“Mum I need to go to the toilet”, eh you just went! “I’m really thirsty” eh you just had water! “I’m afraid a lion is going to smash through my window” eh we don’t have lions roaming around. “Oh really mum do you guard the zoo!!” Anything to avoid sleep and then “I don’t like you because you’re mean because I want to watch ninjas!” Even after all this I have decided to keep him.

tearing my hair out

Actually it was comforting on Sunday night to post this on my Facebook page ( and the support of other parents going through the same thing was great. A lot of the comments made me laugh which normalized what I was going through. I was cursing Christmas, sweets, late nights and alcohol however only two days into my new year cleanse the cloud is lifting, oh and I took James ninjas off him last night and kept them for 24 hours. This was an incredibly hard move for me to make. I have been told many times by Joanna Fortune, Parent child relationship expert from Solamh not to threaten if you don’t follow through.


Well obviously I’m guilty of the above as I’m human and I find every sentence coming out of my mouth sometimes a threat. You can’t have a treat, you can’t watch cartoons, and you can’t go on your play date if you don’t do this or that! But yesterday I just did it I took them, my heart was palpitating with a mixture of excitement and bravery (yes my son is four and I’m the adult) but I followed through and a miracle occurred. Not straight away mind you but after also confiscating his swords later in the day. He asked when he was getting them back and I said “24 hours”. “Ok” he said and then returned a while later asking what 24 hours was. So feeling a bit stupid I then explained in a way a four year old can understand. I told him that he would wake up go to school and come home and then he could have them and I just couldn’t resist, I finished the sentence with “but only if you’re good tomorrow” I imagine by his reaction that the duration of time I had explained sounded like 55 years in adult terms. He reminded me of Kevin’s shocked face in Home Alone.


I almost felt sorry for him till he called me a meanie under his breath. I let this go and thought about my own parents and the fact that they both survived my childhood and believe me I was much worse has given me great hope for the future.




I asked James to go to sleep tonight after his story and after he came into me about five times I very calmly said do you want me to take your ninjas again? Gone quick as lightening!


Now I’m not naive enough to think my child will behave like this all the time. He’s four, he’s challenging and seemingly that’s part of the deal when you become a parent. I would personally like to know who made that deal with the powers that be.




If I hear one more time ”if they are challenging you and pushing the boundaries then they are doing their job”. Hell I’ve even used that line on my shows! Oh James is definitely doing his job alright he wouldn’t even have to do an interview. You’re hired, come straight through and well done I see all your mums hair on the floor!


So as we settle into our routine again I find myself wondering how I’m doing at my job. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong but one thing I am learning for certain is that as a parent sometimes I’m afraid to do things that might make my child dislike me. I know this might sound incredibly stupid to a lot of you but maybe being a single mum I want him to be happy and feel loved but what I’m also quickly learning is that by disciplining him and creating those boundaries he might not like me for a while but he’ll hopefully love me forever.



Toddler tales 34 jpeg 2

I have to admit that I have always been a fan of a loose routine but recently I’m really starting to realize and understand the importance of structure and routine in a kids life. They like to know what’s coming next and what to expect. Any parent out there that has survived the transition from Summer to school is amazing in my eyes. James has been in preschool all summer and has been very happy but midway through August he decided he didn’t need to go anymore even suggesting that he stay home alone as he’s a big boy now.

This only got worse and I didn’t help by giving in and letting him stay home for a few days. I figured he’d be bored out of his mind as I sat him in front of a DVD and typed on the computer as I explained that I still had to work. “That’s ok mum” he said, at which point I knew I had made a mistake as now there are complete meltdowns where he tells me he will sit still and watch me on the computer.

Well this topped all previous ‘mummy guilts’ as he clung to my leg when I dropped him of at The Toddler Inn begging me not to leave him. “I don’t want to bloody work” I felt like screaming. I actually need a holiday with some sun, sangria and sand. Just as I was dreaming about my fantasy holiday (I’d even settle for magaluf at this stage) the weather changed and I found myself sitting in my dressing gown and slippers with the heating on. I did choose college over a holiday this year which I’m incredibly excited about as I figured I’d see just how much more I can fit into my life. In reality however want to become a nutritional therapist which will enable me to set up my own business and provide for James in years to come as you can’t relying on modeling forever.

James and I are best friends again primarily because we are back into a routine. He’s back at rugby tots as well and his world make sense again. If I’m honest I kinda like the routine I fought so hard against. My new motto is ‘never say you never will, because in life you just never know’ Ali xx


Rockabilly Group shot James loves the new Rockabilly Kids toothbrush, from Stand Up and Smile. This innovative product has been approved by dentists, will never topple over and is without doubt the most hygienic brush in the bathroom!

€8.99 (includes 3 replacement heads to provide a complete year of brushing) Boots (ages 3-7)




MultiMam_BabyDentIf you want to look after your child’s teeth and give them a helping hand while they are teething then try the new Multi Mam Baby Dent teething gel. It has the ability to help heal the gums because of the 2QR and the Hyaluronic acid it contains. It promotes tissue repair and protects the new teeth and gums from caries. €9.95 from pharmacies





Hi Alison

I really struggle with getting my toddler to brush his teeth. How did you do it with James?

Thanks, Erin, Dublin

Hi Erin,

Ah so your toddler is 100% normal in that case. I’ve tried everything from games to toothbrushes that light up. Recently I came across a product called “Wash and Learn” that’s working a treat.

Mum Lorraine Duane is the brainchild behind it and its basically a child’s toiletry bag but with a unique difference. It teaches the child the basics of personal hygiene while indirectly teaching them how to dress. James loves it and he’s thrilled with himself when he can open the buttons and zip himself with no help from me. It’s great for sleepovers in Nanas and has made the chore of brushing his teeth much easier because its now a job he’s doing for himself. Enabling him to be more independent. He snaps the button closed afterwards and hangs it on the back of the door. He also show it to everyone who calls which makes him feel very important and grown up and in James words “I do it all myself with no help from my mum”

Wash & Learn packagingThis “Wash and Learn” teaches children to be more hygiene aware and independent. €25






MIO Fit Skin For LifeCheck out Mio’s new high intensity bodycare range dedicated to toning, buffing and beautifying the skin pre, during and post exercise.

available in pharmacies and Cleary’s Prices range between €25.00 and €42.00




Will we ever meet again book cover READING Will we ever meet again by Tom Colton. If you believe in mediums like I do then this is a book for you.


Toddler tales 31 jpegI never actually thought the day would come where I would be begging James not to be so helpful. I took the washing in for mum yesterday and he had a full force tantrum because he wanted to do it for Nana. He also wants to dress himself, which is great except it usually means both legs in the same leg, and if you are in a rush and want to assist be prepared for a meltdown. He also wants to put his socks on and then (quite like his mother) loses it when he can’t. Now, I don’t mean my socks of course, but when I was a child, I was a little demanding and impatient to say the least. This morning he wanted to do his own car seat as I tried to explain that the reason he couldn’t was for safety reasons so mummy’s have to do it. I then got told he doesn’t want to be safe, as ‘big, little boys don’t need to be’!!

After I was late for my meeting and I was I missing a few pieces of hair I had torn out I burst out laughing. I have literally spent weeks and months begging James to help Mummy do things and it has actually backfired on me. Like most of my parenting methods I plan on turning it into a game or a story. A game usually involves me timing him which always works and I think a long story about how its ok to lets mums help is necessary for the next few nights.

Its incredible watching the determination, independence and personality develop as they grow and then in the middle of the night my sweet little boy says “Mummy will you just hold my hand as I love you, my best friend”. These moments are what life is all about and too often we’re moving so fast we miss them. My life has been hectic lately and like any parent I have felt bad. I would like to thank everyone for their incredible support, emails and messages after The Late Late show for walk in my shoes. It means a lot and I’m delighted the young people of Ireland will have more access to information and support now in the area of mental health.



Frank and nora Bundler whiteFrank and Nora is an Irish based babywear and accessories brand, their organic clothing is so incredibly soft. This bundler covers the full body & legs with an elasticised hem to keep baby warm. €14









Life Style Sports-Zoggs-Girls Miss Zoggy UV Suit-E24Zoggs is a well-known swim brand around the world and Life Style Sports have introduced the Zoggs range of baby swimsuits and shorts. Not only are they incredibly cute, but the suits contain innovative UV protective fabrics that help protect babies and toddlers from any harmful UV rays.

Life Style Sports-Zoggs-Girls/boys Zoggy UV Suit €24










Q: I have bad varicose veins post pregnancy. Any tips on getting rid of them as the summer is drawing closer and I’m embarrassed to bare my legs?

Pregnancy can often be a trigger in women for varicose veins because of the extra weight and hormones. The female hormone progesterone, relaxes the vein walls to allow a greater blood flow, which can damage the valves that control that flow. Varicose veins are most common in the legs and feet because the veins there are under the greatest pressure from standing and walking. The old advice was to wait till you had all your children or indeed just leave them if they didn’t bother you too much. However, thanks to a new and revolutionary treatment available in Ireland called The Venaseal Closure System it is now quite safe and is indeed beneficial to remove the varicose veins and restore a proper flow of blood through the other normal veins and the deep veins. Venaseal really is the next generation in Varicose Vein care as there is no downtime, no compression stockings, only 1 local anesthetic and immediate results. for more information



MINUS 417 Miracle Immediate Wrinkle Filler €81.95-417 BLACK DIAMOND MIRACLE IMMEDIATE WRINKLE FILLER €81.95 and it works!! local stockist information 014507771









Happy nest car seat coverThis ingenious travel solution RECENTLY FEATURED ON IRELAND AM’S BOOST YOUR BUSINESS   is suitable for use in all Carseats from brand new Irish company Happynest. It is reversible and very practical. The Cosynest from €34.99  OR find them on Facebook 









WE ARE USING Avene water spray: after shaving, for redness, nappy rash, after make removal, after a procedure, for skin Irritations and sunburn! It’s definitely number one for my handbag. Keep it in the fridge at home if your kids are prone to skin conditions as spraying from the fridge will soothe skin instantly. BOOKING your family photoshoot at on Dublins O’Connell Street, which is my new venture. Simply mention my name for 10% discount on everything from family photoshoots to your baby’s first passport photograph. We also offer styling advice and hair and make up for mums. HOLIDAYING at home in The Dunloe in Killarney is an excellent 5* hotel on 64 acres of gardens which offers fantastic outdoor activities with views over the Gap of Dunloe. A perfect family getaway with facilities that include the 25m indoor pool, sauna, steam room, dedicated chill-out zone, Techno-gym, indoor tennis, horse riding, outdoor children’s playground and indoor games room, as well as children’s movie nights with popcorn and soft drinks.

Outdoor Summer Hazards


baby sunbathing


The sun is out; whoops it’s gone again!! Well welcome to the Irish  Summer. But on a positive note getting your babies and kids outside is so  important. James ate everything in sight so everything was a hazard  including pebbles, barbecues, poison berries, water and the list goes on.  Your first thought is to get them back inside to safety where you have every  cupboard locked tight, every corner padded and stair gates that block all  escape routes to danger.

However, after a very long winter a few simple precautions will allow you  to enjoy the alien yellow object that appears as if to tease us sometimes in  the Irish sky.

Keeping our kids hydrated and protected from the sun is one of the most  important things to remember during summer months. I love the  Hamilton range of Sun creams, as they are suitable for all the family and  especially kids with sensitive skin. The snoozeshade for your buggy is  also fab for the summer months as you’re baby will be protected and won’t  overheat in the buggy. Make sure they always wear a sunhat and suitable  comfy breathable clothing. Be careful not to leave creams or insect  repellents lying around as some liquids and oils contain liquid  hydrocarbons, which can cause a serious pneumonia-like condition,  irreversible lung damage, and even death if a child aspirates the  substance into their lungs. This is obviously extreme but a real danger at  the same time. Child resistant caps are a must throughout your house and  garden.

Beware of poisonous garden plants like rhododendron, deadly  nightshade, azalea, rhubarb leaves, lily of the valley, hyacinth, privet,  foxglove, delphinium, laburnum and yew that are known to be poisonous.Also beware of plants with thorns or spikes. These can cause a lot of pain if your baby falls face first into them. Teach your child not to pick flowers or plant parts and keep your baby away from them.

Please be careful near water as drowning is quick and silent. Young kids rarely make a big splash, thrash around, or scream for help like you see on TV. They usually fall in headfirst and sink to the bottom like a rock. A child who’s underwater will lose consciousness after two minutes and suffer irreversible brain damage within four to six minutes. Never leave your child unattended for any length of time near water.

TOP TIPS: (bottom section)

1. Stay aware and never leave them unattended

2. Even after the barbecues go out the coal remains hot so watch those little fingers

3. Don’t let them put soil in their mouth at it could contain dog/cat feces which contain harmful parasites

4. Make sure there are no holes in the fence and keep the gate locked

5. Make sure surfaces around swings and slides are cushioned and bolts are safe

6. Be careful of lawnmowers around children

7. Always make toddlers wear helmets on scooters and bikes

8. Be careful of open windows in the Summer and don’t leave anything near them that a child can climb onto

Another great week of racing and the sunshine gods were out in force. Fab weather, fab people and fab music. Our entries were at an all time high and we’re delighted with our winners. Each and every week Brown Cow beauty salons give out an amazing prize of a €1000 voucher for 1st prize. This weeks lucky winner was Emilia Sobalak. I loved the orange and black combination. Her dress was from Ted Baker, she bought her hat in Greece. Her neckpiece was from Dunnes Stores, bag Gucci and shoes Penneys which proves that mixing designer and high street really works!

Brown Cows guest judge this evening was Donna Fitzpatrick from Social and Personal magazine. We both agreed that the girls we picked were true winners and encapsulated fun, summer and we even had a mum to be Claire who looked fantastic at 34 weeks pregnant with a toddler at home and any mum knows how difficult that can be so we hope she enjoys some pampering with her €500 voucher. I loved the simplicity of her summer look. Her dress was from Debenhams and her beige wedges are from Penneys.

Our final lady in third place this week winning a €250 voucher was Lisa Watts. Her dress was Miss Selfridge, her bag and shoes New Look and her headpiece was none other than Claires accessories which proves that to be a winner it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

My dress is from Karen Millen and my headpiece is from the amazing Sophie Hunter,

Hope to see you and your girlies next week xxx

 Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014  Winner of the Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady, Elilia Sobalak  ©INPHO/James Crombie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014
Winner of the Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady, Elilia Sobalak
©INPHO/James Crombie


Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014  Steve and Joe Wall of The Stunning perform at Bulmers Live at Leopardstown ©INPHO/James Crombie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014
Steve and Joe Wall of The Stunning perform at Bulmers Live at Leopardstown
©INPHO/James Crombie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014 Winner of the Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady, Elilia Sobalak (centre), 3rd place Lisa Watts and 2nd place Claire Aylward with judges Donna Fitzpatrick and Alison Canavan ©INPHO/James Crombie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014  Winner of the Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady, Elilia Sobalak with judges Donna Fitzpatrick and Alison Canavan ©INPHO/James Crombie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014
Winner of the Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady, Elilia Sobalak with judges Donna Fitzpatrick and Alison Canavan
©INPHO/James Crombie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014  2nd Place of the Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady, Claire Aylward ©INPHO/James Crombie

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 17/7/2014
2nd Place of the Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady, Claire Aylward
©INPHO/James Crombie

Myself and James


Q: Has James asked about his dad?  My child’s father doesn’t see her, I don’t know how I’ll explain this when she asks

It’s probably the most heartbreaking and difficult question that I’ve had to deal with. I remember when James was a tiny baby, looking into his blue eyes and thinking to myself, ‘I hope this situation works itself out as I really don’t know what to say to this little angel.’

Then I figured I had a couple of years, at least, before the question would come up and — surely — by that stage I’d have it all figured out.

James makes every day worthwhile and never fails to make me laugh. He gives the best hugs and has changed my life in positive ways that I never thought possible. I often feel sad that his dad has missed watching this amazing little person sit, crawl, walk and talk.

I’m lucky to have great friends and  family — and indeed a counsellor — who have all talked me through the bad days when I feel guilty and sad that his dad isn’t around.

One thing I’m very sure of is that I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I have a very happy little boy who smiles from morning until night.

However, children go to pre-school and then they go to school and it’s around this time that those tough questions start to be asked.

James is nearly four years old and the only child in his pre-school that doesn’t have a dad at home however, we have spoken about how much his dad loves him but that he lives far away for work. James did ask me why he didn’t want to meet him but I reassured him that of course he does and hopefully will one day soon.

I felt that was appropriate for now and my sister Laura also spoke to him at length about all the
amazing people in his life that love him and how lucky he is to have such a big family. He seemed delighted and for days kept talking about — and listing off — all the people that love him. He kept telling me the list was so long and that he kept forgetting people.

But recently, we went to Wexford for two days and had an incredible time building sandcastles at the beach. After we returned, his teacher Rosie — who is his idol — asked to speak to me because James had told his class that he had been away with his dad.

My heart sank. I know he only said it because everyone else in the class was saying that, but it doesn’t make it any easier. My advice is to be as age-appropriate and honest as you can. If you’re finding it hard to communicate, ask for help. But remember: love, stability and security are what a child needs and if you’re providing those, then you’re doing a great job.

One thing I would love to see is all parents talking to their kids about the different types of families that exist nowadays. I didn’t give single parents a second thought before I had James. I know that some parents don’t feel it’s their responsibility because they’re happily married, with perfectly adjusted children (yes, this was actually said to me) but times are changing. Whether you agree with how people live or not, teaching kids to be accepting and non-judgmental can only be a good thing for them and our communities.



Avene skincare and its benefits for eczema and psoriasis prone skin

Avene skincare and its benefits for eczema and psoriasis prone skin