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What Not To Worry About #42

What Not To Worry About #42

Happy Friday friends! Things have been a little quiet in this wee corner of the internet the last week or so and I have really missed nestling down and sharing my thoughts with you lovely lot. I’ve been finding it really hard to focus recently and the things that bring me so much joy (like this blog) have fallen to the wayside which has left me feeling even more disconnected. I have learned over the years to not rush myself when I am feeling like this since it’s important to let myself feel the hurt no matter how difficult it may be.

I spoke about losing my sister before and with her anniversary falling on the 5th November, this is a time of year that I struggle with her absence the most. It tends to bring back a lot of memories of the time we lost her which was horrific for everyone who loved her but it also stirs up memories of our childhood together too which is as heartwarming as it is painful. Grief, although omnipresent, can be harder to bear on certain days and despite the fact that it’s been 7 years since she passed away, I am still blindsided by my yearning to have her near me again.

Unfortunately losing someones we love is one of life’s greatest and most cruel lessons. Some of us may be lucky enough to be spared this lesson until we are in our thirties or forties but losing someone at a young age is a life-changing experience. We are thrusted in to reality unprepared for what lies ahead with few emotional tools to help us succeed in managing our grief. However we are given something that most people stumble through life unknowingly searching for. Something that allows us to appreciate everything we have. Gratitude.

Now I know the word ‘gratitude’ can be thrown about a little too flippantly and is normally associated with meditative jargon but to be truly grateful every day is nothing to be sneered at. Losing someone we love teaches us that everything in this life is temporary, that every moment and every word spoken has more weight carried within it than most people can even imagine and that even when things feel rough, we are still grateful to be alive to experience even a drop of sadness. I am grateful every day to have had Amy in my life and that gratitude allows me to appreciate all those memories. After all, I’m the only person on this earth that got to be her big sister, how lucky does that make me???

And with that gratitude in mind, here are a few things I am not worrying about this week. What are you letting go of???

Missing out on dating – Ah the single life. I do miss it now and again; the thrill of being attracted to someone and not being sure where it’s going, that little buzz in your tummy when you’re messaging and don’t want to ever stop. Reading this article brought all the fuzzies back but it also shared some really great advice for anyone who is single and in need of some encouragement.

Having weird turn-ons – OK so when Andrew and I met, these were the weird things that attracted me to him:

  1. He would be just as enthusiastic about Bake Off as I was
  2. He smoked rolled cigarettes (he has since quite bless him and I wasn’t a smoker but there was something so damn sexy about watching him roll, I was a hypnotised mess).
  3. He got excited about seeing his niece and nephew
  4. He would read aloud ‘Today I Learned’ stories from his favourite website before we went to sleep (this was from Reddit of course, he is a nerd after all)
  5. He wore a plain white t-shirt with jeans (I may have some sort of James Dean complex)
  6. He would keep everything from our dates and trips away knowing that I loved to make scrapbooks
  7. He loved board games
  8. He understood things I could never wrap my head around and would patiently explain them to me (coding, stocks, actually saving money)

The reason I’m sharing is because I read this article the other day and learned that having a bizarre turn on isn’t actually all that bizarre. In fact most of us have one or two – you have one too, don’t you?

Running out of conversation – I love having friends over for dinner this time of year, when people prefer staying indoors cosied around a table and eating good food. Sometimes the conversation can run a bit stale which is why I loved reading this, full of tips to ensure a good hostess never has to experience that awkward silence.

Gift mind blanks – The festive season is approaching and I’m trying to be organised this year with my gifts so I avoid the last minute dash to the week before Christmas and over-spend in panic. I’m trying to curate my gift list and man is it hard to buy for some people (especially Dads/boyfriends) – is there anything you use to help inspire you for gift ideas? Please help a girl out here.

Not being able to write – I’ve been feeling low about not being able to write because my mind was full of so many other things. I need to go easy on myself during times like this because it never lasts too long. I am so happy to be back here again.

 

Have a lovely weekend folks!!

What Not To Worry About #24

What Not To Worry About #24

Morning all! My weekly post is a little late this week. I think the long weekend tricked me in to thinking I was on holidays for a wee second and now I feel like I’m still catching up! I hope you enjoyed the extra bit of weekend even though we had a major rainfest here. Not to worry though – I got treated to lunch by my Granny and dinner by my Dad so no room to complain! Diet schmiet!

 

Although the rain was a little deflating, it was comforting to spend some time with family after a pretty horrendous week. With more attacks in the UK, Syria, Afghanistan and the Philippines (to name a few), it seems that we are inundated with horrific images from the media on a daily basis. Although atrocities closer to home can ignite a stronger sense of shock across our society, it should not be ignored that ceaseless attacks by all sides are occurring globally and children are too often the victims of the crossfire. It’s a scary time. We don’t feel safe with the politicians we have on offer, the environment is in peril (with Trump on the brink of pulling the US out of the Paris climate deal as I write this) and Justin Bieber is showing no signs of fecking off.

 

In these moments it’s entirely natural to want to crawl under the covers, hug our knees to our chest and wonder what the point of it all is. Until we choose to look up again and be reminded of just how lovely this Earth can be. Like when we see on the news of how the homeless men went to the aid of the injured during the attacks in Manchester. Or when your Granny sends you a letter in the post. Or a conversation with a stranger that completely blind sides you so much that you smile like an eejit for the next hour. Or when your loved one drives you to pretty gardens just so you can take some photos (even though they having a stinking hangover).

 

There is so much kindness in this world. Kindness that obliterates the bad and the evil. And almost all of us have this capacity for joy so it’s more important than ever to emit it out in the world and let it touch all those around you. Make it a priority in your life because you will surely feel a little better about getting up in the mornings just knowing that you alone can create your own happiness.

 

And with that in mind, here’s a few things I am not going to worry about this week…

 

The new £1 coin

Where can I use it? Will vending machines swallow it up? Can I pay my parking with it?? Too many worries for one coin.

Slow Cashiers

I used to work a till so I understand that it ain’t the most fun job but for the love of Jaysus could you put the crap in the bag a little faster please? I have one item in my hand and I’m watching the two of yas jabbering on about the weather, “Sure isn’t it great to see”, ” Ach it is aye”, “Did you see the rain though?” “Ach I did surely, it was a complete washout. Sure I left me washin’ out on the line and everything! Had to wash it all over again!!” OMGGGGGGGG.

Children With No Manners

Not to sound like Granny Nora here but this really gripes me. We had a big group of kids visit our offices during the week and I was helping them out on team building exercises which was like trying to control a bunch of banana-crazed monkeys. When I asked the kids to help clean up afterwards, this one fella (about 10 I’d say) just paraded up to the to empty egg carton and booted it across the room and continued to boot everything else he came in to contact with. I didn’t tell him off (his teachers were next to him and didn’t bat an eyelid) but I gave him a quare look that stopped him in his tracks. It was at this moment that I realised I was truly an adult.

‘Strong and stable’ Puns

Enough with the Theresa May jokes – PLEASE! If I hear one more person refer to something as ‘strong and stable’ in a meeting I’m going to feckin’ scream!

Brawling Cats

Now that we’re in the summer and are subjected to the humidity of Louisiana, we have started sleeping with the window open. But this now means that we can hear the neighbourhood cats going mental at all hours. It’s like a mixture of a banshee wailing and a baby wailing which is probably the scariest wailing combination ever. A sound sleep this does not make.

 

And on that note, have a delightful week! xx

What Not To Worry About #22

What Not To Worry About #22

Happy Monday folks! So that’s the summer over eh? I woke up to the sound of rain this morning and I have to admit it was a little bit nice. Of course I’ll be wishing the sun back in a day or two but waking to the sound of rain pattering against the window isn’t a bad way to start the day and the week. Until I stepped outside to make a mad dash for the car, cursing myself that I always leave the umbrella in the feckin’ car.

 

Last weekend was a busy one, spent ceilidhing with friends and family as I performed my fortnightly whip-around Armagh. Although I’ve lived in Belfast for a few years now, most of my family and friends are still down in Armagh so I make the trek down the M1 as much as I can to avoid becoming known as the city snob – country folk can be cruel! It’s always a jammed weekend filled with countless cups of tea and biscuits but after living abroad for years I love being a short drive away from the folk that make my heart happy.

 

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I spoke in my last Instagram post about the concept of home and how transient the idea feels to me. As a child (is it weird to call yourself a child when you’re 28??) of parents who are no longer together and with no childhood home to return to, I often mourned the ‘home’ that I once knew. I used to feel a pang of jealousy when seeing friends return home for the holidays to the house they grew up in but why did I yearn for convention so much?

 

I decided that home doesn’t have to be built of bricks and mortar but can be found in relationships, experiences or even memories. Over the years I have created many homes for myself; in the student halls of Edinburgh living off potatoes and not much else,  in a hostel with my two best friends as we hilariously attempted to travel South East Asia, in the red dirt of Western Australia and in the ocean alongside it, on my sister’s couch watching trashy TV while we take turns cuddling her dog, playing Scrabble with Andrew in front of the fire on a winter’s night. And even after moving on I still left a part of myself in these places, with the people I chose as my family while I was there.

 

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And here I am, back within arm’s reach of the town I grew up in, frolicking in the orchards of my childhood (and getting pictures taken by photographer extraordinaire Rebecca) surrounded by the people I grew up with. This might be my home again for another while but just like the apple blossom that appears and disappears in a whisper, this too could be temporary. And that’s OK because a piece of me will always be here.

 

Here are a few more things I am choosing not to worry about this week…

 

Have a great week!

 

Crap Clothes Pegs

You know you’re getting old when you a sunny day delights you mostly because you can dry your clothes outside again. But why are clothes pegs the flimsiest things on the planet? I feel like Thor when they break at my very touch and then I have to fumble for another while I’m trying to keep the bedsheet up with one hand. You’d swear I was a Victorian housewife!

 

Junk Mail

I had an Avon rep come to my door to collect a catalogue she had dropped off and I had to confess that I’d thrown it in the recycling bin like an insolent child. She looked so hurt and I felt so ashamed that I’d thrown it out when I hadn’t even asked for it! This is why junk mail is the worst.

 

Duvets

We’re getting in to the warm nights where duvets become smothering devices and I have to hang one half of my body out of the bed to regulate my body temperature. It’s still too cold for just sheets so we have to live in this limbo until one of us chucks the duvet out the window in a sweaty hissy fit. I can’t wait for that.

 

Movie Nights

Andrew and I will settle ourselves in for a movie night once a week which I naively look forward to every time until I realise it takes us half a day to decide what to watch. We have bajillions of movies on the server waiting to be watched but we can never seem to pick one and furiously Google ‘best movies of all time’ for hours until we’re too tired to even watch anything. Couple joys!

 

Snooker

Who in their right mind can settle themselves in to watch that tripe on TV? Do you have to be male and over 45? It has got to be the most sinfully boring thing on this planet. In my own opinion of course.

 

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What Not To Worry About #19

What Not To Worry About #19

Hello Monday faces! I missed writing this post last week. It’s so therapeutic writing on a Sunday evening and planning what little worries I am choosing to let go of for the week ahead. Alas I was too busy enjoying my long Easter break and this week is the first 5 day week I’ve had in wee while – I’m trying not to be a little sad about it! Personally I think 4 day weeks are a good way to go but since I’m not my own boss (yet – one day!) I will have to accept that I am on the Monday-Friday hamster wheel and make sure weekends are always jammed with the good stuff.

 

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Last weekend was a special one after watching one of my best friends marry her person which is one of the strangest and most beautiful things to witness. I have been friends with Louise for 15 years and seeing her stand up at the altar in the dress we had all imagined since we were teenagers and saying the words we have all dreamed of saying was incredibly surreal. It doesn’t feel all that long ago that we were crying in toilets over boys or spending hours trying on each other’s clothes!

 

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The rest of the weekend was spent recovering in Armagh mostly beside a lit fire which in April feels like a real guilty pleasure. I fell asleep in the armchair and had to be shown to my bed like a sleep walking toddler and woke up not having a notion where I was. On Sunday afternoon I was fed by the Moffett’s and then fed again by the Donnelly’s in the evening like a touring grazer – Sundays are made for ceilidhing!

 

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My uncle has come home from Australia to help us celebrate Granny Una’s 90th birthday next weekend and his return has given the family plenty of excuses to get together. For such a big family it’s not easy to get us all under the same roof but we piled ourselves in to my Aunt’s house for a Chinese and Inidan (your typical Irish Sunday feed of course) and shouted over the top of one another while my poor Granny tried to make out the conversation. A couple of hours with the clan is enough to make my heart swell and we’re all clinging on to these special moments with Una because we know how lucky we are to still have her.

 

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This week I am starting out with a positive head despite how far Friday feels! Here are a few of the worries I am shedding…

 

Breaking Things

Much to Andrew’s continual dismay, I am renowned for breaking or losing things. The most recent damage is to my glasses which currently have one arm (or is it leg?). I’ve ordered a new pair but I’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking totally unprofessional in the office like I’m trying to start some sad new trend. I’m not I am just horrendous at replacing things!

Hackers

The joys of the modern era are the hackers/trolls/bullies we find all over the internet and I was lucky enough to be a victim of a Facebook hack a few weeks ago. Some lovely person decided to remove me as my blog page admin and despite trying to contact Facebook several times there was no happy outcome. I’ve had to create a new page all over again so if you’re reading this please share my page on Facey-B if you can so I can reach out to all my old followers. Hate to be a pest but I will promise to make you a cup of tea or at least send out some positive thoughts (don’t say I don’t spoil you).

Morning Routines

Brighter mornings has meant I am up earlier than usual but I’m not using the extra time as best I can. Instead I usually sit in a zombie-like state dribbling granola all over my PJ’s. I plan to start introducing some yoga stretches and a few minutes of meditation to wake me up a little better in the hope I might be a little more productive which leads me to my next worry…

Work To-Do Lists

Lately I’ve been a little unmotivated at work and the to-do list stares at me from my diary while I battle to get everything done. I plan to start managing my time much better in work so I don’t get the guilts when I leave a pile of stuff still to be done – no more jumping between a million tasks! Wish me luck.

Not Seeing the new Beauty & The Beast

How have I not seen it yet?! Someone please take me!!

 

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Wishing you lovely lot an even lovelier week!!

 

 

Things To Be Proud Of

Things To Be Proud Of

“That’s it for another year” is a phrase that is spoken by every person on this island once the Christmas festivities come to an end. I said it myself today as I slowly packed away our tree and decorations and sadly realised I won’t be seeing tinsel for at least 11 months – we need to find more opportunities for tinsel! It can also feel a little rushed when we’re frantically buzzing around trying to see all the relatives and friends we can so that when the moment does arrive where we can finally put our feet up and appreciate the music, decorations and festive tipples, it flashes by us and we’re left wondering where the days have gone.

 

I’m back to work tomorrow and although I have thoroughly thrown myself in to life as a lady of leisure (I made soup AND brownies today!), I’m a creature of habit and miss the routine of a working week albeit not really the working bit. However, what the last few days of doing pretty much nothing has enabled me to do is to reflect on the year that has passed me. A New Year brings half-assed resolutions which some of us (me) will never keep and make us (me) feel like failures by February. While it is a healthy thing to look ahead and give ourselves goals which will give us the motivation to get through the rest of winter, I like to take a moment to look at the things I’ve already achieved before I’ve decided it’s not enough.

 

This year saw a fair bit of change for me. Andrew and I moved in to our first home together which I love and after years of living abroad, I finally feel settled and happy in Ireland. I also got a new job working for a big finance institution which again was so far removed from what I was used to but an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up. In between these changes, I’ve also had up’s and down’s – skiing the French Alps, a hospital admission, friends getting engaged, family loss, seeing Copenhagen with my little sister. There have been days when I have felt lost and alone and there have been days when I have felt so much joy I could burst. The dark days can feel unbearable but it’s having the ability to push through them in the knowledge that it’s all temporary. As the wondrous Leonard Cohen wrote,

 

“There is a crack in everything, 

That’s how the light gets in”

Yes, 2016 was a year of changes and no doubt 2017 will have a few more in store for me but I want to take a second to give myself a pat on the back for a few things. Things that have scared me but instead of shying away from them, I have relished in the challenge. Here are a few of my own for this year…

The Blog

An obvious one! But the one that stands out from everything. Writing a few posts a month has taken a lot of dedication but above all bravery because there is no scarier thing than sharing your words with others. It wasn’t so much the judgement of strangers I was most afraid of but those of the people who knew me which is why it took me so long to share the blog on Facebook. How wrong I was because when I did decide to share the blog with friends and family, I got the most amazing feedback! What I thought was just rambling nonsense was in fact an important message for some people and while I still don’t see myself as a writer by any means, I do have so much more confidence in what I’m trying to say. It has also led me to other bloggers from NI who I greatly admire and have been able to take so much inspiration from. I will be blogging away in 2017 but 2016 will be the year I laid my heart bare and I will always be hugely proud of that.

 

New Industry

I have a degree in Ecological Science so a career in a financial institution is not exactly where I saw myself going so when I interviewed for the job and walked through the sleek offices and past the people in suits, I felt a little like a sell out to say the least. However, in this part of the world there are few places where you can climb the career ladder while learning a vast set of skills so I felt it was an important move. Nearly 6 months later I still feel like I’m getting to grips with the corporate scene but massively grateful for the benefits it’s given me. I’m now volunteering weekly at a local school, taking part in mindfulness classes on lunches and yoga classes after work – I have the whole work life balance down! It wasn’t all easy for me but I’m proud I took the leap of faith because it’s introduced me to a pretty great career.

 

Health

Getting older with CF is a little scary to say the least so fitness is not an important but a necessary part of my life. I was hospitalised in June for the first time in three and a half years and although that was a great achievement to have been out of hospital for so long, I found it very difficult to be away from Andrew. I promised myself that I would concentrate more on health and less on trying to pretend that I’m just like everyone else because as frustrating as it can be, I’m not. Luckily my good buddy Gareth opened a gym in Belfast a few months ago and he took me under his pumped up wing and flung me in to PT sessions. I am by no means a natural gym-goer so it took me a few weeks to get used to the shame of not being able to lift the teeniest of weights but after a while I started to see some changes. Not just in my muscles (hello back muscle I never knew existed!!) but also in my lung functions which stayed in the high 70’s most of the year – woop woop! Just call me Arnie guys.

 

Skiing

We went skiing in January which was my second time on the slopes (the first being 12 years ago!) so needless to say I was bricking it when I put on the skis. I hadn’t realised what I was doing until we hopped off the gondola and were clipping our boots in place while staring down the most beautiful mountain I’d ever been on. What the feck was I doing?! I should’ve booked lessons!! Off I went with my knees quaking and pretending to Andrew that I was grand and telling him to go on ahead when in actual fact I was wondering how to get back on the gondola again. I carried on though and after a few hairy moments I remembered how much fun it was and how amazing it felt to glide through scenes that were straight from a post card. On the fourth day I even braved a black slope with Andrew and his friend Simon which was basically a glass bottle. I was terrified and amazed I managed it but I felt like a champion so for that I am proud.

 

Creativity

Now I know the blog sort of falls under creativity but writing aside, I’ve also been taking the last year to flex my creativity muscles which, like my back muscles, I didn’t really know existed! I’ve always been interested in making homemade products and my Pinterest is clogged with ideas so eventually I pushed myself in to making a few candles. Once I realised how easy it all was I branched out in to soap, lipbalm, exfoliants, body butter and next thing I know I’m drowning in essential oils! I decided to hand out a few in Christmas hampers this year and they went down a treat so I now know what everyone will be getting for birthdays this year!

 

So those are a few of the things that have made me chuffed to be me this year. I will be making a few intentions for the year ahead but looking back on the past year has allowed me to appreciate the little things I have achieved and knowing what I can do differently.

 

Please let me know what you’re proud of doing in 2016 and the accomplishments (little or small!) you’ll be taking in to the New Year! Let’s bring as much positivity in to 2017 as we can!

What Not To Worry About #8

What Not To Worry About #8

Yesterday (Sunday) I woke up to the first frost of the winter. I was up a little earlier than the rest of the house and went outside for a wee moment to myself. I walked around our back garden listening to the crunchy grass beneath me and smiled as my breath hung in the air. Crisp mornings like these with the sun still lazily rising in to the sky allow me to appreciate the harshness of winter. Most of the leaves are gone but what’s left is the opportunity to start again.

 

While we scurry indoors to protect ourselves from the freezing weather we allow ourselves to replenish the energy we have depleted throughout the year. There’s no guilt in feeling like a day has been wasted since it’s too cold to venture too far anyway. We lit the fire in the morning which to me is such a novelty and I didn’t get out of my jammies the entire day – absolute bliss. The most I did all day was cook a roast dinner as it was our visitors’s last Sunday in Ireland and it felt essential we have a feast. The rest of the day was spent under blankets reading and watching movies.

 

Slowing down is no bad thing and it’s something I have slowly started to embrace. I have always felt this pressure to do everything and live every moment to the fullest by doing as much as possible. I tend to feel guilty if I sleep in or miss an event but what I’m really missing out on are the moments that are more special than any craft market, road trip or night out. The long breakfasts that roll in to the afternoon with friends and family, the hours spent alone with a book I can’t put down, my chats with my Granny. These are the things that matter most.

 

With that in mind, this week I will not rush or put pressure on myself to fit it all in as well as not worrying about…

 

Forgetting To Leave The Bins Out – Which reminds me that bin day is tomorrow. Andrew and I like to blame each other for always forgetting to leave the bin out. I reckon it’s his job since he’s the last to leave the house and he reckons it’s my job since he gives himself about 2 minutes to get ready each morning. I trust you know which side to choose.

 

Never Deleting Emails – I keep telling myself that I’ll have a deep cleanse of my email account so my phone will no longer say I have 12000 unopened emails. I’m sure it would be hugely gratifying but honestly I’d rather Pinterest for hours instead.

 

My Fridge Being A Cesspit – I’m currently too afraid to dig deep in to those veggie bins for fear of a spinach swamp because it’s been a while since I’ve had a purge. Since I was a child I was obsessed with laying out the shelves according to food type (meats on one, dairy on one and fruit & veg on one – can you tell I was a chubby kid?!) but right now it’s a hot mess. I wince every time I open the door which just means I grab the bottle of wine faster.

 

Being In Constant Fear Of David Attenborough’s Life – Because 2016 has been a complete bitch of a year and there’s only so much I can take. Sometimes I like to imagine he’s my Grandpa and he’s reading me a bedtime story to me before I nod off to sleep. That’s not uncommon is it? He’d be the best Grandpa.

 

My Daily Self-Diagnoses – That flicker of pain in my head? Definitely an aneurysm caused by my relentless drinking in university. The mole on my back? Yep, definitely cancer because I played it too fast and loose with the suncream in Australia. Pupils a different size? Another aneurysm. Totally screwed. It’s a wonder how I get through the day to be honest.

 

Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying this beautiful weather we’re having even if, like me, you’re inside for most of the daytime! Make sure and take a dander to enjoy the bit of sun we’re getting if you can, even if it feels further away than ever 🙂

 

Have a great week!