My blended-family advice for Una Healy



The glitterati and the twitterati went into meltdown last week when former Saturdays’ singer and Tipperary native Una Healy’s ex Ben Foden  announced he’d married a woman he’d allegedly only been dating for two weeks. Foden and Healy were married for six years and have two children together, Aoife (7) and Tadhg (4). However, the pair split just over a year ago after he admitted cheating on her.

  Foden’s gushing ‘I’ve remarried’ announcement on Instagram generated plenty of comments, some coming from well-wishers congratulating the couple. Mind you, given the speed with which he has moved on, (i.e. before the ink had dried on his divorce papers), there has been an overwhelming feeling of surprise, and, despite the fact Foden claimed ex-wife Una had given him her blessing, understandably, a slew of scathing remarks peppered the post.

  To be honest, while I’d always wish a newly-married couple well, I do feel Foden’s line that his new wife, New Yorker Jackie Belanoff Smith, would be ‘a great step-mum to Aoife and Tadhg, and offers me a future I can’t wait to explore with her’, to be extremely crass and downright insulting to the mother of his children. But hey Una, if that’s his idea of showing you the respect you deserve, then you’re probably well rid, love!

  As someone who has been divorced, I can tell you that one of the hardest situations you will ever have to deal with is when your ex remarries; with feelings of loss and, perhaps depression taking hold as you may feel you’re being replaced. Now, granted, I’m the one who remarried. My ex is the one who had to deal with my new status of being someone else’s wife. However, he soon got over me, and is in a long-term relationship with a lovely woman, and we all get on really well together, regularly meeting up for family meals and events, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not the sickly sweet Brady Bunch (of TV renown) living a life of blended bliss, nay, we’re more like that crazy lot in TV sitcom Modern Family, i.e. having a laugh, having a drink, and being respectful of each other’s new relationships and set-ups.

  But back to Ben, Una and their kiddies. While Ben may be able to slot in Jackie as his new wife, hoping the business woman will seamlessly step into her designer stilettoes, the new Mrs. Foden will never, ever be a compensatory mother to his children…end of! Now, mind you, Jackie probably doesn’t want to even try and become a step-mother, and, let’s face it, no matter how nice she may be, I’d bet she knows only too well that she’s never, ever going to share the same bond with them as their biological mother…is she? Even though my husband has four grown-up children with his first wife, making me technically their step-mother, I’d never consider giving myself such a title. Why? Because they have their own lovely mother; the woman who raised them, and I’d never dream of insulting her standing; it’s discourteous. And sure, why would I? I have my own grown-up kids and my granddaughter. Besides, my ex’s fiancée wouldn’t dare entertain the notion that she’s their step-mother; a fact I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, because we, er, had a little chat, and, ahem, came to a mutual understanding…if you know what I mean. As in, you can have him, but don’t ever contemplate laying claim to my kids/grandkids. Point made, point taken, and an agreed civility was forged, with my territory being distinctly marked…and, so far, so good, we’re still friends. We all get on great, and, for now, we’re all living happily ever after. But my ex and I are lucky. When the divorce dust had settled, we realised that, for the sake of our children/grandchild and future grandchildren, (not to mention our sanity), we needed to turn rage and heartbreak into respect. The result being, the acrimonious and desperately painful demise of our marriage is now a healthy, friendly, civil relationship that allows us, our partners, and, most importantly, our children/grandchild to be part of a happy, functional and, what I’d gratefully call, a loving and extremely close-knit blended family.

  I wish Ben, Una, their kiddies and their new partners every future happiness possible.


New investment shows great faith in Roscommon’s potential


It’s always great to hear positive local news, and I was delighted to read about the fantastic investment confirming the multi-million euro sale of the Centre Point Retail Park in the county town, especially as it’s set to generate up to one hundred much-needed new jobs.

  So, to those who insist that rural Ireland is dead, I say you couldn’t be more wrong. You see, given this cash injection, it’s clear to me that the savvy ‘investors’ behind this wonderful new business project have enormous faith in the good people of Roscommon. This means, instead of viewing our rural communities, (and those like us), as being on our last legs, they have rightly identified the enormous opportunities and potential we have for growth, development and extensive progress; and fair play to them. Let me assure these investors that they couldn’t have chosen a better county in which to spend their millions. On behalf of everyone, I’d like, if I may, to express gratitude to  these business people for their faith and their trust in the wonderful citizens of this county who will, I’ve got absolutely no doubt, richly reward their expenditure and their innovation with the loyalty and the allegiance it richly deserves. I can tell them that, by making a commitment to our communities, they’ll not only be repaid by hard-working, dedicated locals who’ll excel in the newly-created jobs they’ll provide, they’ll also significantly contribute in order to ensure this new enterprise evolves into a sustainable business. Onwards and upwards readers!


Why Bigfoot look isn’t for me!


Well ladies, apparently, according to well-known model and activist Emily Ratajkowski, ‘it can be sexy not to shave’ your pits! Yep, in an effort to ‘empower’ women, Ratajkowski is seen posing in next month’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine donning a black bra and, er, armpits so hairy, at first glance I thought she had Chewbacca in a headlock!

  Look, I’m all for empowering women. However,  as someone who likes to shave my pits, and wax my bikini line, (because it’s what I do), I can assure you, I’ll never buy into the whole female-and-furry movement! This means, other than on my head, I will not be growing any manner of body hair to the extent I could put a bow in it. Now, I mean no disrespect to any woman who enjoys and embraces growing out their body hair, in fact I applaud them for doing it, if that’s their choice. However, for me, the whole Bigfoot look is highly unattractive. And no, it has nothing to do with me buying into the patriarchal standards being put upon women; rather it’s got everything to do with personal hygiene, my personal choice, my personal grooming and my personal refusal to allow myself kowtow to those suffocating messages being generated by a radical, heretical feminist movement.