study has found that the eldest child is the most intelligent.

The study found that there was “a strong negative relation between birth order and cognitive outcomes of children.”

This news will certainly boost the older siblings ego, but it is bound to cause major sibling rivalry in households across the country.

The study was conducted by teams of researchers at the Universities of Houston, New South Wales and Sheffield.

The teams discovered that older siblings feel more confident when it comes to their academic performances, whilst younger brothers and sisters can often doubt themselves.

This may be because the eldest sibling doesn’t have anyone to compare themselves to. However, as younger siblings know, you’re often compared to your big sister or brother.

There is a huge pressure on youngsters to perform better especially if their big brother is a math whiz, or if their older sister is a history buff.

The team explained that younger siblings may be ‘less intelligent’ because they don’t get as much attention from their parents, compared to their older siblings.

They said parental attention has a massive impact on children’s academic performance. For example, the youngest daughter may not feel as supported as her older brother did when he was in school because the parents have more children to focus on.

“Although later-born children are not born disadvantaged in their health or developmentally, we find that parents are unable to provide them with the same level of cognitive support as they do with their first-born,” they explained.

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Japan Airlines has introduced a tool that shows passengers where babies are sitting before they book their seat on a flight. Passengers can now ensure that they are not sitting near a baby, especially for long flights.

The airline shared: “Passengers travelling with children between eight days and two years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen. This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there.”

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Image: Rahat Ahmed

However, this tool has been met with mixed responses, with many parents stressing that it makes them feel like a hindrance.

We understand that flying with kids must be a nightmare, we can barely get ourselves through security with ease never mind a toddler.

However, many people have said this service is a huge help because sitting beside a crying baby is never fun.

Others expressed their outrage on Twitter:

“Babies are not capable developmentally to “plan” crying or screaming,” said one woman.

Another user added, “They are babies as we all once were. We need to learn tolerance or will soon start needing a map of seat locations for mouth breathers, droolers, farters, drunks, and perhaps a lot more things in life. What ever happened to life's surprises?”

What do you make of this new tool? Should other airlines introduce it or are people being far too fussy about where they sit on planes?

 

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We all remember the pain and turmoil surrounding the annual family photo taking.

Usually it's the Irish granny who forces all the grandchildren to stand in a group together and sit still long enough for someone to get the shot, but somebody always blinked or looked the wrong way.

Kim Kardashian has finally managed to get her four children to sit still for a family portrait photoshoot, three months after baby Psalm arrived. The result? It's pretty damn cute.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She captioned the gorgeous image; "Bahamas pictures coming up! I thought taking a picture with three kids was hard. OMG this is almost impossible! "

Celebrity mums are just like our own, it seems. The famous family are holidaying in the Bahamas, which means proof has to be captured via camera of the experience. 

The 38-year-old Keeping Up With The Kardashians star struggled to get her children to pose; six-year-old North, three-year-old Saint, 19-month-old Chicago and three-month-old Psalm.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Kim and her daughters, Chicago and North, are matching in metallic swimsuits in the photo, while Saint and Psalm are wearing dark green swimming trunks.

Khloe Kardashian commented on the image of her nieces; “Honestly you’re perfect!!!! Your beautiful family!! You are everything.” Matriarch and momager Kris wrote;  “This is so beautiful!!”

Kim and Kanye’s youngest child, Psalm, was born via a surrogate earlier this year. We wonder will a fifth come along soon?

Feature image: Instagram/@kimkardashian

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Taylor Swift is set to turn 30-years-old on December 13 and apparently this means she has to settle down and have kids.

When women reach a certain age they are bombarded with questions about their family plans, how many kids they want to have and when they’re going to get married.

We’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives, whether it’s the awfully nosey aunty asking when you and your beau are going to tie the knot or the obnoxious neighbour passing remarks about how you ought to hurry up and ‘squeeze a few puppies out’.

During an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur, a journalist asked the Shake It Off singer if she was planning on settling down to start a family now that she is approaching her 30th birthday.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Swift replied with grace and simply stated: "I really do not think men are asked that question when they turn 30. So I'm not going to answer that question now."

The presumption that every single woman on the planet wants to have a bump and ring on her finger by the age of 30 is beyond dated, and extremely sexist.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Did it ever occur to those who ask these absurd questions that some women don’t want to get married, others may be happier single or simply don’t believe in marriage?

Marriage is one thing, but quizzing women about their family plans and ‘advising’ them to get pregnant at this age is simply ignorant. You never know what is going on in someone’s life, especially when it comes to their fertility.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Millions of people struggle with infertility around the world. An estimated 10 percent of Irish women suffer from polycystic ovaries, which makes it harder for women to become pregnant and increases the risk of developing complications during pregnancy.

Other women simply don’t want to have children and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that decision.

Taylor Swift’s response to this rude question was completely fair and I couldn’t applaud her more for it. It is a personal question that can make women feel pressured, uncomfortable and distressed.

I’m sure the interviewer didn’t mean to cause offence but his ignorant notion has certainly highlighted a vital conversation about the expectations placed on women when they reach their 30s.

Feature Image: Shutterstock

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Jennifer Zamparelli has opened up about a decision she made about her fertility after she welcomed her second kid.

The TV presenter revealed that she had her tubes tied as she and her husband Lau don't want any more children.

The 39-year-old is mum to four-year-old Florence and one-year-old Enzo.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Jennifer said that she had the procedure in February 2018 after she gave birth to Enzo.

She said, ''My tubes are tied. I had a C-section and while the surgeon was down there – job done.''

She added, ''Lau really didn't want to have any more. Life is busy enough with two and with work.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Jennifer will be starting her own morning show on 2FM in June and the fact that she and Lau don't work ''steady jobs'' is also a reason they're happy with two kids.

She told the VIP Magazine, ''It's not an overnight success, it didn't just happen, I didn't just get plucked from RTÉ.''

She continued, ''I've been chipping away doing great TV shows, doing s***ty TV shows, getting rejected, getting ideas rejected.''

She's happy with her two gorgeous little ones and that's all that matters. 

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