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I’ve decided as part of my ‘Lists’ series, I’m going to share lists of My favourite things. I love TED Talks and now I have started listening to TED Talks Audio Podcasts while I drive to and from work. I decided to make a list of some of my favourites for anyone who is new to the world of TED Talks. If you’re already a TED Talks fan, maybe this post will remind you of some of your favourites or point out some who may not have seen.

I should start off by saying, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should go to TED Talks for more information.

 

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

I absolutely love this talk. Chimamanda is a great speaker and if I’m honest, I’d probably listen to her speaking about any topic. It is refreshing to hear an opinion of an African woman who considers herself a Feminist in a world where the world Feminism is still considered a dirty word. If you don’t feel entertained and empowered after listening to this one, then maybe my list is not for you!

Check out Chimamanda’s talk here.

 

Do Schools Kill Creativity by Ken Robinson:

I think I love this talk so much because I work in adult education and I have an interest in how the education system in this country (and plenty of others, I’m sure) impacts the type of people who are not do not learn in a conventional ‘school’ way. That being said, I think anyone who has children also usually finds the talk very interesting. I would definitely recommend a listen if you are a creative type who didn’t exactly excel in school.

Check out Ken’s talk here.

 

The Fringe Benefits of Failure by J.K. Rowling:

This talk is actually a Harvard Commencement Speech that has been shared by TED Talks. Rowling talks about the benefits of failure and how reaching rock bottom shaped the successful author she is today. It’s inspiring without falling into the theme of being an over used “rags to riches” story.

Check out JK’s speech here.

 

The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

Another talk from Chimamanda. This 1 I saw for the first time on a development Education course I took a few years ago. In this talk, she discusses the negative effects of only having 1 single story of a country, culture or person. This talk resonated with me because I think we are all guilty of at some stage believing a single story about another person or culture.

Check out Chimamanda’s talk here.

 

How to Live Before You Die by Steve Jobs:

Another Commencement Speech that has been shared by TED Talks. This time, it is Steve Jobs at Stanford University in 2005. Steve’s speech is made up of 3 stories from his life that played a part in him becoming the hugely successful co-founder of Apple. The speech has a kind of sadness to it that it didn’t originally have previous to his death in 2011. I’m sure everyone at this stage has heard the story or has seen the “Steve Jobs dropped out of college and he did ok” memes which I think paints an idealistic view of his life. He didn’t always have it easy but he knew what he wanted.

Check out Steve’s speech here.

 

What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang:

If you are looking for something a bit short and with a bit more humour, check out Jia’s talk on rejection. We tend to fear rejection as a natural reaction and by the sounds of it, Jia was the same until 1 day he decided to seek out rejection.

Check out Jia’s talk here.

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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. 


On our recent trip to Fethard on Sea in Wexford, we went to Loftus Hall to take the tour. I’ve been going down to Fethard at least once a years for the past 4 years and had never done the tour. 

Loftus Hall is a mansion on the Hook Peninsula in Co. Wexford. It is said to be the most haunted house in Ireland.

Dave is really interested in all things haunted so he wanted to see it. I was looking forward to it & love an interactive tour. He really doesn’t so I wasn’t holding out much hope, but we both really enjoyed it. It was interactive in a great way, not a cheesy way, and the tour guide we had was pretty funny. 


The tour lasts a little less than an hour and the guide shares the history of the house and shows you several rooms in the downstairs as well as a beautiful stair case, which is apparently one of only three of it’s kind. One of the other two sits at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on the Titanic and the other is in The Vatican.

For €10 for an adult, I would definitely recommend this tour if you find yourself in this tiny part of the world…

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A book with a blue cover:

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me?

Why not me is Mindy Kaling’s second book. It is a memoir made up of some comedic and very entertaining essays. If I’m being completely honest, I slightly preferred her first book ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without me?’, but only slightly. The first book was written before her career really blew up, whereas this book was written in the height of her ‘The Mindy Project’ and after her ‘The Office’ (US) fame.

Mindy exudes a kind of well deserved confidence, which she explains in this book, along with some other real life topics such as body image, dating and her career. She is intelligent, hard-working, and if this book is anything to go by, refreshingly honest.

Although appearing to have the same insecurities as most women in today’s society, she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. I particularly enjoyed the last section of the book where she talks about body image and how she doesn’t fit into the stereotypical Hollywood image. This alone shows how she should be inspirational to “normal women” and I mean that in the best way.

Although I have yet to watch ‘The Mindy Project’, I would mostly recommend it to fans of Mindy Kaling. That being said, it’s a good read for any determined young woman or girl. You will find yourself nodding in ,a and laughing out loud. In a world where the women that young girls are most likely to look up to are reality stars or Instagram famous, it’s a breath of fresh air to read the success story of someone who got there by working hard.

Rating: 7.5/10

Me looking happy...

Me…looking happy! Duh!

 

I’ve decided to start a new mini series of posts that’s going to be made up of lots of different lists. I love lists. I find the idea of getting ‘to do’ lists down on paper really satisfying. I tend to like actually physically writing them down. I know this is really old school & there’s a bazillion apps to do the same job on our phones now, but I really enjoy the process of writing them down & crossing or ticking things off. I may actually write all of the lists down too.

This first list is a list of the little things that make me happy. I think we can focus waaaay too much of the physical things that make us happy and sometimes on the things we want & cant or don’t have so it’s nice to remember the little things…


Things that make me happy are…

  1. Good books that you get lost in & don’t want to put down.
  2. The smell after a well needed rainfall.
  3. Spending time with the people who make me forget that the world is sometimes an awful place.
  4. Music that triggers memories.
  5. Sunsets with a mixture of beautiful colours (particularly when I’m driving home from work – it lifts my mood).
  6. A shower on a cold day followed by clean pjs & fresh bed sheets.
  7. Family dinners.
  8. When people are polite.
  9. Waking up & realising there’s still lots of time left to sleep.
  10. Holding hands.
  11. Fallin asleep to the sound of rain.
  12. A great cup of tea.
  13. How excited my dogs get when I get home.
  14. Not setting an alarm for the morning.
  15. A smile from a stranger.
  16. Comfortable silences.
  17. TV shows binges.
  18. Taking photographs.
  19. Good hair days.
  20. Laughing until my belly hurts.

I’m sure there’s lots more so there may be another list of things that make me happy at some stage.

What makes you happy?

Focus on Your Own Shit

I can’t believe we’re nearly at the end of April and this is my first follow up post to my 2017 OLW post. I’m thinking not having a regular means of keeping in touch with my word and getting it down on paper means I’m less able to share how it’s going here. Despite this it’s actually going quite well.

I thought I’d start off by sharing what I plan to get from the word Focus this year, so here goes. In 2017, I plan to focus on:

  • My own shit! Excuse my language but I need to learn to focus on myself and where I am and want to be. I think there’s a thing that comes with age (and I’m turning 30 this year!) where we all start to think about where we should be and what we should have or be doing. I plan to focus this year on working out where I want to be in terms of life and career and not worrying about comparing myself to other people.
  • The here and now. I’m a worrier so I can spend too much time in the past so it’s important I learn to focus on the present.
  • Being content with what I have and on having less. I think it’s very easy in western society to constantly want more. The newest and the best things. This year, I want to de-clutter and focus on spending less money accumulating crap I don’t need. That doesn’t mean never buying things but it does mean quality over quantity.
  • Being productive and not just busy.
  • Losing more weight. I have a goal and I have been slacking on that majorly. 
  • Letting go of the small things. This is a big ask for someone like me who is very detail oriented. It’s the kind of goal that gets carried over because if I’m being realistic, this won’t change over night. 
  • Saving more money. By more I mean any at all.
  • Growing my hair and getting it back to a healthy condition.
  • Spending more time with people and books and less time hiding behind devices. This is very aspirational in today’s society but even if it has improved slightly by the end of the year, I’ll consider this 1 a success.
  • Being happy!!

I found this picture on Instagram. Check out keelyrust to find it. You can keep up to date with where I’ll be sharing words around my OLW Focus over on  Pinterest. my name over there is @paparali. You can also check out my other OLW posts here

100 Day Project 100 Day Project

So today marked 15 days of The 100 Day Project and I’m happy to say I’m still in the game. The idea of The 100 Day Project is to do something creative for 100 days and I decide to focus on my blog. In the past 15 days I have written and released 5 blog posts (including this 1), edited photos on my phone from 2 different trips, edited photos on my MacBook from 1 of trip, started a new notebook for the blog, made lists of post ideas, planned a long, detailed post (the Budapest 1) in that notebook, took a couple of photos, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts to Pinterest. 

I would consider that pretty successful so far. This blog is never going to be the type to have new posts released every single day so I didn’t want to attempt that because I knew I wouldn’t keep it up after the 100 days were over, if I managed to keep it up for the duration of the challenge. I want this to be the beginning of a creative habit which encourages me to work on the Paparali blog regularly and consistently.

So here’s to 85 more days. Are you taking part in The 100 Day Project, or are you considering starting?

 

February was a pretty big month so I had 3 spreads. 

Feb 1 Feb 2

Spread 1:

The month started off with a weekend in Exeter visiting family  so that’s what spread one is about. It’s made up of black, white and a kind of turquoise.I used a turquoise Sharpie pen for the handwriting. 

Project Life Kit: Favorite Things (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The black ones used for ‘February’, ‘Orla & Oscar’ and ‘cream tea’ are ‘Ali’ Thickers designed exclusively for Studio Calico.
  • The small light blue stickers used for ‘The Darwents’ are Ocean Melody by Webster’s Pages.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The black love-heart outline sticker is Amy Tangerine for Thickers. I think but I’m not 100% that is part of her Plus 1 range.
  • I’m unsure where the arrow sticker is from.

Pocket Pages: I used Design F for the left and Design G for the right.

 

Feb 3

Spread 2:

The left side of spread two is from a trip to London with my mam and brother for a match. The right side of this spread are a few random snapshots from the month. I almost always go for white but this kit has a cream base. It’s great for a change but I normally prefer the crispness of white.

Project Life Kit: Azure (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The grey ones used for ‘LFC V MCFC’  are Project Life stickers.
  • The red ones used for ‘More of February’ are Sn@p Studios by Simple Stories.

Stamps: 

  • I’m unsure where the paw print stamps are from but they’re rubber stamps that are used with an acrylic block.
  • The ink is Dovecraft pigment ink pad in jet black. 

Pocket Pages: I used Design G for the left and Design R for the right.
Feb 5 Feb 6

Spread 3:

Spread three for February is a mixtures of snapshots from the month as well as a mixtures of kits.

Project Life Kit: The left page has a 6×4 card from the Confetti core kit with some words about documenting on it. it also includes a 6×4 grey and white striped card from the Midnight core kit.

The right page has a 6×4 polka dot card from the Midnight kit, a 6×4 lined card with a love-heart from the Plus 1 mini kit, a 3×4 quote card about cherishing the little things from Becky’s Quotes themed cards and a fold-able 6×4 card from the Seafoam kit with ‘date’ and ‘story’ on it. Instead of folding it, I cut it in half and used a corner cutter to round the new edges.

Alpha Stickers: The black stickers used for ‘Still February’ are ‘Hard Cover’ Thickers.

Stickers: The quote sticker on the striped 6×4 card is from K & Company.

Pocket Pages: I used Design R for the left and Design A for the right.

2016 Cover

So it’s April and I’m only just sharing my cover page for my 2016 Project Life album now. I know, must try harder. I try to mix it up when it comes to my cover pages but yellow has made an appearance on my cover page two years in a row because I love it. I rarely include pictures on this spread. I like to include the year and it’s the second year in a row I’ve added my One Little Word to the cover spread. 

Stay tuned for some posts on my Project Life method.

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.