Hello 2017

Happy New Year, blog. I’m full of hope, as ever. I really like the feeling on New Year’s Eve especially, and the promise of a bright clean new year full of possibilities. Thank you so much for reading in 2016. It’s been sporadic enough, I know. Perhaps I will try not let fear hold me back in 2017. My desire/ reluctance to write is laced with fear I think. Also, I have said it before but I like that my blog is my one link to writing when there is nothing else going on.

This year I have went to a few warm, funny, gifted meetings with Women Who Write. I have done a bit of freelance feature writing with a local newspaper, got some decent blog posts in, and wrote many a letter (snail mail!) for my friends and family. There was also a lot of writing involved in my Mammy’s recent 50th birthday celebrations, which went sooo well and she loved.

Today I read and was inspired by this article on Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year.

I got a little sad before I went to party with my two best friends last night. Yes. 3 person party. It was amazing. Just basically this: that I have been stuck in a rut for a few years and EVERY new year I hope that things will start falling into place. They have not so far! But don’t get me wrong I am extremely grateful to have a job, a brilliant family, wonderful friends and a good life. And my hoping is unfazed. I have to adjust my attitude, I know. I often have the feeling that I need to DO SOMETHING but I am still figuring out what.

I have been single for almost a whole year now, which is a first for adult me. I am not sure that I have made the most of it at all, but I definitely needed this time. I’m not pining for someone, although I do talk a good deal, and I think I am comfortable being on my own for now. I joke that my bullshit detector is finally working after all these years. I think I am going to be able to work out quite quickly if someone is just not treating me with enough respect, or I can’t see it going somewhere. The way of the world is not usually the way that I roll! So it’s difficult, it is, but relationships are important to me. And playing the game is not something I’m willing to do, soz.

Well that kind of went off on a tangent, but I am glad I was able to write something, however small, to start off the year. Thanks again for reading. A very, very happy and hopeful 2017 to you.

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From The Gate of the Year by Minnie Louise Haskins. 

 

 

 

P.S Look at these persoanlised blog earrings my beautiful bride to be Ruth got me for Christmas. I love them! So thoughtful. ❤

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A little late look at the lemoncake year of 2014

So, being late as seems to be the usual case for me, I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy 2015 filled with wonder and adventure, and love. I also feel the need to recap my year a little, so if you’re with me. 2014 you were a good year for me in all the ways that matter.

On 6 January I signed up for Slimming World. Typical new year thing to do. I attended the wedding of good friends on 27 December 2013 and I think it was the photos of that which finally prompted me to make a change. It was difficult the first few weeks and I had to change quite a lot. I lost 3.5 lbs the first week and continued to do quite well. My Mum helped so much by cooking me the slimming world chips, which are just spuds and 1 calorie spray, almost every day and making healthy spag bls and curries which arent from a jar. By May 2014 I had lost about 2 stone. I never quite got to my target weight of 9.5 stone but I was very close a few times, and I have managed to more or less maintain (Afraid to look at any scales after Christmas!) But I am much happier with my shape and size, I have gained a bit more confidence and appreciated the compliments. I would recommend Slimming World to anyone. There are no tricks really, and it’s surprising the things you can eat which are ‘free.’ Perhaps when the last selection box is empty I will dust off the book and go back to counting my syns to lose that last bit of weight.

2014 was the second semester of the NCTJ course in Journalism that I took the risk and left a job to do. I deepened friendships with the amazing class of 13/14, and firmly believe that they were the best thing about the whole course. There were about 16 of us and we were a tight group who got along brilliantly and bonded over many drinking sessions and iNews editing. You can read about them here. I continued with my placement at the Derry Journal and interviewed people, wrote up stories and had many pieces published. I faced a lot of fears and surprised myself more than once. At the end of the year I received an award for excellence and I got called back to do some shifts for my newspaper a few months after my placement.

Molly was a new friend this year. Don't know what I did without her!
Molly was a new friend this year. Don’t know what I did without her!

About March time I made some tough decisions. It led to big changes in my personal life. It was a long time coming, and I coped surprisingly well. Like a wise lady once said to me, sometimes it’s not about chasing what you want, it’s about distancing yourself from what you definitely don’t want.

March also saw me taking on a video project for the journalism at the Humdinger! Children’s literature event. I don’t know why I didn’t fuss, I just got up there and filmed and interviewed a few authors and illustrators and chatted with the lovely Dog Ears team. That weekend I returned to volunteer at their main events and they made me Volunteer Manager on their busiest day. My proudest moment is probably collecting Tony Ross (Of Horrid Henry fame) from his hotel and befriending him, his posh accent and his cravat as we walked through Derry to his event in front of a packed St. Columb’s Hall. He was a dote, and I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t interview him on camera!

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I loved my visit to my great friend Time to Talk Beauty in Edinburgh at the beginning of the year. It’s a beautiful city and she and her fella were generous and fun and wonderful to spend time with. I’m dying to go back and I was so happy to see her in Belfast in the summer for Biffy Clyro.

I watched my sister graduate with a Cardiology degree, and shortly after get an amazing post at a Belfast hospital as a trainee Perfusionist. She is going to be put through her Masters and goes to London once a month for training. Not even jealous….

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I struggled with my own career after my placement and course ended. I applied in Edinburgh and London, thought Belfast with my sister was the answer for a while. So disheartening to receive radio silence when you are more than qualified. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted anymore. I had no job for what felt like a long time. I worry what people think more than anything. I hated thinking people were pitying me or exasperated at my slow progress compared to others. There’s a hint of ‘When is my break?’ I even did an Alternative CV the week I had to ‘sign on.’

My fairy godmother is better than yours.
My fairy godmother is better than yours.

I had a surprise, a kiss out of the blue. Someone who had been literally sitting opposite me for most of the year, but who I had failed to ‘see.’ I decided to ‘go with it,’ most unlike me, and it has been the most beautiful, unexpected blessing! I have been constantly surprised and delighted, sickeningly happier and I just haven’t looked back. I’m grateful to him for being brave, and I’m just dying about us. He got me a typewriter for Christmas. Need I say more?

Babies were born to friends, congratulations Cathy, Kelly, Sara and Laura. I am delighted for you all.

Baby Cara Rose and me. Love this little one! Know her Mummy since we did altar serving together many moons ago.
Baby Cara Rose and me. Love this little one! Know her Mummy since we did altar serving together many moons ago.

It’s been harder to see friends, but there have been treasured times of deep conversations into the night (my favourite), support, inspiration and love even from afar. You know who you are !

I got a Christmas job, on top of the casual job I had been doing. The hours were good, it’s basically a book shop, the people kind and the atmosphere pleasant. I have recently learned that I shall be kept on beyond the Christmas period, and although I said never retail again, and I can feel people’s disapproval, I am comfortable here for now. I am grateful for the work and I take each day as it comes. I try to brighten someones’ day and be as helpful as I can. I’m growing in confidence and keeping my creativity alive in ways not just through work. I’d appreciate your support as I try to navigate my life as best as possible.

Four special people turned fifty in the last month or two. Including my Daddy today! Congratulations you inspirational folks. I love you! Thank you for being a great part of my life.

(I lost about 600 words from this and am trying to rewrite. Aghh)

My last few days of 2014 and the Christmas period were some of the best days. I have enjoyed spending what time I was not in retail with my big, mad young family and my G and his family. I have just felt surrounded by a bubble of love (and chocolate!) and haven’t stop smiling.

It has ended perfectly.

I have no idea what to expect from you, 2015 but plenty of adventure, happiness and love for us all please. I intend to write. Blog posts and maybe other things. I need to! Thank you for supporting my little blog. And for bearing with me today. Let us go forth with hope. Happy New Year!

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Don’t let me into this year with an empty heart…

Hello and Happy New Year to followers and readers of LLL ❤

I’ve said it on Instagram this morning but I am, perhaps typically, wholly unprepared for 2014! I hadn’t gotten used to writing ‘2013’ yet when it was whisked away.

I turned over my very hungry caterpillar calendar (with reward chart) this morning and am vaguely pondering what this very space-agey sounding year will bring.

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Foyle Hospice charity Annual Female Walk/Run June 2013.

In 2013 I turned 24. I’m struggling to remember the former part of the year, just I was getting increasingly antsy in my job, after more than a year re-working there after university. After a conversation or two, I started seriously thinking about Journalism. At the end of August (was that really only 4 months ago) I took a chance and left my job. I accepted a place studying for NCTJ Journalism.

It’s been very challenging to say the least. I was SO lucky to get a placement with a very prestigious local Newspaper and I have been there on Fridays since November. Well apart from my holidays. This is the first Christmas I have had a proper break of more than two days in six years or so. It’s great.

Highlights of my work placement have been interviewing a Holocaust Survivor who lives in Ireland, the wonderful Tomi Reichental. Being trusted with interviewing four people who work at Christmas which gave me the chance to meet so many interesting people. Some of these are here. I was particularly touched by Paul who volunteers with Foyle Search and Rescue, preventing suicide and saving lives along the river in the city.

And – phone interviewing Josh Ritter! It was very unexpected and more than a little cringy but it had me on a high for ages. Just in case you’re interested, here it is.

I have also passed my first Teeline Shorthand exam, 60 wpm. I am hoping to get to 100 wpm before the end of the year to reach the Gold Standard.

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Derry/Londonderry/Legenderry being crowned UK City of Culture for 2013 has been transformative and amazing for my home town. I keep coming across the pink tickets and smiling at all the events. From the hopefulness of the huge fireworks display at 20:13 last New Years Eve, Sons and Daughters Concert, The Fleadh, The Walled City Tattoo, Music Promise, Music City, all the visiting acts: I saw Elvis Costello, Rokia Traore, and of course Josh Ritter, One Big Weekend (I’m not bitter about not getting tickets), and then magical events such as The Return of Colmcille and a major highlight Lumiere.

It’s been special, the city has been basking in it, and has never looked better. It was also an excellent year to begin a Journalism course! There is a lot of work on keeping a Legacy and I sincerely hope that the magic continues for many years.

I’ve had many personal lows, thank goodness my family are well and there has been no tragedy. Sometimes my path just gets so lost. I’m thankful I have so many people close to me that I trust and can bend their ear if I need to. I just hope they don’t think I’m crazy.

A good friend went off to Australia to fulfil a life long dream in April, and in August I took a chance and met an internet friend Miss G from Edinburgh for a weekend in Belfast and it was wonderful.

Book-wise I haven’t read as much, highlights I can think of are Kate Atkinson ‘Life After Life’, Matt Haig ‘The Humans’ and I’m the middle of ‘The End of your Life Book Club’ by Will Schwalbe. Abbye sent me the emotional and beautifully illustrated ‘The Gifts of the Magi’ by O Henry a Christmas story I had never read.

The day after boxing day I attended the wedding of a childhood friend. I enjoyed it so much. It was a wonderful, love-filled day and it was good to see so many faces again.

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The usual sense of hope I feel in a new year is slightly escaping me, but I’m waiting for it to return. I do feel on the brink. May good things be just around the corner for us all. My blog was created to keep me writing while I did the day job, now that I am doing a lot of writing it’s getting a bit neglected. I’d love to keep it up a bit more regularly in 2014. Inspired by my friend Caoimhe, maybe I will have a thankfulness box this year. Write down everything positive or that I am grateful for on itty bitty pieces of paper.  Since reading A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp I’ve wanted to do this in notebook form but maybe this is a good compromise. I am a blessed girl.

writing this has calmed me some. It’s my Daddy’s 49th Birthday today and my Mum is preparing us a big dinner. I will go down and join them soon. I’m listening to Disney’s ‘Frozen’ soundtrack and wishing you a very Happy New Year, and as Josh Ritter once signed my record, may all the finest things find you. Thank you for reading.

“Don’t let me into this year with an empty heart…” Josh Ritter

Happy New Year 2013

564836_388350017918539_1823769985_n(from here shared by facebook writer friend.)

My hopes:

For a beneficial, wonderful celebration of City of Culture 2013 for my home city of Derry. It’s emotional and well deserved and I’m looking forward to seeing what it brings.

For my relationship to continue to strengthen and grow.

Perhaps to tackle the whole driving thing once more.

To see my pathway in life a little clearer. Even the first few steps. To improve my outlook and enjoy the journey.

To stop ‘cursing’ (swearing).  I never used to!

For a wonderful new helping of lyrics from Josh Ritter in March, by way of his album ‘The Beast in it’s Tracks.’ Also looking forward to seeing him in Letterkenny in July. Back to where it all started for me.

To find my faith again. I was a happier person with a bit more faith. The more intellectual people I meet, the more God and faith is shot down, but as Josh says ‘We need faith for the same reason that it’s so hard to find.’

To apprecaite everything, especially the people and things that matter most. My Mum’s bathroom quote the other week:

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To love more.

Happy New Year to you and yours my good friends, may it bring you joy and happiness.