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Hot Things 3

This week the Hot Things bring you new tracks from Marika Hackman, The Blaze, alt-J and Tei Shi, a look back at the music of 1996 and all the usual blather.

You can check out the playlist on Spotify:

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Hot Things – Life

The Hot Things are back with new music from Grimes, Sylvan Esso, Joni and Kelly Lee Owens, blasts from the past, Repeal the 8th and plenty of chat.

You can check out the playlist on Spotify:

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Hot Things podcast

What do you do when you’re mad about music and love chatting with your friends about it? Start your own podcast, that’s what. The Hot Things are Fiona McPhillips (me), Colette Woods, Emma Kennedy, Kate Butler and, all the way from the US of A, Dorothy Kelly.

Colette brought prosecco, Emma brought cherry vodka and would you believe it, they go perfectly together. Just like us. So, without further ado, here is the first Hot Things podcast featuring The xx, Public Enemy, Kate Tempest, Brian Eno, Austra and many more.

You can check out the playlist for our first show on Spotify:

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Just how does Santa deliver all his presents in one night?

(First published in the Herald on 19 December 2012.)

It’s a question as old as Christmas itself: how does Santa deliver
presents to every child on the planet in just one night? Many people
have developed theories but only Santa and his elves know for sure. Continue Reading →

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Our Lives, Our Choice

When I couldn’t have a baby, people said, “be thankful for what you’ve got”, “focus on the good things in your life”, “maybe God didn’t want you to have a baby”. The Irish public health service doesn’t offer any fertility treatment and no health insurer covers private treatment.

The health service was happy to diagnose my medical condition, it just wouldn’t treat it. Thankfully our insurance paid for the procedure that fixed my husband’s infertility but mine was something I’d just have to accept or pay for myself. Continue Reading →

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A Return to Burnout Britain?

Are you happy with your work-life balance? Most of us are according to the government’s Work Life Balance Employee Survey. Over half of UK employers now offer flexible working hours and the vast majority of employees report that this improves workplace morale. However, when more than half of those on flexible hours feel they’ve had to compromise (with lower pay, longer hours, blurring of boundaries between work and home), is this emerging culture actually improving our lives? Continue Reading →

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How to Survive a Home Renovation

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris Continue Reading →

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Bystander Intervention in Rape Culture

Would you intervene if you witnessed a sexual assault? Would you call the police if you felt unable or unwilling to tackle the perpetrator?

A video has emerged showing hundreds of people standing and watching while an incapacitated woman was gang raped on a beach in Florida during spring break celebrations last month. The police officer investigating the incident said the footage was the “most disgusting, sickening thing” he had ever seen.

“There’s hundreds, hundreds of people standing there – watching, looking, seeing, hearing what’s going on. And yet our culture and our society and our young people have got to the point where obviously this is acceptable somewhere.” Continue Reading →

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But what about the men?

“A truly equal world,” wrote Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her bestseller, Lean In, “would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”

A common accusation levelled at feminism is that men and women are equal now so any gains that women make would come at the expense of men. Women can vote, they have access to equal pay in law, they can rise to the top of any profession, what more could they want? Continue Reading →

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Let’s Talk About Infertility

Nobody expects to be in for the long haul when they start trying for a baby. It is supposed to be a time of great hope and anticipation, when you start planning your new lives together. It is true that having a baby changes your life, but not having one changes it so much more. Sadly, this is something that more than one in six couples will find out. Continue Reading →

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The Boyfriend

We’ve had their jeans and now their coats have infiltrated our wardrobes. I’ve always been a casual girl so when Chelsea boots, slouchy jumpers and baggy coats are considered the height of fashion, I am in my comfortable, effortless element. I can get dressed in five minutes (it never takes me more) and actually look like I’ve made an effort. Just you wait until no makeup and messy hair comes back, I’ll look like I’ve come straight off the catwalk.

So, boyfriend coats. I admired them last winter but, as I’d taken out a mortgage to buy an All Saints Monument coat the previous year, I had to wear that coat every bloody day for two years and bide my time.  Continue Reading →

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Are you a feminist?

Are you a feminist?

If you’ve paused to contemplate your answer, then here are a couple of questions that might help you clarify your position.

Do you think that men and women should be treated equally?

Do you think that sexism prevents this?

If you have answered yes to both questions then congratulations, you are a feminist! Continue Reading →

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Making it work: motherhood and career

Imagine a “female Paradise on earth”, where women succeed alongside men, where women have equal access to the most senior positions and where gender segregation is a thing of the past. That Paradise is right here, right now according to Alison Wolf, author of ‘The XX Factor: How Working Women are Creating a New Society’, but only if you are a high earner.

About 15-20% of women in developed countries fall in this group, which combines higher education, good incomes and prestigious occupations. However, in order to facilitate the success of these women, there has been an increased need for lower-paid jobs in the areas of childminding, cleaning and caring. It is the other 80% of women that fill these and other traditionally female roles and for them, argues Wolf, not a lot has changed in the last forty years. Continue Reading →

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Dear Me: A letter to my 16 year old self

If I could offer you one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. On every piece of exposed skin, every time it meets the sun. Factor 50, just to be sure. Never, ever, ever lie in the sun with baby oil on your beautiful face. In the future, tans will be a sign of ill, not good, health. Skin cancer will be the most common cancer in Ireland, and Ireland will have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. You will narrowly avoid becoming a statistic when you have a pre-cancer removed from your face at the tender age of 40. And the cosmetic sun damage will surely be in the post by then.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htPgCgVHXVE

You cannot put people in jail for stupidity….

So says Antoin Murphy, associate professor of economics at TCD, in last week’s Prime Time Special on the Anglo tapes. The tapes, which were leaked to the Irish Independent newspaper and published last week, detail conversations between senior bank officials at Anglo Irish Bank during its collapse in 2008.

The tapes give a small window into the mentality of the men, whose reckless lending of billions of euro to property developers and total lack of regard for regulatory issues has ended up costing the government over €30 billion so far – that’s €6,500 for every person in the country. Continue Reading →

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From Fast Fashion to Slow Style

When my youngest (and final) child was born, I was eager to try and return to my former glory as soon as possible. I had spent most of the previous decade either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Not having control over either of these things meant I never knew what size, shape or state I’d be in six weeks or six months in the future so I had to shop and dress accordingly, never really committing to a style or statement because, you know, I might be pregnant (or not pregnant) next month. Continue Reading →

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New life begins at forty

They say that life begins at 40. But for many, the big four-oh looms before us, acting as a deadline for all the things we want to do or feel we should have done by then. It is the ultimate fertility deadline for most women and many approaching 40 are giving it one last shot before it’s too late. Continue Reading →

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National Infertility Day Ireland

Nobody expects to be in for the long haul when they start trying for a baby. It is supposed to be a time of great hope and anticipation, when you start planning your new lives together. It is true that having a baby changes your life, but not having one changes it so much more. Sadly, this is something that one in six couples will find out.

Before I became that statistic, I never thought too much about it. Although infertility was a fear, it was not something that bore heavily on me – at least, only to the extent that I didn’t want to put off having children for too long, just in case. I didn’t know anyone who was infertile so I could only guess at how hard it might be. Continue Reading →

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When IVF is not the answer

Everybody knows somebody suffering from infertility. With one in six couples affected, there is someone in your family, your circle of friends, your office that is struggling to deal with this. For some, a simple medical procedure or the right drugs will do the trick; for others, it can mean year after year of failed treatments with no explanation why.

IVF is often hailed as a cure-all, the solution that couples turn to when all else has failed. It is not an easy procedure physically, emotionally or financially and, with only a 25% success rate, it does not always provide a happy ending. Continue Reading →

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A brief history of (my) trainers

I have always been a trainers girl. I love the look, the feel and the smell of them. From the day I graduated from Dunnes best to Gola Harriers, I have worn my trainers with pride, a sure sign of the laid-back, considered dresser I imagine myself to be. Continue Reading →

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