Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nothingness

I am in the middle of a lovely, lazy, loungy day off. I have spent majority of it in bed with a few magazines, coffee, cats and chats on my phone. Guilt free nothingness for hours. I can tell you, it feels good. My greatest achievements today include trips from the bed to the kitchen to refill my coffee, having a shower and getting dressed. Demanding, I know.

The fact that I need to more or less plan these kind of days is neither here nor there, but I tell you, I strongly recommend it. There seems to be too much pressure to be (seen to be) doing something all the bloody time. Or maybe it's just me. I feel a pang of guilt if I haven't done something worthwhile or productive every day. Guilty why, I have absolutely no idea. Nothingness is good for the soul. Nothingness is great for recharging you internal energy reservoir. And I for one feel the need to do that in the autumn more so than any other time of year.



Autumn is high-energy time. Autumn is new beginnings and planning ahead. Autumn is getting ready. And you need energy to achieve that. Hence the need to stock up on that all-important drive which will get you through the winter and well into the spring when the brighter days and sunshine are enough to see you motoring through pretty much everything.

So with that in mind, last week I spent two days in Dublin doing nothing. From the lazy start to the leisurely drive there, the "no deadlines, no stress" approach to the whole mini holiday, it was thoroughly, utterly, blissfully filled with nothing at all.

I spent hours walking around Dublin in exceedingly good company. Lunch took us three hours and burgers big enough to dislocate your jaw if you weren't careful. People watching, chatting, laughing. Connecting.

We went to see comedy, looked for a late pint and stumbled upon a guy with a fantastic voice and buckets of enthusiasm. We got to be leprechauns. We walked a bit more, talked a bit more and laughed some more. There's another thing good for the soul. Laughter and lots of it.

See, I went with a friend who is both old and new. Old in that we've known each other for years. New in that we've only recently gotten to know each other better. Yet another thing good for the soul. Friends. Not to mention old friends who happen to know where the good comedy is on the cheap and can also smuggle you into the Leprechaun museum for free. It's not what, but indeed who you know.

Back to the present. About four coffees into my "morning" I think I'm ready to leave the house. I do have plans, they're just very flexible and involve another friend having a lazy day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Getting There

Let's talk about exercise for a while, shall we? Yes, really. Exercise and being healthy, to be more exact. I know, if we were to rewind back in time to about 2 years ago, even I would be laughing. Yes, me talking about exercise and healthy(ish) living.

I posted this photo on Twitter and Facebook recently. Just shows you where it started and where I am now. Actually, I may be a tiny bit further than the "after" photo since it's six months old now but you get the idea. On the left, I'm singing at my brother's wedding in September 2012. On the right, I'm posing for a mirror selfie at home in March 2014.



So, what happened in between? I wish I could tell you. If I had a simple answer, something that set it all in motion, I'd bloody bottle it and make my millions faster than you can say "Run, fat bitch, run!". Something did click in my head, though. Some people might put it down to the fact that I turned 30 in 2011 and all that but I'd like to think that had only a little to do with it.

Anyway, that winter I made the most of my free time. I walked. Just walked because it didn't require anything more than the runners I already had and the comfy trackie bottoms I was wearing to arse about the house in. I also took full advantage of the miles of car-free paths at work. I can tell you there's nothing more frightening than walking down a country road around here when you know around the next corner there could well be a predatory car hurtling towards you, its next victim. In short; roads here are narrow and people drive like lunatics.

Food-wise I really got into 5:2 diet.5 days of eating normally, 2 days of restricting your calorie intake to 500kcal per day. Worked for me, since there were days at work when I'd only eat very little if anything at all and eat only once I got home. On the fasting days I never felt hungry, the day after I only ever felt lovely and light and full of energy. I must say I've talked to people who've had terrible experiences with the same diet so I am only speaking for myself when I say it actually works. It made me take a good look at my relationship with food and actually minding what I put into my body. Saying that, I still eat rubbish. Just in moderation.

Back to exercise. I never liked exercise unless it was for a purpose. I didn't see being healthy and fitter as a purpose until now. What started as walking soon progressed into jogging and running. And to my surprise I actually loved it! I loved the feeling of setting off on my lap knowing that with the music in my earphones and the steady beat of my feet on the road would help me clear my head of whatever might be floating about in there. It didn't always feel great, there were days when I would've rather been just about anywhere else but the knowledge of that floaty, happy, endorphin-induced bliss at the end of it was enough to keep me going.

There's one particular run I remember vividly and it's that one I conjure up in my head when I need motivation. It was a perfect setting. February this year, dusk. I was on the last quarter of my lap, I had just cleared the small incline and was on the terrace of a Victorian castle. The castle to my left, to my right a lake, its surface like a mirror. Beyond the lake mountains growing darker as the sun was setting. In front of me a wooded path and beyond that more mountains. Biffy Clyro's 'Biblical' was blasting through the earphones. I had found my stride.In that moment, I'm fairly certain I could've ran all the way home.


So, that's where I was and that's where I need to get to again. Sadly my joints have aged with me and my poor battered knee has decided to remind me that what happened when I was good 15 years younger than I am now, will come back and bite you if you don't look after yourself. Patellar dislocation or a wandering kneecap, as he's also known, has me off running and jogging for a while. So I'm walking. Walking and wishing I was running instead. Hopefully in another six months I'll be able to tell you I'm back on first name terms with my stride, but for now I'll remind myself that I was there once, I'll get there again. In time.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Never As Planned

It's been a while -again. History repeating and all that but I'm not going to go into detail, suffice to say it's been a busy six months on this side of the screen.

Work has kept me busy, for the main part. But fear not, It hasn't been all work and no play as the photo stream on my phone would put it. There's been some good and some excellent nights and days spent in the best possible company. Laughing until you're crying is by far my favoured form of ab exercise and there has been plenty of that.

The trip to Dublin in February was a hoot. All really quite well behaved, involving Disney Princess Mirror, an embassy that reminded us of a sauna and some camels in the roof of the hotel. Not to mention the tower room and some Finnish sweets. Also #TrainTales on the way up and down. Check Twitter for details.



Spring came and went in a blur of sunshine, increasingly busy times at work and some more than welcome visitors. Doing the tourist-y thing around where you live is always fun, this really is a beautiful corner of the world and showing people around serves as a perfect reminder of how lucky I really am to wake up to this every morning.



My long-awaited summer holiday came around very quickly at the end of June. Two glorious weeks to spend in Finland with My People. I got to snoop around my old haunts and catch up with people I really wish I could see more of. Those that remain in your life, not matter how long it's been since you've seen them last, who welcome you with open arms and in one hug the years that should've gotten in between suddenly disappear. Pardon my nostalgia here but I cannot stress enough how good it felt to see those who saw me through my teenage years. I love you and will be forever grateful that you are in my life.



I blogged little ode to Twitter over on my Finnish blog The people I've gotten to know through Twitter are, in a word, amazing. I got to meet one of the lovely ladies of Twitter in the flesh during my holiday. As with my namesake who accompanied me to Dublin in February, this lovely lady by the name of Marjo is one of those people who I feel I've known for years.



It seems like I was only back to work a few weeks ago rather than nearly two months. July and August are what we like to call Silly Season. So many people. So very many people. Work becomes all-consuming, and there seems to be very little time for anything else. For two months of the year I seem to be living, breathing, walking and talking work. It's good but tiring and while I love being busy, come the end of August I'm actually looking forward to the quieter days.

It's not all good new, I'm afraid. Our old, distinguished kitty gentleman Tom passed away last week. There is a kitty-shaped hole in the house and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still very sad about it. His final resting place is out in the garden, beside the rock he sat on to survey his lands. To quote a tweeting friend: "May his fields be full of mice".



On a more positive note, my free time seems to be actually free in the coming weeks. I'm itching to get back into the kitchen with time to spend over new recipes. Perhaps I'll even manage to squeeze in a blog post or two.

That's all for now. See you soon!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fooled ya!

So, it turns out six months wasn't quite enough. I'm finding it very hard to get back into regular blogging despite having three days off per week at the moment. I'm spending very little time at my laptop and the Blogger mobile app just doesn't cut it for me. I need an actual keyboard to produce anything coherent.

However, all is not lost. I shall make an another attempt, just to see how I get on. It may not be every week but by gods if I can't manage a post every fortnight, I may as well toss this battered old laptop and all its contents into the raging Atlantic across the road.


I've spent my extra time off mainly by getting familiar with my walking/jogging route of choice. And obviously counteracting all that bouncing about by spending more time in the kitchen. Life is all about the balance, after all. There's nothing quite as nice as two normally busy creatures finding a cosy nook on the sofa by the fire and spending some quality time together doing nothing in particular. Come summertime all that will change as work commitments on both sides mean very little time spent at home at all.


In other news, my passport is up for renewal which is the perfect excuse for a trip up to Dublin for a night, accompanied by my namesake from Sligo. Being foreign we need to present our good selves at the Finnish embassy in Dublin in order to get our passports, I'm assuming this is just to verify that we are still sufficiently finnish-looking and sounding for us to be allowed back into Finland. I've had no less than three sets of passport photos taken as I'm not 100% certain of the requirements they need to meet but I can assure you, I look equally dreadful in each set of photos.

I booked a room in the Trinity Capital Hotel (it's one of our sister hotels) through work and I'm very much looking forward to having a good old nosey around. Few of my colleagues stayed there before Christmas and had nothing but nice things to say. I'll be sure to write up a detailed report and submit it to the appropriate authorities.

Now, I'm sure there are other things I should mention but having put my brain on the spot, it simply cannot come up with anything noteworthy. I'm sure it will all trickle down onto this keyboard sooner rather than later.

Chat to you soon!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Breathing Space

I was just wondering whether or not six months was long enough a break from blogging. I decided that it was. I've been busy in a good way, enjoying good company and making memories. My parents spent a week with us in April, my brother with my sister-in-law, niece and his friend's family were here earlier this month. One of them has stayed to experience the Irish summer. *insert rain here*

There's too much to put down in words, so here's some photos instead:

I've been walking here:







I've enjoyed the summery weather:



I've had a few lazy mornings:


I've had a few nights out featuring this:


And a few nights in featuring this:


I've had fun with these:


I've been reading these:



I've seen some amazing sunsets from our front porch:


And I've spent some quality time with these:


See you soon!







Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eye Of The Storm

Hi there! Going to give this blogging lark another go after a few months of jotting down little ideas for posts, waiting for them to turn into bigger ideas and pour themselves onto the screen. We'll see how it goes.

In my absence I've done a little of everything and not much anything. Living a life, I suppose. Spent Christmas, New Year and my birthday in between home and work, in good company enjoying good food, some drinks and lots of laughs. Just what the doctor ordered.

I'm only working for four days a week now to use up my holidays from last year. The last few weeks I would've enjoyed my extra time off a bit more had it not been for the endless rain and gale force winds. Seems like the same rain I mentioned in the last post in October is still here.

Yesterday was meant to be spent in Galway, but after the city being hit by floods the day before, tackling road closures and even more torrential rain didn't sound too appealing. Opted for a quick run to the shops in Clifden and then curling up on the sofa by the fire with my Kindle and cat on my lap, sipping a cup of coffee. An infinitely better choice, if you ask me.



There isn't all that much to report, I basically just poked my head in here to say that I'm still here and planning on slowly increasing my blogging activity. Promise.

Hang in there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Duvet Days

It's been raining heavy for what feel like weeks now. I'm sure it's not actually weeks but nonetheless, that's what it feels like. Outside everything is saturated, soggy, sopping wet. The rain is like a relentless morse code tapping on the roof, pausing every so often to catch its breath, showing a glimpse of a blue sky and a ray of sunlight coming through before picking up where it left off. It's the perfect weather for a duvet day.

I managed a solid eleven hours of sleep on Monday night. I woke up on Tuesday my body sore from spending too much time horizontally, but my head fantastically clear compared to my state of mind over the few days preceding that. I blame the full moon, I never sleep right for about a week and find myself wondering what the hell is wrong with me until I realise it's out lunar companion in the sky messing with my sleep pattern.

Lily having a duvet day


I didn't venture far yesterday. Only as far as the shops to pick up a few bits I needed to make butternut squash soup. That was after I had chased one of the cats around the house to give her a tablet. For the first few days I was able to stick the tablet in her mouth and wait for her to swallow it. She soon copped onto this and somehow developed an ability to hold onto the tablet until I let her go, after which she spat the tablet onto the floor by my feet and ran off. My next tactic was to wrap the tablet in some salami. his worked a treat until she realised what was going on, and ate the salami around the tablet and proceeded to bat the tablet around the kitchen floor until it ended up under the fridge out of reach to both human and feline paws. Currently I'm wrapping the tablets in ham. When she sniffs out this ruse, I'm at a loss. What next?

Soon-to-be soup


This weather is perfect for duvet days, lazy days, days spent on the sofa by the fire with a good book. I love cooking on days like this, too. The warmth in the kitchen wards off the rain, and cooking with no deadlines and no time limitations can be very therapeutic. It's proper me-time. Just me and my ingredients, hands in the mixing bowl, measuring ingredients, binding them together, feeding more than just hungry bellies. Yesterday it was meat loaf with hidden boiled eggs inside (I think I got that one from Nigella). Blueberry pie with custard for dessert. All gobbled up by the fire, under a blanket big enough for two. Bliss.

Blueberry pie


I haven't set foot outside today, still waiting for it to stop raining for long enough to put the bin down. The road outside looks more like a river right now, so I have no immediate plans to venture outside any time soon. I have a loaf of bread in the oven, the whole house smells beautiful. I'll make myself a cup of strawberry tea and curl up on the couch beside the cat and read another few chapters of The Fry Chronicles.

Happy, rainy days.