Browsed by
Tag: happy

What Not To Worry About #35

What Not To Worry About #35

Hello old friends. How have you been? Staying dry and praying for the long awaited Indian summer I hope? I’m sorry for the silence on this little space the last fortnight or so. I feel like an irresponsible parent as I have gallivanted across Indonesian islands with barely enough time to post on Instagram let alone write (and that’s sayin’ somethin’). Oh but what a time I had without fretting once about work or the blog or anything at all really (apart from where my next margarita was coming from which is a genuine reason to fret I think).

 

I have lots of stories to share from our time in Bali and the other wee islands we hopped across and there are hundreds of photos waiting for me to edit which is freakin’ me out a little I must say. More so because I’ll be constantly reminded that the holiday was real and not a dream and, more devastatingly, all over. The post-holiday blues are a privileged mixture of emotions because how lucky are we to even experience the longing for a place we were fortunate enough to even visit? But these emotions also remind me that I am a real adult with real responsibilities and real annual leave which only goes so far in accommodating my dreams of being a globe-trotting goddess.

 

So back down to earth I have arrived and with a bang, I’ll tell you. The rain was horizontally howling at me as I stepped off the plane in Belfast, taunting and teasing me as if sensing my immediate disdain for it. We arrived home and emptied our suitcases in to our tiny kitchen, swamping the floors so we could no longer see the tiles. My herbs have died too. I had asked my lovely (and untrustworthy it turns out) neighbours to water them while we were gone but instead we were greeted with a very sad-looking (and dead-looking) herbarium along with a note apologizing for forgetting to water them. They did leave us little welcome home gifts – a loaf of bread and a carton of milk in the fridge and so their thoughtlessness was instantly forgiven for their thoughtfulness. Although we’ll be asking Maureen to water our plants next time.

 

Aside from mourning my holiday and my rapidly diminishing tan, there really isn’t much that is greatly worrying me within my life at the moment. Of course there are the greater troubles in the world (global warming, the Great Pacific Garbage patch, Trump, countless wars, countless children that are needlessly starving across the world, families with no access to clean water, the inequalities and exploitation of vulnerable people as a result of the decisions of strangers) but this weekly post of mine focuses on not the big worries which we can attempt to improve in our own little ways (post on this coming soon) but instead on the unnecessary worries we have or the niggling thoughts that we torture ourselves with which serve no purpose other than to grind us down. We deserve better than to be our own enemy. We should always be on our own side, fighting our own corner and above all, liking who we are.

 

With that in mind, here are the few silly worries that I am letting go of this week…

 

The fact that the penultimate Game of Thrones is over

We watched the last episode in our apartment in Bali (I have no shame in admitting this!) and I’m now crushed at the thought of waiting a whole year to the next one. I need a new series to sink my teeth in to – suggestions please?! In the meantime I have my weekly instalments of GBBO that will tide me over for a little while more so because I adore Noel Fielding and fully appreciate seeing him in his patterned shirts making jokes about muffins.

 

Realising that I have to wait another 4 months before I can plan another holiday

After a trip to a TBEX conference in Kerry in October, my annual leave has been reduced to diddly squat. I have been dreaming what our next big trip should be and after reading this article, I have decided that it should definitely involve a road trip with me eating my way through the southern states. I already know that New Orleans will seduce me with her beignets and beads!

 

Heights

I am terrified of them and have this weird urge to throw myself of something high which both terrifies and fascinates me. When we were on holidays we descended a metal staircase attached to a cliff to reach the bottom where a temple was built in to the rocks. I was so scared because I could see through the steps to see the waves crashing violently below. I did it though and felt proud that I conquered another fear and then I read this article and thought: Dude must be mental.

 

Being crap at sticking to my goals

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions as it creates too much pressure especially in the peak of winter when just about everything is harder. I think September is the best month to revisit the goals I want to achieve and I’m not alone in this. Check this piece out for a little autumnal goal inspiration.

 

My photography skills

I always feel a little frustrated after a holiday because I worry that I didn’t take enough photos, didn’t really capture the moments that truly moved me when I was there. This holiday we both took so many photos, poor Andrew having to deal with me orchestrating so many for fear of missing a good opportunity – the man deserves a medal! However none of them compare to this amazing collection of travel photos that have inspired me to keep up the work and push myself even further.

 

Wishing you all a lovely week!!

Is It Wrong To Be Selfish?

Is It Wrong To Be Selfish?

Last weekend I had a full weekend without any real plans. I woke up on Saturday with the sun filtering through the curtains, stretched my legs out and relished the thought of not having a whirlwind itinerary ahead of me. Living an hour away from my family and most of my friends means that my weekends often involve me rushing down the motorway in my car and trying to catch up with as many loved ones as I can. While it’s always lovely to see my favourite people, I am usually knackered by the end of it and recently I’ve been feeling deflated on a Sunday evening because the weekend had rushed by me in a series of hurried get-togethers.

 

I accepted long ago that I am an eternal people-pleaser however I realised recently that the reason I had been sacrificing my weekends mooching about my own home and lie-in’s in my own bed was because I felt guilty. I had imposed these obligations upon myself because I was afraid what others may think of me if I dedicated a whole weekend to myself and didn’t make the effort to see anyone down at ‘home’. I have this very real fear of appearing to be self-involved and this has led me to live a life that doesn’t always feel like my own.

 

048a9eb7-6650-4a0a-8b3b-5e6f547f8acf.jpg

 

But what is truly wrong with being selfish? In a time where self-care is the new YOLO, it is becoming more and more apparent that selfishness is not a quality to be revered but in fact requires a lot of courage to embrace. Our generation might be regarded as the most self-aware but this self-awareness is a result of constant competition whether it be through social media, job insecurity or the sheer amount of options we have to choose from.  While having these options is a luxury our parents (or grandparents at least) fought for us to have, there comes with that the overwhelming feeling of never being enough. Am I working hard enough? Have I travelled enough? Am I good enough friend/partner/parent? Am I happy enough? The gap between the life we are expected to live and the life we are truly living seems to be widening which has resulted in more of us experiencing anxiety that is specific to the social changes our generation are facing.

 

My problem seems to be the need to keep others happy. By imposing these expectations upon myself to be the best version of myself that I can be, I have ended up losing touch with what truly makes me happy. I recently read an article by Raymond Nourmand who eloquently put that the less someone’s reaction affects you, the more selfless a place you are giving from therefore in order to be truly selfless we must be truly selfish. Who knew eh???

 

3ecc2deb-6fd0-42d3-a7e0-092288fd7bea.jpg

 

The next time you are feeling selfish for prioritising your own happiness, give yourself a good shake and instead congratulate yourself! By making the effort to fulfill your needs you are actually caring about yourself which is the ultimate step to being a better person. And this applies to me and my moments of guilt when I haven’t trekked home for the weekend. Taking the time to do something (or nothing) for myself will only make me a nicer person to be around and the time I will be spending with family and friends will be feel a lot more enjoyable.

 

If you identify with anything I have said and would like some ideas on how you can be a more selfish person, I’ve included some tips on when you should choose you over anything else.

 

When you’re too exhausted to meet a friend

Don’t force yourself no matter how long it might have been since you last saw them. They deserve the best version of you, not the too-tired-to-function version who will be ready to sleep after the first sip of wine. Good friends will always understand.

 

When you’re stressed in work

Taking annual leave during a stressful time in work can feel like you’re going against your instincts but this should only highlight how important it is that you need to take some time out. We are all entitled to these days off so you shouldn’t feel guilty in the slightest. By taking a few days off to unwind (and for the love of Jeebus do not check your work emails) you will feel so much more capable to handle the difficult tasks you had left behind (and they actually might not be as difficult now that you’re chilled!).

 

When you’re a parent

I was thinking that the parents amongst you might have chuckled to yourself when reading this post since you have the least amount of time to be selfish as anyone! I don’t have children so please forgive me for trying to give any advice on parenting but I do think that to be the kind of parent you had hoped to be (before the permanent exhaustion and reality hit you like a tonne of bricks), you have to put yourself first now and again. Most parents have a decent enough support system through friends/family/partners and so you should never feel guilty about using this. Make a point of scheduling some time on your own once a week – even just for an hour – like you would any other essential appointment. You are still you and you deserve to remind yourself of that as often as possible.

 

When you can’t say no

If you’re a people-pleaser like me this can be a tough one. I hate letting people down and will often find myself in difficult situations just because I can’t say no. The thing I have started to learn is that people won’t immediately dislike me if I can’t always do what they want me to do and will probably forget it fairly quickly (while I stress about it for days after). If you don’t want to do it, then don’t. Simples, right?

 

When you’re on holiday

Going on a trip with people can be the best way to share memories but there can sometimes be a clash in terms of expectations. Some people love to lie on their backs as close to the sun as possible and others like to cram in culture in to every minute. There’s no shame in either but there’s also no shame in parting ways for the day and doing the things you want to do. Travelling is the perfect opportunity to live the carefree life you don’t usually get to live at home so to avoid any disappointment don’t be afraid to speak up and do your own thing.

 

Have a lovely weekend folks!

Live Wild & Free

Live Wild & Free

I was about ten years old when I accepted that I was different from other children. It was when I learned that having CF meant I wouldn’t have a normal future and that I would always have to be mindful of my health. I think being aware of my own mortality from such a young age encouraged me to be grateful for every moment that I had. Yes, it was probably a fairly big burden to have as a child but it instilled in me the wisdom to believe that life can be brief but beautiful.

 

A friend of mine lost her life this week and although I have always been aware of the shortness of my own life, it didn’t prepare me for the shock of losing a friend the same age. When someone has their health and lots of people who care for them, it’s difficult to understand how they can feel so alone and lost. Mental health is an enigma to so many of us yet 1 in 4 of us will suffer form a mental health related issue this year – why are we still struggling to understand?

 

A young woman taking her life has rocked my friendship groups and the community I used to be a part of in Australia. As they are united in grief they are united in knowing that life is not endless. It is fragile, fickle but above all it is fleeting.

 

My advice to anyone who has lost someone, or who is scared of the future, is this: let the fear wash over you for there is no fuel like it. Fear is what we need to live a life more wild and free. We are not meant to be confined to one path but to take many paths that we are lucky enough to have in front of us. Our hearts our there to be broken, our skin to be weathered and our brains to be exposed to as much learning as we can squeeze in to it. We have all lay in bed I am sure, terrified of the future and how little control we have but we have more control than we give ourselves credit.

 

The problem for most is change. Change can often be a scary thing which is what stops us from leaping from our singular path and in to another. We are creatures of comfort and afraid that we can never turn back. We can always turn back but what might be most surprising of all is that once we’ve made the leap, we won’t want to. Embracing change encourages us to accept the unknown and that is what can free us.

 

If you feel like you are lost or alone please look around you. Not only are there people surrounding you who love you now, there are people who are yet to fall in love with you who you are. We make so many wonderful connections in our lifetime, connections that change and later define us as people. Humans are not solitary creatures. Enjoying our own company is hugely important but there is too much good within us all to be contained. We need to share the love we have and align ourselves with people who only make our light shine brighter.

 

So today let’s live wild and free. Be the you you want to be. Grab your coat and feel the wind batter you. Listen to a song that makes you dance like a mad thing round the house. Watch the sun rise with your morning cuppa. Tell your loved ones when you’re thinking of them.

 

Yes, life is brief but it is also flippin’ spectacular. And there is no burden in that.


If you feel like you might benefit from getting some advice from professionals or just want to have a chat, please follow this link which will take you to a list of really useful phone numbers and websites 🙂

 

 

What Not To Worry About #13

What Not To Worry About #13

Having blue skies all weekend is such a novelty in an Irish winter which is why I am still beaming after a big dose of vitamin D after the last few days. I feel like my brain has been bombarded with such negativity recently which, coupled with working in an office and hardly seeing a minute of sunlight, can feel like there is little good happening around me. We are living in a scary time but to be honest we always were before Trump got elected and escalated the craziness.

 

5cec2b50-ac07-4522-a22f-0434b294fe69.jpg

 

The amount of hate and fear that is being radiated across the world can feel overwhelming however this is not a time to bury our heads in the sand but instead arm ourselves with as much information as we can and engage. I know this weekly post of mine tends to focus on the positive but sometimes the bad stuff just can’t be ignored and I would feel like a hypocrite if I disregarded events that are changing our society.

 

96367602-18e6-42ee-8fb0-5b91d5a94e66.jpg

 

What is pretty wonderful though is witnessing masses of people using their voices in cities around the world and even global corporations offering their help to the thousands of refugees who have been left stranded. In all of this darkness there can be a little light but it is up to those of us who have a voice to use it whether it be signing petitions, marching in protest or communicating our unrest to local politicians because, to quote Martin Luther King, there comes a time when silence is betrayal.

 

9f334932-7be6-4fa7-ab3f-4bfbc8ef6ba5.jpg

 

My light this weekend didn’t just come from the winter sun streaming down on our wee island. There was a wonderful breakfast in Baker Street on Saturday morning, a drive to Whitehead and an evening spent celebrating our friends buying their first house. I woke up to a world of mist yesterday which thankfully lifted and I was able to escape to Loughgall Park for a stroll with my camera. Breathing in the biggest gulps of fresh air and and losing the feeling in my fingers while clicking away was the highlight because it reminded me of the endless beauty that surrounds me and how lucky I am to see it.

 

img_9099.jpg

 

This week there are a few things that I am choosing to not let worry me because there is enough already…

 

Pressing snooze on the alarm at least three times every morning

I have to set my alarm about a half hour before I actually want to get up because I have to let it ring three times. Even when I’m wide awake I will still lie there and wait for the third harrowing reminder that I have to leave my cosy cocoon and pretend to be a real-life adult.

 

Being Impulsive

I don’t shop all that often but there will be the odd time when everything I want on this earth seems to be in front of me (usually anything house-related). The worst place for this tendency of mine to get out of control is Sostrene Grene. I will more than likely walk out of that place with an armful of candles, napkins or more bowls that will look pretty on a table.

 

Not being able to whistle or wink

A big grievance of mine. I’ve tried to teach myself how to do both but I usually look like I am having some sort of spasm so it’s best I make peace with knowing that I will be a terrible dog-owner/creep and move on.

 

Buying the Sunday papers and only reading the magazines

To be fair I do read the Guardian website every morning because as I said above, educating ourselves on what’s going on around us is hugely important. However I tend to skim past the headlines of a Sunday paper and make a beeline for the magazines which ends up being a complete waste of money. I’m also left with piles of unread newspapers that I swear to Andrew that I will read and eventually have to throw out guiltily weeks later.

 

Having no sense of smell

Most of those who know me well are aware that my sense of smell is shocking. This works out very well for Andrew after he’s had a night on the broccoli because I can be sitting there completely oblivious to the fact that he’s stinking the house out. It can be annoying though when I have a night on the broccoli and think I’ve gotten away with a wee sneaky fart when in fact I’ve killed just about every living within a few metres of me. It’s both a blessing and a curse I suppose.

 

Anyway, big hugs to you lovely lot for this week. I hope it’s a good one and here’s hoping this is the week when it’s daylight when you get home from day at work! The day’s are fairly stretchin’!!

 

xx

 

 

 

What Not To Worry About #12

What Not To Worry About #12

Here we are, edging in to the second month of the year but more importantly, edging closer to Spring. As much as I have been enjoying the slower evenings and spending more time on things I tend to neglect in the warmer months, I’m looking forward to brighter days and being able to venture outside more during the week. I can feel a little caged in when I don’t get out to stretch my legs after a day at a desk and breathe in fresh air. We’re nearly there though and the appearance of the snowdrops is the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

I hope you all were able to venture out a little and enjoy another weekend of wonderful winter weather. I was down in Armagh again spending some time with friends, especially one friend in particular who suffered a sad loss this week. It’s never easy having a friend in the circle who is going through something painful but when I looked around at the women I have grown up with coming together to be there for one of us, it filled me with so much gratitude. It’s rare to have the same friends you had when you were 13 and I am so aware of how lucky we are.

 

d2889af7-5fde-4491-a311-ac854bd5735c.jpg

 

Andrew and I took some time with his niece and nephew on Saturday and braved the madness of a playground – whose bright idea was it to install ONE infant swing?! It was great craic watching them go up and down the same slide a hundred times and staring in awe as the big kids ran past them. At three and two they’re at such a fun age and I get all wobbly when they reach for my hand or cuddle in to my chest – hello hormones.

 

Saturday night was our first night out in Belfast in a long while and I felt a little rusty at drinking to say the least. I bought tickets to see James Vincent McMorrow who was playing at the iconic Ulster Hall and who happens to have the voice of a bearded angel  We amazingly managed to score unreserved front row seats so I was within arms reach of this glorious man – quite dangerous. We had a grand old time however it is apparent that wine can hit me like a speeding truck and I was ready for home by 12 – I definitely do not still have it. I awoke to empty sweet wrappers by my bedside and the Sahara in my mouth so I quickly made a mental note to swiftly avoid wine in the near future.

 

c6239232-cfa0-4d7d-99b3-2f991258a090.jpg

 

My Sunday went pretty much uphill from there as I spotted blue skies with my bloodshot eyes. I downed about 10 litres of water and had a shower to feel a little more human again before donning my comfy shoes for a wee spin to the seaside. Groomsport is a wee village about 20 minutes from us and it’s where I like to go when I fancy imaginary house-shopping. My dream is to live on the coast one day so I live out this little fantasy by strolling along the pier and pretending I’m a local.

 

After our coastal jaunt we went grocery shopping on empty stomachs which is never a good idea. Prime example is us coming out laden with ingredients to make a full roast dinner for two people. No regrets though as I wolfed down a massive plate piled high with roasted deliciousness! I recuperated after the feast by not moving from the sofa except for a few dozen cups of tea and cookies. I have the life of it really.

 

3c92b5af-73a0-4911-b29c-27ae812b16fb-1.jpg

 

In light of a pretty lovely weekend I intend on extending the loveliness to this week because as the wise Roald Dahl once said, “if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely’. To help start the week a little more positively, I am choosing to let go these not-so-positive thoughts…

 

Returning Festive Purchases

I am the Queen of Never Returning Items. I have them in the bag with the receipt all ready to go but it’s the act of physically putting them in my car and taking them to the shop that I seem to have the most trouble with. I curse myself every time I clock the bag in the hall and I know I’ll end up taking the clothes to a charity shop in a few years with the tags still on them.

 

Unmade Beds

There are a few things I’m not fond of and one of them is getting in to an unmade bed after a long day. I’m not sure why but there is something so welcoming about a bed that looks tidy and clean and ready to be snuggled in to. The problem is that Andrew starts work later than I do so the chance of me coming home to a made bed is nil as the man gives himself about 10 seconds to get ready for work. I’ve gotten in to a routine of making the bed as soon as I’m home which Andrew seems to think is the work by elves.

 

Finishing a TV Series

I’ve a confession: I have had a major obsession with Downton Abbey since Christmas. I had heard a lot of people talking about the show but never thought it would be something I’d enjoy but it turns out I love a good period drama. I finished the last series during the week and I’ve been in mourning since. I’m going to have to find a replacement so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way!

 

Doing Make Up in the Dark

Brighter mornings not only perk me up before I head to work but they also guarantee a face that looks half made. On these dark winter mornings I have to rely on a crappy bulb to change from ghost to human which isn’t so easy. Hurry up spring!!

 

The Man Pile

The pile of clothes on Andrew’s side of the bed makes me weep as I step over them to make the bed after work. He just sheds his clothes like a snake and lets the pile accumulate all week. I bite my tongue and try not to nag too much because that wouldn’t be lovely. Instead I kick them out of sight and and hope that they’ll find their own way to the washing machine.

 

And that’s it for this week! I hope a great one lies ahead of you!

 

c10a5642-b4fb-4d9c-9f66-507dc0cebda2.jpg

What Not To Worry About #11

What Not To Worry About #11

Hello fellow Monday morning heads. Here we are again, summoning the energy we recuperated (or depleted) at the weekend with the days packed ahead of us. Never fear though because all we need is a good cup of tea/coffee and a clear head to start us off on the right foot. I read this article yesterday which has given me the encouragement to get up a little earlier in the mornings which is something I’ve been trying to do for a while so I’m not stumbling about in a dazed panic trying to make breakfast and remember to put a bra on. Wish me luck!

img_8466.jpg

 

The weekend was a great one although nothing too wild which is in keeping with my quiet year so far. I had a catch up with a couple of friends on Friday evening which was just what I needed after what felt like the longest working week of my life. I had my first drink of wine of the year (three weeks without alcohol – new record I think!) which was delicious with my friend Caoimhe’s feta stuffed chicken. I begged for the recipe, a little tipsily, which she kindly wrote on a post-it note and which I will fail to replicate later this week! She’s such an amazing cook and I keep begging her to start a food blog even just so I take photos in exchange for her food.

 

38d1e037-6ead-403a-a719-d70489f69513.jpg

 

I watched the sunrise on Saturday morning from my wee sister’s spare room and nearly bounced out of bed when I saw blue skies -BLUE SKIES! We have been under thick grey cloud all week and even though the cold could’ve bit the nose off you, seeing clear skies and frost dusting the grass made me so happy. I took Shannon’s cocker spaniel Bella to The Argory (a wonderful National Trust site a few miles from Armagh) and I have never seen a dog run so much in my life. There really isn’t many things as heartwarming as seeing a dog so happy to just be outside although to be fair I think I was just as happy.

 

42564836-6712-4352-9051-18c5206e42c2.jpg

 

We walked around the grounds, suffering a near-death experience in the process when Bella thought she was just jumping in to a shuck when in reality it was a frozen stream which she fell right through. I laughed for a second (forgive me) but then I saw her wee face and felt terrible and scooped her out quickly. She wasn’t too fazed though and ran on ahead to my relief before I took her home to get blow-dryed (the dog is a diva just like her owner).

 

2bb00b7a-2b11-40bd-80dc-bb4451c819f3.jpg

 

I had lunch at the Craic’d Pot (a great new spot in Armagh) with the girls and took lots of pictures for a new post. I’m getting used to asking owners and managers for permission to ask photos but I still feel a little conscious of locals looking at me like I’m a mad woman – not too many bloggers in Armagh! After more catch ups with both parents I was back in Belfast yesterday evening shattered and ready for a night by the fire watching Graham Norton – bliss.

 

be0f48b8-bef4-460b-99c2-ededfb91e71b.jpg

 

Sunday was a quiet day which began with a lie in and homemade pancakes. Little else happened other than a long overdue excavation of my car and some grocery shopping followed by some crappy chess playing by the fire – aye I know, we are middle-class OAP’s. The truth is Andrew bought me a set for my birthday when we were in Cuba where he taught me to play and we’ve not used it at all. I am still shite but at least I don’t have to look at the set with a guilty conscious for a while!

 

bf3f0ab6-385f-4c7d-a725-f63cb6f0099f.jpg

 

After a weekend spent in the fresh air and by the fire, I am starting the week with a clear head and I am definitely not sweating the small stuff. Here’s a few of them…

 

Always Forgetting To Put The Memory Card Back In the Flippin’ Camera

This happened for the millionth time over the weekend when I was down in Armagh. I arrived at The Argory beaming at all the frost and mist rising and when I put my eye up to take a picture, the camera reminded me yet again that I forgot the feckin’ memory card. I had to make do with my iPhone which didn’t do too badly but for a wee second I was hard on myself. Need to stop doing that. Or to just start remembering the memory card.

 

Not Having Snapchat

I can barely manage Instagram and Facebook so adding another social media app would probably finish me. I also find it seriously irritating when people listen to their Snapchat stories so all I can hear is some drunken mess talking about how they stole a traffic cone on their way home from a night on the rip. I think it would just push me over the edge so I’m one of those oldies that doesn’t have that flower crown filter in every second photo.

 

Keeping Candles For Guests

Screw the guests, I’m choosing to bring every candle in to my bathroom when I’m having a bath so it’s lit up like Croke Park. I never buy Yankee candles because it feels like I’m burning money every time I light the wick so I now buy candles so I can actually enjoy them. There is a new Scandinavian shop that’s just opened in Belfast called Sostrene Grene that I am completely in love with and they sell bucket loads of candles for tuppence. Win!

 

Abusing My Amazon Basket

Sundays are the worst for browsing through Amazon or any other website making impulsive choices and then backing out before I hit the big ‘Pay Now’ button. I keep deleting and adding items before the pressure all gets a little too much and I close the laptop down. Yesterday I actually committed myself to buying a knitting kit and a photo album – massive purchases that require a lot of thought but I managed it. Yay me.

 

Not Having A Dog

Now, most people who know me know how much I yearn for a dog in my life but after having Bella for a few hours on Saturday, I can say that I might be OK without one for another while. Or at least one that doesn’t shed a lorry load of hair in one shake. I can do without looking like Chewbacca after a few minutes of cuddles, thanks.

 

I hope you have a super week and let’s hope for another few crisp, cold days like this one…

img_8450.jpg

 

 

 

 

Live The Little Things

Live The Little Things

Oh Friday, thank goodness you’re here because I have been dragging my tired ass from one day in to the next. My days have been rolling in to one as I hide in my cosy house after work (with the odd jaunt to the gym for a half hour of pure pain) and my wee hooves have been practically sighing with relief as I shuffle in to my slippers as soon as I’m through the door.

 

94822072-6ac8-4856-9827-52a8d1116be3.jpg

 

I almost feel embarrassed about the sheer joy I have been feeling at doing feck all recently but this is the only time of year when it’s completely OK to hibernate and watch all 6 seasons of Downton Abbey with a cup of tea permanently balancing on my ever-growing pouch. We need these little things to keep us going in the darker evenings because by spending so much time indoors, we can easily succumb to darker thoughts. Silly worries about whether we should be doing more after an exhausting day at work (and maybe eating fewer blocks of chocolate) can permeate and fester. Things that we wouldn’t give a second thought to during the warmer months can suddenly become more considered and worth our time.

 

img_8234.jpg

 

img_8210.jpg

 

I try to be aware of this feeling that can creep in during winter. Instead of allowing myself to feel guilty about enjoying the simpler way of living, I relish in it because I know when the longer days arrive I’ll be drawn to the outside again. I might not have as many pretty photos but I have lots of time to write, read and cook – things I completely neglect when the sun comes out. Most of all though, I use this time to appreciate the little things that happen to me throughout the day that can make me just as happy as the big moments in life.

 

d3c67b45-dbde-46ec-8261-4ceb93b1044f.jpg

 

During the next month or two when you may feel a little restless or stressed, try to be mindful of the small things that have maybe made your day a little better. Put on some music while you’re cooking dinner and have a wee party in the kitchen. Listen to the fire crackle as you read your favourite mag. Buy yourself a bright bunch of flowers. Call your best mate for a chat. All these little wins add up to a pretty happy winter.

 

And here are my little wins for this week…

  1. Listening to Jurassic 5 in a bath full of bubbles – Andrew definitely caught me trying to rap along
  2. Laughing out loud in my car on the drive to work in the morning – I was listening to the radio, I’m not completely demented
  3. Having just enough milk for the last cup of tea of the day – YESSSSS
  4. Getting to the gym and remembering everything – I usually forget a sports bra or socks in my morning stupor
  5. Waking up and realising I still have over an hour left in bed – definitely the cosiest feeling in the world
  6. My herbs still clinging to life despite living on an hour of daylight every day – you go basil!
  7. Ordering a knitting kit on Amazon – quiet time means time to get creative (and knit a scarf as we’re coming in to Spring)
  8. Made my own fishcakes which were absolutely delightful – hello potential blog post
  9. Reading a magazine in bed at 10pm – #grannylyfe
  10. Funny emails from my mates to keep me going in work – they’re the best!

 

Have a cracking weekend folks and whatever you’re up to, don’t feel a shred of guilt as long as you’re happy 🙂

 

f7b08f9c-a7cb-4d4b-b018-4bba171f9c37.jpg

What Not To Worry About #10

What Not To Worry About #10

Happy Monday folks!

 

I hope you had a slow weekend filled with lots of tea and a fair bit of cosying underneath plenty of blankets. It was a wet one in these parts but we made the most of it with an impromptu road trip up the Glens of Antrim that ended with a night of games with friends in Portrush. It’s the unexpected nights that can be some of the best especially in the middle of winter and we fell in to bed at 1am wrecked and happy.

 

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Sunday was a much slower affair and which was mostly spent mooching about the house in slippers covered in flour. I went full Mary Berry and baked scones, wheaten bread AND protein balls. AND made a batch of soup. AND made some jambalaya. Serious housewife skillz. We then had some friends round to try and offload as many baked good as possible before I hopped in the bath to wind down an already pretty peachy Sunday.

 

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

I’ve picked up the ‘What Not To Worry About’ series for 2017 and have chosen a few things I am choosing to let go of this week. Here goes…

 

Buying the most beautiful diary for 2017 and then only using it until February

 

Oh how I love to flip through the pages of beautiful diaries in Paperchase. I stand in the aisle for an age, convincing myself that spending a small fortune on blank pages will mean a future so organised and seamless that I will be sure to have my shit together by the end of the year. I start off with great intentions; I write weekly goal lists, monitor my daily intake of Haribo and remind myself of the things I was supposed to do yesterday. The thing is, I forget about the bloody thing after a month and it lies in my beside table drawer until the end of the year when I clearly do not have my shit together. Some people are fabulous planners and there’s people like me who try to be fabulous planners but will forever rely on scribbles on hands or on the memories of others. I try not to feel bad about it and instead I carry around a notebook that I can scrawl on instead of guiltily throwing away a beautiful diary that can’t even be re-used the next year.

 

Attempting to de-clutter for the New Year but spend hours cross-legged reminiscing over old photo albums and laughing at your terrible fashion choices

 

It is a known fact that when you begin to clear out old paperwork, unused body products you got for Christmas 5 years ago or trying (and failing) to create a capsule wardrobe for the thousandth time, you are instantly drawn to old photo albums that you “completely forgot about” since the last annual clear out. You will call out to everyone in your house to come and see how ridiculous you looked in your Tammy Girl halter top that you wore to your first disco and which you expertly coordinated with your Collection 2000 lilac eye shadow. You will take lots of photos of your phone to send to your mates or for a #tbt Insta upload. After a few hours of this you will realise that you have ran out of time to throw anything away and everything will be shoved back to their original pile until next year’s attempt.

 

REALISING PEOPLE BORN IN 2000 CAN DRIVE THIS YEAR!!!!

 

Eh, what? Sure the Millennium was only the other year was it not?!! I remember it well of course since it was the year I played one of the lead roles in my P7 school play that was to be my farewell performance. I played the Narrator and I wore a silver top hat with matching waistcoat along with crimped hair (obvs) and comb-through hair glitter. Needless to say it was a great year for the arts but when I think of anyone born in 2000 I imagine that they’re still bottle-fed. I am coming to terms with being reminded that I am getting older along with everyone else and that I am doomed to forever look on in horror at the young things wearing denim hotpants. Kids these days.

 

Crying at children’s movies

 

Have you seen the Irish animated movie ‘Song of the Sea’? If not then you better get on it. I watched it when I was off sick late last year and I sat on the edge of the sofa with my eyes brimming with tears throughout. The film was beautifully hand drawn with the sweetest storyline and even sweeter music (the title track is sang by my girl crush Lisa Hannigan) that pulled at my Celtic heartstrings. Of course with the goddess Macha being an important character in the film and me being from Armagh (which  in Gaelic means “Macha’s Heights”), I was destined to fall in love. Please watch it when you have a moment to weep at something truly exquisite.

 

Shaving Legs

A highly unnecessary task in winter if you ask me. Now there may be some gentlemen reading who are not fond of the fuzzy leg but let me tell you when it comes to the depths of January and limbs are covered pretty much 24 hours a day then there is no point in subjecting ourselves to this godawful borefest. Don’t get me wrong, I do shave them… sometimes…like every other week or something so I’m not a complete ape underneath these skinny jeans but really we should enjoy the hairy moments while we can.

 

And that’s the line-up of useless things to give a crap about. I hope you are able to take this strategy through the week and let go of the unnecessary worries that might be weighing you down – a lighter mind is a lot easier to carry around!

 

Have a great one!

 

xx

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 #7

What Not To Worry About #7

Last week saw Donald Trump become the most powerful man in the world. A man who believes that global warming is a hoax and who is hell-bent on creating racial, religious and social divides across the nation he now controls. It’s a scary time when an extreme right-wing businessman with zero military or political experience is the favour of millions of people but just like the UK Brexit result, this outcome is only a reflection of how disenfranchised ordinary people are becoming.

 

I am by no means politically intuitive nor will I pretend to understand the systems that allowed Trump to become President and Brexit to hang over the UK like a black cloud but what I do know is that so many people, not just those my own age, only want the basic of human rights for everyone. Equality for all genders, races, ages and religious backgrounds should not be an unattainable goal in 2016.

 

After a week of being immersed in Trumpworld I escaped to Donegal on Saturday with my Aussie visitor. A place where even if another world war broke out we wouldn’t know about it for quite some time. It’s the perfect place to unwind no matter the season and at this time of year the coast is as wild as ever. Holly has loved it up here and has claimed it to be her favourite place in Ireland so far and I don’t blame her. Just standing on the edge of the Atlantic can feel cathartic and whatever weight I’ve been carrying is suddenly lifted away in to the salty air.

 

This week I’m going to try and take a break from media and disconnect from the chaos that’s happening across the water. I’ve also decided to not let these things worry me…

 

Being The Perfect Host – Holly has been with us over 2 weeks now and she’ll be here for another 2 before we head to Copenhagen at the end of her trip. She is the most chilled out and undemanding guest, quite happy to watch box sets while I’m at work or take herself in to town. I always feel I should be entertaining her which is a bit tiring when I still have to work through the week but she’s told me to relax. So I will. If she’s happy with evenings spent by the fire and watching me read then so be it!

 

Sleeping In – We’re in Donegal until this evening and I had a mega sleep in which felt AMAZING. I slept until half 10 which for me is a fairly big lie in but I felt annoyed that I’d wasted a morning I had wanted to spend writing by the window overlooking the water. We’re in the season now where the day ends at 4pm so I feel under pressure to be as active and busy in the light hours as possible but I need to learn that this is the season to live slowly, lessen expectations and relish in that. It’s now 1.30pm and I’m still in my jammies so I think I’ll manage.

 

Our Glass Bottle Collection – Our council doesn’t take glass for us so we have to bring it to the recycling centre ourselves like a pair of savages and because we are savages this means we have a collection out our back that would rival any pub. I wince as I hear them tumbling about like skittles in the wind and it’s only when we can’t actually walk out our back door anymore for fear of a Home Alone-style injury that we give in and fill our whole car up like the alcoholics we are.

 

Being a Stinge With The Heating – We have an oil-fired heating system with an immersion to heat the water which has suddenly turned me in to my mother. I hate putting the heat on as I can almost hear the oil evaporating my money away so it’s always a last resort for me until I can’t get a jumper over my second dressing gown. I’m also terrified of the immersion in case I forget to switch it off after suffering the consequences as a child myself and now Andrew is the one scolding me if I don’t switch it off right away. Winter is a tense time.

 

Being Crap At Drinking – I’m not sure if I was ever any good at it or if being good at drinking can be claimed as a skill but certainly my tolerance has taken a swift nose dive in the last year or two. I’m almost terrified of drinking more than a couple of glasses of wine because I don’t know what sort of way I’ll wake up the next day; apologetic, mortified or absolutely grand until 3pm when I’ll start thinking of every bad thing I’ve ever done in my life and contemplate my existence. I’ve started to accept that maybe wine isn’t my best mate and that maybe a weak strength beer is. Or perhaps abstinence…. *HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA*

 

Have a great week folks and good luck with catching a glimpse of that super moon!! Hopefully those clouds play ball!