Marie Louise McConville: Take action against motorists who misuse parent and child parking
It's really starting to infuriate me now.
There is absolutely no excuse for such behaviour - except of course, pure and utter laziness.
Does anybody else find it an absolute joke, the number of people who misuse parent and child parking spaces or is it just me?
Granted, up until I became a parent I never really took much notice of the specially-marked spaces as I never used them because I knew they were for parents with small children who need a bit of extra room at either side of the car for taking kids out and putting them in.
The spaces are all clearly marked and usually there are large signs advising motorists that these spaces are specifically for parents and children.
So, why is it then that so many unentitled people feel they can use them?
To be honest, I really think they should start fining drivers who wrongly use these spaces just because they are too lazy to park further away.
I swear, sometimes I think if people thought they could get away with it they would park inside shops just so they didn't have to walk too far.
I've really started noticing it in recent weeks and just feel infuriated.
With two small children, it can be very difficult finding a space which has enough room either side to take them out of car seats.
In addition, they are handy if you have a baby in the trolley, a toddler and a load of shopping because you don't have to walk too far juggling it all.
When we go shopping, we always try to get a parent and child space - though, there are so few - but then to find them being used people without children just really gets to me.
Every Saturday, we do our grocery shopping.
Our first stop is Asda in Andersonstown. I go here first because I get a few specific things only sold there, and sometimes we are lucky to get a parent and child space.
We go in and get our groceries and come out.
However, last week, while we were getting the kids into the car and packing the bags into the boot, a man pulled into the parent and child space beside us. He then got out, clicked to lock the car and walked away.
He had no children with him, there were no car seats in the back of his car and he didn't give his actions a second thought.
Across the car park I caught sight of a man with two children who was struggling with the tight squeeze to get them out of the car.
I was so angry.
I really feel action is needed.
After Asda, we usually head off to Kennedy Centre to get our big shop at Sainsburys.
Now the underground car park there has a good number of parent and child spaces but again, I see people abusing them every week.
They just pull into the space and get out and off they go - no children.
Again, I have seen shoppers coming back to their cars with no kids and loading their shopping into their car parked in these spaces.
What other reason could they have except they don't want to walk too far into the shops. Meanwhile, parents struggling with kids and bags and shopping and prams have to go further because they can't get parked in their rightful space.
I wonder would they be so eager to wrongly park in these larger spaces if they knew they would be get fined?
It's the same with the disabled parking spaces, which are right next to the parent and child. I see people misuse them all the time. They park up and get out and off they go.
Now, I know all disabilities are not visible however these people have no blue parking badges.
Again, they do it because they get away with it.
Maybe the large shopping centres should be looking into taking action against those who are wrongly using these special spaces.
Personally, all I can do is ask that people respect these spaces and leave them for parents with small children. Having to walk a little further to the shops is nothing compared to the struggle of trying to get babies and toddlers in and out of cars in tight spaces.
Really, if you do misuse these spaces you should be ashamed and now is the time to make a change.
Leaving that space for a stressed parent could make the world of difference to them.
Come on, pay it forward, do the right thing.
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Normal Irish News Rules Apply
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Return - Ant and Dec have revealed that their nineties Saturday morning tv show, SM:TV Live is making a comeback to mark its 20th anniversary. Cat Deeley is also set to return. Great news.
Bad Idea - It's been reported that singer, Nicole Scherzinger is to return as a judge for the 14th series of The X Factor. The 38-year-old apparently agreed after talking to music mogul Simon Cowell. I'm not a fan.
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No Movie - Brilliant actress, Miranda Hart has left fans disappointed after confirming there will not be a movie based on her wonderful BBC One show, Miranda. It's a pity, she's so funny.
The winners of the Lusso Tan competition are Teresa McCrisken, from Belfast and Tara Donaghy, from Belfast
Easy Peasy Recipe
This week’s Easy Peasy Recipe is Banana Bread courtesy of Tony & Jen’s, a health-focused restaurant on the Lisburn Road, Belfast
You will need:
4 very ripe medium-sized bananas
1 tbsp maple syrup
60g coconut oil
1 tspnn pure vanilla extract
70g coconut flour
1 tspn cinnamon
2 tspns baking powder
Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius
In a bowl, mix the coconut flour, cinnamon and baking powder
Place the banana, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla in a blender and blitz until smooth
In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk
Add the banana puree to the eggs mixture and whisk until well combined
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together
Line a loaf tray with grease proof paper and pour in the cake batter
Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and cooked through
Once cooled, top with crushed hazelnuts and sliced banana
Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?
Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?
If so, then we want to hear from you.
You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:
Easy Peasy Recipes,
Marie Louise McConville,
113-117 Donegall Street,