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We met up with Brian when we were in LA, he's happy and doing really well on his own

MYSELF and the boys are just back from LA, where we spent 10 days recording our new album, so I'm just about back on Irish time now.

This week was spent sleeping and catching up with our families, as we hadn't seen them in almost fortnight.

We've also been putting some finishing touches to the record before going over to London next week to complete it in the studio.

We're working with an amazing American producer called John Shanks, who has worked with everyone from Take That to Bon Jovi to Celine Dion, so it was he who invited us over to the States to stay with him.

He has a studio in his house, which is in Hollywood, so we had a ball. Basically, when one of us was in the studio working with him on vocals, the other three would be outside playing tennis or swimming in his pool.

We had a doubles tennis match one day. It was Mark and I versus Shane and Kian and I'm happy to report that we won. We're all quite competitive, so it was a nice victory.

We also met up with our former bandmate Brian McFadden while we were over there and went for a nice dinner to Nobu, which is owned by Eva Longoria. It was great to catch up, but that's all it was.

He's happy where he is and doing very well on his own.

We also went out in Hollywood a couple of times over there. It's a great place, although I don't think it's somewhere you'd want to live full-time.

Jedward were over there as well. They actually landed the day we left, so we didn't really get to see them.

Mark met up with them briefly just before we flew out and they were as hyper and full of energy as ever.

It's quite an achievement that they're still doing so well a year later after appearing on the X Factor. They're made for television though.

We all thought their show, Jedward Let Loose, was very funny. There are lots of rumours that we're going to be appearing on the X Factor again this year. I can't say too much about it yet, other than watch this space.

I've been hearing a lot about the Dublin contestant Mary Byrne, and while I haven't seen too many episodes yet, with being away, I think she could do very well.

Louis seems to be pretty fond of her. Mark thinks she has a fantastic voice and the other guys all seem to think a lot of her as well. It would be nice to see someone from Ireland go far on it.

People always ask us if we're worried about extra competition in the industry thanks to the success of bands like JLS, who came from the X Factor, but as far as we're concerned, there's plenty of room for everyone.

After 12 years together we're still going strong and don't feel the need to be threatened by up-and-coming groups. It's the same thing with Kian and Louis' new band Wonderland, there's plenty of room for them in the mix and we're all really hoping that they will be a big success.

They're having their official media launch next Tuesday night and there seems to be a lot of interest in it. There are quite a few journalists from the UK coming over for it.

All is going well with Jodi and Kian working together, he says there's been no major disagreements yet.

I actually had a taste of working alongside, or more so supporting, my own wife Georgina a couple of weeks ago, when she agreed to launch a new website, irishprematurebabies.com.





SPOTLIGHT

Georgina wouldn't be a big fan of putting herself in the spotlight usually, but this was a cause very close to both our hearts.

Our own twin boys, Rocco and Jay, were premature and naturally it was quite a difficult and worrying time for us.

It's great to see this site being launched and it will no doubt be a great source of information and support for any new parents who find themselves in the same situation.

The boys are three and a half now and they're great. There are plans for more some day, but not yet. We're very happy with our little family.

It's been great spending so much time at home with them over the summer and I always love when we get back from a tour or something like that and seeing how much they've grown.

They were watching us on TV last night when we performed at the Guinness Storehouse as part of the Arthur's Day celebrations.

Myself and Shane, Mark and Kian all think it's a fantastic idea and we were so excited when we were approached about taking part this year.

I remember last year I was sitting at home watching Ronan Keating and Cat Deely presenting and great artists like Tom Jones performing.

It really is an honour to be invited to be part of it. There are so many great acts involved, from the Script to Snow Patrol, so it was a nice opportunity for us to catch up with everyone as well.

Naturally there was a pint or two of Guinness had as well, but nothing over the top. That's not the idea of the day. It's about bringing all these brilliant bands together and celebrating part of our Irish history.

After the gig at the Storehouse, we had another secret gig in The Bank pub on Dame Street. For us that was probably even more exciting, as it was more like a jam than a concert and it was all top secret.

We weren't allowed tell anyone where we would be performing in the lead up to it, which was quite difficult as we spent most of the day leading up to the celebrations doing media interviews.

The plan for today is definitely to chill and recover after yesterday's excitement. We'll all be doing our own thing with our respective families and partners before we leave for London next week.


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