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?

 

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?

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A book you’ve had a long time and haven’t read:

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

The Woman Who Stole My Life
The Woman Who Stole My Life is about a woman called Stella Sweeney who is back in Dublin with a bang after a year living in New York and travelling the USA promoting her self-help book. There’s lots of twists and turns as the story looks back over Stella’s journey.

I must start off by admitting that some of the characters in this book are slightly unrealistic but that didn’t hinder how much I enjoyed it. I wanted to say that first and get it out of the way because it’s the only real negative I have for this book.

 I absolutely love the way Marian Keyes writes and I often find myself smiling or laughing out loud while I read (much to the annoyance of anyone nearby). I would be really interested to hear what people from other countries think of her writing because her sense of humour, in my opinion, is very Irish.

This book held my attention right to the end and as each chapter closed, I couldn’t wait to hear what would happen to Stella next. Keyes has a wonderful way of jumping from different stages of a story to keep the suspense alive. It’s not my favourite of her books but it still has that feel good factor and I would definitely recommend it as a fun, summer read. 

Rating: 7.5/10

So today is Day 50 of The 100 Day Project. Yes, you read that right. Day FIFTY! Half way point and I’m actually kind of amazed to say I haven’t missed a day. So far I have written and released 16 blog posts (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, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts to Pinterest. 

I thought it might end up feeling like a bit of a burden but it hasn’t at all. I’m really enjoying the process. I think coming up with a plan that makes it easier to spend literally 10 minutes doing something on my phone on the days that are a little more hectic has made it really do-able for me.

My plan for the next 50 days is to carry on as I have. The challenge, as I’ve said in the previous post, is mainly for me to create a creative habit when it comes to paparali.com but the one thing I hope to do is encourage more people to subscribe to the blog instead of just stopping by and reading once in a while. I’m also going to plan ahead a bit more because I’ve definitely had days when I’ve gone a little blank trying to work out what my next post might be.

Are you taking part in The 100 Day Project?

 

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A book published this year:

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost
I want to start off by saying if you have any interest at all in Supernatural fiction, you should really read Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. There are 13 books in total and each one is written from the perspective of a different lead female supernatural character including werewolves, witches, ghosts, necromancers and more. This series was my introduction to this author and I loved them all. 

City of the Lost is the first book in a new crime fiction series by the author. It follows homicide detective, Casey Duncan, to live in a secret, off the grid, town where everyone has a secret. My absolute favourite thing about Armstrong’s writing is how she develops her characters. This novel was no exception and by the time you get to the end, you’ll feel like you know Casey Duncan. It’s a solid story-line with a great ‘who done it’ theme. 

As always, Armstrong delivers in giving you just enough information to keep you interested and wanting more. I still prefer her supernatural novels but would definitely recommend this read and will be looking out for the next instalment in the series.

Rating: 7/10

P.s. I know the topic is ‘published this year’ and it was technically published in 2016 but I actually read it in 2016 & never got around to reviewing it. 

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A book that was made into a movie:

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

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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.

As part of my new year’s resolution to read more this year, I’ve decided to challenge myself a little. I love reading and get really engrossed in a good book. I plan to share reviews of the books I’m reading here. I’m teaming up with My Tiny Mind on this one so pop over there to check out reviews too. I’m not the fastest reader going so we’ve set ourselves 2 years to read 20 books. I’d love for other people to get involved. If you’re thinking of taking part, let me know in the comments and keep me posted on your progress or where you might be sharing it. You chose the books based on the list below and you can take them on in any order.

 Anyone up for a challenge?

The Big Book Challenge list

cork board 2 cork board 1

Whose idea was it to start Create 52 right before silly season? Obviously I was ridiculously busy in the lead up to Christmas like everyone else and I’m back in work now & have things on 4 weekends out of 5 this month so I’m waaaay behind. There goes New Year’s Resolution number 1 – be better at organising blog posts and Project Life in advance. Must try harder.

So I’m kind of back on track with Create 52 as of week 2 of January and I’ve started off with something simple. I’d love to say I bought a blank pin board & went from there but that would be a complete lie. I bought the board, from Forever 21, with the black map already printed on it. I bought it last September so I’m not sure if it’s still available but I’ve seen some other options online. I’d also love to see some creative people adding their own maps to pin boards. I just picked up some pins (I couldn’t find a size I wanted so I had to buy dress making pins and cut them). I added a white pin to where I live (Ireland) and red pins to all of the places I’ve been up until now. I’m toying with the idea of adding another colour to places I plan to go but I’m not sure yet.

Finally I chose a quote I like that was short and simple and added it to the board using Amy Tangerine Thickers.


  

The Mystery of Mercy Close Marian Keyes

Challenge Post 1: A Book Review (kinda)

I’m sure you’re all familiar with a well-known Irish author called Marian Keyes and if you’re not, you should be. She’s written dozens of books and I’ve read them all. Typically I like to read sci-fi (ish) books and her writing wouldn’t fall into this category at all. Mostly, I like to read fiction  (which her books are) and typically stories about things that couldn’t happen in real life (there’s enough real life in real life, am I right?). Although Marian’s books wouldn’t fall into this category at all, I adore her style of writing. In my opinion, an author who can make you laugh out loud and sob your heart out on the same page, let alone in the same book is an absolute genius at what they do. I’ve yet to come across a Marian Keyes book where this failed to happen. Her comic timing and sense of humour are second to none. In her latest book –  The Mystery of Mercy Close – she coins the phrase ‘The Shovel List’ which simply is a list of people, things, characteristics etc., that make you want to hit them in the face with a shovel. For me, this was comedy gold and I spent weeks after reading the book hastily adding things to my ‘Shovel List’. As anyone who knows me knows, I’m slightly fond, okay maybe obsessed, with making lists. Any kind of lists. So naturally I decided this blog was a perfect place to share my very own ‘Shovel list’. So here goes (in no particular order, as it changes from day to day):

 

  • Men who find it appropriate to ask me what the offside rule is when they learn I like football, even though they would never ask another man the same question. 
  • People who have seen the way I drink tea a million times saying “sure that’s milky water, not tea”.
  • Wagon wheels (the edible kind. I got them going to school everyday for a million years) Everything about the stupid reality TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex’
  • People who say I need to ‘just’ relax when I’m stressing out. Oh I forgot it was so easy, sure why didn’t I think of that.
  • Getting Diet Pepsi when you ask for Diet Coke
  • Pointy toe shoes on men
  • People who don’t indicate on roundabouts
  • Wasps
  • Skinny people who give out about being fat
  • Cryptic Facebook statuses, such as, “just so happy today” and then when people comment asking why, the answer is always “I’ll private message you”Just don’t post this status if it’s some kind of secret.  
  • Bankers
  • All of the deductions from my pay packet – universal service charge, pension related deductions, spouse & children deductions. I don’t even have a husband or a child?
  • Clowns
  • People who tell you every time they see you that you’ve lost LOOOOADS of weight. No I haven’t. Jesus I must have been the size of a house when you first met me.
  • People who don’t keep their dog on a lead. The law states that you have to, so when your dog comes running up to mine at full speed & my dogs snap a warning of ‘go away’, don’t expect to complain to me.
  • Extremely bold children being extremely bold while their parents look on & do NOTHING
  • People who speak really loudly on the phone whilst using public transport.
  • Actually…public transport itself, for many reasons. People touching off you, the waiting and wondering if it will arrive on time, people eating…don’t they know about all the germs? Ahhh!
  • Construction work on your day off…at ridiculous o clock in the morning.
  • People who ask you a question & then reword your answer into another question. For example…”what time is it?” “3 o clock” “it’s not 3 o clock is it?”
  • People who say “you’d love it” about food to people they hardly know.
  • People who say they don’t like something they’ve never tasted.
  • Pat Kenny
  • People working in supermarkets who put your change down instead of putting it into your open, stretched out hand. Just plain rude.
  • The Irish government

 

Feel free to add to it. I’m sure I will.

 

 For more information on Marian Keyes and her books, check outhttp://www.mariankeyes.com/Home

 

The Colosseum, Rome

My Dad has invited me to take part in a blogging challenge over the coming months so I decided it would be a good idea to share it here. That way people will understand if my posts getting extremely competitive. (Okay, we know they won’t. I’m the least competitive person ever…)

It’s not specific to just us, any old blogger can join in. For details, check out his post here

P.S. Choosing a photograph for this post was difficult. I took this photograph in Rome in 2011. Rome was pretty high up on my ‘places to see before I die’ list. That will make sense if you choose to pop over to My Tiny Mind and check out the details of the challenge.