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What Not To Worry about #38

What Not To Worry about #38

And so it was October. A month that feels a little bittersweet as nature puts on a final show of colour and magic before the sedentary months of winter roll in. Despite it being a month that sees the temperatures fall and the trees baring themselves to the world, October is when I find myself reawakening and finding the motivation that disappeared in the haze of summer.

It’s as if a light switch goes off as the world outside darkens, I suddenly remember the tasks and creative projects I had set aside months ago and immerse myself in books and articles that I know will inspire me. I spoke of the blogging event I attended in last week’s post which is one of the ways in which I am trying to push myself back to where I want to be again, surrounded by people who lift me up and encourage me to create.

I am also attending the TBEX conference in Kerry next week which I am so so excited about (and a wee bit nervous if I’m completely honest). My friend Rebecca had asked me to go with her earlier this year and I jumped at the opportunity to speak and listen to photographers and bloggers who have travelled the world while making a living. I have had to use up the rest of my annual leave (it’s going to feel like a long time until the Christmas break!) but I reckon it will all be worth it, even just to have the opportunity to leap about the fields of Kerry.

I hope you’re feeling just as motivated these few weeks as we say goodbye to the summer that never was but if you are lacking a little and are in need of a gentle push, have a gander at the worries I am letting go of this week. I have linked some articles which have inspired me too so please read them to enlighten you or even just made you chuckle because a wee giggle can be enough to lift us 🙂

Here goes…

Listening to bullshit – we don’t have to put up with it and we’re actually doing ourselves a disservice by participating in even listening to it. Read this article which is an excerpt from Brené Brown’s new book to help convince you!

Not being able to write – working a full time job and then coming home to write a post from scratch can feel almost impossible which is why I need to have a wee space at home to wind down. I loved reading this piece where writers spoke of how they get their creative juices flowing, where they can create best and even what they choose to wear!

Getting major wedding envy – I trawled through the photos from Sara Tasker’s wedding (who is the genius behind Me & Orla) and heard a little whimper escape because it was all so beautiful. If I ever get married it will be in a barn I am almost certain with ferns in my hair OR I might just wear ferns in my hair at the weekend for kicks.

Being a very lazy baker – I have hardly baked all summer and feel guilty that my cake mixer has been sitting in the corner abandoned and unused. With the apple season rounding out I decided to pop down to Armagh to bake some apples and either re-try this recipe or give Rebecca’s mum-in-law’s recipe a go.

Missing someone – Autumn brings with it moments of contemplation and this can sometimes lead to pangs for the people we wish were by our side. Read this poem if you’re feeling the same. It made me ache in the most beautiful way.


Have a lovely week folks and if you have any tips for Kerry, help a sister out and leave a comment!

The Lost Art of Writing Letters

The Lost Art of Writing Letters

Since I was little my Granny Una has written me and my sisters letters to congratulate us at different stages of our lives; birthdays, communions, graduations, new houses. I’ve kept most of these cards over the years because not only has she always something incredibly witty to say but because reading these handwritten words of encouragement from someone you love can be so much more enduring than hearing them.

Unfortunately Una has a knack for not realising the impact or severity of her words at times and some of us can become victims of the infamous ‘Una/Granny burn’. Her hints to change can be as subtle as a brick. Like the time she gently suggested that my cousin Pete might like to start going to the gym. Or telling my mother that she’s ‘quite a bundle’. Oh Una we love you.

Recently I was in hospital and she sent me a letter and although her writing is becoming more scrawled and less legible, those obscure pieces of advice are still there and she still has the ability to make me laugh. Reading her card made me think of how rare it is to receive anything in the mail other than what deals are on in Eurospar. Everything is communicated on Facebook – no one would dream of sending a birthday card when you can just type a quick message in 5 seconds. No letters to say well done on getting the new job, new house or new baby. How about we spend that extra few minutes actually writing down how happy we are for someone instead of our message becoming lost in a sea of others?

I have been trying to write more letters recently when I think it might brighten someone’s day and I thought I’d share a few ideas on how you can do this too. Nobody has time for anything these days which is why it feels even more special to receive a handwritten note, especially one with a stamp on it. I’m not saying we have to get an inkwell and write by candlelight but just letting someone you love know that you do – simples.

Here are a few times when you could write a little note…

When you know someone is looking for a job

We’ve all been there. Completing a million applications, hearing nothing back and thinking you will be forever searching for that job that will make you happy. This is an exhausting and wearisome time especially when we’re at the beginning of our careers and have no idea what direction we should be going in. If you know someone is trying to put themselves out there but getting little back, write a short note to them with a few words of encouragement and a few reasons why they should keep going. Maybe a quote is all they need or recalling a time they personally impressed you. Not only will it surely pick them up but it will also remind them of what they are capable of too.

When you know someone is grieving

Unfortunately, all of us will encounter moments of grief in our lives where we feel lost and alone. The days following the loss will be full of people and sandwiches but it’s the months after when you’re still learning to cope that can be the loneliest. In my last year of university in Edinburgh, I lost my sister Amy and it was the letters I received from family and friends that enabled me to dig deep and find the determination to finish my degree. Grief is complicated in that there are times when we are absolutely fine and then all of a sudden we are dragged under. Knowing that there is someone willing to bring you back up to surface, no matter how long it’s been since your loss, is a wonderful feeling.

When you want to share something beautiful

Sometimes the best time to write a note is when there is no real reason to except to share a little beauty. Maybe you’ve seen a pretty handmade card, read a moving article in a magazine or taken a photograph you’re dying to share with them via something other than Instagram. Posting a little memento in an envelope that you think might make someone smile is one of the best reasons to share something beautiful.

When you’re on holiday

Remember postcards? Usually sent by family friends and mostly talking about how many days it rained and who got the worst burns. Sometimes though they give a real insight in to an unknown country and allow us to imagine where the person was when they were writing it. My Granny, of course, loves them so I always try to send them to her. Even when I’m only away a week and I’ll probably see her before she gets it. When I write them now I describe where I’m sitting, the views I have in front of me and how I feel so the receiver can really picture the scene. I find these notes are a lot better at capturing moments than uploading a picture on Facebook intended for no one in particular. Maybe even write one to yourself so you can remember that time when you look back years later!

When you thought of a friend who lives overseas

I made some incredible friends while living in Australia but the likelihood of getting to see them again is quite small and so I made a decision to keep in touch through letters as much as I can. Pen pals were boring in school, it’s hard to develop a relationship with a French student when you can’t go beyond ‘My name is Alex’ and ‘I like to play tennis’ but nowadays we live in a global community where friendships can be made in the far corners of the world. It’s great to keep in touch online but letters are a great way to take a trip down memory lane and keep these memories forever.

When you are grateful for help you’ve been given

A thank you note is such a simple touch but it’s a great way to show appreciation to someone who has helped you in a time of need. Maybe your friend helped you prep for an interview, your dad gave you a hand moving house or your partner gave the house a clean when you were feeling low; these are all times we should be thankful. Communicate that to them personally to remind them how lucky you are to have them.

I’m going to practice what I preach now and write a few letters to those that might need a few thoughtful words and maybe I might get some back!

Happy Sunday folks!!