Marie Louise McConville: Holiday packing has become a stress-fest
I remember when it was a quick and easy process.
Thinking back, the hardest part was finding the suitcase in the attic but on retrieving it, it was just a case of chucking a load of clothes and toiletries in and that was that - off to the airport, full of excitement.
Actually, now that I think about it, I think I used to enjoy holiday packing.
Don't even talk to me about it now - it's simply a stress-fest.
I don't know about anyone else but I just don't know what to pack.
Just days away now from our annual summer trip to the beautiful island of Jersey, I attempted to get a bit of packing done.
After a mammoth two hours, I found myself sat on the floor at the side of the bed with my head in my hands having made very little progress.
Do other people also suffer from `traumatic packing'?
How on earth can you calculate how many clothes a six-year-old and seven-year-old will need for one week?
While one of my children can put on a set of clothes and wear them all day, no trouble, the other can't wear anything for more than five minutes without getting it stained.
So, how am I meant to pack for seven days away with them especially when swimming and lots of outdoor fun are involved?
And it's not just them, I have no clue what I need and for some reason feel I should pack for every possible eventuality - including bringing a top I bought 10 years ago but haven't worn for nine.
Seriously like, why would I need an extra purse, a notebook and a 43 contact lenses?
However, my brain is telling me I MUST pack them and so, the suitcase looks like its heading for a round-the-world trip of a lifetime.
I'm fully aware the kids don't need 20 vests each, 18 pairs of socks each or 18 t-shirts each but there they are, sitting here looking at me from inside the bursting suitcase.
I honestly find packing way more stressful than the actual travelling.
I remember being carefree, just throwing a few things in with a plan to get the rest out there. However, the cost-of-living crisis has eliminated that as an option now.
What on earth is wrong with me?
For goodness sake, I'm going on holiday.
I should be excited but here I am, armed with two hair dryers, eight pairs of shoes and 14 hair bands.
Do you think I need to see a doctor?
No doubt he'll tell me I'm in a need of a holiday - funny that.
W5 Late returns this summer with some fun-filled nights of adult-only interactive fun.
At W5, fun has no age limit but for four nights this summer there are no kids allowed and grown-ups are given the run of Northern Ireland's award-winning science and discovery centre.
Kicking off on Thursday, July 21, and running for four weeks, adults can unleash their inner child as they explore the Reimagined W5, at a series of quirky themed events including House of Games, World of Illusion, Destination Animation, and Music at the Centre.
Further information is available at w5online.co.uk
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The Beauty of Impossible Things by Rachel Donohue has been described as a "brooding, gothic-tinged, coming-of-age tale".
Foresight is not always a gift.
The summer Natasha Rothwell turns 15, strange dancing lights appear in the sky above her small town, lights that she interprets as portents of doom.
Natasha leads a sheltered life with her beautiful, bohemian mother in a crumbling house by the sea.
As news of the lights spreads, more and more visitors arrive in the town, creating a feverish atmosphere of anticipation and dread.
And the arrival of a new lodger, the handsome Mr Bowen, threatens to upset the delicate equilibrium between mother and daughter.
Then Natasha's fears seem to be realised when a local teenager goes missing.
Her actions over that long, hot summer will have unforeseen and ultimately tragic consequences that will cast a shadow for many years to come.
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(Q) Who wrote The Beauty of Impossible Things?
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