Life

Marie Louise McConville: Spare a thought for those less fortunate this festive season

Forget the stresses of Christmas shopping and instead spare a thought for those less fortunate
Marie Louise McConville

I'm not sure how to break the news but here it goes - it's Christmas next week.

I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you like this but I've become acutely aware that many of you didn't get the memo announcing the imminent arrival of December 25.

Nope, in the past few days, I've come to the realisation that the Grinch has obviously made a few pre-Christmas visits to homes where he has sucked every last drop of goodwill from people.

It was during a trip to the shops this week that I realised it's more a case of holiday-haters than fine festive form and it's so annoying.

At a time when we should be looking out for others and thinking about others and maybe going out of our way to bring a little joy to someone else's life, many of us have become ill-mannered grumps - and there's no excuse.

For starters, on the way to work this week I couldn't believe how rude my fellow road users had become.

Usually, getting out of a side street is only a matter of waiting a few seconds. This week, my hair was practically turning grey I had to wait so long for someone to show some kindness and let me out.

I also noticed when I paid the kindness forward, and let another driver out, I didn't get so much as a nod as a thank you.

And don't get me started on the shops.

While I appreciate it is the busiest time of the year, there really is no need for all the shoving, attempted queue-jumping and loud sighs just because you have a wait a few extra minutes longer to pay.

Unless you have been living on another planet, you will be well aware of how busy the shops are with just days to go until Christmas so just suck it up.

On at least two occasions this week, I have watched and heard shoppers being needlessly rude to shop workers - which is inexcusable behaviour.

On one occasion, a customer actually cursed at a young girl behind the counter in a shop.

The staff member was extremely busy and doing her best to complete the purchase for the woman who obviously thought she was a VIP and she then had the cheek to use the F-word as she had to wait a few moments.

Rolling her eyes and sighing, her behaviour was deplorable.

I really don't know why people like her bother going out shopping at this time of the year when they are obviously ill-equipped to deal with it all.

And then there are the car parks.

I know trying to find a car park space at this time of the year can be very frustrating but there is really no need for all the attitude - raising the eyebrows and scrunching up faces.

The number of people I have seen returning to their cars only to take forever to pull out of a space to allow another driver in is just unreal - what's the hold-up? Just drive out. Go.

I really feel that many of us have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

This is a time of year when we should be thinking of others - allowing an older person the extra time to pay at the till or not muttering under your breath when a shop assistant takes a little longer handing over change.

There are currently nine million adults in the UK who suffer from isolation and loneliness and it's people of all ages who are affected.

A new report just published found that to these people, loneliness is just as dangerous to their health as smoking or obesity and can lead to premature death.

It means that unfortunately, this Christmas, many people will be on their own on December 25, which will be very difficult.

So, when you're out shopping this week, and feel the festive stresses raising the anger levels, take a deep breath and spare a thought for those around you because no-one knows what is going on in someone else's life.

Taking the time to smile and say please and thank you could be the only gift someone wants this year.

Merry Christmas peeps and please take time to spare a thought for others.

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Competition

If the cold December weather has left your skin feeling in need of some serious TLC, how about trying out a range of skincare products designed to be both fun and highly effective.

The Organic Shop's new range of Body Desserts will leave you feeling heavenly – without any of the sugar and calories.

Having trawled the planet for the very best ingredients and best traditional beauty recipes, the team at Organic Shop want to help you discover the awesome power of nature at its best.

And you can rest assured you'll find no hidden nasties - no harmful microbeads and absolutely no parabens, SLS, mineral oils or GMOs.

The brand's new range of Body Desserts come in a range of flavours including strawberry jam, banana milkshakes, chocolate mousse, summer ice-cream and pink candy floss.

Made from natural ingredients, the body treats will leave your skin feeling smooth and refreshed.

There are 17 different desserts available and the range is available in selected Tesco stores, independent health shops and online at www.organicshopuk.co.uk

I have three sets of the Organic Shop's Body Desserts to give away. Each set includes a Summer Fruit Ice Cream Cleansing Body Cleansing Cream, a Strawberry Jam Deep Cleansing Body Scrub and a Caramel Cappuccino Firming Body Cream

If you fancy winning a voucher, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

(Q) How many days are in December?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

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What's Hot?

Tune - Check out the new single from Northern Ireland singer, Catherine McGrath. I'll admit, I have just discovered Catherine but she is super-talented and Thought It was Gonna Be Me is a brilliant song. I wish her lots of luck with it.

Comedy - If you enjoyed the first one, then get ready, Bad Santa 2 arrives at this cinemas tomorrow and convicted con man, Willie T Stokes and his his pint-sized helper dwarf Marcus are up to their old festive season tricks. Expect lots of the same this time around as Willie and Marcus battle to survive Christmas.

Christmas - It's the big day on Monday so let's get jolly and festive and sing some carols and drink some mulled wine and eat some Quality Street and watch It's A Wonderful Life and embrace all the joy of the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone.

So Not!

Weather - What's going on? It's warm, it's cold, it's warm, it's Baltic, it's warm, it's cold. I just don't know how to dress in the mornings. Who do I complain to?

Reality - Why is there a new series of Celebrity Big Brother arriving on out tv screens in January? Surely this awful reality show has had its day?

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Competition

The winners of the GlamSlam competition are Martin Boyle, from Moira, Maureen Curistan, from Newtownabbey, and Mary Palmer, from Kircubbin

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Easy Peasy Recipe

This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Christmas Pudding Trifle

You will need:

3 oranges

1 tbsp sugar

300g Christmas pudding

500g custard

250g mascarpone

284ml pot double cream

To serve

flaked almonds

grated dark chocolate

To Make:

Peel the oranges, slice thinly and arrange over a dinner plate. Sprinkle with the sugar and set aside.

Crumble the Christmas pudding into large pieces and scatter over the bottom of a trifle bowl.

Lift the oranges onto the pudding in a layer and pour over any juices.

Beat the mascarpone until smooth, then stir in the custard. Spoon the mixture over the top of the oranges.

Lightly whip the cream and spoon over the custard.

Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and grated chocolate.

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,

Irish News

113-117 Donegall Street,

Belfast,

BT1 2GE

or

m.mcconville@irishnews.com

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