My husband likes Morrissey, I prefer Britney, so how come we live in harmony?
Every marriage is an exercise in extreme compromise. Even the strongest couple requires give and take in order to make each other's lives, interests and hobbies fit together with as little friction as possible. No two people have identical tastes, of course, but others take it to extremes, to the point you wonder how they ever ended up together.
I got to thinking about this when clearing out a mish-mash of old CDs as we pack up to move house. I always knew we had opposite tastes, but to have the job of sifting through hundreds of artists and titles that had been shoved in the bottom of a cupboard really brought it home.
Let's get one thing out of the way first. I have terrible taste in music, but I am not in any way ashamed of that. I am very open in my love of all things cheesy, pop and disco-dancey. I know Britney Spears is not cool, I would never argue otherwise, but nor would I ever hide the fact that I own all of her albums.
I'm so uncool, if there's a band that I've never heard of, or that pumps out music I hate, I suggest they should take that as a huge compliment.
My husband, on the other hand, has what many people would consider better taste in music - but that I find bores me to death.
So what strange marriages were hanging out in the bottom of the cupboard? Well, there was S Club 7 cuddled up to Morrissey, the Spice Girls making out with The Jam and the Stone Roses nestled in beside Girls Aloud.
There was also the Breeders, Paul Weller, Take That, Beyonce, the Charlatans, the Manics Street Preachers, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Nick Drake, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Buble, Blur, Abba, the Corrs, the Bee Gees, The Smiths and the soundtracks to every West End musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Even I had the grace to be embarrassed when The Best of Ricky Martin emerged from the back.
He appeared to have been ostracised along with a CD called Terry Wogan Reads the Janet and John Stories, which we are both strongly denying all knowledge and ownership of.
The eclectic collection reminded me of the time my husband managed to talk me into going to a Morrissey concert at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, in spite of my long-held disdain for the Mancunian and his miserable music.
The pay-off was that Chris would accompany me to see Britney Spears playing in Dublin a few months later, which he dutifully did, in spite of it being far more than any wife should ever ask of a husband.
While he was there in body, his spirit wasn't quite dancing along to Hit Me Baby One More Time. He disappeared after about 15 minutes and I later found him propping up a bar at the back of the concert venue, getting some work done on his Blackberry.
There is just one case of overlapping in our music collection - REM. The American rock band are the one and only compromise we can find on music. We are both massive fans and count seeing them at Slane in 1995 as among the best days of our lives.
As a result, we came to marriage with an extensive double back catalogue of all their albums (including some cassettes!) and have insisted on keeping the two copies of everything.
If music be the food of love, then thanks to REM for giving us hope. And thanks to Ricky Martin for getting thrown in the bin as collateral damage of marital compromise. Everybody hurts sometimes, Ricky.
Extreme, weather we like it or not...
Batten down the hatches. The weather is taking its "four seasons in one day" reputation to extremes this week.
No sooner had I packed away all the winter woolies than it was time to dig them back out as we got battered by bitter winds, hailstorms, sleet, snow and flash thunderstorms.
Yet, it's nearly May, so you still have to be prepared for the rare blasts of sunshine.
The greatest illustration of the unpredictability of our weather can be found in my daughter's schoolbag, which this week is packed with a winter hat, scarf, gloves, a spare fleece, a bottle of suncream, a sun hat, a bottle of water and shorts.
Only in Norn Iron.
Life's a beach for this bikini model
Are you beach body ready? What a dangerous question, as the bosses of a weight-loss brand have discovered after launching a controversial new poster with a bikini-wearing model.
Tens of thousands of women have been left incensed by the high-profile campaign, which has been accused of promoting negative body issues and the notion that only women with model-like figures should be showing it off. Can I add to the protestors by also complaining about the assumption that all beaches are in the Bahamas?
What if your favourite beach is battered by a fierce Atlantic, even on a calm day, and no matter what shape, or size, you'd look ridiculous in a tiny yellow bikini while your skin turns blue and your teeth chatter?