Keep it Simple Canvas

Love Foil Canvas

I found these wall canvases in Penneys for an absolute steal. I’ve been looking for the ‘Keep it Simple’ one for quite a while after I saw it on Primark’s Instagram feed. It was €8 and is now sitting with my ampersand on an IKEA shelf above my bed. The ‘Love’ one was €4. I’ve added it to my photo wall (also in my bedroom). When it comes to home decor I can’t think of a better colour scheme than black, white and gold.

tbbc_logo

A book that was made into a movie:

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

image

The third book I read as part of The Big Book Challenge was Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. I thought this would be a good one to read as ‘a book that was made into movie’ because I had just recently been to see it in the cinema. I really loved the movie so I’d hoped I’d enjoy the book as much.

Brooklyn is a romantic drama about a young Irish immigrant moving from a small town in Ireland to Brooklyn, New York. The story follows Eilis as she falls in love, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a romantic novel, it’s much much more than that. 

For many reasons, this book didn’t disappoint. The first thing I loved was that it included my two favourite places in the world, my lovely country Ireland and New York. The second thing I loved was that although it was based in the 1950’s, there was still so much to recognise about Irish culture today. Apparently busy bodies are timeless.

My favourite characters in the book were Eilis, the main character (which is unusual for me because I normally don’t like main characters), Tony, the Italian-American who captures Eilis’ heart and Mrs. Keogh. Although I think I loved this character even more because of the brilliant portrayal of her in the movie by Julie Walters.

The only thing that let the book down for me was a piece of dialogue that really stuck with me from the movie. In it, Eilis has a conversation with Father Flood that goes like this:

Father Flood: We need Irish girls in Brooklyn.
Eilis Lacey: I wish that I could stop feeling that I want to be an Irish girl in Ireland.

I loved Eilis’ line and I looked for it in the book. I suppose if that’s the only fault I can find, it’s not bad going. 

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is from Ireland, wants to read about Irish culture in the 1950s and the reality of immigration, likes romantic drama novels or indeed just enjoys good writing.

Rating: 9.5/10.

The Anfield Stadium Tour

This week, one year ago, I went on the Anfield Stadium Tour with my Mam. We’d been to see Steven Gerrard’s last home game for Liverpool the day before. It was the first time I’d seen Liverpool lose at Anfield. United won 2-1 and Gerrard was sent off after 38 seconds on the pitch, so I really needed something to cheer me up.Okay, the drinks in Mathew Street the night of the match helped too. I’ve been to Anfield for matches loads of times but the tour was always booked out. This time we decided, as it was just the two of us going over, we’d book it in advance. It was great to get the background history of the stadium and to see where the team hangs out, the press room and the changing room, as well as a tour of the pitch and the dugout. A lot has changed in a year and now that seat I’m sitting in, in the picture above, belongs to Jurgen Klopp. I’m looking forward to the future as a Liverpool fan and I’d recommend this tour to any supporter of the club. 

image

exilelifestyle.com (via Pinterest)

While I’m still aiming to do something productive and something for pleasure every day in March and it’s going fairly well, I’m also off work for 2 and a half weeks for the St. Patrick’s Day and Easter breaks. I have to remember that what I’m striving for is a balanced life and that extremes in any situation are rarely a good thing. So in other words, it’s okay to eat a piece of cake but it’s not necessary to have cake everyday. It’s okay to be Irish, spend time with friends and get a bit drunk on St. Patrick’s Day (warning: major cliche alert) but it’s also good to spend time at home, enjoying my own company and getting early nights.

I’m still working towards a balanced life that comes naturally, how’s your One Little Word going?

image

I’ve always hated the word busy so when I first heard the term “Stop the glorification of busy”, it really stuck with me. Why is it that people think there is some pride to be had in being soooo busy, like it’s some sort of competition for whose life is more important? Why do people feel the need to express how busy they are all the time, as if they must surely be the only person with a lot to do? Why do people look at the idea of sitting down and relaxing or doing something for your own enjoyment as a sign of weakness? While thinking about this post I googled the definition of ‘Busy’ and the description was ‘having a great deal to do’ but the example was ‘he had been too busy to enjoy himself’. How awful is that? Life is short and I, for one, want to enjoy it as much as I can, so the next time I decide I’m too busy to do something fun, I’m going to have a long, hard think about how important the things I’m busy doing really are.

image

Reading… Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. Book number 3 in The Big Book Challenge. I saw the film when it came out in the cinema and loved it so I decided to give it a go. 

Watching… no new TV shows because I’m trying to cut down on series binges. I am still watching Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife & Hawaii Five-O on a weekly basis, which is more than enough. 

Listening to… Gavin James’ debut album Bitter Pill. AMAZING! Go get it. 

Pinning… home decor including a lot of monochrome, book nooks and quotes about travel and more on gender inequalities.

Drinking… too much Diet Coke, as usual.

Considering… what I’ll do with the 2 weeks off for Easter.

Purging… lots of paper and old old unused scrapbook materials  

Enjoying… reading more.

Cooking… fried onions, mushrooms & spinach with garlic. Yum!!

Organising… the craft room for the bazillionth time so I can use it more coming into the warmer weather. It’s the coldest room in the house. 

Loving… The slightly longer days, glimpses of sunshine and gorgeous sunsets.

Looking forward to… St. Patrick’s Day this Thursday! 

tbbc_logo

A book “everyone” but you has read:

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir written by an American women on a year long journey to Italy, India and Indonesia in an effort to find what is missing from her life. It seems to me that everyone has read Eat, Pray, Love or has at least seen the movie so it seemed like an obvious choice for me for this topic.

I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a book and been frustrated by it at the same time, the way I was with Eat, Pray, Love. The memoir is broken down into 3 sections – Italy, India and Indonesia. Each section has 36 stories, most of which are really well written. I loved everything about her time living in Rome. It transported me to a time and a place and I lapped up her stories of learning Italian, meeting Italian people and most of all, eating delicious Italian food. For a real home-bird, there was a moment or two were I really imagined myself packing my bags and heading for Rome. My favourite character from Elizabeth’s time in Rome was Luca Spaghetti.

India was where my frustrations kicked in. I’ve taken a real interest in meditation lately and I was looking forward to learning all about the author’s spiritual journey. I found this section of the book extremely difficult to read and I think Elizabeth came across really narcissistic. There was a LOT of wallowing and feeling sorry for herself and if I’m honest the term ‘first world problems’ came to mind a couple of times. What salvaged this section of the book for me was Richard from Texas, who was a ‘say it as you find it’ character who often brought Elizabeth back down to earth.

The final part of the book took part in Bali, Indonesia. I learned a lot about Balinese people and how quirky the traditions of the island are. The purpose of Elizabeth’s trip to Bali was to find balance and it seems to me like the perfect place to do it. I hadn’t really considered it before but it is definitely on my list of places to go now. My favourite character from Indonesia, and probably entire book, was the medicine man Ketut. I loved his take on things, his unusual method of measuring age and his broken English. 

Overall, the writing was very good and the author has a great method of capturing the essence of a character. I would give this book a 7 out of 10 and would recommend it. I would just suggest you take the India stage with a pinch of salt.

International Women's Day

everythinghistory.com (found on Pinterest)

 I’ve noticed a lot of people seem to trivialise and mock the idea of International Women’s Day. The purpose of it is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural & political achievements of women, as well as to draw attention to gender inequality. 

Have a look at the facts below and tell me if you think it’s important to have a day that brings attention to the inequalities suffered by women around the world. 

  • There are still countries today where women need their husband’s permission to get a job.
  • 78 countries in the world restrict the kind of work women can do. 
  • 2 out of 3 of the people in the world who cannot read & write are women.
  • Every year an estimated 15 millions girls under 18 are married worldwide, with little or no say in the matter.

Shouldn’t women celebrate the achievements of other women? Shouldn’t women try to bring attention to the suffering of other women around the world? Shouldn’t men acknowledge a day that celebrates the achievements & equality of their wives, mothers, daughters & sisters and fights for their equality?

So I say, celebrate the women you know today and come November, celebrate the men in your life.

Happy International Women’s Day! 

Lady

  1. She’s 6 years old (As of December 2015, roughly!)
  2. She was a rescue. Kind of. You can find out more about that here.
  3. She’s not keen on strangers but she’s more afraid of them when they come into our house and she’s downright terrified of 99% of strange men. It seems to be getting worse as she gets older but our house was broken into last year and I think that might be part of the problem.
  4. If she decides you’re one of her people, you’re in! She will give you all the love she can muster.
  5. She fights with Chief sometimes and it’s for two reasons. The first is because she’s jealous of how close he gets to my mam and I. Just the two of us. No-one else needs to be protected apparently. The second is when she thinks he’s doing something he shouldn’t. Like taking her food or taking things from the table.
  6. On the other hand, she would protect him with her life. When they are out in the world, she would take on any dog to protect him. It reminds me of the way I am with my brother, I can complain about him but no-one else can. It’s a sibling thing.
  7. Licking people’s faces is her absolute favourite thing to do.
  8. She waits until Chief finishes eating his food before she starts eating hers.
  9. She waits until Chief is under a blanket and asleep and then she climbs up on top of him and snuggles in for heat.
  10. Her tail was docked (it happened before we got her) and so her whole backside wiggles when she’s excited.
  11. She’s a great mouse catcher.
  12. She will walk FOREVER. You could go for a 2 hour walk and the minute she sees the house she pulls back on the lead.
  13. Chewing things is a real problem with her. Cushions, sofas, shoes, GLASS, plastic. Literally anything not nailed down. The cute thing is all you have to do is say her name in a stern voice and she drops whatever she has and backs off.
  14. She senses moods very well and if you’re upset and not already being comforted by Chief she attempts to lick your face to fix it all.
  15. She has loads of nicknames: Lady Lumps, Lady Lou, Lou, Mouse Face, Baby Girl, Princess and Prinny.

OLW

This month I’m attempting to practice something to do with my One Little Word, every day, for the entire month. Now I must admit that the rest of the One Little Word world completed this task in February but I was a little behind on my homework so I’m doing it for March instead. My word for this year is Balance, as you may know, so for this month I’m planning on practicing two things. I hope to find more balance by doing something productive and also doing something for my own enjoyment every day. I’m hoping for progress with my word, not perfection. I’ll post my progress at the end of each week in March.

I found this picture on Pinterest. Follow JC Penney to find it. You can also check out other quotes I’ve posted on Pinterest for my OLW. my name over there is @paparali. You can also check out my other OLW posts here