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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.

OLW #2

One of the things I really struggle with is the work/life balance. It seems to either go completely one way or another. I can be a complete workaholic & spend my weekends working and late into the nights or else it’s the complete opposite and I’m living a little too much. Going out more than I should at the weekend and mentally not turning up for work as much as I could. I’m trying to find a happy medium on this one. I agree with the idea of ‘work to live, don’t live to work’ and fully believe nobody, on their death bed, wishes they’d worked more. However, I think that’s a bit too simplistic. The majority of us have to work in order to have a good life which makes both work & life very important. This quote really stood out to me because in order to fill our souls with adventure, we have to work to fill our pockets, therefore I think it’s important to work hard & enjoy what we do in order to have the adventures.This year I hope to find a healthy balance between the two.

I found this beautiful image on Pinterest and you can go to kaylanicole.me to find the poster designer.

The 2nd Saturday MarketLin Design
Lin Design

I was in town on Saturday doing some book shopping with my Dad when he noticed a sign for a Saturday market. I’m a sucker for markets so we went around to have a look. The market is called The 2nd Saturday Market and as you may have guessed, it’s on the second Saturday of every month. We were lucky that that was the day we happened to be in the city. It’s in The Chocolate Factory on King’s Inns Street in Dublin and it’s worth a visit if you are in the area. There are lots of lovely handmade, homemade and vintage things to buy including food, jewellery & art. 

I bought the beautiful necklace pictured above from Lin Design. It’s made of concrete and I thought it was really unusual. They had all sorts of concrete designs from candle holders to jewellery and even Darth Vader molds. I love the necklace and can definitely see myself going back for more. I’m already kind of raging I didn’t buy a second necklace I was eyeing up and 1 of the tea-light holders.

You can check out some of the beautiful things Lin Design make and sell, on Facebook here. The prices were good and they’d make lovely gifts for others as well as yourself. 

Graduationgraduation3

Not only did I get a degree but I graduated with my mam. This was one of those things I wanted to achieve but didn’t really enjoy very much. I love learning. I appreciate anything I can learn but I really don’t enjoy assignments. I’m definitely glad I did it though and I won’t rule out returning to education again. You’re never too old and It’s never too late.

Stronger

Image made using the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ app & the ‘Color Story’ app.

I’m taking part in Ali Edwards ‘One Little Word’ again this year. I tried it last year for the first time and found it really interesting. I was surprised how much I took hold of the word and although I didn’t achieve everything I thought I would with it, I’m happy with the changes I’ve made and I plan to keep hold of that it while I take on this year’s word.

Last year’s word was ‘Stronger’ and I hoped to become stronger in lots of different ways. The most important thing I hoped to gain from ‘One Little Word’ was to become stronger mentally and comfortable staying in the house overnight on my own. It took some time but I finally got there and now I actually enjoy having the house to myself. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me. The second thing I wanted was to become physically stronger, fitter and healthier.  I have a long, long way to go on that but I’ve made some progress. I try to go swimming regularly and I still love chocolate and McDonalds when I’m hungover and drink waaaaay too much diet coke but I’m marginally better than I was.I’ve definitely become stronger as an individual person and I enjoy my own company more and I like the idea of being single and not worried about anyone else. I’d like to think I’m doing okay as a friend and I’m there for my friends as much as I can when they need me. I need to work more on the family bit, I could probably have more patience in that area. I suppose the people closet to us can end up on the wrong end of our bad moods. I think I’m definitely more positive than I was but I think that’s down to being happier in my life and doing more things that I enjoy.

I definitely didn’t build a stronger blog and kind of flaked on it completely. I also didn’t become better at my job.  These things needing more work have helped me to choose this year’s word. Stay tuned to find out what 2016’s word will be.  You can check out my post on 2015’s word here.

Have you tried ‘One Little Word’? How did your 2015 word go?

Yes Please

Amy Poehler is fricking hilarious. I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud whilst reading this book.

All I was expecting from this book was to read something over the Christmas that wasn’t heavy and was entertaining but I actually learned some very valuable lessons from it.

The lessons I learned from ‘Yes Please’:

  1. A good book should make you feel both happy and sad at different times. When a comedian writes a book that does this I’m more impressed because their default  is to make you laugh.
  2. It’s very important to write down the little details about your children, and it’s very important to do it regularly. The small details Amy writes about her children are so important but they’re also easily forgotten as time goes on and their personalities change. I don’t have children but if I ever do I’ve learned how important it is to find a way to record the little things. This goes for other important people in your life too.
  3. It’s never too late to apologise and mean it.
  4. Writing a book is not easy.
  5. You don’t have to stay in a job that you don’t enjoy or stay with a bad boyfriend.
  6. I rely on technology waaaay too much. I should do something about that but I probably won’t.

Rescuing a Dog

Okay I’m not sure Lady actually counts because we didn’t go to a shelter and adopt her, but we took her in and kept her when she had no other home. She was hanging around the pitch and putt club my mam is a member of and nobody wanted to take her. It was raining really heavily that night so my mam brought her home. Needless to say Chief didn’t like it one bit. He wasn’t the most social dog in the world and still isn’t. The next day we brought her to the vet and she had no microchip. The vet joked that she would be the next fat dog (like Chief) and that we would be back within a week to register her and have her spayed. That definitely wasn’t the plan at the time. We contacted the Gardai (police) and no-one was looking for her. We later found out that someone saw people throwing her out of a van so she wasn’t lost but unwanted. That pretty much decided it. It took a while but Chief came around to her and most of the time they’re great pals. Unfortunately Lady is a very nervous dog and is afraid of strangers, particularly men. It takes a long time for her to warm up to people, she’s terrified of strange men and sometimes she snaps at Chief and we see signs of the life she lived before, but most of the time she’s very loving. When we found her she was roughly a year and a half old based on the vet’s estimation. We had to choose a birthday around November/December for her so we chose the 8th of December, which is John Lennon’s anniversary so it was a no-brainer. She was six on her last “birthday”. Her favourite things to do include licking people’s faces (and Chief’s), barking at cats, going for walks and taking anything that Chief has/wants.

2015 was a great year and these were my highlights:

January:

1. My cousin Louise’s hen night and wedding 

2. Visiting some of my lovely family in Exeter, Devon

3. Visits from my godson Lorenzo from England

4. Galway for a night with the girls 

Jan 1

January 2015

May:

5. Inishbofin with the mammies and daughters

6. Our friend’s Richard & Jacqueline’s wedding

7. Harry Potter Studios in Leavesden

May 2015

May 2015

June:

8. Liverpool with the girls

9. A day trip to Belfast with Dad, Marian & Mark

June & July 2015

June & July 2015

July:

10. Paolo Nutini concert in Marlay Park

11. Ed Sheeran concert in Croke Park

 

August:

12. Calpe in Spain for our friend’s Bud & Suzanne’s wedding

13. Visiting the Choctaw monument in Cork

14.  Fethard-On-Sea for the dog’s holiday with some family & friends

August 2015

August 2015

August 2015

August 2015

September:

15. Electric Picnic

September 2015

September 2015

November:

16. Stephen’s graduation

17. Ireland  qualifying for the 2016 Euro’s versus Bosnia & Herzegovina in the Aviva Stadium 

November 2015

November 2015

December:

18. New York trip with friends

19. My friend Kiara returning from Australia after over a year 

20. The Riptide Movement gig in Whelan’s

21. 12 Pubs of Christmas in Dublin City (well, the second 6 pubs of Christmas)

22. The girl’s Kris Kindle night as a 5 piece group (there was only 4 last year)

23. 2fm Xmas Ball concert in the 3Arena

24. Christmas Day drinks with extended family, followed by Christmas dinner with immediate family

25. Lots of  festive get-togethers with friends and family

26. New Years Eve with friends in Emma’s new house

December 2015

December 2015

December 2015

December 2015

Here’s to a great 2016…

Step 1

Step 1: Lay all of the items out exactly as you want them to look on a surface roughly the same size as the wall.

Step 2

Step 2: cover each item with a piece of paper of the same size

Step 3

Step 3: Add the pieces of paper to the wall based on where you want your frames etc, to go. Add your nail marks with a pen, Add your nails and…

Final step

There you have it….your new gallery wall.

I’ve wanted a gallery wall for so long but kept putting it off in case it went terribly wrong and looked ridiculous. you can’t undo holes in a wall you know?! I’ve been gathering frames and pictures and things for the last while so I decided to bite the bullet and get it done. I actually really enjoyed the process. It was really fun. I wouldn’t have known where to start without one of my favorite blogs – A Beautiful Mess. They wrote a blog post a couple of years ago about styling a corner gallery and I followed their lead. You can check their post out here

If you follow those steps, or even just base it on my photos above, it’s a pretty easy thing to do and it has completely brightened up my bedroom to have all of my favourite people (and pets) on my wall.

New PL kit

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with project life. I love the concept, absolutely love the albums, colours, cards and all the great options. I hate when I fall behind far enough that it actually stresses me out. I spend way too much time in the ‘fallen behind beyond belief’ stage.

I go weeks without getting a chance to do anything at all, so when I get a chance I spend hours choosing, organising and printing photographs. That part is exhausting so I almost never get to the fun part with the beautifully designed kits and albums. Then weeks later I get another chance to look at it and the whole photograph process needs to happen again. Luckily I have weeks upon weeks off during the summer and I plan to dedicate a couple of weeks to catching up and hopefully staying up to date before I go back to work in the middle of September. I’ve already been off for 8 weeks but they’ve been pretty busy (sometimes they were just busy not living by a schedule) but I plan to have a couple of weeks at the start of September. So this is what I have to catch up on:

November & December 2014: complete spreads including photo printing which is quite time consuming because I was doing weekly spreads last year. Plus it’s the Christmas period which means much more to take photos of.

March – mid July 2015: photos are printed and in their places so I just need to add PL cards as well as stickers and embellishments etc. I decided to do monthly spreads this year and not to put too much pressure on it. Some months will have multiple spreads, depending on how much the month was, some will only have one spread. I feel much more relaxed about monthly spreads and it take a lot of the pressure off keeping the photos and dates in order.

Mid July – End of August: complete spreads including photo printing.

I’m really not sure how I’m going to go about it but one thing I know for sure, I have to go in chronological order. It’s the only thing that works for me. So does anyone have any tips for how to fit that into a couple of weeks? How do you catch up on Project Life?