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Month: November 2016

What Not To Worry About #8

What Not To Worry About #8

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Have a great week!

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!


An Irish Goodbye

An Irish Goodbye

An¬†‘Irish Goodbye’ usually refers to a person¬†who leaves a group without saying farewell and sneaks out the door however here in Ireland, saying goodbye is a much more dramatic affair and is usually the longest event of the night with several breaks every few metres until eventually the host is practically on the guest’s lap in the car.

When I think of this type of goodbye that is all too common here it reminds me of how reluctant we are to say goodbye to the people we love. We cling on to every moment, not wanting it to end for fear that once they’re gone, the party is over and we are only left with the memories.

This is the most tragic and bittersweet thing about life that we know to expect but are never prepared for in any case. No matter how we knew the person, saying goodbye to someone who has made us¬†feel a little less alone in a world that we continually battle to understand is something we never get used to. It pushes us in to a place we¬†don’t want to be, away from the living that feels cold and barren and allows thoughts to gather in our minds that only propagates the feeling that we are all alone after all.

Losing my sister was a traumatic experience as most losses are. She was too young and experienced too much pain which meant the only condolence was that she wasn’t going to suffer anymore. My problem with this was just that – she wasn’t going to suffer anymore. She wasn’t going to feel anything anymore and we were all left to feel everything; joy, sadness, excitement, love, hate. I struggled, and still do, with how unfair it all was that her ability to feel was taken away.

These struggles are what led me to never take for granted the ability to feel the best and worst things that life can throw at us. Suffering a great loss can shake us to our core but being able to feel this despair is one of the life’s most cruel of gifts. It might sound a little masochistic but even on the days I feel in pain or scared or angry I am at least relieved to feel.

Unfortunately grief is a lifelong experience that never really goes away. When we lose someone who we weren’t ready to let go of we are left with a hole that can grow big and small even years later. We lost Amy six years ago and there are days when I feel such an urge to talk to her it can overwhelm me. She was the middle sister that glued us three together and it’s difficult to pretend that we don’t need that link to make me and Shannon feel whole. Which is why I don’t pretend. When I need to talk about her or share a funny story I will. When I miss her uncontrollably I’ll call my parents or sister. I will never shut her out because I need to embrace her in my life wherever possible.

The thing is, I appreciate all too well how much of a miracle it is that I’m even alive in the first place. It’s a miracle our planet is in the position it is in the solar system. It’s a miracle I was born in a country with access to modern medicine. It’s a miracle my parents decided to fancy each other and get it on (in the most romantic of ways I’m sure). ¬†And it’s a miracle I am the only one in this world who was lucky enough to be a big sister to Amy.

Sometimes we’re forced to say goodbye before we’re ready. The reality of how delicate and uncontrollable life can be is thrusted upon us and we are bereft with the knowledge we may never see our loved ones again. What we do have and what can never be taken away from us is the memories. The moments shared together happened and¬†can never unhappen. They will always remain and that’s how we can ensure that the people we have lost are never truly gone from us. They need only be on the edge of our thoughts and the end of our breath. We can take as many breaks as we need before we reach the door and say our final goodbye.

What Not To Worry About #6

What Not To Worry About #6

I’m a little late with my Monday post because I was off work playing Mrs Tour Guide yesterday and so today is really my Monday – oh the joys of a 4 day working week! Our Aussie visitor has been here about¬†10 days now and I’ve been keen to showcase Ireland as much as possible which definitely is not easy in November!


On Saturday I took her around the Navan Fort in Armagh and we walked through the streets I grew up on. It’s always a little strange seeing my home town through the eyes of a¬†visitor, the buildings I took for granted and the little businesses that have managed to survive over the years. Holly was way more impressed with Armagh than I had expected which was a relief!


I took her to mass on Saturday night for Amy’s anniversary which was part and parcel of the full Irish experience of course. She had never been in a chapel before and her face was absolutely hilarious as she tried to follow the congregation as we stood up and sat down a million times. My favourite part was when everyone started exchanging signs of peace (a part of mass that involves shaking hands with one another for any of you heathens out there) and my Auntie just thrusted her hand in Holly’s and forced the handshake as Holly went along with it in pure bewilderment. Catholic traditions are a bit odd so I don’t blame her.


We started off our week with an adventure along the Mourne Coast and took a route I hadn’t been on before which is always a treat. As we came across the mountains, we drove parallel to them down the narrowest of roads while trying to get a good shot through those pesky hedges. I was too busy looking to the right when we’d reached the crest of the hill and I was almost blinded by the Irish Sea sparkling beneath us, the winter sun bouncing off the water in to a million pieces. It was really spectacular and I had to pull the car over for a few minutes to drink the view in and let the gratitude for the moment wash over me.


A great way to start the week is to feel grateful for it and so this week I’m choosing to not let the following get on my goat…


Not owning an iron – (CUE GASP!) – Yes I don’t own an iron and no it’s not for any particular reason other than the fact I can’t be bothered. Ironing bedsheets seems to be such a pointless act and my clothes seem to iron themselves out when I’m wearing them so I honestly feel my time is better utilised in other ways. Also, I’m a lazy bitch.


Making a mistake in work – I can be a little hard on myself at the best of times but when I make a mistake in work I berate myself for ages over it and fear that people might think a little less of me. I am such a people pleaser to the point where it can be a little pathetic and so I need to let myself be OK with a few errors here in there and to come to terms with the fact that perfection is not always a realistic goal.


Wasting a pumpkin – Does anyone else have full intentions of using their Halloween pumpkin for soup and roasting the seeds for a snack? And does anyone actually ever do this? I hope not because once I start carving I no longer see the pumpkin flesh as food and only has inner organs that need to be discarded immediately.


Never finishing a project – I am a professional procrastinator and so I have hundreds of unfinished projects littered about my house e.g. sewing material that was destined to be napkins but have lain in a cupboard for 6 months, a boxful of craft materials I keep meaning to make presents out of, planks of wood that are supposed to be shelves, empty walls that have been begging for mirrors/pictures. One day I will make my way through these tasks but I can’t force the creativity to strike when it ain’t there, y’know?


Not reading enough – Now this is something that’s really been bothering me because I’ve slowly been letting my lunch breaks go and eating at my desk which goes against everything I had preached about here and here. Maybe this is something worth thinking about this week since a moment away from the computer screen at work and before bed would do me a world of good.


I hope you all have a wonderful week and are all tucked away safely from the dark wet evenings. We all complain about it but right now I can’t help but secretly love it!


Have a great one and stay dry!