This is me, enjoying the last year of my 20s and drinking a cocktail out of a fake coconut because why not?

So tomorrow I turn 30 & leave my 20s behind. It feels like this is the right time to evaluate my 20s and what I’ve learned. Here are 20 things that I have learned in my 20s:

1. A drama free life is a wonderful thing. There is soooo much unnecessary drama in your early 20s. 

2. You don’t have to and shouldn’t pretend your life is perfect all the time. It’s okay to tell the people close to you about the bad stuff as well as the good.

3. Relationships (of all kinds – friends, boyfriends, family members) are so important. They also take work. It needs to include equal effort (maybe at different times) and making time for each other. Oh and quality > quantity. 

4. It’s okay to mess up. That’s pretty much what your 20s are for. Learn from it.

5. Everyone doesn’t like you and you definitely should not lose sleep over that. 

6. Less is almost always more. Leaving something to the imagination is a good idea. 

7. Stand up for your beliefs. Don’t ever go along with the popular opinion to impress people. 

8. If he cares, you won’t have to chase him. It’s a man’s natural instinct to chase. If you’re the 1 doing all the chasing, he’s not worth it. 

9. Look after your skin! High SPFs and skin care routines are where it’s at. You’ll be glad of it later. 

10. Duck face poses are ridiculous and extremely unattractive. 

11. Taking photos is so important. Your memory will fade and photos serve as great memories. 

12. Wear comfortable heels or put flats in your bag. Don’t walk home in your bare feet. 

13. Your gut instinct is almost always right! 

14. Travelling is a good way to spend your money. Do it your way though, because there are so many travel “know-it-alls”. Whether it’s a week at a time in 5 star hotels or a year at a time in hostels, do what feels right to you. 

15. It’s ok to spend Saturday nights binge watching TV series rather than binge drinking but it’s also okay to go drinking and let your hair down with friends too. 

16. ‘No’ is a full sentence. You don’t always have to have an excuse/reason. 

17. Pick your battles. This is a big 1 for me. Sometimes it’s easier and makes more sense to hold your tongue. 

18. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is on a different journey. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Be happy for your friend’s achievements, wish people who are no longer in your life happiness and be grateful for what you have. The grass is not always greener. 

19. Never point out your flaws to other people. They might not have noticed before you drew their attention to them.

20. This 1 leads on from the last and it’s a bit of a cliche but stop hating things about yourself. You might never be the skinniest or have the prettiest hair. So what. You have plenty of other things going for you. 

Of course, it’s not all plain sailing and if I’m being honest, I’m not 100% there with #19 & #20 but it’s definitely a work in progress. Unfortunately I don’t know everything and I still have a lot to learn so maybe in 10 years time, I’ll be sharing 30 new things I’ve learned.

Here are some things I hope to learn/do in my 30s that I haven’t quite mastered in my 20s:

1. Budgeting my money better and not being afraid to check my bank balance! (Shopping obsession, anyone?)

2. The 6 month mantra. I tend to over worry and I can be a bit of a worse case scenario kind of person. I’ll learn from this in the future, I’m sure. So I need to try & think of the mantra of asking myself if it’s something that will still be a problem in 6 months time before I freak out. 

3. Not to let my emotions or mood dictate my day.

4. Patience. Mine are definitely getting worse rather than better.  That’s enough said about that. 

5. Stop making excuses not to exercise. 

Copyright: 2017 #The100DayProject

 

Yay!!! Today is Day 100 of The 100 Day Project. It’s officially the first social media challenge that I’ve started and finished!!! It has been so fun with only a little bit of pressure on my busier days. I can’t believe I completed the challenge on time. I don’t think I’ll be able to switch off tomorrow and not do something towards my 100 Days of Paparali Blog. I hope that the creative habit that I have worked on over the past 100 days reminds me to blog more often and keep up with all the other aspects of the blog like social media, planning, etc.

So over the 100 days, I have written and released 40 blog posts (not including this 1), edited plenty of photos on my phone, edited photos on my MacBook, started a new notebook for the blog, made lists of post ideas, planned posts, took photos, chose books for The Big Book Challenge, Read books for The Big Book Challenge, explained & promoted my blog, read other blogs for inspiration, created a widget for a photography site I have, printed photos for Project Life, started a new Blog Series, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts, as well as new posts to Pinterest. 

I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the stats from my blog over the course of the challenge. I have no idea if they are good, bad or indifferent for a blog like mine, that is purely hobby based, but here goes. Over the last 100 days, paparali.com received:

  • 1631 views
  • 459 visitors
  • 24 likes
  • 19 comments

Not only that but it received views from 36 different countries. Those countries include: 

Ireland, UK, USA, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, Philippines, France, Netherlands, Canada, Vietnam, Pakistan, Czech Republic, Mexico, Israel, Hong Kong (China), Lebanon, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Argentina, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Trinidad & Tobago, Chile, Kuwait, Singapore, Greece, UAE, Poland, Spain, Morocco, Malaysia, Thailand. 

I was so unsure of the idea of a challenge like this at the beginning and how easy it would be to fail but I’m glad I stuck it out. I really enjoyed it and I’ll definitely be taking part, probably with something different, next year. 

Did you take part in The 100 Day Project? How did you get on? If not, would you consider something like this?

 


Penneys is on an absolute roll right now! I literally never use pencils but how could I not buy these. There’s 10 in the pack. 5 different kinds in 4 different colours. I can’t remember the price but I know they were really really cheap. 

The 5 different slogans say:

  • I’m super busy
  • I love Monday
  • Is it Friday yet?
  • Working hard
  • The real boss

I have had to ban myself from even looking in the homeware section because I do not need more candles/lights/picture frames/ring plates etc…

What great deals have you found in Penneys/Primark?

Dave and I were in Dingle in Kerry for a few days with friends last week and on our last night we went to the Blue Zone for dinner. It’s a jazz, wine bar that predominantly serves pizza. The first thing I’ll say is it really doesn’t look like much from the outside but when we googled places for pizza in Dingle, it was the first to pop up. The place itself had a nice relaxed vibe. There was some jazz music playing in the background. I’d love to know if they ever have live jazz playing. That would really add to the atmosphere. We got there around 9.30pm and ordered a drink and some food. The two negative things I have to say about the place were both about the drinks. The first was that the prosecco on sale was really not very nice. That’s not a complaint though, just a matter of taste. The second negative was that the bottle of red wine ordered cost €27 and we had bought it in another pub the day before for €15.

That being said, the pizza was one of the best I’ve ever had. I ordered the Hangover Cure pizza which was pretty much every type of meat imaginable – beef, chicken, pork, ham and Italian sausage. The base was thin but not too thin and it was lovely and crispy. It had a kind of yellow colour to it so they may use polenta to make it. Dave got the Oriental Mood pizza which had duck, lemongrass and red peppers. We also got a side of garlic potato wedges and they were delicious. Molly got the Spicy Chicken Salad and it was huge and the presentation was brilliant. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this place for a relaxing night with some enjoyable food. 

If you read my post about visiting San Francisco, you’ll know that my phone went crazy when I was there and had to be wiped clean. Not only did I lose all of the photos from the first 2 days in San Fran, I also lost any photos I had from May of 2016 because I hadn’t backed my phone up since the end of April. So on to June & our trip to beautiful San Francisco. 



Spread 1:

The picture on the top left is where prisoners used to go to get on the boat to Alcatraz. The multicoloured cross roads are from the Castro District. There’s a picture of me on my pizza blanket watching the sun come up and one of me in the cell at Alcatraz. The bottom right is a picture of the Painted Ladies. 

Project Life Kits: 

  • Dreamy (Core Kit): The Happiness card.
  • Road Trip (Mini Kit): The map card and the where we went/what we did card. 

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The gold alpha stickers used for ‘San Francisco’ are Sentiment Thickers.

Embellishments:

  • The loveheart embellishment is from the Lucky Charm mini kit. 

Pocket Pages:

  • The pocket page I used for this spread is from Photo Freedom.



Spread 2:

The picture on the top left is Emma & I watching the sunrise with our pizza blankets. So is the top 3×4 photo. The bottom 3×4 photo is of me standing in front of a painting of Bob Marley in Haight & Ashbury. The bottom right picture is of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Project Life Kits: 

  • Dreamy (Core Kit): The card with the ticket stubs
  • Road Trip (Mini Kit): The green & white card. 
  • Lucky Charm (Mini Kit): The card with the hearts on it. 

I’m unsure what kit the ‘This Makes Me Happy’ card is from!

Embellishments:

  • The ‘Recorded’ sticker is from MAMBI
  • The ‘Lovely’ sticker is from the Lucky Charms kit. 
  • The ‘This way For Fun’ arrow sticker is from Lucky Starz. 

Pocket Pages:

  • The pocket page I used for this spread was Becky Higgins Project Life Design D


Dave & I are in Kerry for a few days with some friends and yesterday we decided to do the Dingle Distillery tour. Dingle make whiskey, gin & vodka so there was something for everybody. 


The tour costs €15 and probably takes about an hour in full. It starts off with a very detailed description of distilling, where it probably started, how it works in Ireland and how long we’ve been doing it. He also gave us a brief history of Dingle Distillery before bringing us up to see where the magic happens. I learned that in Ireland we triple distill whiskey (or maybe vodka & gin too, I’m not 100% sure on that) and in Scotland, they double distill. We also got to see the alcohol in the large barrels (correct me if anyone knows their official name!) at the different stages. The tour wasn’t very long but it was quite detailed and the tour guide was so good and knowledgeable on the area he was talking about that it almost felt like the guy who owns the place took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to show you around. It was very relaxed and didn’t feel rehearsed at all. 


Now it was on to the fun part. Tasting time!! The guide brought us to a seating area with long benches and there was lots of bottles of tonic water and ginger ale. He gave us each a measure of Dingle Whiskey in a lovely little glass, along with a shot of a paler coloured liquid which is the whiskey before it has matured. First he gets you to smell the liquid and rub it in your hands and smell it again. After that he told us to taste it. I won’t lie, whiskey is not for me at any stage so after trying a tiny bit, I couldn’t bring myself to drink what was in my actual glass. Those who did drink it, really enjoyed it. 


After the whiskey tasting, he asked us if we wanted to try the gin or vodka. 4 of them went with gin, while the other two of us opted for vodka. I had to taste a tiny bit of it straight and I was surprised at how much smoother it was than some of the more commonly drank, but cheaper, vodka brands. I would normally drink my vodka with soda water and a good dash of lime cordial (I’m not a connoisseur by any means!!) so I wasn’t sure if I could manage it with tonic water because I really don’t like it. I gave it a go anyway and squeezed some fresh lime in too. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and I could see where gin drinkers come from when they say how refreshing the tonic water is.

As part of the tour you get to keep the glass, which costs €5 to buy in their shop so all in all, the tour is a bargain and I would definitely recommend it if you happen to visit Dingle in Kerry anytime soon! 

Mac Lipsticks

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a bit of a thing for lipsticks. Mac lipsticks, in particular. I’ve tried plenty of other brands but I find none are as long wearing as Mac, especially their Matte collection. I have lost a couple over the last year but at my latest count I have 23. If I’m being completely honest, I wear around 6 or 7 of those 23 regularly and 2 of those 7 on a daily basis. 


My go-to shades for daily wear are Brave and Viva Glam 2. I wear them both to work and when I’m off. They’re definitely more subtle daily shades. I’ve never finished a lipstick for two reasons. 1) because I have so many and 2) because I tend to lose them. I’m almost at the end of my Viva Glam 2. I have a second lined up and ready though. 

Brave & Viva Glam 2


My favourite shades for going out or special occasions are Ruby Woo, Rebel, Lickable, Hue and Hang Up. My Rebel is on the missing list so I’ll have to replace that. 

Hang-Up, Ruby Woo, Lickable & Hue


I rarely use the rest but as you can see I’m not going to run out of pink options any time soon! 

What’s your go-to lipstick brand?

Spread 1:

The Irish/green theme is continuing in my April spread because it was the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. In April I I went to Dublin Zoo and Eddie Rockets with my friend Emma, her daughter and our other friend’s daughter. I have put a little doodle from the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ app over their faces for the purpose of this post because I haven’t asked their permission to post pictures of their children. There’s also a picture from a night out with the girls and finally a picture of a Dolmen I saw on a trip down to Mizen Head in Cork. It also includes a photo of Chief, just because!

Project Life Kits: 

  • Seafoam (Core Kit): The orange lined card is from the Seafoam kit. 
  • Midnight (Core Kit): The polka dot card is from the Midnight kit.
  • Season (Core Kit): The green 4x6card is from the Seasons kit.

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The black alpha stickers used for ‘April’ are ‘Ali’ Thickers designed for Studio Calico.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The ‘Proud to be Irish’ sticker is actually from an Irish postcard with stickers on it that I bought years ago. 

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design D for this spread.

 

Spread 2:

Spread 2 is made up of a trip to the Aviva Stadium for an Ireland match, A cuddle with Dasha, the Tri-colour with Easter Sunday breakfast, new nails and City Hall in Cork, lit up in green, white and orange to commemorate the 1916 Rising. 

Project Life Kits: 

  • Midnight (Core Kit): The polka dot card is from the Midnight kit.
  • Season (Core Kit): The green 4x6card is from the Seasons kit.

I used the ‘And The Story Continues…’ card to explain the theme staying the same from March to April and a small 3×4 green card from the Seasons kit.

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design A for this spread.

 

Overall, I’m not delighted with this spread but it will do. I kept putting it off and that’s why I decided to just get it finished, post it and move on.

 

Have you tried Project Life? What’s your experience of it?

I’m not sure the colour of these brushes is coming up as nice in this photo as they are in real life. They’re so pretty that I was not leaving without them. They were €8 and they’re from Penneys (Primark if you’re outside Ireland). 

Now I’m not saying much for how good they’ll be as brushes because I haven’t used them yet but I’ll give them a go this weekend and the seem nice and soft so far. 


They even come with this explanation for each brush and how to use them. 

Has anyone else tried them?

Around this time last year, myself and my friend Emma were living it up in San Francisco. I had wanted to go and see San Fran and Alcatraz for years. We went for 5 nights and we packed a lot in. Unfortunately, my camera lens started to die while I was there so I took most of my photos on my iPhone. Then to top that off, during the night on the  second night, my phone had some sort of meltdown and I had to bring it to the Apple store the next day where they had no choice but to completely reset it, so I lost all of the photos from the first two days, including Alcatraz. Oh and did I mention that our suitcases never made the flight? Mine turned up within about 15 hours but Emma’s didn’t show for about 48 hours. Sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it?!

To be honest, I forgot about all of those crappy things until I sat down to write this post. They are definitely not the take aways from the trip. The only downer about it is that I don’t have many photos of Alcatraz and I have absolutely none from the food trucks at Presidio Park. 

We fit in so much into such a short trip. We were up at about 6am every day and fell asleep about 10 or 11pm at the latest every night. The day we arrived we went to The Castro District. The Castro was one of the first gay neighbourhoods in the United States. Some of the pedestrian walkways are made up of the rainbow flag colours that represent the LGBT community. When we were in San Francisco, the Orlando nightclub shooting had only recently happened and there was a very touching tribute to the victims of the shooting at The Castro.

The Castro District

After visiting The Castro, we got a taxi up to the top of Twin Peaks. We took some pictures and got some great views of the city of San Francisco. By the time we finished there, we went back to the hotel (hoping our luggage had arrived – it hadn’t!) and then went for some food. 

Twin Peaks

We woke at about 5am and decided this was the best morning to head to the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the sun come up. This was by far the highlight of my trip. We got soooo lucky because it was a really great sunrise. We got pizza blankets (I know, amazing!!) and went back a few mornings later but the sunrise wasn’t nearly as nice. After watching the sun come up, we waked back across the bridge. It was a lovely walk. I’ve read and heard plenty of people saying that they wouldn’t suggest walking all the way across. I disagree completely. I loved the walk so much, we did it twice. 


Pizza blankets

After the walk back, we went to get some breakfast and then went to see Lombard Street which was really busy but the houses along the road are really nice with some gorgeous flowers too. 

How beautiful? (Emma may kill me because she’s in this photo!)

 After Lombard Street we went to Presidio Park. We went to see the Walt Disney museum, which really isn’t worth a trip in my opinion. Then we went out to the food trucks in the park, which was another highlight of my trip. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no pictures of it, but if you go to San Fran, I would definitely recommend it. We sat out in the sun, enjoying a cocktail and trying some delicious food. 

After Presidio Park, we went to Alcatraz. I was so excited for this and took a million photos and lost them all so I only have this one below that was saved to my Snapchat of me in one of the cells. The tour was brilliant and there’s something so creepy about the place. 

An Alcatraz cell

We were exhausted after it and went straight home to bed. Then my phone died so we spent a couple of hours the next morning in the Apple store before jumping on the hop on/hop off bus. This way we got to see a lot more without getting off the bus. 

We got off the bus at Pier 39. I was a bit disapointed because there wasn’t many sea lions out. The whole area had a real holiday vibe to it with restaurants and amusements and shops. Then we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, it reminded me of that Irish seaside town vibe, but a bit warmer and prettier. (Did I mention San Francisco had a heat wave while we were there and my scalp and shoulders burnt to a crisp?).


We got an In-N-Out Burger, which we had been looking forward to and it was so worth the wait. Delicious. I’ll never look at a Big Mac the same way again. Since we were so close, it would have been rude not to pop into Ghirardelli’s. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a chocolate company and it’s famous for it’s ice-cream sundaes. 

We paid for two days on the bus tour and we got to see China Town, The Oakland Bridge and Coit Tower. We also went to Haight & Ashbury which amazingly still felt like it had the hippie vibe that would have been there in the 1967 Summer of Love. We went from there to see the Painted Ladies which were absolutely beautiful. It was busy but not so busy that you couldn’t get a photo of them. I will say, as pretty as they are, I definitely saw some nicer houses scattered around San Francisco. We also went to see the Mrs Doubtfire house which was awesome, even if the taxi driver had never seen the movie and thought we were crazy.

Painted Ladies

We also managed plenty of shopping (hello Sephora!), lots of eating and a little drinking. We even fit in a visit to an Irish bar to watch Ireland beat Italy 1-0 in the 2016 Euros. So all in all, we had an amazing trip to San Francisco. It absolutely rivalled New York as my favourite place that I’ve been to in the United States. Now I have a favourite on each coast and I will definitely go back.

Is there anything I missed on my trip that you could recommend for next time?