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10 Things That You Should Not Let Define You

10 Things That You Should Not Let Define You

I’ll be turning 29 next month which has started a very contemplative phase I like to call the ‘pre-birthday freak-out phase’. It’s around this time that I start questioning where I am, the person I am and the person I want to become.  I know it’s all extremely deep and self-absorbed but I think these are important questions to ask ourselves every once in a while even when you’re not entering the last year of your twenties and flippin’ the feck out.

Self-identity is a can of worms that I am not qualified to open but I thought I would share something that I have come to understand during this haze of panic:

Most of us want to be the best person we can be

Right? We all want to be remembered as being kind/generous/successful people but in the quest for this achievement we can lose sight of what truly defines us. We allow ourselves to become focused on circumstances that we believe to be a crucial part of who are when in fact they are only the stepping stone to being that person. We are always changing as people through the experiences we have but we can’t benefit from these lessons if we are unable to see past our situation.

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I have been guilty of this recently. By nearing 30 I have wondered if I am where I thought I would be by this age. As a teenager I had no concept of time and predicted I would be earning a heck of a lot more, be married, own my own home with maybe a wee bairn on the way. I haven’t achieved any of that but should I let that define whether I am successful or not? Absolutely not.

I honestly believe it is my actions and treatment of others that define who I am. I believe it is the love that consumes me for my family and friends that defines me. I believe it is every experience, heartbreak or euphoric, that defines me. I believe it is the people who I have met and the stories I have heard that defines me. I am made up of all these things and will continue to be made up of more as I grow older and love more.

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Here are the things that I am choosing to not let define me and hopefully you won’t let define you either…

Your Job

As a doe-eyed university student I dreamed of becoming a hugely successful wildlife conservationist and travelling the world as David Attenborough’s understudy (I dreamed big!). Of course I could still become a conservationist if my heart desired but my career has led me down a different path that I am OK with. I am working in the financial world now, an industry I would have turned my nose up as a young environmentalist but I have chosen this career because I know it will help me progress to where I want to go. You might not like your current job or you might be a little disappointed that you’re not where you thought you would be instead focus on where this experience will get you to. I don’t allow my job or how much I earn to define me because I have a whole life outside of work that I believe contributes to who I am too.

Your Marital Status

I am a part of a group of friends who are slowly getting married off one by one and I have been beyond happy watching them commit themselves to the people they love. However, I hate the feeling that people wonder when ‘I’m next’ because it’s as if the happiness of my own relationship is then questioned because we aren’t yet married. We shouldn’t use any relationship as a measure of success, married or otherwise, because it will only lead to an unhealthy dependency on using another person to define who we are. We are all individuals and should always treat ourselves as such when considering our own worth.

Your Age

I know a few of you reading might scoff at me panicking about turning 30 but I think we are all victims of allowing our age to define us. Our age can stop us from making decisions that might change our lives because we either believe we are either too old or too young to accomplish them. We might feel we are too young to question our peers in the workplace and not worthy of the respect we deserve based on our merit. We might feel we are too old to leave a toxic relationship because it will mean we need to start all over again. Your age isn’t you. Those big bold choices in life are what define us and age should never be a barrier to that.

Your Appearance

Honestly the amount of times I have stood in front of a mirror and felt disgusted is too many times to admit but it has happened. I have scrolled through Instagram wondering why I have this pouch that will refuse to leave or why my legs are like wee stumps instead of remembering that the pouch isn’t really all that big and my legs are actually quite toned. Our appearance might be the first thing that people see but the impressions we make go beyond what we see in the mirror. When someone greets you they are looking for the kindness in your eyes, the warmth in your smile or how easy you are to talk to. Your features do not define you.

Your Health

This one may not be specific to some people but I had to include it because it’s relevant to the perception I can have of myself. Having Cystic Fibrosis means that I often feel like I have little control over my life and therefore people’s perceptions of me. I hate that I might be thought of as ‘sick’ because I don’t want my illness to define who I am or what others think of me. I am so much more than a girl who has a bad cough! And you too shouldn’t let your own health define the expectations you have of yourself. So what if you might not be a good runner? You might be better suited to yoga or a gentle swim. Ease up on the pressure and remember that just because you might not be able to run a mile in few minutes doesn’t make you capable of other great things.

Your ‘Stuff

Social media now means that instead of just reading about celebrities in magazines we now have full access to their daily lives. Product after product is being churned out to ‘influence’ us to buy while trends move so fast that sought after items are often outdated by the time we can afford to buy them. We have been a consumer society for a long time now but the pressure is getting a bit ridiculous and we shouldn’t think that buying nice things means we truly successful. I honestly believe our hard-earned money should be spent on experiences because those moments are what should define who we are and are what we will remember when we’re reminiscing in our rocking chairs (when we’re unfashionable no matter what we buy!).

How Many Friends You Have

When I was younger I tended to measure my worth by how busy my social calendar was. I loved having loads of friend and a weekend jam packed with plans which in the end left me feeling exhausted. Now that I’m approaching 30 that need to fill time isn’t quite as potent because I have decided that quality is more better than quantity when it comes to friendships. I have a small group of people around me who I adore and by putting my energy in to those relationships I am left feeling a lot more fulfilled (and I also have more time to myself which I love!). The same goes with social media too. For a while there I definitely felt under pressure to have as many followers as possible and would feel disappointed when I didn’t see the numbers increase the way I wanted. I have come to realise that you need your tribe online just as much as you do in the ‘real world’ and it doesn’t matter if you have 100 or 1 million followers, as long as you have good people engaging with you then that’s what really is rewarding.

What You Consider as Smart

My little sister Shannon is, without a doubt, the funniest person I know. She is so quick-witted that even the smartest people can’t keep up with her! Having such a quick mind means she’s always intuitive and has real common sense and yet despite all of this obvious intelligence, Shannon would never consider herself as ‘smart’. Growing up in western society taught us that intelligence is often measured by success in academia which means that we have a distorted view on what constitutes as smart. Being smart doesn’t mean you can answer all the questions in University Challenge (I have a mini Mexican wave if I get one answer!), have a degree or listen to classical music. You might have a brain for business (like my Dad who is dyslexic) or you might have a true talent with numbers. Don’t define yourself by how many books you’ve read but rather how you use the talents you know you do have.

Your Mistakes

Oh Jaysus, how often I have punished myself for the stupid things I have done or said. I have tortured myself thinking that people’s opinions of me have changed forever on the basis of a single act of stupidity especially as a reckless youth. I have started to discover though that people actually forget mistakes a lot quicker than you do and it’s how you recover from these mistakes that define you the most. Don’t worry that people will always attach your mistake to because they won’t.

Your Race/Religion/Sexuality

Growing up in Northern Ireland, people often used religion to identify themselves and even today there can still be an ‘us’ and ‘them’ language used by many. I was brought up as Catholic and my boyfriend was brought up as Protestant and although neither of us would describe ourselves as religious, it was still a bit of an adjustment for a few family members. In a perfect world we would all be viewed as the same but of course racial tensions are stronger than ever, sectarianism in NI still exists and LGBT members of the community still lack the rights that all humans should have. Despite this we should not let our race/religion/sexuality define who we are. We are more than just a label and if we are united in encouraging that mindset then maybe one day we can live in a society that starts seeing the person behind the label.

 

Have you any thoughts on this? Is there anything in your life that you refuse to let define you?? 

 

What Not To Worry About #31

What Not To Worry About #31

A wee bit of a late post this week as I still feel like I’m catching up after my quick break in France with the little sister. What was supposed to be a relaxing break ended up a little more hectic than planned – turns out driving a tiny rental car along steep gorge roads isn’t all that tranquil! I’m planning on writing a few posts so I can share some of the beautiful sights we got to see on our journey while including some photos of our aunt and uncle’s house who we stayed with (an absolute French dream of a place which deserves to be on the pages of some chic magazine).

It’s so lovely to get to travel with my sister now that we’re adults and no longer act like the monsters we were as teenagers. When we were growing up the three of us girls would fight like feral animals (I’ve broken Shannon’s nose twice, I kid you not) and stealing clothes became such a fine art that I used to keep mine locked in the boot of my car! After a bit of maturing we’ve now become best friends and are fiercely loyal to one another. I wouldn’t dream of saying anything to hurt her (or her nose) now and she is genuinely the funniest woman I know. Even though we had a few hairy moments on our tour through the French countryside, we were never far away from another laughing fit. She also appreciates a photo opportunity as much as I do which made me feel a little less guilty about hopping out of the car every few miles. It was a wonderful wee trip and I can’t wait to share some of our stories.

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Now that I’m home and utterly depressed with the rain which seems intent on hanging around, I’m planning my next getaway. Andrew and I have spent the last few nights researching ideas for destinations and we’ve been leaning towards Costa Rica, Indonesia or Malaysia. Basically anywhere that has palm trees and is cheap enough to get around! If you’ve been to any of these places or even have your own suggestions, please throw them my way! I always love to hear travel stories and experiences and it might help us make a decision faster 🙂

When Shannon and I were away I was reminded of a few things that bug the hell out of me when I’m travelling. I thought I would share a few in this week’s ‘What Not To Worry About’ post in case I’m not alone!

People who don’t try to speak the local tongue

I know French people are notorious for being rude to people who make no effort to speak French but to be honest I don’t blame them. I cringe when I hear people just shouting louder in their own language (most likely English) to try and communicate instead of trying the basic words of the locals. I didn’t encounter a single rude French person on our trip and I think it might have been because I tried my hardest to start a conversation in French before succumbing to “Parlez-vous Anglais??”. My French wasn’t great but making a little effort to learn was appreciated and made for a much warmer response.

People who don’t separate their liquids before security

WHY??? Everyone knows the drill now even the most unseasoned traveler so why are there still people who ask for a plastic zip-bag just as we’re about to go through the detectors?! They waited through the entire queue until the crucial point when people think they’re almost free from the tension and these tyrants hold the show up for even longer. It’s just not cool so let’s just all go as prepared as we can eh?

Airport Prices

Oh aye, £2.50 for a bottle of water? No worries. £5 for a shitty sandwich?? Of course! Why do airports think it’s OK to rob people at their most vulnerable? When they’re sweaty and tired and desperate to grab anything in case they might starve on their 2 hour flight. There is so much pressure (especially when I have to run to the gate) and there are times when I’m sitting on my airplane seat realising that I’ve spent £20 on absolute crap just because I thought I would need variety. It also seems to be the only time that I buy a multi-pack of Werther’s Originals.

Take Off

I used to suffer from panic attacks when I was younger and I had a major one as I was boarding my first long-haul flight to San Francisco with my girlfriends. One look at the huge plane suddenly had me looking for the nearest exit – how were we supposed to get in the air in that massive yoke?! Luckily I had been provided with four Diazepam tablets to try and soothe the attacks, two for the way over and two on the way home. Of course I hoofed the lot like they were smarties (DO NOT EVER DO THIS!) which weirdly only subdued the fear and didn’t send me to sleep like I had hoped. I’ve now learned how to manage my panic attacks but I still get very nervous as the plane is taking off. Usually I’ll have Andrew’s hand clasped so hard his fingers are white but when I’m flying alone I’ll put on a playlist of all the music that makes me happy all the while trying not to think of being in the metal box hurtling thousands of feet in to the sky.

Airplane Toilets

Anyone else petrified of the flushing sound??? I refuse to flush when I’m still sitting in case my ass gets wedged for all of eternity. Or even worse, that I’m sucked in to whatever cesspit that is used for the waste of nervous fliers. Or even more worse, that I’m sucked in and then spewed out of the plane covered in aforementioned waste. These are genuine thoughts I have every time I go in to an airplane toilet. That and also imagining if anyone ever actually does the dirty in the toilets. I mean, could you imagine the glamour of getting lucky over a Ryanair toilet?? There’s a club I won’t ever be joining.

Have a great weekend folks!

10 Ways To Embrace Your Inner Child

10 Ways To Embrace Your Inner Child

As a child I always thought that grown ups had their shit together and knew exactly where they were headed. Big decisions were just a series of stepping stones that would bring you to your soulmate/dream job/perfect house. Now that I’m a full fledged ‘grown up’ I have quickly discovered that my childhood idea was completely ludicrous and actually most of us are sort of playing along with whatever decisions we pray hope think are the best ones for our future. In reality a lot of us, including myself, are in a constant state of doubt, not certain of anything but trying our hardest to keep on.

 

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Of course being a grown up can be a really tough job. We have to pay bills, keep our cars clean and pretend we know how to do pivot tables. All this serious stuff can create such a weight on our shoulders that it’s hard to remember those carefree days as a kid when the biggest disaster was the day the ice-cream van missed your street. The thing is is that we can still tap in to those wee moments of simple joy we had back then. We still enjoy the same things (I will forever love a swing) it’s just that we don’t allow ourselves to unwind from this stiff adult mentality for fear that we’ll either look insane or we might fall in to a heap of despair.

 

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How about, instead of walking alongside that low-rise wall, you actually get up and walk along it like you know you want to? In any way you can you should encourage those innocent moments in the day that make you happy despite how silly they may seem. When we allow ourselves to just relax and be the same person we were when we were younger it can bring a real sense of contentment that can be dissipated by everyday adult life.

 

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Now that we’re coming in to better(ish) weather it makes it that little bit easier to let our inner child run free. The summer was the peak season as a child after all! I can still remember lying in bed on a summer night with the sunlight still shining through the curtains and the smell of outside still on my skin. That excitement doesn’t leave us as when we get older if we don’t want it to and I’ve thought of a few ways to help you embrace that inner child of yours on the days when you feel like adulting is too damn hard.

 

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Surround Yourself With Other Kids

If you’re a parent you might roll your eyes at this one but really you have the best tools to encourage the silliness every day. When I’m around Andrew’s niece and nephew or my friend’s children I get a snapshot in to a mindset I yearn to have again. Children believe in magic and that’s infectious – looking for fairies amongst the trees makes a woodland walk that little bit more entertaining.

Take Your Shoes Off

Run through the grass. Kick sand around the beach. Bounce on the trampoline. Throwing our shoes off to run around can take us straight back to the days when shoes were an infringement on fun. They still are.

Welcome Mess

Being an adult means keeping a tidy home but sometimes fun means mess. How about doing a bit of painting even if you’re terrible at it? Or crafting something you’ve been wanting to for ages? Buy PVA glue and remind yourself of the days of Art Attack and Blue Peter.

Play Loud Music

And dance round the house. Play songs from your childhood (my personal favourite is ‘Sunscreen’ by Baz Luhrmann but it’s not a real dance-y song) that will propel you to a memory you hadn’t thought of in forever.

Use Your Imagination

As we get older we rely less and less on imagination when actually it can be a real asset as an adult. Technology has made us lazy and we can turn to Google for just about every answer. How about creating a jar of fun ideas for the weekends? Every member of the house can take a turn in picking out an idea (and the phones could even be left at home if that’s even remotely possible).

Build a Fort

There is nothing better than spending a rainy afternoon watching movies in a fort. With lots of blankets. And marshmallows.

Plan a Treasure Hunt

I used to love treasure hunts as a kid and would love to plan an adult version with all of my friends. When we are all gathered together for a game night it’s like a playground anyway so I can only imagine what a treasure hunt would be like!

Skip

OK so I understand if you don’t want to do this in public but if you’re able to get a moment to yourself with no one around then DO IT. It will definitely make you smile.

Bring Out Old Photos

Remind yourself of the fun you used to have and rediscover the happiest moments you had as a nipper.

Play a Childhood Game

Kerbsie, Tip the Can, Hide & Seek, Red Rover. How many games did we have as children? Growing up on an estate surrounded by loads of other kids was a real blessing because there was always a game to play. Your mates might think you’re a lunatic to start with but no one can say no to a game of kerbsie.

 

Wishing you bunch of kids a lovely weekend – here’s to letting our inner children run free!

What Not To Worry About #18

What Not To Worry About #18

Hello friends. How are we this Tuesday? Feeling fresh as a daisy or did you reach for the covers this morning to hide away from the morning light? I’ve been feeling a little knackered lately and my body has been telling me so in a few different ways; cough is a little worse, I have developed a very attractive rash on my belly and I have been in my PJ’s before sundown the 3 few evenings. Hot stuff.

 

So overall I have been better but at the same time I have definitely been worse. There are so many wee things that are lifting me back to where I am happiest – a few little ailments won’t tear me back down. The last few weekends have been permeated with sunlight, the coats have been shed and I have definitely welcomed the return of daytime cocktails. It’s all good right here.

 

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Last weekend was a mix of good and bad behaviour. Friday was spent with friends tasting delicious beer at a local brewery which escalated in to a night of dancing and a few too many whiskies. I tried to exonerate myself on Saturday with a yoga workshop at Flow Studio which was nothing short of tingly loveliness. I learned so much and forgave myself for the debauchery the night before until I wolfed a chicken goujon supper after and then I was right back on the road to Guilt Town.

 

On Sunday we discovered a new slice of heaven at Mahee Island which blew lots of good sea air in to my lungs and made me smile from ear to ear. I love stumbling upon new corners of this country especially when they’re so close to home. Mahee Island is actually a part of a bunch of tiny islands in Strangford Lough and is only about 15 minutes from Belfast so it’s the perfect Sunday escape from the city. The islands are connected by narrow bridges with water surrounding every view from the road – it felt like we were so much further from home.

 

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Having a quick jaunt to the water is the best way to clear the head of negative thoughts and these are the thoughts that Mahee Island cured me of this week…

 

Hearing My Voice Recorded

There is truly no other sound that can make me want to pull my own ears off than the sound of my own voice. When I hear it recorded I try to imagine why anyone speaks to me or why I have any friends at all. The reason I mention this is because I have recently started to record myself on Insta stories and so the fear is very real but like any fear I just have to get over it and hope that I don’t drive followers away in their hoards!

Hospital Appointments

I have THREE hospital appointments this week. THREE. Three times I will have to wait in a crappy waiting room with nothing to read but Woman’s Own or ancient posters about COPD. Three times I will have to talk to medical staff who have been whittled down to a point after years of listening to the moans of others. Naturally I’m super excited about it especially the extortionate car park charges which I never seem to have the change for. But I will not let the negativity get to me!

Man Cables

Andrew is a hoarder. He hoards the most random of technical stuff which he stores in most corners of our tiny house. He thinks if he puts a lamp on a drive drive he can try and disguise it as a table but he ain’t fooling anyone. This week I decided that his pile of cables/keypads/LED lightbulbs will no longer torment me so I shoved them in the cupboard under the stairs like a good housewife.

Itchy Feet

No this isn’t another ailment but refers to my wanderlusting ways of the last few weeks. In my spare time (and by spare time I mean when I’m shovelling my lunch at my desk) I have been researching a new adventure and emailing Andrew links and ideas. He seems to not care quite as much and every evening I browse Airbnb beside him in the hope it might interest him a little. I think I’m just going to have to book his flight to the Philippines which I think he might be OK with.

Deseeding Avocados

Is anyone able to do this without fear of decapitating their fingers? I can barely look down when I’m making my guacamole! Scary business.

 

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And that’s it for this week folks. Wishing you a super lovely week filled with copious amounts of cherry blossom pictures and a little more sunshine 🙂

 

Mother’s Day Post: Part 2 – 10 Signs You Are Becoming Your Mother

Mother’s Day Post: Part 2 – 10 Signs You Are Becoming Your Mother

After a weekend with constant sunshine it’s no surprise I’m feeling a little depressed this Sunday evening. Setting an alarm for another week of work is enough to fill anyone with dread but I can’t help but feel content too after such a happy few days. We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather and it was a perfect chance to spend some time outdoors and take that Mum of ours out for a dander in the sun.

 

When I spend time with my Mum these days I find more and more habits and idiosyncrasies of hers that I have slowly started to inherit. It’s enough to scare the bejaysus out of me when I start to snort like her or correct other people’s grammar but it’s nice to know there’s a part of her in the woman I’ve become. Even if that part can be a cynical nag at times.

 

To finish off Mother’s Day I thought I’d share a few signs that you too are turning in to your ma. Try not to let it worry you – it happens to all of us so we might as well embrace the moments of walking in to rooms and forgetting why we’re there (it was probably to make yet another cup of tea).

 

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and here’s to turning in to the women we love most!


10 Signs You’re Turning In To Your Mum

1. You Hold Your Phone a Metre From Your Face To Read Messages

I have caught myself doing this so many times when I’m trying to read a message and I also do that super-attractive face-thing where I pull the corners of my mouth down. It doesn’t even matter if I have my glasses on – it’s just a natural state I find myself in when scrolling through Instagram.

2, You Make Sandwiches for Journeys

My Mum would have had no qualms about sending me off to the airport with a load of ham sandwiches wrapped in cling film when I was headed off travelling. She knew rightly that I probably wouldn’t eat them after they were squished within 5 minutes but it was just an extension of her looking after me. I find myself making wee snacks for long journeys now just in case I find myself in the wilderness and fancy a hob nob – you can never be too careful.

3. You Wear Your Glasses on Your Head and Forget They’re There

My favourite moments are when my Mum walks around looking for her glasses when they’ve been on her head since she put them there to make tea. I don’t tell her of course because the entertainment is just too much.

4. You Make Excuses for the State of the House

9 times out of 10 I’ll walk in to my Mum’s house and she’ll try and excuse the disarray (even when there’s no real mess) because she’s in the middle of some recent deep clean. She takes herself on these notions of gutting out all the cupboards and then gets bored halfway through when she suddenly finds old school reports she knows have always been there. The women has the attention spat of a gnat (but I do love her).

5. You Call Your Children Every Name but Theirs

Now, I know I don’t have children but I couldn’t help but put this in here since I’m sure everyone can identify with it. When we were growing up my Mum would shout for me but come out with my sisters’/dad’s/cousin’s/postman’s name before getting to mine. I couldn’t help but feel slightly wounded when after getting through all those names she still couldn’t get to mine. Definitely something I still carry around with me.

6. You Become Petrified of Being a Car Passenger

Anyone else’s Mum make them feel like Schuhmacher when they’re a passenger in the car? My Mum does this whole dramatic door grab act when I’m turning a corner even though I’m only doing 25mph around a roundabout. Drives me bananas!

7. You Drink At Least 10 Cups of Tea a Day

I have timed my cups of tea to an art form which is something I have definitely inherited from Mother Dearest except she has a good 8 – 10 cups a day in comparison to my 4. I actually don’t think the woman drinks any liquid other than tea which makes me a little afraid that she’s slowly turning in to a used teabag.

8. You Overfeed Any Visitor

Especially male visitors. Having brought up three girls my Mum thinks that men must eat twice as much and forces them to eat everything she has in the house. What she doesn’t realise is that one of her daughters (me) eats just as much as a man. I find myself doing this now though – I’ll insist on feeding anyone that comes in to my house even if it’s just to deliver a leaflet. Definitely an Irish mammy thing.

9. You Hide Evidence of Snacking

As a child my Mum would have never have had a sweet tooth – something she always prided herself on. Fast forward twenty years and she’ll now easily inhale a whole tray of cupcakes and wash them down with a Fanta. It’s gotten so bad that she’s now taken to hiding the evidence for fear of ridicule. I am guilty of hiding this little habit too though – don’t open my car door because there will be mountains of sweet wrappers that will fall on to your feet.

10. You Don’t Care About Looking Like a Stalker

If I miss a call from my Mum and don’t call her back within a half hour I’ll usually get a text followed about another 5 calls. The poor woman instantly worries and doesn’t give a damn if I might be in a meeting or driving my car. We’ve tried to tell her that when we’re free we will call her but I don’t think that’ll ever get through. At the end of the day it’s only because she loves us and how lucky are we that our mothers love us so much that they just can’t wait to hear our voice?

What Not To Worry About #17

What Not To Worry About #17

Oh my goodness it’s actually feeling like Spring and today was the first day I was able to spend some time outside after work – hurrah! I almost forgot what it felt like to take big gulps of fresh air after spending hours parked in front of a computer hidden in an office of artificial light. But today Andrew and I bounded up to Stormont while dinner was in the oven, we watched the sun go down on the city and I forced him to take photos of me amongst the daffodils – a true Insta partner.

 

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It takes something as little as a short walk outside to cure me of any restlessness or bad temper I might have been feeling that day. Today was a bit of a tough one not only because it’s a Monday but also because I had just spent the last weekend at a hen party drinking a little too much wine and way too much beer for my own good. The things we do for our friends eh?

 

My voice is slowly returning (and my sanity too I think) but it was all worth it for the laughs we had. Getting a whole weekend away with my friends is such a rarity and it reminded me of the time I spent travelling Asia and Australia in my early twenties; living out of a suitcase and not having a care in the world. I know to cherish these moments that return us to our girlhood because it won’t be long until we start becoming mothers and a whole new chapter in our lives begin.

 

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This week I plan to relish in the golden hour – even if it’s just doing a few stretches in the back garden or sitting on my back doorstep was my face pointing up to chase the last moment of light. The worries I carry around are easier to shed now and here are a few that I plan to shrug off this week…

 

Quiet Moods

Do you ever get in those moods where you retreat in to yourself and can’t bring yourself to summon the energy for chit chat? The girls in work know me well enough now to recognise my wee quiet moods. It’s not that I’m in bad form; I just become an introvert now and again and can get lost in my own thoughts. I’ve been like this since a child so much so that my Mum thought I was deaf because I would be in my own world while she would be roaring at me to come get dinner!

 

Writers Block

I never thought I would say this because I have never considered myself to be a writer but since I started this blog there are times when I feel at a loss. The words hang over my head taunting me while my brain goes dark. It’s not a nice feeling when I allow myself to think that I have nothing valuable to share but I have to remind myself that the words and stories will come again. Usually a wee dander and a cup of tea is enough encouragement!

 

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Chipped Nails

My little sister Shannon is a goddess with her beauty routine. She puts so much care and thought in to her appearance and not because she’s vain but because she actually enjoys it. I on the other hand try to avoid standing next to her in public because it’s so apparent I didn’t brush my hair that day/don’t own an iron/should never attempt to paint my nails. There really is no use in trying to paint these bitten-down talons because they get chipped within a minute which makes me look even more thrown together than usual. I’ll leave the glamour to the baby sister I think!

 

Snorting

When I was away this weekend I snorted A LOT. This is an adorable trait that I inherited from my mother and gets progressively worse when I drink alcohol. It’s something I have no control over and I tell myself it’s an endearing treat when in reality I sound like I should be in a barn.

 

Warm Toilet Seats

Because. YUCK.

 

Have a great week folks and make sure to get out and enjoy this spring sunshine!

What Not To Worry About #15

What Not To Worry About #15

Hello fellow Monday people! How’s the heads? Are we starting off positive or are we stumbling wildly in to the week wondering where the weekend went? I’m planning on starting the week off with a fresh head after a slow weekend filled with family, friends and lots of food. Here’s hoping I can carry it through to the end of the week!

 

The main reason why I feel a little lighter this Monday is because I was able to be a part of a pretty special event last week that I am still beaming from. The Assembly Gathering is an inclusive community workshop founded by Mel Wiggins which encourages those seeking an environment in which they can inspire and be inspired by other creative women. I have spoken about my tenious relationship with this side of myself in a previous post as I have struggled to acknowledge that I am, and enjoy being, a creative person.

 

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Having seen posts about the first event in autumn and reading about how wonderful those who attended came away feeling, I promised myself I would jump at the chance if there was another. You can imagine then how delighted I was when I saw tickets released for the winter gathering a few weeks ago and of course I wasted no time in registering. I went on my own and didn’t feel an ounce of nervousness about that since the very reason I was going was because I was doing something just for me. Putting myself in the rare position of being ‘me’ in a crowd of unknown people wasn’t so terrifying when I knew how supportive the environment would be.

 

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The gathering was held in the Boundary Brewery, a coop based in East Belfast and when I entered the room I was blown away by how pretty a brewery could be! Grace & Saviour had transformed the place in to an ethereal wonderland, an Instagrammers dream! We were taken under Mel’s wing and split in to 2 groups; one group learning the wonder of natural dyeing with Colour & Cloth and the other learn about the brewing process by Sheena from Boundary along with a few sneaky tasters.

 

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Christine from Colour & Cloth provided us with our silk scarves and we started off learning about all the amazing natural products that can be used to dye materials which as it turns out is an exhaustive list. I chose to use teabags for mine and folded the silk using pegs and elastic band to create psychadelic patterns (I hadn’t a notion what I was doing really but sort of hoped for the best). The colour came out beautifully, almost a grey-gold and I used it as a table runner for yesterday’s Sunday lunch!

 

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After we tasted some pretty delicious beer, we were spoiled with a spread laid out by Little Pink Kitchen. The cutlery alone had me sold but the food was outstanding from start to finish. And the conversation that was had around this feast was something that will stay with me for quite some time. We were given some questions that were in a wee bowl in the table to help guide the conversation but to be honest the discussions were already so open and honest that we didn’t really need the help. We spoke of what we felt we were lacking or allowed to hold us back, what we dreamt of doing and what our creative fears were. Incredible stuff.

 

Obviously I came away rejuvenated and full of plans. To connect with like-minded people is such a joy and it made me realise how I needed more of this. This time of year is where I can feel a little demotivated and unsure of myself and now I feel like I know more than ever what I want to be doing. I am so incredibly grateful to the gathering for getting me to this place.

 

And so I shall continue on with my usual ‘What Not To Worry About’ post to let you know the little worries I am shedding this week…

 

Unwise Outfit Choices

This time of year is a little cruel for fashion because I begin to get restless with being covered in endless layers. After Lisbon I got a taste for skirts and light clothing again and forgot myself when I came home. I quickly realised that skirt season is definitely another wee while away and so I will have to suck it up and make do with panicking every Sunday night to make sure I have enough tights to get me through the week.

 

Rainy Weekends

What a dull and wet weekend we had! Save for a sliver of sunlight on Sunday afternoon there seemed to be no hope of a bright weekend. It’s beginning to get a little tiresome but it’s weekends like this that encourage slow paced activities which felt exactly right for me this weekend. On Saturday we pottered about the palm house in Botanic Gardens and yesterday we had family over for a Sunday Roast. Nothing to complain about here.

 

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Nervous Chat

After the gathering I realised I am not so great at striking up conversation. I usually enter with a joke and I am quickly relieved when the other person doesn’t slither away in disgust. Why do we do this to ourselves? I have to keep reminding myself that in those situations the other person is more than likely thinking the same thing and so I shouldn’t be too embarrassed. And my jokes are OK sometimes!

 

Weak Handshakes

This can give me the heebie jeebies especially in a professional scenario. Weak handshakes are just weird. Stay firm people!

 

My Stationery Habit

I found my new favourite shop on Saturday.  is a lovely place on the Lisburn Road and it’s chocked full of beatiful designs. I wanted everything but I settled for a gorgeous notebook which seems to be the only thing I come away when I find my new favourite shop. I can’t help myself!

 

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Wishing you all a great week!!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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!

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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…

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