13 Reasons Why

Before anyone starts to jump to conclusions, this has nothing to do with the TV show! I personally wasn’t a fan of the show, although the book was an interesting read… but I’m going off on a tangent so let me get back on track…

This post was set up by a teacher who had lost four of her students to suicide and decided to create this tag to get us all thinking about why we keep on going – a rather lovely sentiment really. I’d like to thank Synnove for nominating me for this – you can read her post here – and for making me think! This has been an interesting thought process for me because even though 13 reasons may not be many, I’ve wanted to make sure I’ve chosen the right ones to share with you all. So, here we go!

13RW

Rules:

  1. Mention the person who nominated you.
  2. List 13 reasons why you keep going/living (This is borrowed from the book but we’ll take it in the opposite direction).
  3. Nominate 10 or more people to give their reasons why.
  4. Use the tag logo in your post.

My 13 Reasons Why

1) My Family
My family are pretty amazing people. I genuinely don’t have the words to describe just how much I love them. They are the kind of people that would drive to the opposite of the country if you call them because they will want to be there for you at the drop of a hat. I have two amazing younger brothers – you can read more about them here – who are hilarious, kind, gentle giants. They never fail to make me laugh and I can always count on them to be there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to rant to.

My parents truly are #relationshipgoals. They are so madly in love after 30 years and I aspire to have a marriage like theirs when myself and Himself reach that landmark in our lives. They’re great fun to be around and always have my back. I’ve been in a position where I’ve considered what was keeping me here, what was actually worth living for anymore, and it all came down to these people here.

2) My Friends
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve curated a very special group of people that I enjoy spending my time with. I’ve obviously drifted from old friends and found new ones along the way, as we all do in life, but the gems that I have gained are worth their weight in gold. I have a few close friends who I would take a bullet for. They understand me almost as well as I understand myself and we have very open, honest, and fun relationships. My girls are my lifeline. There’s always someone in the group you can go to, no matter what the problem, and there’s always so much support and empowerment that we are the girl squad I always felt my soul needed!

As a child, and as a teen, I found girls horrible. They were always really nasty to each other and so bitchy. I couldn’t cope with how two-faced they could be, and I never knew where I stood with any of them. However, in the last few years we have taken a bit of a turn in Girl World. The feminist movement is one that I feel is so long overdue…. it’s 2018 for Buddha’s sake, and it’s only now that we’re seeing that we should be lifting each other up instead of constantly putting each other down (How it took us that long to get to this point I’ll never know!) Anyways, moral of the story is that we’ve turned a bit of a corner and I couldn’t be happier about it!

3) Himself
This might be a bit of a cliché but I am so in love with my boyfriend. We’ve known each other for about half our lives now and my world feels so much brighter and so much more colourful with him in it. He makes me calmer, he makes me see the fun side of things, and he makes me a much better person. Having spent a few years apart – when I needed to sort out my mental health – and getting back together again has really highlighted just how much he wants me to be ok. He encouraged me to do what I had to do to take care of myself and was always supporting me from the side lines. Together, we make such a great team. He is childish and quirky and a total messer, and that brings me down to earth when I’m taking life too seriously. He lifts me up and makes me see myself in a more positive light. More importantly though, he is my everything; he is perfectly flawed and that’s what makes him so perfect to me! I could ramble on about how much and why I love him but I’ll not bore you all to death!

4) Nature
This is something that may seem very simple, but I adore nature. I love getting outside and being in the moment. I appreciate the beauty that surrounds me – whether that’s in the middle of a bustling city, or in the stillness of the countryside or by the calm coastlines. Nature makes me feel connected; connected to the earth, to the people around me, and to myself. I take immense pleasure in observing the seasons change and watching the leaves change from green to red and yellow. I love seeing little buds on the trees sprout into luscious green leaves and hearing birds sing their morning song at 5am. There is beauty everywhere.

5) Music
This is one that is close to my heart. I play the piano and really enjoy getting into the flow of new pieces, as well as learning my own renditions of modern songs. I enjoy listening to music on Spotify, and listening to music live. Last night I went to an Ed Sheeran gig in Pairc Ui Caoimh and I really felt so mindful of the experience. There was an amazing atmosphere and people were so happy. Music can unite us. It is powerful. When you feel that nobody else could ever have felt as happy, sad, lonely, worried, as you are feeling, you’ll find a song that reminds you that despite all your beliefs, you are not alone.

6) Reading
This is a serious passion of mine. I love to get lost in a gripping book and experiencing the world, and it’s many emotions, from a different perspective. Reading makes me feel less alone in the world. Reading helps me to understand others better, and often to understand myself better. Reading helps me to leave life behind for a little while whilst also being totally immersed in the present moment. It is a magical hobby that I hope I never grow out of.

7) Self Improvement
I have, in recent years, developed a fierce determination to become the best possible version of myself. This is something that I am very passionate about and I am determined to be my best self. It’s a bit run-of-the-mill I guess, because who doesn’t want to be their best selves, but it is something that makes me get my ass out of bed on the mornings where I want to hide under the duvet. It pushes me to succeed and to give everything my best shot.

8) Making Others Smile
Random acts of kindness, little gestures to show others that I’m thinking of them, gifts for friends and family just because…. I really love making other people smile. It’s something that I’d like to incorporate more into every aspect of my life, but for now the intermittentness of it is perfectly fine! 🙂

9) The Little Things in Life
I have learned that the only attitude that will get you anywhere in life is an attitude of gratitude. If you are not grateful for the little things in life then how can you ever come to appreciate the big things. Gratitude is a tool that has completely changed my attitude to life. I’ve gone from being someone who constantly felt that the world was against her, to a woman who appreciates every little thing that the universe blesses her with. It has made me learn so much more about myself, and about the people around me, because at the end of the day we all want to be happy. I firmly believe that gratitude is the key to happiness.

10) The Sky
This is something that I am just so in love with. I’ve always been fascinated by the sky. I remember asking Santa for a telescope and being so disappointed when I didn’t get one. I used to love looking at the clouds in the sky. As a teenager I used to sit outside and stare at the stars.  And as an adult, I still love both of those things. Stargazing is one of my favourite things to do. It usually involves a few blankets and cushions on the ground outside at night, and whether I’m alone or in company it makes me feel amazing. Meteor showers are something that I absolutely adore and will drive for miles to get to the perfect spot without any light pollution to watch it. As I’ve grown up I’ve also developed a sincere love for the beauty of sunrises and sunsets. The palette of colour that a sunrise and sunset can create is simply breath taking!

11) Laughing
I absolutely love to laugh. There’s nothing better than laughing until there are tears pouring down my face. I simply cannot put it any simpler than that!

12) Eating my Favourite Foods
I love to eat. It should come as no shock that I am a Slimming World member! I love Pizza, Salt & Vinegar Crisps, Mint Chocolate, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Hot Dogs, Nachos, Deep Fried Brie… all the bad stuff! I love going out for food and eating the tastiest meals. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures! Even writing this is making me super hungry!

13) Travelling and Going on Adventures
Travelling to new places is something that I find scary and exciting. I’m a homebird so often going on an adventure means exploring my own country in some shape or form. Going on little adventures with the people I love really ignites a passion within me. I feel so connected to the people I am travelling with and I feel like I am doing the most amazing things for my mind and my soul. It is a great way for me to feel like I am truly making the most out of the life I’m living.


My Nominations

I would like to nominate the following people to take part in this tag:

turning20web

April

Maureen

Magnumlady

Speedy Gone Charlie

Christina

Taylor and Kaylie

Emma Louise

Kyoko

Serve my plate

I hope you guys enjoy this thought provoking tag!

Much love,

cropped-signoff.jpg

April Absence – Goal Achieved!

Hello Everyone,

April is over and I can now get back on this – my goal for April was to truly cut down on my use of social media and my reliance on technology and, to really commit, I decided to go one whole month without posting on the blog or even using the WordPress reader, just as a personal experiment.

So, let me fill you in on how my experience went…

April truly was a rollercoaster for me. I worked incredibly hard on personal development during the month and I went to some very dark lows, but came out with some lovely highs. I had a bit of a breakdown – nothing too serious at all, but just a week of feeling lower than low and unable to get myself out of it. After that low point I decided that I needed to get even more proactive than I have been about my mental health (and boy have I been proactive!!!!) and I signed up for a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course. I was terrified; because even though I have been practicing mindfulness for over 9 years, I felt like I wouldn’t be good enough for it.

Feeling not good enough is a recurring theme for me. Thinking about not being good enough for the mindfulness course made me confront some of the beliefs I’d constructed about my self and my sense of worth, which made for some interesting personal work. My therapist is saying that she feels as though I’ve turned a huge corner as a result of this work and that I’ve really committed to my goal of loving and understanding myself. To get back to my course, I’m 3 weeks into it and I’m feeling more optimistic and more in control of my thoughts and emotions than I have done in a very long time.

Being off of WordPress was interesting. I have been trying to get out of the frame of mind that social media and technology in general is important. I want to experience life for what it is instead of having to share things all of the time. I didn’t want to be sitting in front of a computer posting on my blog about my life when the whole point of a digital detox, for me anyways, was to see the ridiculousness in how our society has developed an innate need to like and share and post. To continuing posting on the blog was hypocritical in my mind and I decided to stay off of it for the month. I really do enjoy posting here; writing and sharing snippets about my life, but it does completely go against what I wanted to do – and that is to come off of these sites that are all about sharing every little detail. I know my blog isn’t exactly a hugely popular one – I’ve got about 200 followers I think, and I don’t for a second think that I will ever be (nor do I ever want to be) up there with the likes of Zoella etc. However, I did miss writing when I was away from it.

I thought a lot about what I want this blog to achieve for me. I had started out with the hope of sharing things about being happy and positive, yet I feel like a total imposter when being happy and positive is something that I struggle with a lot of the time. I considered changing it up to a photography blog, but I don’t have the equipment or the talent for such a thing. I considered reverting back to a book blog but I remembered how impersonal that felt for me before and decided against it. I have considered deleting the blog completely and committing to my journey of detaching from social media, but I think there’s a part of me invested in this to some degree and so I can’t see myself doing that… I’ve always stated that this blog is more for me than for anyone else. And even with my anonymity I am able to share things without caring about likes and follows. I’m not here for any personal gain other than to express myself in a way that is unique to, and comfortable for, me. So, I’ve decided to keep my blog going, even though I am a little unsure about what it is I’ll be doing with it at the moment!

In a sense I’ve been doing that with my entire life. I’ve stopped and taken stock. I’ve assessed where I’m at vs where I want to be. I’ve thought about my career options… am I happy in my current position? No. Can I see myself doing this job for the rest of my life? No. Can I imagine myself doing something different? Sometimes not… I did consider switching my career entirely to something like Midwifery… but I don’t know if I have the funding available for another college course.  Am I doing what I love? No.

That question was at the fore of my mind this month – am I doing what I love… It made me stop and consider what I love. What is it that makes me tick? Where am I when I am happiest? Who am I with when I am happiest? What am I doing when I’m happiest? And how can I transfer all of these things into a career that will be one that I love?!

What is it that makes me tick? I love helping people. I love listening to others and helping them to talk through their feelings and emotions. I love things that are new, novel, and exciting. I love creative projects… am I doing all of these in my daily job? No… So I need to find a way to get more of this in my life!

Anyway, I am welcoming May with a really warm smile! I’ve only one month left in work and I am determined to send one particular email that has been giving me a lot of anxious feelings… one where I’m going to stand up for myself and make a request that may not be well received at all but one that will show that I’m not being walked all over either! I am going to Ed Sheeran at the weekend and am really looking forward to spending some fun times with friends! Himself has just over a month until he’s home so the countdown will be well and truly on!

Have a wonderful month my friends!

Sending love,

cropped-signoff.jpg

March Round Up

March Round Up

March came and went as quickly as a sneeze! The year is flying by! It’s been an unusual month for me in ways; the weather has been a bit mental, and I managed to complete a goal I had set for myself that I genuinely feel has had such a positive impact on my life – scroll down to my March Goal Recap at the end of this post to see how the steps I’ve taken to reduce my screen time have changed my perspective on life!

I’ve also started back running again and I’m feeling just that little bit more positive about life in general lately – and I really do feel that my attitude towards my phone and the mindfulness book have had a huge role to play in this!

I hope you enjoy catching up on my month – I know that I am writing less on the blog but it’s not something I can apologise for. I’m really determined to not live my life through a screen anymore and just enjoy the real world instead of being consumed by it’s digital counterpart.


March Reads

Self Development

I have been continuing with Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world.  I have also been reading The Happy Medium by Annemarie O’ Connor – a book that appears to be all about lessening our dependence on technology and becoming happier by doing the things that bring us the most joy. I’m taking my time with this book as there are many activities in it that I think are worth dedicating my time to.

Image result for the happy medium annemarie o connor
Source

Fiction

This month I’ve read:

Image result for charlotte's web

Image result for the child sebastian fitzek

Image result for the tattooist of auschwitz book

Source

Image result for almost love louise o neill

This months challenge was to read 5 or 6 books – and I’ve successfully done that! Can I get a Whoop Whoop!!

Favourite Read

My favourite read was most definitely The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It was a very unusual read – for something that was written about something so horrific, there was a lot of hope. The book is based on events that took place in Lale Sokolov’s life, about his experiences in Auschwitz and how he not only saved the lives of others, but held out hope for his own, as well as finding love. It’s cold, it’s cruel, it’s real; but it also has an uplifting tone that inspired me to keep my head up and look for the silver linings in life.

Image result for the tattooist of auschwitz book

Favourite Song:

I’ve had a few songs stuck in my head this month, but the one that I’m going to choose today for my song of the month is Next To Me by Imagine Dragons. I think this song is beautiful and encapsulates the concept of unconditional love for me… I hope you enjoy it!

Favourite Irish/Homegrown Song:

Cavalier by James Vincent McMorrow. A friend and I had a debate about what we think this song means and we’ve both got completely different ideas about it! Regardless, it’s a lovely song!

Favourite Album

An album that I’ve listened to a lot this month is Harry Styles’ album. There’s something very beautiful about his voice that I just love!

Favourite Beauty Product

Clarins Skin Detox Fluid BB Cream. This product has such amazing coverage – one little pump (which is pea sized) will cover your face and neck and lasts all day. It’s an excellent alternative to foundation and it’s relatively cheap at €34.

 

BB Skin Detox Fluid SPF 25

 

Favourite Movie

It hasn’t been a movie watching month I’m afraid…

Favourite Programme

The best show that I’ve watching this month is without a doubt Seven Seconds on Netflix. It is an excellent show that everyone needs to watch, exposing the reality of the racial injustices that exist within America (aka the land of the free) today.

Something I’m Happy About

I’m off to West Cork tomorrow with a friend and I cannot wait for the stillness, the solitude, and of course, the copious amounts of Gin that I will be consuming! (For those of you who enjoy gin, can I recommend trying out Gordon’s Pink Gin and mix it with Elderflower Tonic…. pure bliss in a glass!)


March Goals Recap

March Goals

Read 5 or 6 books: Goal achieved and I am delighted to have succeeded with this one!

Become smarter/ more mindful with my phone usage: This was a goal that I thought was a huge aspiration. I have slept with my phone in my room since I was 15 and at almost 30 years of age, I’m fed up of being so reliant on my phone.

Step one for me during this process was buying an alarm clock for my room. Instead of getting any old alarm clock, I decided to get a Hotweild Light Alarm Clock. This alarm clock wakes you up with a gradual light as opposed to sound, and it is something that I have found really aids my mood in the mornings.

My second step was to download an app called Moment from the app store. This app tracks how much time you’re on your phone, as well as reporting back and telling you what apps you’re spending the majority of your time on. It didn’t take me long before I upgraded to premium with this app. Premium enables features that include a bootcamp course that sets you little tasks each day that will help you to become more aware of your phone usage and ultimately reduce your screen time. It also has a feature that allows you to set a maximum screen time on your phone, and once you reach that limit you can set a tone that will go off, or you can even go to the extreme length of having your phone automatically turn itself off when the limit is hit.  It only cost me €5 for premium and I would highly recommend people giving this app a go if they’re considering reducing their dependence on screen time.

My third step was to simply leave the phone outside of my room at night time, which I started doing shortly before the midpoint of the month – and I haven’t looked back since!

Overall, I’m using my phone much less. I’m also using my laptop less, and this blog less. I feel like my FOMO is practically gone. My interest in social media has completely diminished. I’m sleeping better at night and I’m generally feeling happier. I no longer scroll through Snapchat and Instagram and compare my life to what I see on the screen – I simply live my life. My mindfulness and my awareness have increased hugely. I honestly think that this is possibly the best and biggest change I have made in my life in the last year and it is something I would highly recommend to you all…

Meditate Every Day: This is something that started off well but has faded in the last week as I’ve been off work for the Easter Holidays. I did get back on it this morning though and did a 10 minute gratitude meditation which set me up very nicely for the day ahead.

Stay on Track with Slimming World: I tend to fall on and off of this bandwagon very easily. I had two weeks that were completely off track and I gained 3.5lbs. I’m back on plan now though, and know that I will be off plan for the next few days as I’m away in West Cork but I really don’t mind that – I need to live my life too!


I hope you are all having a lovely Easter!

With love,

cropped-signoff.jpg

Ted Talk Thursday | My Philosophy for a Happy Life

Sam Berns gave this Ted talk in October 2013, shortly before he passed away in January of 2014.

I saw this talk many years ago and was totally in awe by this kid. His attitude in face of illness is truly inspirational. He outlines three aspects of his life philosophy and it is so pure, sweet and simple and is something that we all need to take on board.

Sam’s talk encourages me to live life to the full and focus on the positive things in my life. It also inspires me to take notice of the good people in my life – even today I got caught up in the not-so-good; the people that give my inner critic plenty of food for thought and encourage it to start a long, painful attack – but really, I should be giving my energy to the people that are positive and that make me feel good. Instead of beating ourselves up over our inabilities, or our disabilities, we need to focus on our abilities… because we have an abundance of those and need to nurture and cherish them. Overall, he encourages me to stay true to myself and to not sweat the small stuff.

The talk will take 13mins out of your day – and I promise you it is worth giving this time to Sam.

 

5 Lessons I’ve Learned From Having Younger Brothers

I have two big little brothers. To put that in more comprehensible terms, I have two younger brothers that are huge, tall, rugby-build type of lads. I have gone from being the taller, older sibling (which didn’t last too long) to being the smaller, older sibling. They’ve both shot up and turned into two handsome, caring, and hilarious men; two men that I am immensely proud to call my little brothers.

We went out last night to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and there was a moment when  was feeling really anxious about something (you’ll read all about it later on in the post) and having the two of them by my side last night inspired this post. I think I had an aha-moment last night when this happened; we’re stuck together, and not just because we have to be… so here are my five lessons I’ve learned from having younger brothers:


#1 Family are some of the best friends you’ll ever ask for
When I was younger, I was forced to play with my brothers. I had to join in with the Lego, let them win at board games, and watch their choice of movie in case of a tantrum. I felt like the odd one out at times because they were both boys and bonded over things that I just didn’t understand. They taught me that it is ok to not have everything in common with your friends, how to negotiate and compromise, and that it can be healthy to disagree over things. They’ve taught me how to repair a relationship post-argument, and what unconditional love is. They’ve taught me that no matter what happens in life, that your family will always be there for you. 

#2 I will always have people to take care of me
Last night, we were out and something happened.  I saw an ex of mine, someone who absolutely messed with my head, was very controlling, and as a result reduced me to a shell of the person I was. I caught his eye and my stomach dropped. I turned and walked towards the door, I needed to get out of there straight away. My brother’s friend followed me and brought me to the bar where we had a drink and I explained the situation. He convinced me to stay and, within minutes, both of my brothers came over to me to reassure me that they were there for me and that if anything happened they’d be right by my side. Even though I was terrified, I was able to stand back and take in the absolutely fantastic fact that I have two younger brothers who will always have my back. It made me feel so grateful to have two built-in-bodyguards in my life. I knew there and then that I will never have to face anything in life alone, and that, despite how we might all wreck each other’s heads occasionally, we will always be there for one another no matter what. 

#3 Not to take life too seriously
The other day I came home from a tough day at work. Needless to say, after the stress of the day I wasn’t in the best mood. My younger brother came home and was in the happiest mood ever. I felt so jealous. I looked at him and asked him why was he always so happy, his reply: “We’re gna die some day so why waste time being unhappy?” and I just felt so struck by his answer. He went on to explain that he wasn’t expecting to be treated to a luxurious toffee yoghurt (I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or whether he was justifying taking one of the new yoghurts I had bought) and that it’s the little things like that that we need to be focusing on. He literally has a grasp on the mindset that I’m working so incredibly hard to have. 

Whenever we have family get-togethers, and whenever I’m out with my brothers, people always comment on how funny they both are. I used to take this as a little insult; my inner critic jumping at the opportunity to find the negative in the situation – you’re not as funny as them, you’ll never be as liked as they are in a social setting… but now, I’m able to look at it for what it is; we are simply wired differently and have different energies. They are two of the quick-witted, funniest,people I know and they can make you laugh until the tears stream down your face. They’ve made me laugh during days when I felt completely down and lost. They’ve helped me to see that we need to embrace the fun and the joy that comes our way.

#4 No matter how big or small we are, we all slip back into the roles of big sister, younger brother.
Despite the fact that they are towering over me, I’m still their big sister. And despite the fact that the youngest of us is the tallest, he can still be an annoying little pain in the ass. They still come to me for advice, and they still mock me and hit me needlessly – for the craic I assume – and I’m always there to help them clean up their messes when they need me to. There’s something amazing about being a big sister. Words don’t really manage to capture the whole situation to be honest… 

#5 They will always be there to give 100% honesty
There’s honesty between friends, and then there’s honesty between family. They’re guaranteed to tell you when your clothes are a bit dodgy, or when you went a bit heavy handed with my foundation. They’ll tell me when they think I need to get my act together, and when I need to get out of something that’s not good for me. They tell me when I’m falling into the role of being “the serious one” and when I need to lighten up. Regardless of the situation, I’m guaranteed to get their feedback on it, despite whether I want to hear it or not! But there’s a certain beauty that comes with that type of honesty – we don’t wrap each other in bubble wrap, it’s pure unadulterated honesty when you need it the most, and something that I really value, even when I’m not liking what I’m hearing. 


With love,

cropped-signoff.jpg

Ted Talk Thursday | Lessons From The Longest Study on Happiness

This talk discusses a research project that followed a set of subjects throughout their entire adult lives.

The lessons in this are so simple yet so important – relationships, and closeness. Nurturing good relationships is essential in one’s life. We need others, regardless of any “I don’t need you” attitudes, the fact of the matter is that our relationships have a very important impact on our happiness levels.

The talk below is a love little watch, only 12 minutes long. Take a look and have a think about how you might consider replacing your screen time with people time, how you might nurture the relationships that mean the most to you this coming week.

 

With love,

cropped-signoff.jpg

Mini Book Review | The Keeper of Lost Things

Book 6: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

the keeper of lost things

#abookfromacelebritybookclub

I found this book a little hard to get into – but I know that it is only because I didn’t choose this book myself; it is our book club read for Jan/Feb. However, when I got into the swing of things, I couldn’t put this down.

This book follows two separate set of characters, one to do with writing, one to do with publishing. It follows two different series of events that eventually intertwine. The story has some really loveable characters, and a plot that will literally give you goosebumps – I can’t count the amount of times that I got the shivers! More than that though, is the character Sunshine who has Downs Syndrome – or “dancing drome” as she calls it. Sunshine is the most intuitive character with a very special set of skills. Although she plays a small part in the story, it really made me think about how we can be very quick to dismiss the opinions or voices of others and not take them seriously. This book made me reconsider that.

I want to give this book to everyone I know! I really loved it!