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Busy mum finds oasis of calm for fledgling business

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It is not many mums that can get the work/life balance just right – plenty of time with your children in those important early stages, and then relatively-guilt free hours to work on your own career.

It has been a long road to get to this place, though, for mum of two, Ionela Pápai. But, by being available to clients at evenings and weekends only, she has created a little niche for herself in the local beauty therapy market.

By day, she is a busy wife and mother, but when her husband, Feri, comes home, she goes upstairs to a converted bedroom in their home in Roscam, and becomes the therapist everyone dreams of; the soothing music casts away any thoughts that there are actually children in the house.

“The first years in any baby’s life are really important for them – I feel she needs me, and I need her as much,” she says of her one-year-old, Gabriella.

“Just to be there, for every step, for any new milestone she goes through. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding.”

Ionela’s strong-held belief in being present for those early years reflects the importance placed on motherhood by the government in her native Romania where, up to recently, mothers received social welfare payments to stay home for the first two years of their child’s life.

“Career wise, I don’t think I would have found a job as a junior beauty therapist that would have paid enough to put them into a crèche, and also to be happy as a mum, and for them to be happy,” she says.

Born near Bucharest, it used to take Ionela four hours to get to and from work every day in a clothes shop, due to the infrastructure being so poor.

“I remember during the winter, I was saving a whole month’s wages to get a pair of boots – the wages were, and still are, low. My brother is just above the minimum wage as a physiotherapist, and my sister is finding it hard to get a job,” she says.

She had an uncle living in Galway who arranged a working visa for her, and she first arrived here in April 2002.

“For me, I was lucky, I got the chance to get out of the country and to do something,” she recalls.

“I thought I would go back home after a year with lots of money – life is hard away from your parents, your country, and your friends. I did Salsa here when I came, and got to know people, but it’s not the same… I was very lonely, and found it really hard.”

In fact, the loneliness was so bad that she had booked her ticket to return home when her life took a very fateful turn and she was introduced to Ferenc ‘Feri’, who works as a software engineer for Fotonation, a company in Parkmore.

A Hungarian-Romanian from Transylvania, five hours away from Bucharest, he was friends with a fellow Salsa dancer.

“He used to come to watch, and one day I had back problems, and I rang our mutual friend asking him to pick me up and bring me to hospital, but he wasn’t available and sent Feri instead,” Ionela says.

“He stayed with me, took care of me, and brought me food – that was three months before I came home!”

She faced a very different type of loneliness when she returned to Romania though, leaving her future husband behind. And, she was unable to come back to Ireland for another six months, November 2004, until she had secured a study visa.

She trained as an interior designer – her flair is reflected in her gorgeous home – but was unable to secure work in that area as Romania was not in the EU at the time, and it was difficult to obtain a working visa. So, she got jobs in fast-food outlets until their first daughter was born in 2009, a year after Ionela and Feri were married.

“When I had Izabella, my husband and I decided that I wouldn’t go back to work for two years, so that I could care for her.

“The job was not paying that much, and it would have been cheaper to mind her than send her to a crèche.”

The couple then decided to have another baby, so that their children would be about two years apart, but things did not go to plan. Ionela suffered miscarriages, for which extensive tests could give no medical reason.

“I knew how my life would be – I’d have another baby – but it was not happening as I wanted it to… I got into a ‘place’, and I was quite disappointed.

Balancing motherhood with her career as a home-based beauty therapist is a full-time job for Ionela Pápai, pictured with her husband, Feri, and daughters, Izabella and Gabriella.

Balancing motherhood with her career as a home-based beauty therapist is a full-time job for Ionela Pápai, pictured with her husband, Feri, and daughters, Izabella and Gabriella.

“Then, I decided to forget about it. I started to think that I should do something about my life, because I was not that happy about how it was going. I needed something else, and I was trying to figure out what I liked, and looking at courses.

“It was not a nice place to be at my age, to not know what I was going to do with my life. And, in terms of Izabella, I felt I should offer her more.

“All my life, I’d had problems with my skin, it was quite debilitating. I used to avoid socialising because of it, and never ever left the house without make-up. The lack of confidence made it hard to form relationships and I would blame my skin issues, even when not being able to secure a job.

“I’ve always tried to take care of my skin, and go for treatments, and one day I went for a ‘microdermabrasion’ and with the face mask on, I was looking at the ceiling and it came to me – this is what I’d like to do, to help other people to resolve their skin issues.”

Ionela studied at Georgina Price College of Beauty Therapy, during which she and Feri got a most unexpected surprise.

“I got pregnant at the beginning of 2013 – I didn’t think I would again, or be able to keep the baby, so for most of the pregnancy I was worrying, and I didn’t know if would make it to the end.”

Baby Gabriella came along in 2013, the same year Ionela became a citizen of Ireland. She was determined to establish a business that would fit around her life, and give her some self-satisfaction as well.

She named the business Ella Bella Beauty after her two daughters, opened last May – and she couldn’t be happier.

“I want to be able to help people look and feel their very best – everyone deserves that!”

CITY TRIBUNE

Living with the ignominy of anonymity on social media

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Technically, I am on Facebook and Twitter, but I can never seem to quite motivate myself to tell all my virtual friends that my dog has overeaten today; that the cat has disappeared again without a word of explanation; or that the neighbour down the road is driving out in a brand-new car.

At times, I imagine that I’m suffering from some type of serious personality disorder because of my failure to get excited about sharing the most boring details of my daily chores with a cohort of people, some of whose names I am familiar with, while others could have no possible connection to my existence on this planet.

Mind you, I bear no animosity towards those people who want to befriend me via the world of fibre optics and instant communication from any part of the globe, but neither do I harbour any great desire to start up conversations about the banalities of life.

It really is bad enough to have to endure and survive those tribulations every day without having to trouble my newly-acquired set of friends – that I don’t know – with the details of how good or bad my day has been.

I’m sure that there are super ‘shrinks’ out there who will make a case for the virtue of being able to share your daily woes and wonders with those in the world of cyber space, but a thousand Facebook communications (not that I’ll ever make them) just can never compensate me for a face-to-face interaction with an old friend or even a regular verbal sparring partner in the local watering hole, who can jibe me about some alleged minor transgression on my part over recent times.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Huge study gives thumbs up to dairy in the diet

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Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Every time I go to a café, I am amazed by the offering now available for people who no longer want to add milk to their brew. Even in the tiniest of coffee kiosks, they stock oat, soy or almond milk as an alternative to cow’s milk, usually for a surcharge of around 50c, reflecting the high cost of these alternatives.

The big food companies have lately got in on the act, offering non-dairy yogurts in the convenient small pots in most supermarkets. Customers no longer have to head to the health store for these premium, specialist products.

The trend to non-dairy and vegan diets – which means no animal products at all – has certainly become mainstream among Generation Z and Millennials.

But is it good for your health?

A comprehensive new study originating in Sweden would suggest otherwise – at least when it comes to the consumption of dairy.

The international team of scientists studied the dairy fat consumption of 4,150 adults aged 60 living in Sweden which has the world’s highest levels of dairy production and consumption.

They measured blood levels of a particular fatty acid that is mostly found in dairy foods rather than relying on people recording the amounts and types of dairy foods eaten, which may be unreliable given that dairy is commonly used in a variety of foods.

Experts then followed this group for an average of 16 years to observe how many died, had heart attacks, strokes and other conditions indicating cardiovascular disease (CVD). After statistically adjusting for other known CVD risk factors such as age, income, lifestyle, dietary habits, they concluded that those with higher intakes of dairy fat had a lower risk of CVD compared to those with low intakes.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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At the official opening of the new tile factory in Portumna on January 13, 1967.

1921

Tenants’ desperation

That the land question is far from settled in certain areas is obvious to those who have been reading the series of articles contributed to these columns by a correspondent in South Galway. The slowness of the Congested Districts Board has been proverbial.

Our correspondent suggests that failure to effect local settlements within a reasonable time, coupled with the inefficiency he charges, have brought about a condition of discontent which may result in a violent explosion at any moment.

No one could contemplate with equanimity such an outburst, for it might have an effect far beyond that intended and might endanger national peace at a period when its preservation is of supreme moment to the Irish people.

But it would seem indisputable that the Congested Districts Board is taking risks that no public body is entitled to take; and the completion of the division of the estates involved should be pushed forward in the public interest without further unnecessary delay.

The tenants on the Ardilaun estate at Cong have already taken the matter into their own hands. At a meeting attended by congests, some of whom walked fifteen miles to be present, it was declared that all confidence had been lost in the Congested Districts Board “which has long since practically ceased to function on this estate” and the tenants requested Dáil Éireann to take over the administration.

The facts in regard to the Ardilaun property are sufficiently remarkable to afford in themselves a damnatory criticism of the Board’s methods. It contains seven hundred householders, whose average valuation is from 15s. to £3. Congestion and poverty is abound; there is little untenanted land to relieve either.

Migration of bodies of tenants is the only real and permanent remedy. But nine years after the late Lord Ardilaun expressed his desire to sell, the Congested Districts Board has not, it would appear, put forward any real effort to relieve a distressing situation.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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