Netflix Stream Team – some hidden gems

Netflix Stream Team – some hidden gems

Netflix is great is you want a series you can get your teeth stuck into or mainstream movies to sit back and enjoy but I always find it extra special when we stumble across some hidden gems. I thought you might be interested in hearing about some of these “off the beaten track” finds.

Here are our top three recent finds…

Safety not guaranteed:

A quirky delight of off-beat humour and fantastic acting; A movie about time travel, or is it? You’ll just have to watch it right to the end!


Winter bones:

A movie on the dark side but with some great characters. A very young Jennifer Lawrence plays the lead role and leaves is in no doubt as to why she became a household name.


On the way to school

This is a very touching documentary that shows how some societies see education as the gem it really can be and the obstacles that some children will go to, to receive it. Although it was a stark reminder of how good we have it I found the documentary had an overall feel good factor, due to the happiness of the children featured and their ability to see the positive in their situations.

Have you any hidden gems to share?

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team I have received a years subscription to Netflix, free of charge, and an Apple TV, for streaming purposes. As part of Netflix Stream Team I will be posting monthly updates on what we are watching and what is on offer.  All opinions expressed will be my own.

Why does mint make your mouth feel cold?

Why does mint make your mouth feel cold?

We can understand why ice cream makes us cold or why chewing on ice can give our mouth a chilly zing but why mint? The answer lies in a bit of mimicry.

Nerves rely on electrical pulses to send message to and from the brain. It is definitely in our best interests to know when something is hot or cold so we have receptors all over our bodies that can send nerve signals to the brain when triggered by temperature changes. The mouth of course has many, one receptor protein that detects cold is called TRPM8 (for those of you who really want to know that stands for transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily M, member 8).

When we place something cold in our mouth the drop in temperature triggers a change in the TRPM8 receptor, effectively switching it from a closed to an open state so that it allows certain ions (calcium and sodium) to flow through. This flow of ions generates the electric current that triggers the nerve signal sent to the brain, and we register the sensation of cold.

photo credit: sweet via photopin (license)

So what has mint got to do with all of this? Well, it seems that a change in temperature is not the only thing that triggers the TRPM8 receptor. Other natural compounds such as menthol, eucalyptus and icilin can trigger it too. Menthol is a waxy compound present in most mints and mint oils, such as peppermint, and is responsible for the minty taste and smell. Methol is known to mimic the effect of a temperature drop on the TRPM8 receptor, when it bind to the receptor it causes its ion channel to open, just as a temperature change does. Although this mechanism is well recorded, the reason behind it is still unclear.

Of course we don’t have to eat mint to get the cold effect; TRPM8 receptors are found in many places in the body and particularly in our skin, rubbing menthol oil on the skin can give the same effect as ice… causing local desensitization and numbing and even reducing swelling.

New chicks and a new look

New chicks and a new look

Nearly half way through the Summer holidays and it has been busy. We have had work and weddings and adventures and even hosted a barbeque in the Sun (it may have been the only sunshine we have seen this Summer but I’m not complaining). One big adventure so far this Summer is our new brood of chicks!

We decided to test out an incubator this year and somehow the five eggs we had planned to hatch turned into a little more.



I am glad to report that the incubator worked to great success… as our kitchen turned into a chick maternity ward. This little one was looking a bit dazed after his arrival!




Some of the chicks seemed to want to get to grips with some life skills from a very young age. I think this one has aspirations to be a writer…

Chick on laptop


And this one has a more adventurous side!

Chick on a skateboard


They are all destined to be stars though as they had their very own camera crew right in our kitchen. To see their tv debut you’ll have to tune in to the “Is Eolaí Mé” series on Cúla 4 (TG4) in early 2016.

Chicks on film


In total twelve chicks hatched and we finally managed to watch and record the event, it was really beautiful.


Looking at that it is not hard to accept that birds are the living relatives of dinosaurs! Especially now that we know that dinosaurs had feathers.

Chickens are thought to be the descendants of a class of dinosaurs called Maniraptorans, three-toed meat-eaters that walked upright, had shorter forearms, hollow bones and fused collarbones just like the birds wishbone.

Now all we need to work out is which came first, the chicken or the egg?


On a completely different note, there have been some changes around here as the website finally got a well needed revamp. I hope you like the new look, let me know what you think!

Walking on Ooblecks – add it to your bucket list

Walking on Ooblecks – add it to your bucket list

What do you get when you mix cornflour and water together? Those of you that are regulars to this blog will know by  now that you get a Non-Newtonian fluid… commonly called Ooblecks.

Cad a fhaigheann tú nuair a mheascann tú gránphlúr agus uisce le chéile? Má leanann tú an blog seo go rialta, tuigfidh tú go bhfaigheann tú sreabhán neamh-Niútanach nó ‘Ooblecks’.

What is a Non-Newtonian fluid? Well we know that most matter is either a solid, a liquid or a gas, but a Non-Newtonian fluid breaks the rules a little. Sometimes it acts like a liquid and sometimes it acts like a solid, and that can make for a LOT of fun!

Cad atá i gceist le sreabhán neamh-Niútanach? Bhuel,  tá a fhios againn go bhfuil an chuid is mó d’ábhar ina soladach, leacht nó gás ach briseann sreabhán neamh-Niútanach na rialacha beagán. Uaireannta gníomhaíonn sé mar leacht agus uaireannta eile, mar sholadach. Is féidir an-spraoi a bheith agat leis, dá bharr sin! 

If it is that much fun, why not make a huge vat of it, right? An interesting theory and one that we just had to try! Thankfully everyone over at Meangadh Fibín felt the same way. They are currently filming a fantastic new science series, for children, to be aired in 2016 on Cúla 4, TG4. The series, called Is Eolaí mé (I am a scientist) is all about exploring the curiosity of science; the what ifs? the whys? and the hows? Best of all it is full of great experiments and a real hands-on approach to science.That brings us back to the subject of ooblecks… what can you do with a huge vat of the stuff? A LOT!

Má tá an méid sin spraoi le baint as, nach mbeadh dabhach mór dhe do-chreidte spraoiúil?! Bhí orainn triail a bhaint as agus bhí gach éinne i Meangadh Fibín den tuairim céanna. Tá siad i lár scanánaíocht don sraith teilifíse eolaíochta nua do pháistí, a chraolfar i 2016 ar Cúla4 ar TG4. Is Eolaí Mé is ainm don chlár a fhiosraíonn ceisteanna móra na heolaíochta; cad má? cén fáth? conas? Tá sé lán le trialacha eolaíochta iontacha agus tá cur chuige teagmhálach aige freisin. Tógann sé sin ar ais ag Ooblecks muid… cad is féidir a dhéanamh le dabhach mór de stuif? NEART!

On Friday, in the small hours of the morning, one tonne of cornflour was mixed with a fair amount of water… using a cement mixer and a lot of time and patience.

I lár na hoíche ar an Aoine, meascadh tonna gránphlúr le méid suntasach uisce… ag úsáid meascthóir stroighne, an-chuid ama agus foighne.



The result was a trough full of Ooblecks… one metre wide, three and a half metres long and 38 cm deep.

An toradh a bhí ann ná dabhach lán le Ooblecks… méadar leathan, trí go leith méadar ar fhaid agus 38cm domhain.



Two diligent young scientists carried out some quality control testing before the crowd arrived. The crowd in question was a few hundred bemused students at Colaiste Lurgan, Inveran.

Bhí beirt eolaí óga díograiseach ann le rialú caighdeán a chur air roimh a thánaig an slua – cúpla céad macléin mearbhallach ó Choláiste Lurgan, Indreabhán.



Once we got the nod from the young science team it was time to for the fun to begin. Peadar, the shows main presenter, had a test run…

Chomh luath is a raibh an nod ón fhoireann eolaíochta óg, bhí sé in am don spraoi tosnú! Bhí rith tástála ag Peadar, atá mar láithreoir ar an gclár…



Then there was ballet, juggling, limbo, hurling and a lot more besides… all on top of the Ooblecks.

Ansin bhí ballet, lámhchleasaíocht, limbo, iománaíocht agus neart eile leis… uilig ar bharr an Ooblecks.



It wasn’t long before everyone wanted a go!

Ní fada go raibh gach éinne ag lorg deis triail a bhaint as!



As far as we are aware, this is the first time anything like this has been attempted in Ireland; it certainly caught the attention of local media and made the day’s news (Nuacht) on TG4, take a look! (It is at the 10 minute point.)

Chomh fada is atá a fhios againn, ‘sé an chéad uair gur baineadh triail as seo in Eirinn; agus tharraing sé aird na meáin áitiúla freisin – gliogáil ar (Nuacht) TG4 le tuilleadh a fheiceáil. (Ar an marc 10 nóiméad.)

It was a fantastic day with lots of surprises… if you don’t have “walking on ooblecks” on your bucket list then I strongly suggest you add it! I can now tick that box!

Lá iontach a bhí ann le an-chuid iontais… agus muna bhfuil ‘siúil ar ooblecks’ curtha le liosta do mhianta mholfainn duit é a chur leis! Is féidir liomsa tic a chur sa bhosca sin anois!



So what happens if you do sink into that much Ooblecks? You’ll have to watch the programme to find out! Is Eolaí Mé will air in early 2016.

So, cad a tharlaíonn nuair a siúlann tú ar Ooblecks? Beidh ort breathnú ar an gclár le fáil amach. Craolfar Is Eolaí Mé go luath i 2016.

Want the science bit? Ooblecks is what we call a Non Newtonian Fluid… meaning that it does not follow the laws of Newtonian Physics.  When left to rest it looks just like a regular liquid.  However when disturbed by strong hitting, shaking or pulling it acts more like a solid.  It is a phenomenon worth studying and although still a bit of an enigma, scientists think that the material normally acts as a liquid but can produce a sudden, local reaction to rapid impact and stress, reinforcing the area and briefly solidifying the suspension.

Ar mhaith leat an eolaíocht taobh thiar de idir an dá linn? Is  sreabhán neamh-Niútanach é Ooblecks, rud a chialaíonn nach leanann sé rialacha Fisic Niútanach. Nuair a fágtar socar é tá cuma leachtach air. Ach, nuair a suaithtear é tríd é a chraitheadh, a bhuaileadh nó é a tharraingt, gníomhaíonn sé cosúil le soladach. Is feiniméin é gur fiú a staidéar agus cé nach bhfuil tuiscint iomlán air, ceapann eolaíthe go gníomhaíonn an ábhar cosúil le leacht de gnáth – ach gur féidir leis frithghníomhú tobann, logánta a chothú i gcoinne brú agus imbhualadh gasta. Treisíonn sé seo an ceantar agus cothaíonn sé fuaidreán soladach gairid san ábhar.

Ooblecks takes it’s name from the green slime that fell from the skies in the Dr Seuss book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck“.

Tagann an ainm Ooblecks ón sláthach glas a thit ón spéir sa leabhar “Bartholomew and the Oobleck” le Dr. Seuss.


A huge thanks to the lovely Sadhbh over at Where Wishes Come From for translating this blog post for me. There seems to be no end to that lady’s talents!