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What Not To Worry About #26

What Not To Worry About #26

Hello friends. How about this weather we’re having here on the emerald isle? It’s been such a treat to get a little sun-kissed on my lunch break and to feel my skin tingling as I retreat back inside. My favourite part has to be cooking with the backdoor open and allowing the warm air to fill the house with scents of summer. What’s not been so great though is the constant sneezing and eye-streaming that’s been gracing my face the last few weeks (making make-up absolutely pointless) and has turned me in to a sniffling wreck. All worth it though for a few moments of heat!

 

Last weekend was probably one of the best I’ve had all year as Andrew and I weaved our way across London celebrating his birthday. I booked the trip as his birthday present and even managed to keep it a secret until a few days before (a huge achievement for me!). We had 4 days to explore the big smoke which wreaked havoc with our feet and I definitely sweated from every pore of my body but we immersed ourselves in the city life, soaking in as much as we could.

 

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It was a trip I think we both needed and we have come back home feeling more energised and motivated than we have been in the last month or two. It’s funny how only a few days away from the daily grind of work, chores and routine can wake us from a slumber we don’t fully realise we are in. Our relationships can be the silent victims in this gentle descent; we forget to really talk to each other, immersing ourselves in computer and phone screens in an attempt to destress.

 

This weekend we didn’t look at screens for most of the day (except to take photos of course, always have time for that) and instead we got lost in new streets, discovering parts of the city we had never been to while eating as much good food as we could manage. We had conversations that didn’t revolve around work or family but allowed our words to meander between random topics as we hopped from tube to tube. It was a wonderful few days and I won’t leave it too long until we get lost again.

 

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And here are a few worries I will be letting go of this week…

 

Always having to be the leader

I have realised over the last few years that I have this incessant need to be the leader on a holiday. I love to plan the itinerary, research the best places to eat and take control of the map when trying to find our bearings. I’ve slowly learned to relinquish this control but I have this weird joy for planning the BEST. TRIP. EVER and surely this isn’t the worse thing?

Having to wear a bra

Summertime is not a good season for under garments especially when you get those beautiful under-boob sweat patches that just scream summer chic. There truly is no better feeling than taking off your bra as soon as you come home and flinging it in the corner – let those ta-ta’s free!!

Being terrible at replying to messages

Apologies to all those who have ever messaged me. I do intend on replying but I have a mind like a sieve and also I am just crap at replying.

Finishing a TV series

I always get so sad when finishing a TV series and my most recent mourning is for The Handmaid’s Tale. Hole Moses if you haven’t seen it you have to!

Being a nag

Really trying not to nag Andrew when he decides to stay up late, sleep in or refuse to organise his clothes. I am not his mother. Repeat: I am not his mother.

 

And that’s it for this week. Enjoy these sunny days folks!!

 

What Not To Worry About #25

What Not To Worry About #25

I missed doing this post last week. It’s a post I look forward to writing because it’s the only time I allow myself to focus on the little things that I needlessly stress about and ask myself why I even give them the time of day. It’s easy to lose perspective when there are a million worries running through my brain:

Is it someone’s birthday soon?

Do we have enough milk for tea tonight?

Did I defrost the chicken?

When is my tax up on the car?

Is she annoyed at me for that thing I said?

Why do I get spots in my late twenties?

Am I making a difference?

Do I like where I am?

 

This madness can consume me if I allow it to but I think just being aware of my thoughts is one step closer to getting better control over them. Yes there are always going to be things to remember and yes I will have a random memory about one time when I was hammered in 2009 that will torment for the rest of my days BUT I can acknowledge the thought and then move on. I am usually a fairly laid back person but when one area of my life is suffering then the small things seem to become larger and more overwhelming.

 

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The best thing for me to do in these cases is to remove myself from the chaos and find somewhere quiet to just be for a moment. I have spoken before about the importance of prioritising these moments of solitude because it’s my way of regaining a bit more stability and understanding that it’s all going to be OK. When things are going rough we can have a tendency to focus on the present and lack the foresight needed to understand that it’s not permanent. Instead of spending time worrying about things that are out of our control, wouldn’t it be much better to acknowledge them for a second and then brush them off? Wouldn’t be much better to give ourselves a break and a moment to appreciate all that we do? Yes, I think so too.

 

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All photos by the lovely Rebecca of A Clothes Horse

And with that in mind, here are a few of the worries I am letting go of this week.

 

Not having a dog

This is a fact that makes me sad sometimes but not having a dog also means that I don’t have to sit in work feeling guilty all day knowing that my wee furball is lonely. Also means that I don’t have to be dragged about in the rain to walk off energy. Still can’t wait though.

Always forgetting my bag for life

I feel like the worst environmentalist in the world when I pull up to the shop and realise that all of my bag-for-life-bags are in that wee hole in the kitchen where we stuff them all. I curse myself every time and buy another one to add to the collection.

Cop cars

Why do I feel like an instant criminal as soon as I see a cop car? I haven’t done a thing wrong but all of a sudden I have an urge to escape from them at the earliest chance. Creeps.

My love of bread

With the bikini season well and truly here I have given up on the idea of washboard abs and will not be saying goodbye to the carb-filled joy of my heart. Bring on the baguettes.

People who play it safe

You know those people who pull a ridiculous face when you suggest doing something out of the ordinary? Like when someone asks what you’re doing for the weekend and you say that you might go camping which induces a look of pure horror. “Sure it gives it to rain for a half an hour on Saturday!! Are ye mad? Oh no, you wouldn’t catch me at that now. Oh no, sure ye’d be drenched in thon rain! No, I will be sitting up in the house there and staying put so I will”. Arrgghh!!

 

And that’s it for this week! Anything you are choosing to let go of???

What Not To Worry About #22

What Not To Worry About #22

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Have a great week!

 

Crap Clothes Pegs

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

 

Junk Mail

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

 

Duvets

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

 

Movie Nights

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

 

Snooker

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

 

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What Not To Worry About #21

What Not To Worry About #21

A whole week of sunshine transforms the mindset of the Irish people. We become unnaturally positive as we pull all of our furniture outside to the garden with naive enthusiasm, attempt to have a BBQ without at least one argument and pretend that the midgies aren’t so bad really. We understand that weather this beautiful is not to be taken for granted and while some might have the audacity to say that it’s ‘too warm’, most of us can’t believe our lucky stars when we wake up to another blue sky.

 

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There is this fervour of activity that occurs when the sun is streaming down on us. We fear that we aren’t doing enough to make the most of the sunshine when in truth all we should be doing is stopping to savour it. We don’t need to book a weekend away or take half of the house with us to the beach. The best way to enjoy this weather is by not putting shoes on for the whole weekend while we potter between our garden and the indoors. This is how I spent my Saturday; by stripping the beds and throwing all the windows open, sitting on the back doorstep to listen to kids playing on the street, cooking a fry for brunch, going through all my unused cosmetics (man, how good does it feel to throw out crap you don’t use?). Bliss.

 

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Sunday was spent outdoors with my sister Shannon when I realised I had to sit in an office the next day. She collected me from my house and took a spin to Dundrum with Bella in the back to keep us company. It’s not often that we get to hang out like this just the two of us but she is probably the person I feel most at ease with in this world. We can sit in total silence and it will still feel like quality time together.

 

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On our way back to Belfast we passed a rapeseed field that was bursting with colour against the setting sun. Being the Instagram lunatic that I am, I convinced her to pull the car over and have an impromptu shoot. She didn’t need much persuading to be fair as she’s as big an addict as I am and so we leapt about the yellow flowers like a pair of eejits. It was the perfect way to end a sun-filled weekend.

 

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I hope you made plenty of Spring memories this weekend. And here’s a few of the worries and stresses I am letting go of this week…

 

Getting an Ed Sheeran song stuck in my head

The man is everywhere and even though I might face the wrath of his army of fans by saying this…. I don’t like his music. Galway Girl is like listening to what Americans think Irish music should sound like but holy Moses it can really get stuck in your head. The man is a musical evil genius! I find myself bursting out in to song as I type out an email and feel instantly ashamed of myself. Damn you Ed!

Spring Winds

To quote every person in Ireland, “Aw Jaysus boy, sure she’s warm when you’re standin’ in an aul trap but once you’re in the shade thon wind would cut ye in two”. Translated as: “Yes, you’re quite right, the weather is splendid however if you were to step in to the shade you would find it rather chilly really”. I like the Irish version better though.

Flies

One of my Dad’s pet peeves of the summer. And mine too if I’m to be honest (not cynical I swear!). One morning during the week I woke up to the sunlight filtering through the room which was the loveliest way to wake up until I heard this steroidal blue bottle attacking our curtain like a monster. What a jaw-clencher.

People that complain about the heat

As I mentioned above, these people are the worst! They yap all winter about how you can feel the cold to the bones but when the temperature lifts above 15 degrees you would sweat it was Doomsday. They’re out fanatically watering their precious plants as if the gates of Hell are about to open at the bottom of the garden! Chill out folks – we live in Ireland and it will be raining again in no time.

Walking on mopped floors in socks

*Shudder* – is there anything worse than damp socks???

 

Have a lovely week!!!

 

What Not To Worry About #20

What Not To Worry About #20

Happy Tuesday!

 

I really enjoyed those little cluster of long weekends we’ve been having this past month. Not that I have been doing anything overly spectacular with my time but it’s the ordinary little things that have been making me happy recently. Spending lots of time with family and friends. Enjoying lazy mornings on the couch drinking lots of tea and writing. Going for mini adventures somewhere local. And sunshine!!

 

It took me a long time to appreciate the mundane because throughout most of my twenties I was seeking the extraordinary. The adrenalin from new experiences, new faces and new landscapes. As my twenties are dwindling I am able to appreciate the predictable moments because they are spent with the people who I want to be boring with. That is home to me. And even if I wander again I will always be brought back to the the ordinary moments that make my heart happy.

 

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Last weekend my family assembled to help my Granny Una celebrate her 90th birthday. We piled in to my aunt Susie’s and ate the most amazing food (there were about a million desserts) and I held a wine glass that never seemed to empty. The house was full of stories; some I’ve never heard before but most I have heard hundreds of times. We all sat around in a circle at the end of the night taking turns to play the bard and sharing jokes – a traditional end to an Irish gathering where I usually flounder because I am terrible at remembering jokes. It was a great night to be surrounded by

 

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But my favourite part of the evening was the quick chat I had with Una in between the photos we were all competing for. As to be expected on her 90th birthday she was feeling particularly reflective and she told me of her time in the Women’s Royal Navy, the most cherished years of her life. She talked of living in Egypt. How she still remembers hearing the music from her camp near the Suez Canal and the heat that seemed so different to the Irish sun. After three years in the WRN’s as a morse code operator she had to return home to look after her elderly mother. A decision she now says was both the best and worst of her life. It changed everything for her.

 

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I will cherish that conversation for the rest of my days because I saw in her more than just my grandmother. She was a wild one once and she too had that unwillingness to settle for the ordinary. She had hopes and dreams just like I do now. She was unsure of her choices and the path she was supposed to take. I felt closer to her than I ever have.

 

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This week I am choosing to let go of a few things but mostly I want to remind myself that I don’t have to have it all figured out. It’s OK with not knowing it all for now. Here’s a few of them…

 

Not Remembering Jokes

As said above I am shite at remembering jokes and quietly seethe with jealousy when people can roll a dozen off their tongue. How can you fit all of them inside your brain?! Remembering to brush my teeth is enough of a challenge.

 

Forgetting To Brush My Teeth

Until I’m all cosy in bed. It’s the worst when I get all snuggly and then realise that I don’t taste minty and then I have to drag myself from the cosiness. Personal hygiene is such a nuisance sometimes.

 

Crap Lunch

I’m trying to be really good and not spend money on lunches in work but sometimes it’s just plain sad when all you have is a few spinach leaves and tomatoes. Even a jam sandwich seems exciting these days.

 

Sunglasses

I will never complain of sunshine. NEVER. But because I live in Ireland it means I am always unprepared for the good days and always have to fish out sunglasses from the year before which are never there because I always lose them. Why are sunglasses so hard to retain? Of all my accessories they have the shortest lifespan. Or gloves. Damn seasons.

 

Never Having Change

I’ve fully embraced the modern life and use my card everywhere I go. It isn’t until I am in a carpark or a charity asks for money that I am reminded that people still carry coins. Why can’t everything just be a tap away from payment? Coins are cumbersome and just make you jingle so they should be altogether eradicated.

 

And that’s a wrap! Enjoy the rest of your week folks!