It’s finally April and I don’t think I’m the only one who will say that that was officially the weirdest and longest March ever. A new month and a new quarter and I’m in planning and project mode. There are definitely days when I don’t want to do anything and there are days when my moods are high one minute and low the next. I keep reminding myself that:

  • I’m not stuck at home, I’m safe at home.
  • Every new day, we’re one day closer to this being over.
  • It is an absolute luxury to be able to stay at home, safe and maybe even bored.

THINGS I’VE BOUGHT ONLINE THIS WEEK

  • This loungewear set from Asos. Yep, they’re technically pyjamas but if I get up in the morning, have a shower and put them on, I’m calling them work clothes. 
  • 10 postcards from @framesthatsparkle on Instagram. They were part of a Fiver Friday offer Caroline runs ever week. I can’t wait for them to arrive. I’ve ordered some great prints from her before.
  • An A5 print from @tinybisonillustration which was part of Steph’s Fiver Friday. I’ve already bought some hand drawn tiny portraits from her and I’m obsessed.

THE 100 DAY PROJECT

The 100 Day Project starts next Tuesday 7th April and I’m joining in for my 4th year. I usually prefer a really specific project to keep me focused. Last year I did 100 Days of Calligraphy for example, but this year I’m going with a broader topic. I’ve decided to do lots of little projects – 100 Days of Paparali Projects. I’m going to do a mixture of photo projects, home DIY, painting, sewing, baking, Project Life spreads, doodles and more. I’ve been planning my projects and I’m excited to get started. Have you ever tried a 100 Day Project? This could be a good year to give it a try. 

FINDING WHAT RECHARGES YOU

I have been using Elise Blaha Cripe’s ‘Three Things’ method, from her book Big Dreams Daily Joys, to help me stay productive each day during this lockdown (sorry Leo Varadkar, the rest of us are calling it a lockdown even if you’re not). Some days I put tasks on it that might take a few minutes, like watering my succulents. Other days I put tasks on it that might take a few hours, like re-organising my kitchen presses. Sometimes it’s things like drinking more water that I can tip away at throughout the day.

Planning things and making lists recharges and energises me. The point is not to get all of the things done, but to plan and to be a bit more productive. If I get the three things done, great. If I get one thing done, it’s one more than nothing. It’s really not about beating yourself up about the things that didn’t get done. I’m sure I drive some people mad by posting them on Instagram, and that’s fine. They can mute or unfollow. We have the ability to curate our Instagram feeds. This is what works for me. It’s what makes me get out of bed, especially at the weekend when I’m not trying to work from home. I’m not saying I’m productive all of the time. Are there days when I sit on the sofa for the day and binge Netflix? Absolutely. What energises you?

Come & chat in the comments, slide into my DMs (not in that way) on Instagram or email me at ali@paparali.com

Anyway, that’s enough from me this week…catch ya next week…maybe!

Ali 😉

P.s. I love a bit of eucalyptus.

EMAILS & EMAIL NEWSLETTERS

I love email newsletters and I would love to create my own, but here are 3 reasons why I’m not going to:

  1. I’m sure you need some sort of software that I’m not going to buy. 
  2. I may get bored if it starts to feel like an obligation and stop wanting to do it.
  3. The only person likely to sign up to it is my dad because he’ll want to be supportive.

What I have decided to do instead is to post something that resembles a newsletter here for as long as it makes sense for me.

Earlier this year, I paid a very small fee to take this Inbox Bootcamp e-course. I would highly recommend it. It was a brilliant idea because it helped me clear my inbox and unsubscribe to all of the unwanted emails that come into my personal email every single day. Could I have done it without the e-course, most likely, but it focused my mind and I got some great tips. Now, instead of just deleting multiple junk type emails every day, I have signed up to a handful of email newsletters and I really look forward to them coming in throughout the week/month. I’m working off a zero inbox policy now and it feels like a big accomplishment.

 

WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS GREAT IN A CRISIS

Did you see that? I got 2 paragraphs in before I mentioned the Coronavirus. Before you roll your eyes and leave, this is actually a positive point. When the government, here in Ireland, first announced the schools would be closing, it looked like people were just going to bulk buy and then turn on each other. It felt very uncertain and scary. Over two weeks later, we have further restrictions and everything is still up in the air, but people are coming together to help and lift each other up. Here are some of the things online that have made me smile through all of this: 

  • Musicians doing ‘gigs’ from their homes for charity. The Gavin James one for Alone on Instagram stories was so good.
  • People offering their services to parents trying to homeschool their kids. The Body Coach Joe Wicks doing P.E. from his living room every morning for kids at home is a great way to burn off a little energy before tackling the academic subjects.
  • Penguins wandering free around aquariums. This is the content I want to see.
  • Videos of Italians singing together from their balconies.
  • Irish people singing Irish songs from their front gates on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Kids chatting to and entertaining their grandparents through windows.
  • Exercise classes and bingo on the street.
  • People reaching out to elderly neighbours to help them with shopping and collecting prescriptions.
  • People using apps like Zoom and HouseParty to connect with friends and family in a fun way.

What did you see online that made this crisis a little more bearable this week? Let me know in the comments, slide into my DMs (not in that way) on Instagram or email me at ali@paparali.com

Oh and here’s a picture of my very cute old dog…his face sure makes me feel better and yes, this was taken just across from my house because it’s important to respect that 2km from your house rule.

Anyway, that’s enough from me this week…catch ya next week…maybe!

Ali 😉


Name: Chief

Breed: Basset Hound

Gender: Male

Age: 9 years old. He’ll be 10 in October! Getting old now…that’s like a million in dog years.

Size: around 28 or 29kg. In other words overweight. He was up to 34kg so he has lost quite a bit. 

Colouring: tri-colour

Allergies: grass, dust, dust mites & his own dandruff

Nicknames: Chiefy, Chiefy Chops, Cheeky Chops, Fat Dog.

History: we bought him as a puppy from a breeder. It’s something I’d never do again. They were also breeding German Shepards & West Highland Terriers. 

Good with…

Dogs? No & Yes! He tends to be nervous of them mostly. He can play with other dogs but doesn’t necessarily want to. 

Cats? No but before lady came along he was terrified of them. She makes him braver.

Kids? Yes fine. Any human who gives him attention is acceptable. 

Likes: FOOD, treats, food, did I mention food? His red soft bone toy, covering himself in blankets, rubs and attention of any kind! 


Name: Lady
Breed: Jack Russell

Gender: Female

Age: 7 years old. We got her when she was roughly 1 & a half years old. 

Size: around 8 or 9kg. Also overweight but not by too much. 

Colouring: black & white

Allergies: none that we know of. 

Nicknames: Lady Lumps, Lady Girl, Mouse Face.

History: She turned up at the Pitch & Putt club my Mam plays in & when no1 claimed her, my Mam brought her home. We brought her to the vets and she wasn’t microchipped. We had no intention of keeping her but she won us over. 

Good with…

Dogs? No. 

Cats? No, she despises them! 

Kids? Yes fine. She loves women and kids but has to come around to men & sometimes she never does. 

Likes: Treats, licking people’s faces, climbing up on top of Chief for a snooze and long walks. 

This past weekend was a bank holiday weekend in Ireland so I thought I’d share my weekend in photos here. I shared a post like this a few years ago and I don’t know why I don’t do it more. There’s endless photos in my camera roll that never end up anywhere so I’m going to take the opportunity to share them here. (not pictured: drinks with friends on Friday, nachos for the Champion’s League Final on Saturday and drinks and dinner with Dave’s family on Sunday!)

Lady & Chief

Going Shopping in New Sandals Rasmopoliton

Dublin CityLadyCooling Down on a Warm Day

Chief

Picnics in the rainCar Picnic
A belly rub for Chief

1) Lady & Chief enjoying a lazy Friday afternoon (not sure there’s any other kind for them!),  2) Going shopping in my new sandals,  3) A razmo before dinner,  4) Dublin – Henry Street with a view of the Spire, 5) Lady looking a little fed up of having her picture taken, 6) nothing cures a hangover like an ice-pop, 7) Chief wishing he could have my ice-pop, 8) I was using my new picnic basket this weekend rain, hail or shine!, 9) picnic in the car, it is!, 10) If Chief rolls over and presents himself for a belly rub, you don’t say no!!

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.

image

imageReading… The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J.K. Rowling). It’s taking me an absolute lifetime to get through it because I seem to keep falling asleep after 3 pages.

Watching… 90210. I wanted something that was easy watching for a couple of weeks & now I’m kind of hooked.

Listening to… Some 90s cheese, The Beatles & The Riptide Movement.

Trying… Meditation. I went to a class for the first time last week and loved it. I’ll be signing up for more in September.

Drinking… Diet Coke as usual but I’ve been trying infused water lately. Next up…berry.

Scrapping… Catching up with my Project Life album. I was WAY behind. I’m getting there though.

Enjoying… Having the summer off work, bright warm days & and peony season.

Hating… The dog hair. My dogs are shedding like crazy with the warmer weather.

Going to… See Ed Sheeran in concert on Friday.

Looking forward to… New York in December.

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Fethard-On-Sea Crazy legs Mable

Layla

Mam, Chief and Lady

You might remember my post last year about our holiday to Wexford with the dogs. Well the trip was so successful that we decided to do it again this year, and just like that it became ‘a thing’. This year’s Dog Holiday didn’t have as many visitors (although it did have a very important one who was willing to spend hours throwing Chief his ball and giving Lady cuddles) and we only went for 5 days but as usual Chief and Lady loved every minute of it. I would definitely recommend Fethard-On-Sea as a place to visit in Ireland and it has beautiful beaches. We were very lucky this year as we got to meet a Basset puppy called Mable who was desperate to play with our dogs but Chief was terrified of her. We also got to meet two other basset owners which was great because they’re the only type of people who consider Chief to be thin.

Roll on Dog’s Holiday 2015.

To see more pictures, check out ‘The Dog’s Holiday 2014’ or for last years pictures ‘The Dog’s Holiday 2013’

LadyChiefChief & Lady

1) Lady, 2) Chief,  3) Chief and Lady with the widest eyes in the world. 2 guesses as to what I was holding in my hand above the lens.

 

Challenge Post 4: A List of 5 Things You Like About Something

 

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself

– Josh Billings

 

I mean, really, what else am I going to write about for this challenge post? Obviously there are lots of things I could write about, but I decided since there are easily a 100 things I like about my dogs, the hardest thing should be minimising it to 5. 

 

1. Their loyalty

This one goes for the majority of dogs. They’re so loyal. Some people love the independence cats have but I think there’s nothing like the loyalty a dog has.

 

2. Lady’s unwavering need to protect Chief from other dogs.

She is a Jack Russell after all, so it’s in her nature to protect her pack, but when she goes out for walks her main job is to protect Chief. She fights with him regularly in the house and often growls warnings at him if he gets too close to her pet humans, but when they’re around other dogs it’s a different story. He panics with his tail between his legs and she circles him, growling at any dog that comes near. It kind of reminds me of the loyalty siblings have. I give out about my brother and fight with him sometimes, but the minute anyone else says anything about him I go into protective mode.

 

3. Their greetings

If you leave for a long time, when you return a cat will sometimes ignore you for days. Dogs, however, will greet you with such excitement it often makes them actually cry.  If you have never watched videos on YouTube of the reaction dogs have when their owners return from war, do it now. Although, be prepared for the emotional roller coaster. What I actually like most about it is that you could be gone for days and they get excited when they see you, but you get the best possible reaction when you go out to the car to get something and come straight back.

 

4. Chief’s Basset Hound laziness

I think if you continued to rub him he would never move other than to eat. Getting rubs and  eating treats are his all  time favourite things. He’s such a big slob and would sleep all day if he could. He has an obsession with snuggling under blankets. If you let him on the sofa and cover him with a blanket he’ll twist until it’s wrapped around him and he won’t move for hours. He thinks he’s a tiny puppy so sometimes he just wants to lie on your lap and sigh up into your face.  The last of his Basset traits that I love are the facial expressions. At any given moment he can look sad, confused, surprised (my personal favourite) or happy (usually when hes lying upside down and it looks like he’s smiling.). Either way, they’re all hilarious.

 

5. Their company

Last, but certainly not least, I like their company. They have been my saving grace this past year while Dane has been away. My family and friends have been amazing but it’s those moments of quietness when no-one is around and a tiny bit of loneliness kicks in that they have been  there. Always available for a snuggle when you need it. Always willing to share their warmth (but never their treats…obviously). Somehow they always know when all you need is a good cuddle.