Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March Favourites

Well, it's the last day of March and here I am, posting my favourites, but with no sign of the 'One Happy Change' feature that I usually write each month. I can ensure you that I did make a positive change this month, I'm just a little behind on my blogging schedule. So, until then, I'll indulge in a little materialism with my monthly favourites. Here's what I've been loving this month...

This month saw me add another ever-so sweet notebook to my collection. At this stage, I have more notebooks than thoughts to fill them! This addition was gifted to me from my Mum and Dad, who bought it back for me from New Zealand. It's from a quirky stationary shop called Kikki.K - which unfortunately hasn't made it over to my side of the hemisphere yet. But as a stationary obsessive, you can be sure that I'll be first in line if it ever arrives in Europe.

This notebook is extra special because of the story surrounding it. The founder, restless in the early hours of the morning, was decided to figure out her future plans by writing a list. The list became known as the '3am List', and led to her creating her business, Kikki.K. This notebook is an ode to that time, with the cover declaring '3am - Write it down', and the back cover suggesting that you keep it beside your bed, incase late-night inspiration strikes. And it's not just the cover that's pretty: inside the pages are filled with sweet little notes. The pages are so pretty that I ended up scribbling quotes on them and posting them on my wall (which you can see in the photo above).

I still feel like a newbie when it comes to the whole beauty/skincare thing... This is the first time that I've even tried a night cream! So, I'm calling this a favourite, but honestly, I don't have much to compare it to! Nevertheless, I've been enjoying using it this month. When I first purchased this I didn't really expect it to do all that much. But after a few days of using this before bed, I've noticed that my skin has been super smooth the next morning. Plus, it's counteracting the strong cleanser I'm using that gives me slightly flakey skin.

Lastly, I'm going to mention another gift that my parents bought back from New Zealand for me - a copy of Yen magazine. I am a die-hard print magazine fan, and love discovering new reads. I say 'reads' but really, I'm all about admiring the photography and design of the pages... The actual articles are just a pleasant bonus!

Yen magazine was just me all over. I especially loved the 60 Days of Summer feature, which looks like something I would have made when I was 15 - and I mean that in the nicest way possible! It's just that I remember filling up journals with random lists like that one, complete with doodles. So flippin' cute... Plus it's getting me excited for summer!

Sorry about the infrequent and irregular posts, by the way. April and May will be the final push with my masters, with deadlines around every corner. But at the end of May, I'll celebrating the end of lectures with a trip to China! And I'm going to (finally) have time to get my up my Youtube channel up-and-running, so stay tuned for that. Summer 2015 - you're gonna be a good 'un!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Let it Burn: The Temple Art Installation

If you had the power to let go of one thing that's been holding you back, what would it be? Would it be a physical object that's cluttered your physical space as well as your mind? Or would it be an emotion that has an uncomfortable hold on your psyche? My mum and I asked ourselves these questions as we searched the house for something to bring to David Best's 'Temple' exhibition, which visited Derry recently.

David Best is an artist who creates intricate, awe-inspiring sculptures, only to burn them to the ground days later. His work features at the Burning Man festival each year, and somehow, a sculpture of his ended up in little ol' Derry. Visitors were encouraged to bring a meaningful object to 'The Temple'. They could then place it in the structure, strangely comforted by the fact that the structure would soon be burnt to the ground.

My mum brought along a diary she wrote when she was 13. She tells me was full of self-pity and teenage angst. I, on the other hand, am far too sentimental to willingly destroy one of my old diaries, no matter how embarrassing they may be. Instead, I simply wrote down 'self-doubt' on a piece of paper, to symbolically say goodbye to the part of my consciousness that's hell-bent on holding me back.

Walking inside the Temple, which was eerily peaceful despite being packed with people, I looked at what others had left behind. Many left pictures of lost loved-ones. It's not that they want to forget their past loves, just like my mum doesn't want to forget her 13 year old self that made her into the person she is today. It's just a touching way to say 'we are thinking of you', while letting go of grief.

The most surprising item that I came across was a journal with a note attached. The note declared that the diary documented a 8 year relationship of domestic abuse that had finally ended. The victim left it there as a symbolic end, a goodbye, to a tortured past.

The whole experience got me thinking about the things we hold on to, even though it would be better if we let go. I'll be the first to admit, I'm a hoarder. I never want to let go of any of my physical possessions. But what if I'm hoarding the intangible too? Holding on to negative emotions and thoughts? Scared to let go because at least it's something to cling to? I don't need a burning temple to let go of what's dragging me down. Perhaps, simply by pinpointing the negative emotions at play, I can take steps in replacing them with more constructive thoughts.

So, what have you been holding onto for too long?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Dublin at Night

Dublin at Night - St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's day to you all! To mark the occasion, I thought I'd share some images from Ireland - and there's not a green landscape or leprechaun in sight!

Dublin at Night - Long Exposure

Let's be honest, Ireland has been known to milk it's cliché image to appease tourists. Sure, I'm guilty of it - what with the first image littered with more shamrocks than I've ever actually encountered. But I thought sharing some photos from the city of Dublin for St. Paddy's could act as a little reminder that wee 'ol Ireland is more than its twee stereotype. Dublin, in fact, is quite the metropolis, with a buzzing nightlife and culture.

Dublin at Night - Long Exposure

Don't get me wrong, I'm all up for painting the town green on St. Patrick's day! And celebrating the day with a few sips of Guinness (before giving up and passing it to someone else because it is not my kind of drink). But Temple Bar plus pretty rural landscapes does not equal Ireland... There's so many more elements to that equation.

Dublin at Night - Long Exposure

If you've never been to Ireland, I throughly recommend that you visit. Do the obligatory touristy things (like the Guinness Storehouse!) but take a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture as well. Maybe rent a car, go on a road trip and make friends with the Irish people you meet on your travels. We're a friendly bunch, I promise.

Dublin at Night - Long Exposure

Whether you're in Ireland or further afield, happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Newcastle: The Sights & Eats

Recently, I made the short trek over to Newcastle to visit a friend, Hannah. She's currently England-bound for work, and, although I miss her, at least it means I have an excuse to visit somewhere new! My roomie, Michelle, and I booked the flights on a whim. Weeks melted by, and before we knew it, we were landing in the surprisingly sunny city.

First on the agenda: a wander around the area, to get a feel for the city. Although I've visited England on numerous occasions since I moved to Ireland, it still comes as a shock when I'm reminded of how different the two countries are. Despite being close in proximity and sharing a common language, Newcastle just felt so English. I can never put my finger on what the difference is. Most likely, it's a myriad of subtle differences that add up to an entirely different atmosphere.

I do think the English buildings may have something to do with it, though. The streets feel somewhat claustrophobic, with intricate structures towering either-side of you. This makes it all sound quite overwhelming, and it is, but in the best way possible. In a way that left us filled with excitement for the day ahead.

Of course, the cameras and phones were in hand, to capture Newcastle's sights in the gorgeous sunshine. We walked over the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to arrive at The Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art. Which is a great spot, by the way! Firstly, it's free to visit, which suited our tight budget. And, as well as browsing the artwork on show, we got to see a great view of the city from the top floor of the building!

For dinner, Hannah took us to this lovely spot called Pitcher & Piano, where we could fill our stomachs while enjoying the view of the quays. Unfortunately, we were waiting much too long for our meals... Which didn't bode well since we were starving to begin with. However, I must say, the waitress was lovely about it and apologised in the form of free sweet potato fries - so I won't complain! Their sweet potato fries are divine.

As well as the sights and eats, we ended up going to a club called House of Smith - which was as surreal as it was fun. But, as you can imagine, I was not in a state to be taking pretty pictures of that night out. You'll just have to use your imagination for that one! There were flame throwers and dwarfs flying across the ceiling (seriously), if that helps.

Have you been anywhere interesting recently? Or have you visited Newcastle before? Let me know!