Marie Louise McConville: Waiting for winter sickness to hit after the rest of the household get walloped by bugs
Is it over yet?
Are we done yet?
Is Spring here?
Has the sun finally made an appearance and has the temperature managed to rise above 0 degrees?
If it hasn't, I don't want to know.
I don't know about anybody else but this current bout of wintry weather is just doing nothing for me.
Apart from the fact that we have to put on 14 layers of clothing just to go and get something out of the car, the cold conditions are also a breeding ground for sickness and this year, it's shaping up to be one of the worst.
Honestly, at this point, it feels like we're in a vicious circle and it's never going to end.
I'm sure we're not the only household who have fallen victim to the pains and aches and illness that come hand in hand with winter but this year, it's giving the McConville household a good wallop - all except for me.
Now normally I am the first to get everything whether it be the tiniest sniffle or full-blown sickness bug but this time I have become a spectator in a little game I like to call `Whose turn is it to vomit now?'.
I have to tell you, it's really one of the worst games I have ever played and at the minute, I feel like I am playing Russian Roulette around my home for fear of touching an infected door handle or fridge door.
It all started just before Christmas when both Darren and James got sick.
First of all, I was woken in the middle of the night by some scary sounds coming from our bathroom.
I soon figured out it was Darren and there was little I could do for him.
I won't go into much detail, but suffice to say some form of winter bug had taken him prisoner.
I'm not going to lie, my first thought was not for his well-being but more so - "I just know I'm going to get it next".
It was wasn't long before there was more vomiting but this time it was happening in James's room.
We soon realised he was burning up and was really out of sorts so we stripped him down and gave him medicine to try and reduce his temperature.
However, by morning, his temperature was worryingly high and the vomiting just continued.
Not long after that, Darren was back being sick.
A trip to the doctors revealed that both the special men in my life had a chest infection and gastroenteritis and on top of this, Darren also had a kidney infection.
So it was home for antibiotics and rest.
For a couple of days everything was going well (as I was venturing around the house carrying my germ-killing spray and using it on EVERYTHING) but then came the early hours of Christmas Eve when Abbie ventured into our room and was promptly sick on the bed.
She was also burning up and really out of sorts and as it was a Sunday, a trip to the out of hours was in order where a very nice doctor diagnosed her with tonsilitis.
After collecting more antibiotics, it was back home where everyone settled down in their jammies and we had to devise a rota for tablets and medicine.
Christmas soon came and went - and all the time, I was waiting and waiting and waiting (in between all the washing) to be struck down.
Then on New Year's Day, just when everyone appeared to be on the road to recovery, Darren was once again struck down and diagnosed with a relapse of acute gastroenteritis and left in terrible pain.
Just when we thought the babies were recovering, James redecorated his room - numerous times.
And still, I've been waiting, expecting a cruel army of bugs and germs to come for me in the middle of the night.
But nope, I'm still waiting and watching and spraying my anti-germ spray.
Meanwhile, the rest of the McConvilles are attempting to get back on their feet while I live in fear.
I just know there's a bug somewhere with name on it.
And so, I wait...
Fancy a musical night out in Belfast?
TG4's Gradam Ceoil is coming to the Waterfront on Sunday, February 4 for the first time in its 21-year history.
Referred to as the Oscars of traditional music, the live concert and award ceremony, which is hosted by Páidí Ó Lionáird and Gráinne McElwain, features the crème de la crème of Irish music and song, celebrating the talent and achievements of musicians from Ireland and across the world.
Multi-talented fiddle player Frankie Gavin heads the list of recipients this year as the founder member of the acclaimed group, De Dannan.
The list also includes a special award for Lisburn-based world champion piping band, The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, plus many more.
The live concert will be broadcast on TG4 and worldwide on tg4.ie, adding to the buzz and the atmosphere of the event.
Tickets for TG4's Gradam Ceoil Awards 2018, priced £25 (£22 for concessions) are available from www.waterfront.co.uk or by calling 028 9033 4455.
Further information is available online at www.gradam.ie or at Gradam Ceoil on Facebook or on Twitter at @GradamCeoil
I have three pairs of tickets to give away to TG4's Gradam Ceoil at the Waterfront.
If you fancy winning a pair of tickets, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for entries is Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
(Q) Where in Belfast is TG4's Gradam Ceoil taking place next month?
Normal Irish News Rules Apply
Oscar - A song by Snow Patrol duo Gary Lightbody and Johnny McDaid is in the running for an Oscar. The track `This Is How You Walk On', which featured in the movie `Gifted', is one of 70 songs in the running in the best original song category. Great news.
Text Happy - New research has found that couples who have similar texting habits are happier in their relationships. The study by US researchers found that couples who send a similar number of texts to each other during the day are more satisfied than those where one person bombards the other with messages.
Classic Viewing - Fans are celebrating after Netflix announced that the TV show Friends is now available for streaming. All 10 series of the classic sitcom, which aired on tv from 1994 to 2004, is now available in the UK and Ireland.
The End - Big Bang actor Johnny Galecki has revealed the hit US show could end after next season. The 42-year-old actor, who plays Leonard Hofstadter, said: "...at this point, everyone's very comfortable with 12 seasons being the time to go home and see our families". Oh no. I love this show.
Fitness - Leading medics have warned that throwing yourself into a New Year fitness regime could wreck your knees for life. Apparently, middle-aged people are most at risk. Popular ‘interval training' regimes are said to pose the most danger.
Evil - I've really had enough of Pat Phelan's horrible character in Coronation Street. He's just so evil and mean. Somebody needs to stop him soon. Time to get rid.
The winners of the Zuni competition are Nichola Legge, from Newtownards, Christine Steele, from Belfast, and Helen Quinn, from Magherafelt
Easy Peasy Recipe
This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Cauliflower Chickpea Curry
You will need:
1 tbsp vegetable
2 tspns yellow curry powder
1.5 cups of sliced onion
1 tspn grated ginger root
1.5 cups cups of chickpeas
1 head cauliflower, cored and with florets separated
1 tin of tomatoes
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup water
2 tspns minced fresh mint leaves
Pour the vegetable oil in a pot and add the curry powder and let it cook for around one minute before adding the sliced onions
Mix and allow to cook for around seven minutes.
Once the onions have softened, add the ginger and the chickpeas and stir.
Add the tomatoes, cauliflower florets, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and water.
Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover. Cook for around 18 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
Toss with the mint leaves before plating.
Serve with rice
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,