Another Blogiversary: 6 Years

I am proud and amazed to note that today January 27 marks the SIXTH Anniversary of this blog, Life, Lyrics and Lemon Cake. I can’t tell you the comfort and connection I have received from writing and getting feedback from my little thoughts and words. Thank you so much for reading, whether you are old or new! It’s meant so much.

I have talked about it before, but I still remember clearly the ‘launch’ of my blog in Melrose Street 2011, my second year at Queen’s University. When my housemates (and besties!) were so supportive and meticulously went through and commented on all the blog posts I had been secretly publishing.

I have never had a ‘niche’ for my topics. It’s made it harder but I just try to be honest and maybe write something that will help someone, or make them think ‘me too.’ So it can be difficult if I’m feeling a bit down or not myself. My lovely good friend Ruth mentioned that I hadn’t been blogging much lately and I voiced my fear that I didn’t want negativity to leak into my posts.  I like to be positive and helpful and I didn’t really feel up to it. I hope that can change soon! The writing sometimes helps in and of itself.

I was so inspired by female bloggers back in the day, and as a person who really wishes to WRITE blogging seemed attractive. I’m glad I did it.

My friend Aisling suggested I choose 6 significant posts. I had a little wander down memory lane. It’s strange as always to see mentions and traces of old flames, for example and I almost have the urge to purge like one does with facebook! But this is all part of my story and perhaps better to be preserved in full. Do you know I have had a few recent requests not to be written about recently too. Ooh the power!

I didn’t put too much thought into this, just trusted my gut and highlighted 6 posts that I feel proud of or are worth a mention again. Also those archives are vast! And a little scary, ha. 6 posts for 6 years!

  1. Traps 

This is an article that almost broke my rule of no ranting. But I think it’s very appropriate in this week with all the amazing feminism examples around us. Just really about not having to be nice to creeps when they have you cornered! I have linked to an excellent article by Daisy Buchanan.

2. Slow Burning: The Electric Michelangelo

I like to read, and therefore write book reviews, and this was one that really stood out last year. I still have a quote pinned to my wall. ‘But sometimes what choice have we? Life conspires to plant us in the funniest of gardens, where the trees need an especial form of tending.’ Beautiful book by Sarah Hall

3. Send Some Happy

There are actually several posts regarding one of my favourite subjects and past times, snail mail! Really enjoyed collaborating with Zoe on this.  See? The friends you make through blogging. Like minded letter writers!

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4. Josh Ritter! On Meeting Your Heroes

Hey, we couldn’t do this without mentioning THE reason for the ‘Lyrics’ in LLL? This made me smile to read how excited I was. Still so proud to be Josh’s biggest fan. I was very proud of my more recent celebration of the main man’s 40th birthday. Keep on rocking, Josh!

5. Ode to 15 Journo Students

An important time in my life, that NCTJ accredited Journalism course that I left my job for in 2013. A lot changed for me that year. I got to test out my writing skills in a different way, I drank an awful lot and I made a few firm friends.

6. Trust Your Gut

A somewhat scary, raw one for me to post. But I had to do it. Some of it maybe is too much, and things have changed a little, but this lesson was a hard one learned over many years of trying and failing to be happy within relationships. I really hope it was able to help someone!

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Are there any posts that have stood out to you? Is there anything you would like to see?

So, lets all have a slice of lemon cake and a coffee the next chance we get, and thank you sincerely from my heart to yours for your support for these 6 years. It means the world to me when people mention my blog in ‘real life’ or even old fashioned comments. And I feel better for having this little corner of the internet and a connection with you.

 

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Happy Birthday Josh Ritter! 40 Lyrics

So, the most joyful of 40th Birthdays to Josh Ritter, the best singer/songwriter, lyrical genius, happiest smiling performer, political commentator, novelist, sound tracker of my life! Anyone who knows me knows of Josh, because I am such a fan of all his work, and have been for many years. Age 16 I was swept away by the lyrics on a random CD my first ever boyfriend gave me, it was a copy of 2002’s Hello Starling, and from the first song, Bright Smile, I was captivated. The music has gone in many wonderful directions since then, but I have to say that one little pretty song has always held a special place in my heart.

There’s been 5 albums since, I have had 11 or so years of listening to this wonderful wordsmith. I have never found any lyrics or music that spoke to, comforted me in difficult times and buoyed up my successes like the works of, or should I say the Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. I think I have saw him in concert here in Ireland 10 times, and met him on a handful of happy occasions. My favourite time was the porch of the Empire Music Hall in 2009, during my first month or so of University. We bonded over Muriel Spark if I remember rightly.

My bestie Aisling and me bumped heads trying to hug Josh after one of my first times seeing him in Letterkenny, probably in 2007. My Mammy still feels a little ill when she listens to Kathleen because she was pregnant with Ellen when she listened to the album a lot and it calls up the morning sickness. Josh was there when relationships came and went and the words surrounded me on my best and worst days. Every workplace I was in or class I took I always converted a few to the Book of Ritter! To the point of being teased.

I have made so many memories, and met some good friends. This music has really enriched my days and I’m not doing it justice here.

As part of the celebrations, to let the birthday boy know how much all his songs are loved and appreciated, I bullied  requested that my friends and family help me out on a little lyrical project. Aisling gave me the idea of my 40 favourite lyrics, and I loved that idea, so these are at least 40 significant lyrics (I probably could go on forever.) And then to make it interesting, I assigned different people in my life some lyrics to hand write, and decorate as they saw fit. There are some works of art here. I think I might finally get an idea for a tattoo…

These lyrics all mean something to me, so take a wee minute to be inspired. 

In no particular order, I give you 40 lyrics from the man of the moment, Idaho legend Josh Ritter! Happy Birthday, Josh. Thank you for writing such rich and magical poetry to music. These songs have genuinely made a big difference in my life.

I think I will let the lyrics mostly speak for themselves. It’s only little snippets, but I strongly advise you chase the song up and give it a listen. Enjoy!

#JoshRitteris40

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Beginning how it began, Bright Smile.

@thebadactress is now my username for most things… including Twitter. Where Josh follows me! Huzzah.

 

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I find more and more depth to this song every time. Considering ending the world just to stay in an underground bunker with your love…

 

 

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A magical story of a ‘cursed’ Egyptian Mummy falling in love with an archaeologist.

 

 

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Beginning of relationship questions and wishes!

 

 

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Like, what a compliment… and Ellen did a great job of the mini Aurora Borealis.

 

 

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A beautiful story song that gets me right in the feels every time. Also cleverly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee. The first time I heard it I assumed it was an old cover of a classic song.

 

 

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A definite ‘up there’ for my favourite song.

 

 

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This song was a bit of a commentary on the Bush administration 10 years ago… but so apt today.

 

 

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If you’re familiar with the next line, Jacob (7) drew a blackbird, a starling and winter being over by spring flowers. Awww.

 

 

 

Joy to you, Josh, wherever you are on your 40th Birthday. You have done the music world, and the world in general so much good by being here. Thank you for keeping me company through music, and offering so much inspiration through your words. Keep doing what you’re doing, and please come back to Ireland when you can.

Happy Birthday!

Fiona x

Huge THANK YOU to my artistic contributors who were put under some pressure! I am so impressed and I owe you :

A. Breslin

Dr. A. Duffy

L. Gilmour

C. Lafferty

R. Harley

Dr. M. Montague

E. Mc Callion

J. Mc Callion

P. Mc Callion

S. Rooney

M. Turner

C. Tracey

And an extra special thank you to A. Nelson who really made me want to get my friends involved cause of her calligraphy skills. Beautiful! 

Take Offs and Landings. Or Guy Garvey helped me through two break ups

In 2014, an almost 8 year relationship ended for me. I was 24. He dumped my stuff unceremoniously on the doorstep the next weekend, when he knew I was not going to be at home. I think my Mammy cried. He had a subscription to Q Magazine (which I had bought for him). The latest issue had ended up among my things and Elbow featured on the front. I really like Elbow. I read the article by Dorian Lynskey. It was gold dust.

Q is a music magazine, and Elbow (of London Olympics song One Day Like This fame) had just released a new album The Take-off and Landing of Everything. Front man wise, lyrical ‘funny bastard’ Guy Garvey had also recently had an 8 year relationship end. With a novelist, no less. (Emma Jane Unsworth)

His thoughts and attitude towards the break up were so valuable to me, I still have the magazine, and recently photocopied the article to pass on to a friend who is going through a tough split. (I sound a bit crazy, don’t I?)

At the minute I can’t stop listening to this album, the lyrics are so wise and kind and helpful. I have since recently went through another break up. Garvey says, ‘I wear my heart on my sleeve. Always have. I think it’s a form of defence mechanism to tell everybody everything.’ OMG me too, Guy.

In the song ‘Honey Sun’ he sings, ‘I cannot stay where all the broken plans were made’ and Garvey admits ‘My knee-jerk reaction was: get me the fuck out of here, run away as far as possible. But you can’t outrun things like that.’  In my experience that’s the exact male reaction to any break-up!

My favourite part of the interview is Garvey saying, ‘I don’t regret a single second of my relationship and she feels the same way and we’re friends because of that. I grew as a person in her company. She’s the most excellent of people. It’s important to acknowledge that it wasn’t a waste of time because it came to an end. It was the best use of time.’

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The article by Dorian Lynskey appeared in April 2014 issue of Q Magazine and has been rifled through by me numerous times since.

I think the reason I like this article so much is that I would want someone who has been in a relationship with me to think of me/the relationship in these terms. I possibly want Guy Garvey to break up with me. The next paragraph addresses the title track of the album:

‘There’s such a relief when something’s run its course and you put it to bed. Not, “Thank God I’m not doing that any more” but “Thank God I haven’t done too much damage to someone I care about deeply.” I wanted the song to be a celebration, not just of the throes of a great relationship but of the timely end of things. The landings are as important as the take-offs.”

I LOVE that. Some actual lyrics from the title song are

A prayer to the take-off and landing of everything

Leaving your lips as we took to the sky

And a prayer to the take-off and landing of everything

I’ll say for you and I will for all time.

Nothing is ever wasted. I really believe that, and as my mammy says, at the moment you are looking at the back of the tapestry. All rough and muddled and untied threads. Someday you will see it from the other side and everything will fall into place, and you will see the beauty in it. Everything you went through, or shared with someone has meaning and purpose in your life and theirs.

So thanks Dorian Lynskey and thank you Guy Garvey! Friends, let me know if anyone else wants me to copy this article for them. Ha.

 

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Thank you very much to my good friend Miss G at Time to Talk Beauty for the nomination AND the snail mail package all in the one day. I am consistently amazed at her dedicated daily blogs about all kinds of beauty related treats and treatment. We met through blogging and became friends on twitter and met up a year ago and haven’t looked back!  Delighted to have been nominated, not least to get me blogging again.

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The rules:

– Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.

– Put the award logo on your blog.

– Answer the ten questions they have set you.

– Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.

– Nominate up to ten new people.

 

Miss G’s Questions for me:

1. Why did you start blogging?

As a reader, I found blogs endlessly exciting and interesting. It’s just reading in a digital kinda way. I also got a great sense of connection and community from blogging. I wanted to scratch my eternal writing itch and be a part of that community.

2. What is your number one beauty product?

Hmm. I’m really not one for beauty products but maybe tinted moisturiser/Garnier BB Cream. I can deal with only that if I have to and it’s my base for any make up I do wear.

3. What do you spend more time on before a night out; hair or make-up?

Probably hair as I’m not great at either but I have a make up routine at least. My hair is a bit wavy and frizzy so it does need some work. You will usually find me persuading my sister or Mammy to plait it or fix it some way for me.

4. Who are your fashion and beauty heroines / muses?

I actually have no idea. Um. I loved Chantry’s character in the recent great ‘What If’ film, she was played by Zoe Kazan (Who kinda looks like Zooey Deschanel). I like a cutsey dress sense. And natural make up. 

5. If you have a favourite film, what is it and why?

Maybe I should reassess, but I think it’s ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ it’s just a love story, two people meant to be together no matter what crazy stuff they do. In a presumably futuristic world they impulsively ‘erase’ the other from the memory. It needs to be watched at least twice. Wonderful cast and incredibly clever story.

6. What is the best shampoo you’ve ever used?

Probably that ‘spensive Aussie stuff. I love the smell of it! 

7. What is your favourite city?

I’m going to say Edinburgh… Just to stay in Miss G’s good books. The film ‘Midnight in Paris’ makes me crave to see Paris sometime, maybe that would change my mind??

8. False lashes, mascara, or both?

Mascara. Don’t have the patience and dedication for false lashes. I had them once for a wedding and I liked the effect though!

9. What is the best lip balm you’ve used?

I used to love the Body Shop ones when I was younger. In the colourful tubs. Mandarin flavour!

10. What is your current mood?

Hopeful. The best way to be. 

My Nominees

Butterflies and Roses

Girl in the Gloaming

Paper and Salt

Lupus in Flight

Little Grey Box

 

My questions for them:

1. Do you have a make up must-have?

2. How are you at ‘doing hair’ ? Tips?

3. What is the last book you read?

4. What is your favourite dessert?

5. What’s the last song lyric to strike a chord with you?

6. Who would play you in a film about your life?

7. Do you think the theatre is still relevant?

8. What does blogging mean to you?

9. Is social media a blessing or a curse?

10. A telling question, ultimately is what you do for a living important?

Monday Music : I’ve come to test the timber of my heart…

I first saw Joe Pug in December 2010, supporting Josh Ritter at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin. M and I didn’t know him but as he set up M shouted ‘Go on Joe!’ and Joe tried to look straight at him (he couldn’t see with the lights) and he said ‘Thank YOU, man.’ He reminded us of our very good friend Regular John. We liked him.

One night recently when I was despairing of life, (nothing is wrong per se, I just despair sometimes. A lot.) M put Joe Pug on and it just filled me with a sense of drama and poignancy. He just understood me, you know? *sniffs*

I can’t stop listening to this song. Every word strikes home, and a few lines make me fill up if I’m concentrating enough. On the bus, say. It’s pure beauty. Perfect lyrics. The way to my heart!

I’ve come here to ignore your cries and heartache, I’ve come to closely listen to you sing…

I’ve come here to insist that I leave here with a kiss, I’ve come to say exactly what I mean. And I mean so many things…

I have the urge to type all the lyrics, but just you listen to it. Word of mouth is really important to Joe and for a long time he gave away his music for free. You just emailed him and asked for it. He once sent me a very nice email saying they had run out of CDs but he sent me the tracks anyway. He just asked that we share them. The video is slightly silly but his voice is brilliant, deep with a slight lisp, and the lyrics are worth it. Here’s his website :  http://www.joepugmusic.com/

We survived Monday, everyone. Well done.

Leaning on the Lyrics

I have been neglecting my Lemoncakers again! (Can I call you that? It sounds a bit wrong.) I’m just not feeling very creative at the moment. I can’t even make a dent in my to-be-read pile of books that I was so looking forward to reading! At the minute I’m a few pages into ‘Maya’ by Jostein Gaarder but I can’t seem to get into it or make the time for it. I’m spending a lot of time working (but the hours are not going to last) and a lot of time staring slack-jawed at the internets. Also there are some cinema trips (I really enjoyed Batman: The Dark Knight Rises) and watching Breaking Bad season 2 under a blanket in M’s new house. So it’s not all bad.

I have been seeking solace in songs. I’m a real sucker for it’s-all-going-to-be-ok lyrics when I’m feeling like it’s not ok. I think that is why I am loving Newton Faulkner’s new, no.1 if I’m not mistaken, album ‘Write it on Your Skin.’ (Isn’t the title itself lovely?)

 

Newton first came to my attention at the Peace One Day concert in Derry last month. My wee sister Clare loves him, but I hadn’t really listened before. I watched his videos with her on the nights before it, told Jacob Newton was her boyfriend, and despaired at the fact that he went to a local haunt Sandinos the night before the concert. We could have easily been there! I loved his set, and listened to him a lot after it. I brought a CD out to M’s car one day and he shouted what he intended to be ‘FAULK OFF!’ to me. I didn’t see the funny side straight away. Clare pre-ordered the album and I couldn’t get enough of it. Especially the title track ‘Write it on Your Skin.’ I’m a bit like that with songs I love, I will listen to them endlessly over and over until I get sick of them. I’m trying not to do that with this one! I’m sorry if you’ve read me raving about it on Twitter. I bought it for my friend for her birthday and text apt lyrics to another friend when I was on the bus. So maybe I’m not going the right way about it. It’s worth it though, I really do recommend it.

Take everything you know,

And write it on your skin,

Then you can carry on,

And forget everything….

You should have a listen. Prepare for it to get into your head and, pardon the pun, under your skin. There’s an official video and then there was a call for fan photos of lines from the lyrics written on skin (Such a good idea!) Clare and I seriously considered it but couldn’t come up with a good idea! ( Or bother shaving our legs/ putting on make-up!) You can watch the outcome here: I obviously am just an acoustic sort of girl. It’s not cool at parties to put on Josh Ritter or Newton Faulkner, but I will persevere because I want to share it so much! The whole album is a build-you-up (brick by brick?) glass-half-full affair of great guitar playing, gorgeous lyrics and a happy voice. It’s what I need right now, food for my soul.

My best laid plans are washed away,

No time to make ’em all again,

Sometimes life gets in the way,

You’ve got to keep on breathing. – Brick by Brick

The First Giveaway !

Hello! First of all, I’m sure it was hard to tell, but I had a great ‘Blogaversary’ last week, so thank you to all who contributed to that and for supporting my blog in general for the last year! As promised, I want to do a competition to further mark the occasion.

I tried to get some prizes that reflect life, lyrics and lemoncake…so without further ado:

  • So we have the Josh Ritter album (Hello Starling – 2003) that originally melted my heart with the LYRICS.
  • The yummiest shower gel ever, makes you feel/smell like you are in a LEMON CAKE.
  • Autobiography of the funniest lady ever… LIZ LEMON…Tina Fey. (I haven’t read this but super want to.)
  • And a wee pineapple writing set, because here at Life, Lyrics and Lemoncake we love our snail mail.

What do I have to do to win these lovely prizes?

Well, it’s simple. Leave a comment below: I want to hear your favourite lyric/lyrics! Keep it to a 3 line minimum, and if you have several (like me), just choose ONE of your favourites. If you really want me to hear the song, I think you can post a link to/youtube video in your comment also.

I will keep the competition open until this Sunday 5th February. The winner will be chosen from a hat and hopefully announced on Monday.  Friends are allowed to enter as sometimes you were my sole supporters. I will be fair about it. You know me.

To start you off, one of my favourite lyrics ever, Josh Ritter of course. From a beautiful story song called ‘Another New World.’

We talked of the other worlds we’d discover
as she gave up her body to me
And as I chopped up her mainsail for timber
I told her of all that we still had to see.

It’s about the ship the Annabelle Lee… and the captain. It’s like a love story, it’s heartbreakingly beautiful and will probably make you cry.

So… get thinking. And spread the word far and wide! I’m very excited about this. And can’t wait to discover new lyrics.  Goodluck!

P.s If you haven’t visited before, hi! Have a look around, and comments are my favourite.

P.p.s What do you think of my new banner? I ❤ it. And I can’t stop thinking about those cupcakes STILL.