Heidi

Growing up I was always a cat person. We’ve always had cats and dogs around the house but I definitely preferred cats over dogs. They’re smaller, easier to cuddle and their purrs always make me sleepy but then we got Heidi. I can honestly tell you I have never loved an animal the way I love her! I became a Heidi person from the moment I met her.


Last August my sisters suggested getting a puppy between us. Since we were children we’ve always had several dogs around our home; however, all these dogs (excluding a boxer my brother once owned) have been gun dogs, primarily springer spaniels. My father and brother both hunt game birds so these dogs, although definitely part of the family and loved, were never really pets. My sisters wanted a dog that we could allow indoors and bring to the groomers and basically, spoil! When we spotted Heidi in a photo amongst her siblings we knew we wanted her. She’s a mixed breed and to be honest, we couldn’t 100% tell you what mixture of breeds she is, although we’re pretty sure her mother was a mix between a Spaniel and Jack Russel. She stood out in that photo though, her siblings looked more similar to Jack Russells, Heidi looked like she belonged to a different litter!!

Heidi is possibly one of the most spoilt dogs you could ever meet and I’m pretty certain she knows she’s spoilt. She loves ham but hates chicken, she’s fond of socks and will happily throw her toys aside in favour of them, she refuses to be outside in the rain and absolutely adores tummy rubs. She is my best friend, she’s the only one that can make me smile when I’m down and is always a great motivation for exercise (because I would never get out for a walk before she arrived).

On Tuesday, it’ll be officially one year since we bought Heidi and €50 is definitely not enough for the amount of love and happiness she has given us in that time! Couldn’t imagine a life without her now!!

Body Talk

Pretty much every girl hates something about their body. Honestly, I could work my way up my body and list off things I dislike about myself….
 

I don’t like my stumpy legs, they make me look fat and short in jeans. I don’t like my wide hips, they stick out compared to the rest of my body. I don’t like my flat bum. I don’t like my back and stomach, both are flabby and I always have a belly in tight fitted clothes. I don’t like my chicken wing arms and the way they always stand out in photos. I don’t like the way my boobs sag. I don’t like the layers of fat under my chin, I’m pretty sure I just have four chins. I don’t like my lips, they’re so small. I hate my nose with a passion, it’s so large it just takes up my face. I don’t like my skin and my reoccurring pimples that just refuse to go regardless of the fact I’m 22. I don’t like my eyebrows. And I don’t like how I always look large in photos.


I’m sure you can guess by now that I’m not skinny. I’m 5’7” and roughly around 12.3 stone, which according to a BMI scale means I’m overweight. I struggled a lot with my weight and size in the past couple of years; I was never fat growing up but when I hit puberty my body grew outwards before I grew upwards which made me pretty self conscious in my teens. Thankfully, my height eventually caught up with the rest of me by the time I was seventeen and luckily my body kind of fell into place. It was in college though that I started obsessing with my size. In my first month there I got tonsillitis which became a reoccurring illness over my three years in university (I only just got my tonsils out last December), it was after losing weight through tonsillitis that I began reducing my food intake. I suppose I enjoyed the compliments people gave me, every time I heard “Rachel, have you lost weight?” it went to my head and every time I could fit into a size 8 (UK) dress I felt like I finally achieved something. Over my first two years in university I regularly weighed myself to the point it almost became an obsession! In the second semester of second year I would limit myself to only one meal a day…. it became my goal to starve myself until I was allowed that one meal. Some days the meal was a cooked dinner, other days I would only eat 6 buttered crackers, if I ate more one day I’d eat less the next. I think my lowest was 9.8 stone and then I came home for summer and couldn’t avoid not eating living with my parents. I gained the weight I had lost pretty quickly after that and it took me a long time to get over it, two years later and I’m still not completely over it! 

Weight loss can go to your head pretty quickly. I loved hearing compliments, I loved having a flatter stomach, I loved how I looked and felt in clothes but realistically I wasn’t being healthy and I knew I wasn’t being healthy! I could probably do with losing a stone, just to fall back into that healthy BMI level but I feel like this time I should go the healthier route. I don’t love my body but rather than punish it I’m trying to learn to accept it (even my nose!!) ✌️️❤️ 

Feelings towards God

I am not religious. I was baptised Catholic, I occasionally go to mass but I am not religious.

I think if my mother read that above statement she wouldn’t speak to me for a year! She’s not the most religious person you’d ever meet but she’s very much certain of her faith and likes to go to mass and pray whenever possible. Growing up we were always encouraged to go to mass frequently and it’s very much part of my childhood in a way but I never really felt attached to God. How can I feel love for something I can’t be certain exists? 

“Religion doesn’t make you a better person, intelligence and kindness does. Religion doesn’t feed the poor, good people with big hearts do that. Just remember that….” 

~ Don Freeman.

So I don’t have a religion but I do have faith in fate. I don’t need a God to map out my life for me and to guide me in the right direction because I know life will work out regardlessly and I’ll end up where I need to be. There’s good people and bad people in every walk of life, every religion, race, and background. I’m okay with having no God, I learn from life! I’m not perfect but I try to be kind and compassionate and caring, I don’t need a God to tell me to be those things!! 

Goodbyes.

I don’t like saying goodbyes.

I’ve come to realise in the last few years that goodbyes usually mean things are never going to be the same again. Like leaving school for the last time, or finishing college, or even moving to a new place of employment…. every time you move onto a new chapter you leave people and memories behind in the last chapter. In hindsight every time I say goodbye to a place I’m realistically saying goodbye to friendships. Of course you plan on staying in touch but from seeing these people everyday to rarely seeing them at all it becomes hard to maintain that same level of friendship; eventually things fizzle out.

In recent years, friendships scare me, possibly because it takes so long to properly build a bond with someone that by the time you become close it’s almost time to say goodbye. I’ve lost a lot of friendships in the last few years; I’ve jumped from chapter to chapter that now it’s become difficult to keep track of old friends. In September I begin a brand new chapter which sadly means having to say goodbye to friends and accept the fact, once again, that several of these people I love and adore will soon become people I share memories with but will eventually lose touch with. I’m terrified of starting again, of finding new people to bond with and create memories with just to once again lose touch with further down the line. Life is messy but I guess if we all just stayed in one place we’d get bored of people!!!

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

 ~ Winnie The Pooh 

Searching for happiness

I’ve been trying to make some significant decisions recently for my future and the constant questions I keep coming back to is “but will I be happy?”, “will this make me happy?”, “what if I’m unhappy?” and to be honest, it’s making life stressful. I’m constantly searching for this idea of ‘happiness’, this idea that I’ll be totally content with life that I’d never be hoping for my situation to change and for things to get better; however, I don’t know what happiness is to search for it! I’ve been in full time education and lived independently, at present I’m living with my family and working full time, in both of these situations I never felt content. I constantly feel like I’m missing out on something, like there’s something more life can offer me but I don’t really know what it is or what I need to give me this satisfaction.

I’m twenty-two years old and I already feel bored with life. Possibly, I have another fifty, sixty or more years left to experience but shouldn’t I be experiencing the prime of my life right now? If our youth is the best years of our lives then I’m unenthusiastic for the future; and while that might sound very pessimistic of me, I just don’t know how to find this ideal, happy life I really want. I’m constantly trying to fill this empty feeling by attending events and getting involved. I go on nights out with friends pretty much every weekend, I go to concerts of musicians and bands I love, I go on holidays with my family, and while I enjoy all these things I always feel like there’s something missing, like I can’t enjoy anything 100%.

Perhaps, it’s impossible for me to feel happy or maybe ‘happiness’ doesn’t really exist and I’m foolish in believing other people are happy. I’m just scared, scared that at twenty-two I already feel dissatisfied with everything and disappointed that there’s not more to being alive than just merely existing. In September, I can either return to further my education or look for a new full time job waitressing. In the long run, returning to education is probably the wisest; however, I don’t know can I handle the pressure of studying again. If I continue waitressing full time then money will become an issue. Either way I won’t be content. For now I’ll just continue floating along until things fall into place but in the meantime, if anyone knows what happiness is or where I can find it let me know 🙂

The most amazing adventure of all

Growing up with someone it becomes difficult to see them as anything other than the innocent child they once were. My earliest memories contain happy moments of days out together at the beach, and playing catch around our house on a sunny, June afternoon. In fact, my whole childhood centres on the two of us spending every passing day together. Being two years older, I was given the responsibility of looking after him and protecting him as we set off on our adventures into the neighbouring fields to climb trees and collect pet frogs. Every day we had something new to do, our heads were full of endless ideas and exciting exploits. We built little hideaways in trees, storing books, plasters and silly gadgets there for future voyages, we captured spiders and other insects in shoe boxes in a crazy attempt to be scientists, and I fondly remember our attempt to create a man-made river in our field only for it to be refilled shortly later to be replaced with our poor bid to make a bike track. We were young, naïve and had wild imaginations but they truthfully were the best memories I have to look back on.

As I got older that close relationship we once had slowly disappeared. After he began secondary school our quality time together became limited to watching him play the PlayStation. We became more interested in our friends and social lives while our younger sisters took over our safe haven of our tree houses and voyages through the fields. Our lives took two separate roads and honestly I can’t remember us spending much time together beyond family trips which also became more and more limited as our social lives got busier. Around the time of his fifteenth birthday he wanted to spend gradually more time away from home. I was in sixth year and outside of time studying for my Leaving Cert I was spending time with my friends and planning Graduation and Debs dresses, we had no time for each other and had zero interest in each other’s lives.

Now at twenty-one and nineteen we seem to have matured enough to want to spend more time with family. Both of us are currently back living at home and while we no longer head off on adventures in our wellies and raincoats we do spend more and more time discussing our friends and future aspirations. At 6’4’’ he towers almost 8 inches above me but he’ll always be the little boy I used to walk the fields with.

100 Songs Everyone Should Listen to Before They Die….

I’m a self-proclaimed music geek. I like to think my musical knowledge expands far beyond the average Joe. I’m not in anyways a talented musician (I tried and tried but I’m mediocre at best) but I do know a lot about musicians and songs. Below are 100 songs I personally think everyone should listen to before they die….

 

  1. Holoscene – Bon Iver
  2. To Build a Home – The Cinematic Orchestra
  3. Everlong – Foo Fighters
  4. Eve, the Apple of my Eye – Bell X1
  5. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
  6. How to Save a Life – The Fray
  7. Bird – Billie Marten
  8. The Times they are a Changin’ – Bob Dylan
  9. Beth/Rest – Bon Iver
  10. Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova
  11. Guiding Light – Foy Vance, Ed Sheeran
  12. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
  13. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
  14. Interwined – Dodie
  15. Piano Man – Billy Joel
  16. Cherry Wine – Hozier
  17. Bright Eyes – Art Garfunkel
  18. Novels – Rusty Clanton (I personally prefer his duet with Dodie available on YouTube)
  19. Heroes or Ghosts – The Coronas
  20. Life on Mars – David Bowie
  21. True Colours – Cindy Lauper
  22. I Heard it Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
  23. Berlin – RY X
  24. On My Own – Samantha Barks (Les Misérables)
  25. West – Sleeping At Last
  26. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
  27. The Scientist – Coldplay
  28. Colorblind – Counting Crows
  29. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
  30. 00000 Million – Bon Iver
  31. Somebody to Love – Queen
  32. Bridge over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
  33. Youth – Daughter
  34. Hope There’s Someone – Anthony and the Johnsons
  35. With or Without You – U2
  36. We’re All in This Together – Old Crow Medicing Show
  37. Wait – M83
  38. Let it Be – The Beatles
  39. Edinburgh – The Lake Poets
  40. 9 Crimes – Damien Rice
  41. Open Your Eyes – Snow Patrol
  42. Backroads – Lonely the Brave (Recommend you watch the music video of this)
  43. I forget Where We Were – Ben Howard
  44. Fly – Meadowlark
  45. Many of Horror – Biffy Clyro
  46. Blood – The Middle East
  47. Zombie – The Cranberries
  48. Heartbeats – José González
  49. Wild Horses – Susan Boyle
  50. Start Again – Gabrielle Aplin
  51. Wicked Game – James Vincent McMorrow
  52. Give me Love – Ed Sheeran
  53. Imagine – John Lennon
  54. Free Fallin’ – John Mayer
  55. Truth Is a Beautiful Thing – London Grammar
  56. If I be Wrong – Wolf Larsen
  57. Speeding Cars – Walking on Cars
  58. End – The Half Earth
  59. Tiger Striped Sky – Roo Panes
  60. High Hope – Glen Hansard
  61. Against all Odds – Phil Collins
  62. Infatuation – Liu Bei
  63. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
  64. Emily – Charlie Simpson
  65. Songbird – Fleetwood Mac
  66. Georgia – Vance Joy
  67. The Book of Love – Peter Gabriel
  68. Gravity – Sara Bareilles
  69. You and Me – Lifehouse
  70. 1904 – Benjamin Francis Leftwich
  71. Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow
  72. Creep – Radiohead
  73. Emerald – Lyra
  74. She’s always a Woman – Billy Joel
  75. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
  76. Say Something – A Great Big World
  77. Run – Snow Patrol
  78. The Power of Love – Gabrielle Aplin
  79. One Day I’ll Fly Away – Randy Crawford
  80. Colours of the Wind – Vanessa Williams
  81. Moonriver – Audrey Hepburn
  82. Nervous – Gavin James
  83. Milk & Honey – Billie Marten
  84. The Boxer – Simon & Garfunkel
  85. Timshel – Mumford & Sons
  86. Skinny Love – Birdy
  87. I don’t want to Change You – Damien Rice
  88. Body Love – Mary Lambert
  89. Turning Tables – Adele
  90. Jealous – Labrinth
  91. Take me to Church – Hozier
  92. Mr Brightside – The Killers
  93. Yours – Ella Henderson
  94. Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan
  95. When – Dodie
  96. Opposites – Biffy Clyro
  97. Freewheel – Duke Special
  98. Get Here – Oleta Adams
  99. Love like this – RY X
  100. Strong – London Grammar

 

Quick note to say that these are in no order. Although Bon Iver’s Holocene is actually my favourite song (I might possibly write a blog post about my love for the song at some point in the future), I love London Grammar’s ‘Strong’ as much as any song above it on the list. These are merely 100 songs I personally feel everyone should listen to at some point during their life.

Keeping Memories in a Box

I’m a nostalgic person, I regularly wish to go back in time to the memories I think so fondly of and relive them all again. All through secondary school I kept a box where I would hoard away little keepsakes from life; from birthday cards to little doodles I attempted to hide away mementos from my school days. At twelve I began placing little items into a shoe box which in later years was replaced by a floral cardboard box, I’m not exactly sure what my aim was at the time but I continued preserving these memories right up until I finished school. In that cardboard box (which I’m pretty sure contained coffee mugs at one point) hides away six years of my teenage life. I’m turning twenty-two shortly, in a greater sense that’s still relatively young but to pick up items that at one point I felt were of significance to keep feels almost stupendous.

 

Here’s a rundown of the memories I stored away:

  1. Several birthday cards: My personal favourite is the 18th birthday card I got from my friends in school as they have personalised messages alongside each name.
  2. All my letters I received in the Gaeltacht: For anyone who is not from Ireland and has never heard of the Gaeltacht, it’s pretty much a Irish language School/Camp where many teenagers go for three weeks to speak/learn Irish. My family and friends would write me letters when I was gone.
  3. Mementos from my school musical: In my fourth year of school we did the musical ‘All Shook Up’ which is a 60’s set musical made up of Elvis songs. I kept little newspaper clippings wrote about the musical, a DVD of the musical and my pink ribbon that I wore in my hair.
  4. Tokens from our school tours: We went to Paris in second year and London in fourth year. I kept a ticket from seeing Dirty Dancing in the West End Theatre and a map of one of the shopping centres we were in from London. While from France I kept an itinerary for the week, an Eiffel Tower key-ring and I also kept a little journal that documents the week (we had to write a little diary entry in french each day for our french class, it also contains postcards of the places I visited).
  5. Doodles and Writings: I wasn’t very good at art but I held onto a few pieces I drew. English was one of my favourite subjects though and I kept some old stories and bits of poems I wrote for both school and fun.
  6. Boat tickets: These were for my three visits to Clare Island which are some of my favourite school memories. This was the first place I got drunk.
  7. School journals: When you’re in school they seem really boring but I find it funny reading any teacher complaints or notes from friends in there now. I also used to decorate the back pages of mine with song lyrics.
  8. A diary: I kept this during my first year in school. It’s ridiculously embarrassing but funny to be reading through the (very non-existent) dramas of my twelve/thirteen year old self. I’m pretty sure I read Anne Franks Diary around that time and became fixated on writing down about my day.
  9. Leaving Cert Exam keepsakes: I kept a few bits from my final year state exams like Macbeth quotes I wrote out to learn, my music practical song lyrics, my French oral document (it was a photo I had to bring into the oral to discuss), my Irish oral poem and Straith Pictiúr (that’s a series of photos we have to explain to the examiner).
  10. Bits and Bobs: The time I won bingo, a speech I did for a public speaking competition, a third place medal in the three legged race from my school’s sports day, a name badge from a substance abuse training day, concert tickets, a signature I have of a musician I like, a drawing one of my friends did, a sorry card from another friend (I honestly don’t remember what happened but I do remember she bought me a cookie to go with the card), a medal from a mini-marathon, my first wage slip, a beer key-ring a friend brought me from Copenhagen and my graduation mass booklet.