Those Donut Days

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It’s no doubt I’m like my father. Anyone can spot that a mile away. We’ve always been compatible. Our ways of thinking, our logic, our conclusions…and our bellies. For as long as I can remember we’ve had our donut dates. These usually last a weekend and are sworn to secrecy – by both parties.

Everyone has their “safe place”. Their cabin in the woods near the sea. For us, we’re lucky enough to have a bungalow in the bog looking out on the ocean. Our safe place takes a four hour drive to get to.

When times were ever stressful in my life, I could always rely on my dad to whisk me away to a place where I’d feel better. And he never failed.

Any time I’d want. Be it the middle of a school week, the day after Christmas, the day before my birthday or that day we want to forget. My dad would never hesitate to load up his car, and be off in less than an hour.

I’d have full control of the car radio, of course. In the front seat, always. Except for six o clock, we’d have to get the news. I never had to be told to change it, it was always part of the deal. We’d take a detour up north, a route rarely travelled when our other family members are in the car. He’d park the car, I’d grab a trolley and we’d stack up in Asda for our Pig Weekend. Recently, new items have been added to the list such as alcoholic slushies and White wine – he was always one for Red. But the usual culprits were always tortilla chips, a bar of Lindt chocolate, two cupcakes and ALWAYS always always a twelve pack of Homer Simpson Rainbow Sprinkle Donuts. Usually two make it to the final destination of our journey, but that’s one of the ‘sworn to secrecy’ parts of the trip.

Upon arrival, we immediately pull up on the beach and roll the windows down- the weather is irrelevant. Take a couple of breaths in and remind ourselves of our home. Remind ourselves that we are home.

Before we arrive at our house we flip a coin. Heads- Dad has to open the gate. Tails- I do. Luckily, it lands on heads far more than it does tails. We bring everything in, make sure the dog is ok, and stick the kettle on. After a few minutes of settling in, we decide on what we want for dinner. It’s not too hard, as the answer is always the same. So with his cooler/insulator bag, Dad leaves to collect our “usual” order of two large pizzas.

It is these moments when I do have to take a step back and realise how much my dad does for me. (Obviously my mum too, but that’s a different story!<3)

We’re never really alone from that moment onwards. For one thing, my two friends practically move in during summer. So it’s always at least four for dinner. We also have our other friends and family, including my Godmother who pay a visit, and almost always bring a lobster or two. Some nights are spent down in the local community centre and pub with these amazing people, but other nights are spent in pyjamas with my two friends belting out the songs to Mamma Mia, or sabotaging each other in Mario Cart. Whatever the situation, I know my dad will just accept it and roll with it.

We usually get about 3 days in total before we head home, or are joined by the other half of our family who never really take advantage of the world around them.

I’ll never be able to show my appreciation to the man I owe so much to. Those donut dates mean more to me than anyone could ever understand. So even if there is no wifi, if I never wear make up, if I have to climb a mountain, if the only phone signal I get is standing on a rock out at sea, none of it matters. None of it matters because I am where my heart belongs. My dad has given me that part of me who feels at home in that little bungalow in a bog looking out on the ocean.

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My Taizé Adventure! 28th June – 5th July 2015

This is a fairly long blog post about my time in Taizé, France. If you’d prefer to see a video feel free to watch this one! Thank you <3 

As the bus pulled into the familiar car park and our excited faces were greeted by loved ones who haven’t been seen in a year, I started to find my peace again.

Taizé.

Completely different from the previous year, but equal in fun and adventures and love and happiness!

The night before, my friend Kate who had travelled with me last year arrived to my house and the giggles began. The excitement was overwhelming that we had to force ourselves to sleep in order to get enough rest for the next day. My two cousins also joined us as we all had to travel up early the next day. My cousins had never been before, so to say that they were very nervous is an understatement. But they were there and it was official. The journey to Taizé, in the south of France, had started. We met my aunt and the other 46 adventurers in the airport, and we all received matching hoodies, with all our names on the back!
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After our last “decent” meal of the week in Burger King, it was time to fly away to the village we missed so much. Kate and I were seated next to each other, along with a guy who turned out to be one of my best friends of the week. We messed up his name a lot, so we decided to call him Sebastian. (Un)Fortunately, the name stuck and it was not until Wednesday that people actually realised that that was not his name… After a ukulele singalong on the plane, a lot of annoying the two people beside me to keep them awake, and a strategic “good cop bad cop” resheral done between Kate and myself to ensure that we were the best Team Leaders, we had landed in Lyon airport! The scene of the crime last year, when we had to say goodbye to a few who were heading home on a connecting flight. But at that moment we were all there for the right reasons, and with the blissful heat I never felt more excited. We reminisced on last years memories and made parallels on the hour and a half bus journey. But the time had finally arrived. We had finally arrived.

Greeted by our Swedish friends who visited Ireland last March, I already knew it was going to be a week to remember. But my biggest hello was to a Swedish girl, Mimi, who I had not seen since that time last year. My bag was flung across the carpark to embrace in a running hug with one of the sweetest people who I had missed so much. And then after getting our emotions together, the group was led to the meeting tent where we got French information sheets before they saw how pale we were and gave us the English ones. We made a lot of jokes about this, and then realised that sarcasm wasn’t really the Speakers forté… So we left our bags in the tent and went to get our first meal. Slimey pasta, an apple, a yogurt and a biscuit for dessert. Yup. Taizé food had not changed. We met a few more familiar faces and got assigned our rooms. I was put in charge of guiding everyone to their rooms. As it turned out, no room was unlocked and one of the assigned rooms didn’t even exist. However, we sorted through it. And by sorted through it, I mean a guy came around on a bicycle with a key and we found the missing barrack. Successful Team Leader is Successful!

There were four girls in my room. Myself, Kate, my friend Ciara who came last year, and her friend Irma (who we had met before, but didn’t travel with us the previous year). As we saw that we had two rooms of male germans next to us, we realised that we were in the male section of the barracks. We didn’t bother changing. Three doors down were the Irish males, so it’s not like we were alone! (Plus we got away from the inner city girls who refused to cooperate). We didn’t even unpack before heading back to the centre of the village. We had a singsong and proceeded to the Oyak café which we missed so much. The group played games, got reunited with people, met more people and reminisced. As usual, we finished at 11.30 but stayed up until 2am as we went to visit Mimi who was on night guard. (The person who encourages people to stay in bed after 11.30…. we didn’t count).

Monday morning brought nostalgic memories to our life as we woke up sweating and just in time for a shower before heading to morning songs. We received the exact same breakfast as last year- a bread roll, butter, two chocolate sticks and hot chocolate! This is our breakfast for the following week. As our foreign friends went to the designated schedules of the day, we realised that we actually had no schedule. At 10 o clock last year we had our jobs, so I presumed it was the same this year. So, as a good team leader, I brought everyone down to the area where jobs were given out. The man there was super friendly, and told me there was five vacant spots left. There was at least thirty of us. So he practically begged the cleaning team to let us join. My roommates and I were put on barrack duty. To quote our cleaning leader, “You Irish team are the slowest” and “In the time everyone has cleaned seven rooms, you cleaned three” and “Make the beds with love, we don’t want anyone to have a bad first impression of Taizé”. We had some good banter with him though, so he mainly just laughed at how bad we were. We reapplied our sun cream and met up with the rest of our cleaning team for tea and biscuits. We had another sing session before lunch and found all our friends to eat with, and a frisbee game in the free area next to us. At three o clock we were instructed to be at a meeting point to have our daily talk. This discussed stories, morals, experiences and feelings and then split us into smaller groups to discuss it further. I was put into a group with one of my cousins, two germans, two swedish and another Irish girl in our group. We got to know each others names, intrests, hobbies, reasons why we were all in Taizé and named ourselves “Team Handball”. My cousin and I couldn’t remember/pronounce one of the german names so we avoided using it all week. It worked, no one noticed. We played a frisbee game, lost our frisbee in the garden we weren’t allowed into, and ended at five o clock with another tea break.
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I met up with Kate and we went to the boys room, and she realised that the two Dutch boys in her group lived next to my cousins. We chatted with them for along time. They played us Dutch music, called me a donkey bridge and had bigger hands than my cousin. (We have never found such a person before)
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At seven we had our dinner, and met up with our Swedish friends. Our last songs were at half eight in the church and after we headed back to the Oyak cafe. We went to the church with a few others to sing a bit more to avoid bed. After a well needed body shower, we were exhausted and collapsed into bed.

This was a typical day in Taizé, which only slightly alternated throughout the week.

On Tuesday, our cleaning group got moved to clean bathrooms instead of bedrooms. And since there were so many of us, there was twenty people to clean three bathrooms and we finished in less than fifteen minutes. The male team leader got put into a separate group, so after we whinged he got moved and his reaction was “You guys are so needy”. We made friends with our german neighbours, and told them they were too loud. They told us we’re lucky that we’re the only girls on the row, we told them that they were the lucky ones and they agreed with laughter and blushing faces!

On Wednesday our heatwave started and we were warned not to go outside. So we did what any other person would… apply factor fifty and go out anyways! The germans next door told us we were too loud the night before, so we called it even. We became closer with the Dutch boys, who accepted my cousin into their squad. “We like him because he is like us..he also doesn’t do things well.” They were such lovely boys (even if they did call me a donkey bridge all week). The tallest one went running every day with my cousin and one morning while they were running he said “There is a very pretty donkey up here”. Since they talk about donkeys a lot, my cousin thought that something was lost in translation. As they ran up further, the Dutch lad pointed out the well groomed donkey and said “Yesterday I made selfie with donkey”. I don’t think I ever saw a more adorable photo in my life. This 2 metre tall guy happily smiling next to a very well groomed donkey. Naturally enough, my cousin had to be in one too!
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We had a group meeting on Wednesday as a few of the newer girls who came were being a bit out of line. This meant that a few more legal members of the group were promoted to team leaders, and two more girls got moved into my room. They were two of the sweetest girls and I’m glad they did! (Even if I did lose my extra bed space!). My aunt (who was our Leader) emphasised that if we were disciplining our groups we had to do everything gently. So gentle talks, gentle enforcement of rules, gentle persuasion etc. This then began the phenomenal of a “Gentle Rave”. A Gentle Rave consists of piling as many Dutch and Swedish and Irish people into a six person bedroom with a single light from a phone and music on such low volume that if you exhaled you couldn’t hear it. Also on Wednesday, I decided to skip the hour talk at three and hang out with three of my best Swedish friends instead. I tried their Swedish sweets (which were very salty??) and got to charge my phone. The only plugs around my barracks were in the bathroom, but the Swedish had USB ports and I definitely took advantage of that! I got shown photos of their beautiful scenery and they all promised to see me throughout the year.

Thursday we deemed as “Cheeky Thursday”. Kate and one of my cousins live near me, so we have the same night club scene. Since it got done up, Fridays are over 19’s and Saturdays are over 20’s. Because of this, 18 year olds, despite being legal, can only get in on Thursdays, which is commonly known as “Cheeky Thursday in Lane”. We hyped this up far too much and brought Cheeky Thursday to France with green face paint, one cup beer allowance and an Irish flag. We had a special Irish Gentle Rave that night!
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On Friday we spent the night with the Germans. It started off originally that I was outside my room air drying my hair before bed. Thanks to the insane heat wave this took less than 20 minutes, when usually it would take at least six hours. Two of the Irish lads who lived the few doors down joined me for company and had a balloon. One of them through the balloon into the Germans room and I told the Germans it was my friends birthday! They sang Happy Birthday in German and didn’t believe my friend when he denied it. So since he couldn’t convince them, he brought them sliced bread and pain au chocolat to celebrate his fake birthday. Since we were super loud we woke up our roommates who came out to see myself, the two boys and about 15 germans sharing bread. (Lol iconic, right?). Night watch came around to tell us to go to bed, but saw that we were having a good time and decided to join us. No this is not allowed. So eventually it was close to four AM and the germans were all up for partying. We got one of our friends to pretend to be night watch and send them to bed, which (thankfully) worked! I don’t think I was ever so thankful in my life for him! We were called the “Fan Club” because we had a habit of chanting names… such as Freddy!
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Saturday was a sad day as we knew it was our last whole day. We split it up evenly between each friend group. The Dutch boys were leaving that night so we met them at nine o clock before they left at ten. This brought many tears. And by many tears I mean they still haven’t stopped. I got hugs from my whole team group, and had to be separated from Mimi as we were both just sobbing to each other. My cousins had never seen me so upset, and were so concerned that they were so baffled as to what to do with me. The Germans next door all gave me hugs too. I was a mess, and when people went out of their way to try and make me feel better it usually ended in me sobbing some more. This went on for the rest of the night and the following two days… whoops!
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It didn’t help that my two cousins wrote me the sweetest letters ever, which made me sob some more. We all had note pads which we wrote each other letters in. I have so many from so many lovely people but I’ll just add in these cute ones! I’ll also add in Kates poem… it’s a master piece…
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But overall, my week in Taizé was absolutely brilliant. Being around so many positive people has given me a new lease of life just like it did last year, and hopefully will next year!
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How to Blog // Blogging 101

blogging 101

My blog is chaotic. Yet, people still read it. Sometimes I even get emails asking me how to be successful on WordPress. My usual answer is “wing it and do what you want” because that’s been my tactic so far. But looking back on almost 3 years, I’ve picked up a few hints and tips along the way. So here it how to get noticed on WordPress from someone who doesn’t know much, but knows enough resulting in you reading this! Or “How to blog”.

TAGS

I cannot stress how important tags are. When you write up a post, a box is there to the left labeled “Tags and Categories” where you can type in words (followed by “,”). People can then search for that word and find you! For example, the most frequent tags I use are “teenager”, “personal”, “2015” and then what ever I’m writing about; “Poem” / “Rant” etc. Trust me, tags are your best friend. Use them well.

COMMENTS

By comments I mean comment on other blogs. This gets you connected and talking with other people trying to achieve the same goal. I would never see other bloggers as ‘competition’, but rather ‘virtual pen pals’ (hence my header!). So get connected by talking and discussing blog posts. If you like a blog post say so. If you found something interesting say so. If you just want to chat to a blog which has a similar topic to yours, then just get in touch. You will make new friends, learn new skills and have a happier blogging experience!

NICHE

Ok, so I may be a hypocrite on this one. The idea of having a blog is that you have one topic, and people like to keep up with that topic. So if you’re in a genre you have to stand out to be the best. This could be beauty, poetry, photography etc. The more similiar style of writing you have will attract the views as people like to frequently check back on something they liked before. When they check back to see something completely different, they don’t like it too much. I do not have a set topic. Therefore I have a very mixed reaction to different posts. Poetry posts get likes from poets, who (generally) aren’t interested in anything else on my page, like what I ate or how to do hair etc. But if you stick to one topic on your blog, it’s much easier than going the hard route like I did!

IMAGES

If it’s one thing to get the hang of quickly on this site, it is adding an image to your post. Never underestimate the power of getting someone to click on your post because of a witty/cute/relatable image which accompanied it. It gives the reader an idea of what your post is going to be about rather than just looking at a chunk of writing. Layout is important, and adding an image to your post just helps it that bit extra.

YOU

Be relatable. Be happy. Be writing about something you want to write about, because that is what you are best at. Don’t do it for views, don’t do it for likes. Do it because it’s fun! Write a blog you would like to read. And be original. Too many times I’ve seen “I’m just an average teenage girl who wants to remain anonymous” and then gives up a week later. Your blog has so much potential. So make the most out of it and don’t be afraid to be bold, original or new!


I am in no way qualified to tell anyone how to run a blog, and these tips might not even work for you. These are just little things which has helped me along. I’d be happy to offer my experience to anyone interested and happily answer questions about anything on WordPress! There’s no such thing as a silly question! Anyway, here are a few inspirational photos which usually help me with my writers block!


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Still an innocent

Through the innocent eyes
Of a wide eyed child
Everything is wonderful and fun

No cares or burdens
Which consume all her thoughts
Just happiness, glitter and sun

I felt like her
For a long long time
So I understand her perspective

Oblivious to war
And hatred and unkindness
With no self hating objective

It was like a looking glass
From a decade ago
When I used to have one myself

To admire my hair
And fix my lip gloss
But now abandoned on my shelf

She has the same inspirations
And the same women idols
And the same love for pink

But years have come
And years have gone
She’s the first one to make me think

It was fun being a grown up
Surrounded by liquids, regret and smoke
But this is the person I never wanted to be

This is not the person I wanted her to be
Even though those bright wide eyes
Were solely focused on me

I had shame and embarrassment
When I saw the girl who complimented my curls
Before showing me her matching flower crown

I made a silent pact that day
I wasn’t going to let her
Or the looking glass down

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164

164 had a bright purple door
With a striped cat standing guard
Coffee stained handles greeted the way
To an apartment with an ascending spiral staircase

A shelving unit stood tall
With three different separate compartments
Photo albums, diaries and books
All of them touched and cherished

Two mud grey bikes blocked the fireplace
With a trail leading up behind it
Cat food placed at the end of the table
With a curious looking Betty with green eyes

The wooden floors could tell it’s stories
With it’s stains and it’s cracks and it’s dents
The couch corner near there was cosy
Which explained the empty box of chocolates

The kitchen was used
With almost spoilt milk and wedding cake crumbs
Lipstick stained mugs aligned the mason jars
Next to the life schedule hanging on the wall

The stair case led up to a master bedroom
With mirrors and green wardrobe doors
Chargers and shoes paralleled with the bed
There was no sign of mess, just life

It was like interrupting mid plot
To a story which wasn’t mine
But I’m guilty of stealing a book
From the creators paradise I dreamed of

Lived in by two loving souls
With big hearts and big smiles
And who are not greedy for anything more
Than 164 with a bright purple door

#DIWHY

Today, Ireland had glorious sunshine! (Thank you Leaving Cert Exam weather!)
After spending all say outside reading, eating and wining with my dad, I tried to work on my tan. I’m still pale skinned so far, but there’s always tomorrow. . . right?

However, we, and by we…I mean me roping my dad into doing something…decided to make an exfoliating scrub.
(Yes, this is where DIWHY becomes relevant)

So we found granulated salt, put it in a bowl, poured in some olive oil and squeezed a lemon into it. Then after mixing it for a bit the scrub formed! (Like, kinda)

So after I used it on my legs and rinsed it off I made my whole family feel how smooth my legs were!

Things I learned from doing this:

1. There’s a reason why I’m not a DIY/Beauty Blogger
2. Sea salt goes EVERYWHERE
3. Use more oil to make sure that sea salt does not go EVERYWHERE
4. My dad tolerates me a lot, even when I waste most of his salt
5. My legs are now smooth
6. Using lemon causes the kitchen to smell like lemons

Here is a photo of some left overs I had in a plastic bag
(Lets not dwell on presentation…ok? cool)

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I can’t really explain this post….

It’s somebodies home but it will never be mine

I always dreamed of being a city girl. Like Carrie Bradshaw in a penthouse apartment who fills my day up with writing and shopping. 

I’m currently visiting my aunt in a city. Through out the year I’ve learned that I’m not a city person. It’s like when you’re playing out in the snow. It’s all fun and adventure in the winter wonderland, but when you return inside to take off your boots and get a hot chocolate beside the fire. Cities are snow, and my countryside is the warm hug you receive when you come home.

My aunt has a friend visiting from Africa, so we took him on a scenic tour of Dublin city. What made the trip so memorable was our visit to Howth. This man had never been to the sea side. He’s never touched sand or felt sea weed. And I suddenly had a newfound appreciation for the country roads that raised me.

He was so excited to learn about everything I took for granted.
What is a tide?
How do cliffs form?
Why is sand different colours?
What does the moon have to do with it all?

Teaching has never been my calling, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit of joy teaching him about the land I grew up with.

I have always had possessive side over “my” land. But I learned that you can relive the happiness through someone else’s eyes. And maybe that isn’t so bad.

I’ll never be the city girl I dreamed of once being, and maybe that isn’t so bad either.

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