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X Factor past winners, where are they now and who were the real winners

If you are as “psyched” about x factor as we are here in (not really!!!!) you will be getting excited as we get towards the end of the 2014 edition. Despite claiming the coveted title of X Factor winner, not all of the ten named made it big, but some of those who missed out on the top spot have seen real success, so who were the real winners in the X Factor?

Series 1 – 2004

Steve Brookstein was the first winner of the competition in 2004 and his debut single went straight to number one in the charts.However Brookstein was dropped by his record label just eight months later and now performs aboard P&O cruise ships and in pubs.

Series 2 – 2005

Shayne Ward won the competition in 2005 and released two relatively successful albums. After his third album failed to take off, Ward was dropped by Syco. Shayne continues to write songs and gig and recently recorded a version of Galway Girl with Irish folk duo Foster and Allen.

The real winner – Welsh-born Chico Slimani became a hit after reaching the quarter finals but despite not making to the end of the competition Chico has had a successful singing and presenting career.

Series 3 – 2006

Leona Lewis has sold over 20 million records worldwide and has been nominated for seven Brit Awards and three time Grammys. Her first two albums reached number one in the UK charts, with her third reaching number 3. She is still signed to Simon Cowell’s Syco label and has just released her fourth album Christmas, “With Love” which is at number 13 in the UK charts.

Series 4 – 2007

Leon Jackson – Scottish-born Jackson beat Welsh singer Rhydian to the title in 2007 but was swiftly dropped by the record company after just one album.

Series 5 – 2008

Alexandra Burke first auditioned for the second series of The X Factor in 2005 (which was eventually won by Shayne Ward). She made it through to the final seven in Louis Walsh’s 16–24 category, but Louis did not choose her for his final four as he felt that she was too young for the competition. Over the following three years Alexandra worked on her singing before returning to the X Factor. Her version of Leonard Cohen’s Halleujah was the Christmas number one of 2008. She is now working on her third album and is still signed to Syco.

The real winners – After making it to the final in 2008 “JLS” lost out to Alexandra Burke, but were signed to Epic Records. As well as winning BRIT Awards for Best British Breakthrough and British Single in 2010 they have won a total of five MOBO Awards. In April it was announced that the band were to split after their fifth album and tour

Series 6 – 2009

Joe McElderry – In a similar journey to Alexandra Burke before him Joe McElderry took two runs to make it on the X Factor. He made it to Boot Camp in 2007, but felt he was too young opted to walk away. He returned in 2009 and was mentored by Cheryl Cole and made it to the final beating Olly Murs to the title. His duet with Carrie Underwood was nominated for a Golden Globe after it featured on the film The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. He parted ways with Syco in 2011. He continues to write and release music and toured the UK in the summer and is planning a 50 date UK tour in 2014.

The real winners – Olly Murs made it to the final but lost the title to Joe McElderry in 2009, however he signed a joint deal with Syco and Epic Records. He has released three albums, the first reached number two, while his latest two both got the top spot.

Stacey Solomon was just behind Olly Murs in third place and has also managed to carve out a showbiz career. She was crowned queen of the jungle the year after her X Factor appearance and has been a presenter and talk show guest since her rise to fame.Stacey is currently appearing in panto in London and is due to release her debut album next year.

Series 7 – 2010

Matt Cardle beat off competition from Rebecca Ferguson and One Direction.

The real winners – While Cardle’s career has stalled, One Direction have done ok!!!!! Rebecca Ferguson signed a record deal after coming second, her debut album Heaven went platinum in the UK, Ireland and the US. Rebecca has just released her latest album Freedom. Cher Lloyd came fourth in 2010, having already auditioned for the X Factor singing ballads, when she returned she had an edgier look and sound. Since the X Factor Cher has been concentrating her career in the US and is working on her second album. So a lot of talent in 2010????????

Series 8 – 2011

Little Mix became the first ever band to win the show. Their winner’s single Cannonball became the fastest selling single of 2011. In June 2013 the band’s album, DNA, became the highest debut ever for a British female group’s first album, entering at Number 4 and eclipsing a sixteen-year-old record previously held by the Spice Girls Spice album. In 2014 they embark on their biggest UK tour, with dates including London’s O2 Arena.

Series 9 – 2012

James Arthur – Last month James Arthur was diagnosed with “acute exhaustion” and cancelled all engagements while he recovers – just days after being embroiled in a homophobia row. The singer ended up apologising for his language after he used the word “queer” in rap which drew criticism from figures such as Matt Lucas. He was also involved in a row with fellow X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan after she posted text messages online which he had sent to her. His self-titled first album was released on 1st November.

The real winner was Rylan Clark, who despite placing fifth place has become a successful television personality, appearing on Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Juice and This Morning.

Series 10 – 2013


Sam Bailey triumphed over teenager Nicholas McDonald to be named the 2013 X Factor winner.Bailey, a 36-year-old mother of two, has won a recording contract and will support American pop superstar Beyonce on the UK leg of her Mrs Carter world tour in February. The clear favourite before the announcement, Bailey said in front of 10,000 fans at the live final at Wembley Arena that she did not know what to say after being told she had received over a million votes.

5 Tips for a heatlhier life

I am not suggesting that our followers are unhealthy, but I really like these five simple tips from and Dr Elva Dalton, GP in Stillorgan Medical Center. Common sense, but as the saying goes, it’s not always so common.

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight: Obesity raises blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke and many cancers. It also worsens asthma symptoms and increases joint problems such as osteoarthritis. A healthy diet consists of lots of fruit and vegetables, chicken and fish, brown carbohydrates and not too much refined sugar, fat, red meat and alcohol.


  1. Aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day: Exercise reduces blood pressure and lowers blood sugar, thereby cutting cardiac and stroke risks. It also makes you feel good by releasing happy endorphins reducing the incidence of anxiety and depression by 40 per cent. The leading cause of sick leave is stress and mental health problems.


  1. Maintain core strength and flexibility: The number two cause of sick leave is back pain, most of which results from weak core muscles and tight hips caused by a sedentary life. You can improve these with by doing Pilates, yoga, tai chi, or just by practicing a third world squat for two minutes every day.


  1. Expose skin to sunlight for 15 minutes / day between April and October. To have an adequate store of vitamin D in northern hemisphere countries we must stock up in summer. Taking care not to burn, be sure to get your 15 minutes of sunshine without sunscreen in the morning or the evening. Vitamin D is necessary for strong bone to prevent the onset of osteoporosis. There is now some evidence that it improves immune system functions, decreases the risk of cancer as well as heart disease and MS, and may improve mood.


  1. Don’t smoke: By not smoking you’re cutting the risk of various illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and cancer- the top three killers in Ireland- by 50 percent.

Seven of the Worst RTE programmes

With the return of Love/Hate to our screens as of one of RTEs best home produced programmes, we take a look back at some of the less successful ones. Perhaps I am showing my age a bit, but do you remember any of these 7 “Classics”?


Calor Housewife Of The Year Gay Byrne hosted this annual ‘Lovely Girls’ triathlon for the mature Irishwoman. The finalists’ first task was to rustle up a meal. That done, they were given a dab of make-up and wheeled back out to tell how they trapped their man. Having established their desirability in the kitchen and the bedroom, they closed with a party piece that might be a song, or a jig, or a poem in Irish.

In the ’90s, the contest was dropped amid complaints that too many women working outside the home were taking part. The morning after what turned out to be the final show, a caller phoned RTE to protest that most of the finalists “would never get down on their knees to scrub the floor again”.

Leave It To Mrs O’Brien Twenty years after it ended, this dismal sitcom about two priests and their housekeeper (originally entitled The Good, The Bad & The Clergy) remains a by-word for plodding ineptitude. Mrs O’Brien was played by Anna Manahan, but RTE didn’t see the need to use a professional writer, and series one was scripted by a Dublin housewife. She was jilted for series two, with Montrose promising “more character depth” and “more reality”. Instead, they brought in plots involving mysterious sacks of swag and showbiz intrigues.

One TV critic wanted those responsible “thrown on the dole and given lousy references”. The makers finally raised a belly-laugh with the hilarious defence that their target audience were kids and oldies, and that it was RTE’s public service remit to satisfy the low expectations of these undemanding viewers.

Play The Game In any other country, Play The Game would have been scheduled in mid-morning to find its target audience of students, alcoholics and nursing home inmates. In Ireland, this charades-based charade ran as prime-time entertainment several times weekly for 10 years. The format involved Derek Davis, Ronan Collins, Twink, two sofas and a procession of ‘special guests’ who were so low-profile that carpet burns were an occupational hazard.

Upwardly Mobile This series about a “skanger” family that win the lotto and move in beside snooty neighbours, took a classic sitcom set-up and bludgeoned it to death. Joe Savino played the male lead, while Hilary Fannin was the female star. The theme song originally went: “‘So it’s goodbye to old J Arthur, and it’s hello to fine Chablis”. This was changed when RTE discovered that the J Arthur in question was not Guinness, but movie mogul J Arthur Rank. J Arthur is rhyming slang for something rude that sounds like Rank. That was as funny as this got.

Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M/Winning Streak In 1984, computers were poised to take over the world and RTE responded with a gimmicky quiz show, featuring lots of whirring sounds and flashing lights. Host Mike Murphy wore a space suit and greeted each special effect with an awestruck gasp of “Gawd, would you look at that”. He later admitted he hadn’t a clue what a ‘Quiz-M’ is.

Mike moved to Winning Streak, which makes Micro Quiz-M look like Mastermind. The Lottery-funded Winning Streak cannot involve any element of knowledge or skill and relies entirely on the “Aw! Jaysus factor”. An RTE source revealed: “Viewers love to see people win money. It makes them go ‘Aw! Jaysus’.”

Ryantown This dog’s dinner was the low-point of Gerry Ryan’s TV career which had never hit the heights. Gerry had a dog and it was disobedient. That was the show’s main running gag. Someone from Fair City would drop in and casually start cooking spaghetti bolognese. Brenda Donoghue would doorstep householders with a roving camera and there was an identity parade called Who’s Married To Who?. Ryan later admitted it was all horribly “half-baked” and “should have been taken off the air after a few shows”.

The Lyrics Board The Japanese devised a show called Endurance where a panel of volunteers suffer cruel tortures to entertain viewers at home. Giving this formula an ingenious twist, the Irish invented a show where a panel of volunteers entertain themselves by inflicting cruel tortures on viewers at home.

The Lyrics Board is stunningly simple. You just need two pianos and two panels of people who may or may not be able to sing, but who are willing to belt out songs they may or may not know in front of a demented audience. It’s every bit as good as it sounds and, to prove the point, it’s been franchised out to 21 countries.

2014 Ryder Cup – 26 to 28 Sep at The Belfry, Scotland

If you are sport mad like us here at, you are no doubt looking forward to the Ryder Cup which tees off this Friday at the Belfry. In order to whet your appetite, here are 10 interesting facts about the history of the Ryder Cup;

10 Interesting Ryder Cup Facts

  1. The official Ryder Cup trophy was introduced in 1927, for the first ever Ryder Cup match with resulted in USA beating Great Britain 9 ½ – 2 ½.
  2. In the unfortunate event of an injury to a player from either team, both captains keep the name of one team member in a sealed envelope. The chosen man will then withdraw from the singles if either of the teams is unable to find 12 players. Each team will then be awarded half a point each.
  3. Between the years of 1935 and 1985, a 50 year period, The Europeans were only victorious once; this was in 1957 after a dramatic final hole. This impressive run did coincide with the Second World War, which led to the competition being abandoned for 10 years.
  4. Sir Nick Faldo has won more Ryder Cup matches than any other golfer; his overall record stands at 23 victories.
  5. Captain’s picks were introduced in 1979, and since then it’s been Europe who have benefitted the most, winning 52 percent of their matches involving captain picks.
  6. The oldest player to feature in the Ryder Cup was Raymond Floyd at 51 years of age.
  7. The youngest player to feature in the Ryder Cup was Sergio Garcia at 19 years of age.
  8. Colin Montgomery has the record for highest overall points in singles history with six wins and two halves.
  9. Justin Leonard’s famous 1999 putt to take a half against Jose Maria Olazabal was 45 yards long.
  10. With 11 Ryder Cup competitions under his belt, Nick Faldo has appeared in more Ryder Cup competitions that any other golfer.

4 ideas to make childrens homework bearable, if not even fun!

I can’t believe that some kids are three weeks back to school already. The evenings have already started to get shorter and cooler and the old dreaded homework may also be starting to cause problems. In our latest blog feature, we look at four short methods that might make homework fun for your kids and if not quite fun, these ideas should at least make the whole homework issue easier on both kids and parents. Again, your feedback is more that welcome and if you have any ideas for future coolbaby blog topics, please let me know. I would like to thank for some ideas on this topic.

1. Give Rewards

Create a reward system for homework assignments. You can reward your child with one hour of TV time or PSP game time after homework is done. Food is not good compensation; the association of food with reward will create a bad health habit. You can up the fun by giving bigger rewards to higher achievements. You can offer a trip to your child’s favorite park or take the family on a mini-excursion if an “A” is on the homework result.

The best reward is sometimes not games, or toys; sincere warm hugs are oftentimes the perfect incentive for a studious child. Be careful not to use praise too often; this might teach children to seek outside approval.

2. Eradicate Distractions

You can help your child focus by making the homework the most enjoyable activity available for that moment; hide things that compete with the attention of your kid. Cell phones, television, computer, PSPs and MP3 players must be turned off and out of sight. Let them appreciate these items as luxuries and not daily privileges.

3. Join Them in Their Homework

Surprise them once in a while by joining them at their study table. When they see that you are interested, they will think that it is “cool” for them to be involved with the subject too. In this situation, you will have the opportunity to monitor study habits and any improvements.

Don’t, however, overdo this practice. It is good to guide them in the areas that are difficult, but when you nag, children are choked as they try to meet your standards; that’s not a fun way to learn.

And my personal favorite…..

4. Instill Reading Values

The best way to encourage a homework-friendly life is to instill reading time as part of the family routine. Reading perks up the child’s interest for information. Reading opens up children’s hunger for learning; homework will not be enough of an outlet to quench this knowledge thirst. Reading will encourage a child to fulfill career dreams and is a driving force to make homework fun. Reading to your children also helps to improve vocabulary, which will make their homework assignments easier.

Parents need to communicate openly with children so they understand the value of the activity first. When children are treated as being capable and responsible, they will start to do it themselves without nagging (nagging tells them that it is your responsibility and not theirs).

A random 37 random facts about The English Premiership

To mark the start of The Premiership 2014/15 season, blog look at some random interesting facts from the history of the competition. I hope my research has been accurate, but congrats to anyone if they pick up on an error! 

  1. Sheffield Utd’s Brian Deane scored the first goal in the English Premiership history.
  2. No English manager has ever won the league title.  Seriously.
  3. English premiership started on 15th august 1992
  4. Ryan Giggs’ dad played rugby for Wales
  5. Since 94-95 season only Man Utd, City, Chelsea, Arsenal have won league
  6. Sir Alex Ferguson has won 12 premier league titles
  7. Sponsors: Carling 1993-2001, Barclay Card 2001-2004 and Barclays 2004 to now
  8. The first Sky television rights agreement was worth 304million over 5 years
  9. The highest scoring game was Man United 9-0 defeat of Ipswich in 94-95 season, Andy Cole scoring 5 times.
  10. Blackburn leads the red card charts with an amazing 75 red cards
  11. Chelsea lead yellow card charts with over 1200 bookings
  12. 2003-2004 Arsenal went the whole season unbeaten, thus earning the moniker “Invincibles”
  13. Alan Shearer leads scoring charts with 260 premiership goals
  14. Chelsea scored a whooping 103 goals in the 2009-10 title win
  15. Swindon let in 100goals in 1993-94 season
  16. Alan Shearer scored 11 premiership hat tricks
  17. Ledley King scored fastest goal after just 10seconds
  18. David Beckham scored that unreal halfway line goal against Wimbledon on the opening day of 1996-97 season
  19. Sunderland(05-06) and Derby(07-08) both only won one home game in a season
  20. The most consecutive wins was 10 by Arsenal (10 Feb 2002 to 24 Aug 2002)
  21. Derby went an amazing 32games without a win in 2007-08 season
  22. Highest attendance 76,398 Man Utd vs. Blackburn 2007
  23. Lowest attendance 3,039 Wimbledon vs. Everton 1993
  24. Most points in a season Chelsea with 95 points in 2004-05 season.
  25. Oldest goal scorer was Teddy Sheringham at 40 years and 268 days
  26. Most clean sheets 173 by David James
  27. Most red cards Patrick Viera,Duncan Ferguson and Richard Dunne with 8
  28. There wasn’t a single corner in the Chelsea vs. Wigan 21st Aug 2013
  29. Kevin Gillespie,Dave Kitson and Andreas Johansson were all sent off without touching the ball
  30. Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham are the only teams to compete in every Premiership season
  31. Eric Cantona scored the Premiership’s first hatrick playing for Leeds vs. Spurs
  32. The first televised Premiership goal was scored by Teddy Sheringham
  33. First keeper to score a goal was Peter Schmeichel in 2001 for Aston Villa
  34. The first player to reach 100 Premiership goals was Alan Shearer
  35. The first African player in Premiership was Peter Ndlovu for Coventry City in Aug 1992
  36. Man Utd won the first Premiership title with 84 points.
  37. Wayne Rooney is the ugliest Premiership player ever (just joking)

Post match reaction to Ireland Womens’ Rugby victory over New Zealand

Having decided to support the Irish Womens’ Rugby Team throughout their World Cup campaign, was delighted with their famous win on Tuesday in France. As a follow up to our pre-tournament blog from last week, we bring you some interesting post match reaction from both sides of the equator.

Joe Schmidt (Irish Mens Coach) who was present at the game, commenting on the following passage of play – Having missed an earlier penalty, Briggs went to the touchline on 12 minutes and from the ensuing wave of attacks Ireland were denied a pushover try when Rawinia Everitt dived on the ball illegally. It should have been a penalty try and a sin bin.

“That was the winning of the game, that’s when they realised they could win.”

Tommy Bowe What a win for the Irish ladies. Awesome performance and result!!

Lynne Cantwell (Irish Womens Rugby Team Centre) “The haka, we didn’t put too much emphasis on it. We just lined up and respected it but you could feel everyone getting closer and closer towards the end so we all came together in our circle afterwards and a collective, spontaneous burst of – not laughter – but ‘Oh my God this is happening.’ Then we put our hands in and said ‘Let’s go f**king mental!’ That was our team speech.”

Fiona Coghlan (Irish Womens Rugby Team Captain) “They’re the top of the world and that’s where we said we wanted to be. We’re not there yet – this is only step two of the process but we’re on the right track.”

The reaction from Down Under

@All Blacks (NZ official Twitter) Congratulations to the Irish Women, who have done what their men have never been able to do, defeat NZ in a Test match. #WRWC2014

New Zealand coach Brian Evans. “I was surprised that Ireland maintained their level of performance for the entire 80 minutes. Performance wise they are a good team. They work very hard and do what they need to do really, really well. You can only stand back and applaud them. We are gutted with our own performance but that’s for us to talk about.”

Headline on “New Zealand stunned by Ireland at the World Cup”. “Ireland’s big pack ripped into their work and scarcely let up for 80 minutes. It was a tribute to their organisation and set-piece ability, where they shunted the Black Ferns off the ball once and should have been awarded a penalty try on another”.

Assistant New Zealand coach Grant Hansen “This will test the resilience and character of the girls, because they don’t lose a lot.”

2014 Womens Rugby World Cup

Before the start of the Womens Rugby World Cup on this Friday, Coolbaby blog have a quick look at the tournament and we plan to keep you updated on the progress of the ladies! We would love if you would leave us some comments or suggestions to help us with our future posts.

Womens Rugby World Cup 2014

The 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup will take place in France from the 1st until the 17th of August with Ireland entering a strong squad. Ireland, as 2013 Six Nations Grand Slam winners are full of belief ahead of their Pool B fixtures against New Zealand, USA and Kazakhstan. They insist they can stand up to the mighty New Zealand but winning two out of three would more than likely see them through to the next stage.

The Irish women’s team comes into this tournament in very good form having won three of their five Six Nations games this year. The campaign will represent the final matches in charge for coach Philip Doyle, who announced that he will step down from his position after the tournament.

Brief History of the Tournament  

The pinnacle of the Women’s Game, the 2014 edition will be the seventh Women’s Rugby World Cup with the first having been held in the Welsh capital of Cardiff back in April 1991.

Twelve teams contested that first tournament in Cardiff from 6-14 April in hosts Wales, Canada, England, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, USA and the USSR.

England and USA booked their places in the inaugural with the women from North America getting their hands on the silverware with a 19-6 victory.

Three years later the teams converged on Edinburgh with Kazakhstan and Ireland making their first appearances on the Women’s Rugby World Cup stage.

The 1998 tournament, hosted in Amsterdam, was the first year to officially come under the auspices of the International Rugby Board and the competition has since gone on to be dominated by New Zealand and England.

Roll of Honour

1991 – Venue – Cardiff, Wales                      Final: USA 19-6 England

1994 – Venue – Edinburgh, Scotland            Final: England 38-23 USA

1998 – Venue – Amsterdam, Netherlands     Final: New Zealand 44-12 USA

2002 – Venue – Barcelona, Spain                  Final: New Zealand 19-9 England

2006 – Venue – Edmonton, Canada               Final: New Zealand 25-17 England

2010 – Venue – London, England                  Final: New Zealand 13-10 England


Irelands Pool Fixtures

Date                Time  

01 Aug 14       1700    USA                v          Ireland

05 Aug 14       1800    New Zealand   v          Ireland

09 Aug 14       1300    Ireland             v          Kazakhstan

Coolbaby Book Review – Cycling Autobiographies

Now that the Tour de France is in full swing Coolbaby Book Review takes a look at three very engaging but very different Cycling Autobiographies. We would love to hear what you think or if you have any other suggestions for book reviews.

Paul Kimmage - A Rough Ride

First published in 1990 and winner of William Hill book of the year, Paul Kimmages’ honest account of life at the back of the peloton broke the mould in cycling autobiographies. Kimmage was well before his time in lifting the lid on the doping epidemic within professional cycling. It is also a great insight into such a tough sport where you are expected to put all your effort into riding for your team leader. This is a great read and no surprise that he went on to become an excellent journalist.
CBR Rating: 9/10


Lance ArmstrongTen years later came this blockbuster from Lance Armstrong. This book deals more with his fight with cancer than his cycling exploits, however his victories in the Tour de France are well documented. For years this book was an inspiration to cancer sufferers and sports fans of all persuasions and again a fantastic read. We now know much more about how Lance really achieved his cycling victories and while his use of performance enhancing drugs wipe out all his achievements on the bike, I would still recommend this book as an engaging read, but I mark it down a little because of what we now know.

CBR Rating: 8/10

The Secret Race

Twenty two years after Kimmages’ ground breaking book, the truth about how performance enhancing drugs were so prevalent in professional cycling was revealed in graphic detail in this gripping autobiography, which surprised me considering this book details Hamiltons’ years of dope cheating. It is his candid honesty without offering an excuse that give this book its character and you cant help but have a warm feeling towards Hamilton. It is interesting to compare your opinion of these three cyclists, while Kimmage is head and shoulders ahead, I had good respect for Hamilton in the end. As for Lance…

CBR Rating: 9/10

All books available on

15 Fun ways to Entertain your Kids during the Summer Holidays

Now that the Summer Holidays are in full swing, here are some great ways to entertain you kids and have fun in the process.

  1. Play a sport in the back Garden.
  2. Create a fort in your living room out of blankets or cardboard boxes.
  3. Get up early, pack breakfast, and have a sunrise breakfast.
  4. Garden together and sow vegetables to use in your kitchen.
  5. Bake cookies (let the kids help).
  6. Go to the library. Check out online.
  7. Create a scrapbook (your kids might appreciate it in years to come).
  8. Make a movie using a camcorder and computer.
  9. Create a treasure hunt for them (leaving clues around the house or yard).
  10. Create a family book, with information and pictures about each family member.
  11. Fly kites. Ireland usually has good weather for it!
  12. Donate stuff to charity. Kids usually have too much stuff so help others by uncluttering the house.
  13. Take pictures of nature and get your kids to research them on-line.
  14. Make a comic book. Get your kids to come up with stories and sketch the sceens.
  15. And finally, a bold one!! Prank call their grandparents, using disguised, humorous voices