Thursday, January 27, 2011

And It's Done

We have moved. Officially, completely fully moved into our new house. It took all day Wednesday but at least it's done now. The smallest bedroom in the house is full of boxes and bags, bits and pieces. But that's what doors are for, isn't it? To block out the things we don't want to see.

The fire has been tested and it truly is a luxury to have it after going so many years without one. I love a big, roaring fire. Who doesn't? Obviously there are a number of things that need our attention; pictures to be hung, curtains to be put up, furniture to rearrange. But all in good time. We'll get there one box, one picture, one table at a time.

The cats have been very confused, understandably so. Poor kitties, they spent the first night wandering around the house. Lily eventually set up camp under our bed and Tom stayed in the hall, not entirely sure what it was that he was supposed to do.

They seem much more at ease today. Lily is sat beside me as I'm typing and Tom has stretched out in front of the fire. We'll get settled soon enough. Cats and people alike.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cousin It

My cousin recently friended me on Facebook. Not that unusual, granted but a couple of friends have pointed out to me how little I’m in touch with my cousins. I have two who are the same age as I am, another three a year younger or older, and the rest are more than 5 years older or younger than me. Any difference in age doesn’t really matter when you’re over 25 but when you’re growing up it makes all the difference.

I guess I just never got to know them. I mean got to know them beyond the family occasions such as weddings and birthdays where we were all herded together, given sweets/crisps/ice cream and told to keep quiet and out of the way. We lived so far away from my father’s side of the family, I only got to see my cousins at midsummer when we all gathered to my paternal grandparents’ house in the middle of nowhere. Eight siblings with their partners and children, how did we ever manage that before we added a few extra sleeping quarters? I do remember spending a lot of time in a tent.

Pick the odd one out :)
My mum’s side of the family was closer by when I was young, but the cousins closer to my own age were all boys. And there were three of them. I didn’t exactly feel like I fitted in, even though my very best friend was the boy next door. I don’t know what happened there, I suppose we just never connected. My other cousins on my mother’s side are two boys who were closer to my brother’s age, who is eight years my senior. The three of them usually ganged up on me of just took of leaving me on my own. I didn’t mind, and I must say there are some very funny pictures of us sitting somewhere and it’s obvious I have been shoved into the photo under extreme protest.

I know a lot of my friends who consider their cousins as their substitute siblings. Sometimes I wish I could say that, but I often wonder whether or not I actually have anything in common with my cousins. I get along with them, talk to them on Facebook, see them at family functions, am genuinely interested in what’s going on in their lives and all that, but I don’t think I’d consider any of them as anything more than a relative. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, they say. If my cousins were strangers, I’m not sure how many of them would make the cut. It’s just that I don’t really know them. Why, I don’t know.

It’s great to catch up every now and then, but I don’t think any of our lives intersect beyond the relatives we share. I know which cousin is married, dating, has kids, has moved, is building a house etc but most of this information comes from my parents or I get indirectly via a post on Facebook. These little snippets of information is all I really need, if truth be told. And I’m pretty sure my life isn’t so riveting and exciting that my cousins are hanging onto my every blog post and Facebook status update.

Or maybe I am the odd one out. Maybe all of my cousins get on great with each other, talk on the phone frequently, visit each other regularly and every now and then my name is mentioned and they all go “Mmh, yes, her. Cousin It”.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Taking It Easy

It's the start of the weekend for normal people. To people with nine to five, Monday to Friday jobs. I'm not one of those people. I do feel somewhat left out at times. Come Friday there's a sort of calm that descends on people, accompanied by giddyness. It's the blissful feeling when you know it's nearly time to head on home and you don't need to think about anything work related for another 50 or so hours. Nice, isn't it?

I get that feeling on Monday evenings. Monday isn't a great day for many people, but it is my Friday. I get all happy and excited an plan my days off. People around me tend to get irritable and mutter something about only starting their week and how lucky I am to be taking my days off during the week.

Friday giddyness has taken over me tonight. I feel nice and calm and relaxed and mellow. I think I'll celebrate than with some cheesy tunes and maybe a glass of wine. TGIF, people!

Told you it was going to be cheesy, didn't I?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Worm

I love reading. Always have, and I strongly suspect that I always will. I’m not all that choosy about what I read, either. The back of a cereal packet will do me, in a pinch, or a leaflet out of a box of tampons. Really, I love reading.

I remember the first book I ever enjoyed reading. Reading myself, I mean, not a book that was read to me. My mother read to me a lot, she worked as a child minder at the time and she worked from our house, so there were other kids to entertain, too. I always got the best spot right beside her and got to turn the pages, too. But the very first book I took out from the library, brought home and read from cover to cover in one day was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I was so engrossed in it, I wanted to bring it to the dinner table, just in case the words dripped off the pages while I was eating and I’d miss the ending. I fell in love. And I wanted more.

Funnily enough, I didn’t read anything else by Roald Dahl. How I ended up reading Enid Blyton, I don’t remember but I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of her books. Under the influence of Famous Five, me and the boy next door, Sami, went around looking for secret passageways out of our houses and suspected every adult we didn’t know to be a smuggler out to get us. I had no idea what a boarding school was, either, there aren’t any in Finland, at least not to my knowledge, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to go to one. I even asked my parents to send me to one. I was promptly told it wasn’t an option.

My two best friends
There are few books I read over and over again. Matilda being one of them. Brian Hall’s Saskiad is on me permanent reading list, as is Pat Conroy’s Beach Music and Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat. I have a bookcase jam packed with books I haven’t read yet. All kinds of books. I love the smell of the pages, the weight of a good book in my hand, and I love putting in my bookmark, leaving it to one side and then picking it up again like a good old friend called in for a catch up and a chat.

And while I’m sure Kindle is a fantastic idea and works for loads of people, it will never work for me. It makes me a little bit sad because I do love my gadgets, but  there is nothing in this world that beats the sound a book makes when you’re opening it for the first time. Of the book-y smell of the pages as your turning them.

Right now, I’m reading Victoria Hislop’s The Return which is turning out to be a very interesting read. I’ll let you know what I think when I’m finished, ok?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Told You, Didn't I?

About the dreams, I mean. I did tell you. This is what I was dreaming about last night.
I was in a lovely seaside town somewhere in continental Europe. Perhaps Spain, Italy or southern France. I was filming the TV show Top Gear with Richard Hammond and James May. I was Jeremy Clarkson. We were gathered outside a nice little café or a restaurant. One of those with large windows at the front so you can see the people sitting at the tables beside said window. I was sitting inside, having lunch with someone I went to school with more than ten years ago. It's closer to fifteen years, now that I start doing the math. Anyway, the me sitting in the restaurant is the me sitting here typing this. The other me, the Jeremy Clarkson -me is outside filming and looks in through the window and sees me-me. Still with me? No? No matter, I shall carry on regardless.

Clarkson -me has some sort of a mini-aneurysm and decides he's madly in love with me-me. Clarkson-me takes out a sheet of A4 and a pen and scribbles out a note saying "MARRY ME PLEASE" and shoves it up against the restaurant window for me-me to see. Me-me jumps up off of her seat, gives out a big squeal and runs outside. At this stage I stop being both me-me and Clarkson-me and I'm just me. Clarkson has turned into that old school mate I was just having lunch with. I said yes. To the Clarkson/school mate hybrid.

And you wonder why I wake up exhausted and confused...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Boxed up

I thought I'd better remind you of my existence here. I've been spending my days packing things into boxes and have made a great new friend in a tape gun. Who knew there's be so much stuff? Seriously, it's only two of us in this house, yet it seems like the amount of stuff corresponds more to a family of four hoarders.

But there's no need to despair, or so I keep telling myself. I was up at the new house yesterday with the first load of boxes, armed with a tape measure and my trusty notebook. The new house is only 3km from the house we're in now, and it's on my way into work. So it's quite handy for me to drop off few bits and pieces every day so the actual move won't be too painful. Who knew I owned enough CDs and DVDs to fill five cardboard boxes?

Having tweeted several times about the move, complaining about having to pack boxes and whatnot, I'm now being followed by a couple of removal companies, too. They're in the UK, though but I'm sure they'd make the journey provided I paid them enough. I did get a legitimate offer from one of my twitter followers who, in his own words does furniture removals, office relocations, IKEA shopping & delivery service, and pretty much everything else to do with removals etc. Come the end of this week, I may well take him up on his offer...

Needless to say I'm getting quite handy with the cordless drill and assorted screwdrivers. I've been dismantling shelves and anything else that can be dismantled, putting the pieces and accompanying screws and brackets into boxes ready for the next car load going up the road. Work is proving a welcome distraction from all this packing but I'm already looking forward to our first night in the new house. Feet up, beside the fire with a nice cup of coffee of maybe even a glass of wine. Roll on, next week!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mares and Terrors

I'm sleeping very poorly lately. Just like anything, given a long enough run, it's starting to get annoying. I keep getting woken up by very strange dreams, usually something involving a struggle, or me being stuck somewhere against my will. I'd love to know what to make of it all, but there is that skeptical part of my brain which lumps dream theory into the same category with homeopathy, rip-off psychics and mind reading. Then there's the other part of my brain which checked the two dream books I have and now knows dreams of captivity or imprisonment can be brought on by feelings of guilt and duty or my feelings of being restricted or stifled either in my personal or professional life. Yeah, it doesn't really go in any way to explain how I could get a decent night's sleep.

Getting the occasional bout of insomnia (about two months without any serious disruption to my sleep pattern, touching wood as we speak) I'm more than familiar with the usual home remedies. I've cut down on my coffee intake (easier said than done I might add), gone for walks in the evenings; I've sprayed lavender everywhere, lit candles and downloaded some relaxation music and ocean sounds onto my iPhone to lull me to sleep. And it's not the getting to sleep part that's the problem, it's staying asleep. I've always been a light sleeper, Mr S will tell you how many times I've elbowed him in the back for waking me up when all he's done is roll over in his sleep. I'm starting to think maybe I need an isolation chamber to sleep in.

But it is amazing what your mind conjures up during sleepy-time, isn't it? Over the last couple of nights I've been held captive in a log cabin which I've tried to escape via a wardrobe with a fake back to it; I've been kept in a prison camp of sorts where I was on top of a metal tower, overlooking the gate to freedom which was covered in pink barbed wire; I was also escaping my captors through very dense woods in super-fast quad bikes which in hindsight looked a lot like the speeders Luke and Leia had on the forest moon of Endor in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Even my subconscious is a nerd.

Nightmare by Kalessaradan
I know they're probably my brain sorting through some extra stuff that needs to be sorted away, or my mind acting out scenarios and putting me in situations which cause me anxiety in order for me to be able to cope with those feelings in my wakeful state. Or any number of other explanations you might want to grab off Jung, Ferenczi or maybe Hartmann. It doesn't make it any more pleasant waking up from one of those dreams, laying on the bed in a dark bedroom and wondering can you safely close your eyes again or will you be chased down a very steep hill by aliens again. However fleeting, the feeling of anxiety and fear is real.

Luckily I don't often remember my dreams, not for very long. They tend to stay with me until I have something else to think about, which is when the dream seems to disintegrate, sometime leaving behind a fragment or two, more often not even that. One has stayed with me for over 20 years. I think I was about 7 or 8 at the time, and I was sick with a flu with high temperature and sore throat. I remember this dream as clear as day even now. I'm at home, in the house my parents still live in, and I'm on the roof. I spread my arms out to my sides, jump of and I fly. I remember, in the dream, thinking that this was a dream. I looked down and saw our vegetable garden and swing set. I swerved down and to my right, flying low over our neighbour's birch tree and play house. I was circling our back garden quite happily until I woke up. The fact that this dream is still etched into my memory speaks volumes. I would quite happily pay money to feel the way I did in that dream again.

I'm off to spray my bed with lavender, stuff my pillow case with hops and drink some chamomile tea. Here's to a good night's sleep. It's bloody hard to sleep with your fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I got a letter in the post yesterday. From one of my oldest friends. An honest-to-god, real, proper letter. It was accompanied by a birthday card (which kindly didn’t bear a huge reminder of my age, bloody  hate those cards) and a cow –bookmark. All of these a testament in their own right how well this person still knows me. I say “still knows me” mainly because it has, sadly been years since we’ve met in person. Once upon a time we were pretty much inseparable. She has seen me at my best and most definitely, at my worst. She was there when our main focus seemed to be going out every weekend to consume liberal amounts of alcohol and dance around our handbags to some very questionable music. Music that now makes me very nostalgic, I might add.

I miss getting letters, I really do. When I was about 9 or 10 years old I used to write to my friends all the time. Regardless of the fact that we saw each other in school every weekday and played together on the weekends. I still have most of the letters I received from my friends, too. Written on a number of differently patterned pieces of paper, it’s all very innocent. “How are you? I’m good. What did you think of the maths exam? I thought it wasn’t too bad. Do you have a crush on anyone? I think XYZ is very cute. Do you want to come to my house on Saturday? Write back soon.” This would be put into a envelope, glued shut with a sticker and maybe some additional glitter, the recipient’s name clearly spelled in block capitals and handed to them first thing in the morning. The following day I would receive a letter pretty similar to the one I’d just written the day before and so it went on until we felt we were too old to do it.

I am getting sentimental here, I know but I suppose those letters and my old diaries remind me of an uncomplicated, innocent time in my life. When my biggest worry was the upcoming quiz on times tables or how to scribble out the name of the boy I liked into my notebook as many times as possible without him or the teacher noticing. I would love to go back, just for a day. Sit at that old yellow desk, take out my books, run around the playground, skip rope and do all the things that were so important then. I can’t remember what they were, but I’m pretty sure horses were somehow involved. Horses and stickers.

I’ll stop now because I know I must be boring you to death. And all this brought on by a simple letter. I am a sentimental old fool, aren’t I?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fat Cats

No, not talking about greedy bankers or crooked politicians, although I’d have plenty to say about those as well. I’m talking about actual, fat cats. Overweight felines. Namely my own two specimens, Lily and Tom. I have decided to put the two of them on a diet.

They really do have an easy life. Lily gets up around 6.30, jumps off her radiator bed and jogs into our bedroom. She then jumps onto the bed, walks over Mr S and lands on my stomach with just enough force to wake me up. There was a time when I didn’t always wake up to this. It was some time ago now and Lily weighed a lot less. Tom usually sleeps in the bed with us, at the foot of the bed, unmoving no matter how much Mr S and I may toss and turn at night. Tom’s bulk helps him stay anchored to his chosen spot all night long. Quite an impressive bulk, I might add, at least for a cat. Or a small child.

So, before Tom and Lily head down the route taken by my cousin’s cat whose belly dragged the floor on the rare occasions he decided to walk anywhere rather than being carried around by my well-meaning aunt, I have put them on a diet. They’re not seeing the benefits of this and are quite disgusted at this recent development. Their bowl has always been full of kibble, Mr S and I filling it to the brim whenever we left the house just to make sure the little furballs wouldn’t go hungry. How could they?! They sleep all day and most of the night, too. When I come home from work I’m met by two cats stretching in the kitchen looking like I do first thing in the morning, blinking at the bright daylight and looking vaguely displeased at having to be awake in the first place. Usually there are two, still warm, cat-shaped indentations on our bed.

We have started giving Tom and Lily food only once a day. In the evenings, around 7pm. You’d think they’d wolf down whatever was put in front of them, especially there not being anything else available to them all day long. Wrong. They sniff the food, take a bite and then wander off. Snobby eaters. I gave them some leftover ham the last day. Tom played with his piece for a while, Lily pushed hers around the kitchen until she found a suitable spot for it and then walked away. Tom stared at his piece, seemingly trying to will it to move to make the hunt a bit more interesting and failing to do so, returned to his spot on the couch and went back to sleep.

Mr S has two cats at his hotel. He said he gave them a tin of cat food each the last night. The food was gone in a flash, the cats’ heads firmly inside the tins until every scrap of food was definitely gone. Then Rocky and Molly returned to their normal activities, hunting mice and birds around the hotel and occasionally sneaking inside and stretching in front of the fire.

I feel responsible for my pets’ wellbeing and obesity is a big problem. Tom already has had kidney stones of whatever the feline equivalent is called, and the vet told us in no uncertain terms that they were likely to reoccur unless he lost some weight. Lily used to be quite a svelte cat. Now, when she sits up in a certain way, she looks like a white penguin. I’m sure I will find a protest-poo somewhere surprising quite soon. I’m also preparing to be ignored in a way only cats cab master. You’ve never felt as small and insignificant until you’ve been ignored by a cat. Trust me.

But it is for their own good. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011


That's it. I am 30 years old. Quite appropriately my body seems to have given into the ageing process and is slowly deteriorating as I write. This may also be the cold/flu I've been trying to keep at arm's length for a while now. But I'll just go on pretending it's me ageing faster than Nicole Kidman without Botox.

It's not all bad, but turning 30 and feeling like you're only a day or two away from being bedridden isn't a great start. However, I shall persevere and google all the people who are older than me and still functioning normally and not falling apart at the seams.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Feeling Charitable

For quite some time now I’ve played around with the idea of going abroad to do some charity work. What exactly it is that I could do, I’m not so sure of. I’m sure I am in possession of some skills that could prove useful.

This notion has, no doubt, been brought on by the barrage of ads on TV especially over the Christmastime. And the charity muggers on the streets. I’m not against charity, definitely not, but there are ways of doing it that don’t prove offensive and often counterproductive to the cause. I know there’s a psychology behind it, get the people when they’re shopping for presents for other people and then remind them of those who are less fortunate. I do not want to be hassled on the streets or outside shops by sometimes unnecessarily aggressive fundraisers. I’m glad so many of them nowadays wear a high-visibility vest. Makes avoidance manoeuvres that much easier to perform without looking too obvious.
I’m not a complete scrooge; I do give to charity, every year. But I’d like to choose the charities I give money to myself. Charities I feel are relevant to me or causes I feel strongly about. What I don’t need is an overly chirpy and cheerful person interrupting my precision-planned shopping day by harassing me for my bank account details. If someone approached you in the same way vie email they’d swiftly end up in your “spam” folder. At least they are doing their bit for charity and I do appreciate it is thankless work (not least because of people like me), but seriously, there must be a better way.

The socialist in me fully supports the notion of those people in the high income bracket to be subjected to either a tax which is directly distributed to charities, or given the option of donating X amount of money to their chosen charity to be exempt from aforementioned tax. But that sort of takes the notion if charity out of the equation, doesn’t it? The whole idea is that as a collective humanity we should feel the need to help our own who have fallen on hard times. And not just our own kind, but the animals and other organic matter as well. Because we have apparently put ourselves in charge of this spherical celestial object and therefore need to bear the responsibility of making sure we don’t muck it up too much during our occupation.

In my mind’s eye I have this image of how working for a charity abroad might be a fantastic, eye-opening experience that would change my outlook on life and everything else. I know this is very much a romanticised image of people wearing khaki shorts and tank tops, drinking water out of canteens helping to save the world and gathering around a campfire in the evenings to sing songs and swap stories. I know, I know there is more than a dash of the hippy in me. The rational side of my brain knows that you would be going into a war-torn, disaster-struck country where the last thing the people need is some western idealist with rose-tinted specs dragging along a guitar and serious delusions of how music can save the world. You’ve lost your home, your family and everything you hold dear, you’re living in a tent with no water, no food and no idea where your loved ones are. You don’t need someone telling you how it is good to simplify your life while giving you a couple of bars of Kumbayah while they’re at it.

Perhaps my charitable donations should remain of the monetary kind for the time being. Until at least such a time when I’ve mastered Kumbayah on a guitar.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Year In Review

I thought I’d throw a wistful glance over my shoulder to look back on the year that was 2010. The year 2010 for me, that is, I’m sure there were other events in the world far more important than what I am about to go through here, but this is my blog so there. Suck these lemons.

Because of the freezing weather, I mostly remember being housebound and doing a lot of knitting. Work was closed due to the weather, too, so there was plenty of time to knit until I felt like I was turning into a 1950’s housewife. I didn’t quite manage the beehive hairstyle. Or the apron.
On the work front there were bad news. Some of the staff were laid off, made redundant, booted out the door etc. Tears were shed and there was a general feeling of unease, wondering who’s head would be next on the chopping block.
Ever the optimists, Mr S and I managed to fit in some househunting as well. Nothing much came from it, and in hindsight just as well, we’d be up to our tonsils in debt had we actually gone through with it. Shame though, it was a really nice flat.
                Song of the month: Florence & The Machine – You Got The Love
                Overall score 3/5

Probably because of the lay-offs and other, general malaise at work I did seriously consider quitting my job. I had my letter of resignation typed up and ready to be handed in if things got really bad. I looked around for a few jobs as well, got two interviews and few other bits out of my searching but in the end decided it wasn’t worth it. Why jack in a job that pays well and is local for one that pays a bit more but the commute is 2 hours each way? It gave me a nice ego boost though, knowing that I have skills that will come in handy should I ever find myself jobless.
I took my remaining holidays in February, too. Went to see the family and basically managed to gain a pound per day while there. It was so good to see everyone again, two weeks went by in a flash. A flash of giggles, food and too much drink. Especially after mine and my brother’s wine drinking marathon. 5 bottles for two people is a bit much, isn’t it?
                Song of the month: Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed
                Overall score 4/5

Looking back at March 2010 I can mainly remember the noise of an angle grinder mixed with that of a drill and cement dust. The restaurant I work in was getting a facelift and it wasn’t a minor one. It was horribly noisy and dusty and stressful. The end result is truly beautiful, but it was a painful journey to get there, no matter how nice the builders were. Apart from that creepy one. He was proper creepy.
I think I’m trying to block out the entire month just because it was so bloody stressful. Oh yes, I did buy myself new glasses. Win.
                Song of the month: Lady GaGa – Telephone
                Overall score 2/5

April brought me insomnia, big time. I get bouts every now and then but April’s dose had me bouncing off the walls. You try keeping yourself sane and functional while getting on average three hours’ sleep a night for a couple of weeks. Go on, I dare you.
On the work front, things were still getting busy and changing. Our head chef handed in his notice, sick of the pressure and stress. Our deputy manager hit him on the head with a diary. That’s how we roll. And consequently we were presented with a new head chef. He turned out okay, by the way, but we were a bit reserved to begin with.
The big news was the volcano in Iceland. Remember? Yeah, no flights in and no flights out of Europe. Ironically, that didn’t include Iceland where airports stayed fully operational. At work we saw a dip in visitor numbers for a while, although there were a lot of Irish people who decided to stay local instead of booking flights and ending up having them cancelled.
                Song of the month: Biffy Clyro – Captain
                Overall score 3/5

Ahh, May. The month I properly discovered the fabulousness that is Mumford & Sons. The spring was in full swing and the album Sigh No More was my soundtrack. A treat for the ears (end the eyes as I discovered after seeing the BBC3 coverage of the Reading and Leeds festival).
Having moaned about thins at work, and trust me there was plenty to moan about, true to the season that was in it, I went on a positivity binge. Not entirely sure whether or not it was a success, but mainly because we had some fabulous weather, everyone seemed to be in a good mood.
I must mention my pretty, shiny iPhone here. I still love it, am attached to it and will never buy another phone ever again. Okay?
                Song of the month: Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man
                Overall score 5/5

June saw some epic nights out and some more of fantastic weather. I understand that I must’ve been living in Ireland for too long if sunny and warm weather in the summertime has me running out immediately and feeling all continental having drinks outside the pub.
A few more people decided their time with our employer had come to an end, so there were some leaving parties, too. Basically, the month of June was spent in the pub. Or the beach.
I also had a little melt-down regarding what to wear to my cousins upcoming wedding in july. I spent a full day in Galway trying to find something to wear and came up empty. I managed to sort out the dress issue by cleverly doing some online shopping. And then abandoning those dresses and opting for another one I picked up later in Galway on shopping trip number two.
                Song of the month: Paolo Nutini - Candy
                Overall score 5/5

More fine weather in July. Hot weather and wasps. Work got invaded by them, literally. Our pretty, shiny new seating area outside saw people sitting down for their lunch and then quickly running for cover back inside for fear of being stung.
More barbeques and beach for me. I believe I may have consumed an entire cow in a month. That and couple of chickens and maybe half a pig, too. We did throw some corn on the cob on the barbeque, too but it was nearly always left untouched. Vegetarians would’ve starved to death.
I got to travel to Finland once again for my cousins wedding which was an eventful day (and night). My brother’s fiancé and I got out hair and makeup done in the morning which very nearly made us late for the whole thing. Got there alright, got drunk and had the mother of all hangovers the following day. And what better way to cure hangover than paint a stack on wood planks intended for cladding the main house at my father’s old homestead. In +34 degree heat. Yeah. Hardcore.
                Song of the month: Laura Marling – Rambling Man
                Overall score 4/5

After binging on meat of all types and quite frankly, way too much alcohol, I decided to start a Better Life. You know, exercise, less food, healthy food and all that goes with it. Yeah, about that... I did go walking a lot, I rang up a gym to find out about their fees and all that but nothing ever came of it.
I did eat healthier and drank a whole lot less. So it wasn’t all bad.
                Song of the month: Travie McCoy – Billionaire
                Overall score 3/5

My Mumford & Sons obsession got a second coming. Why, I don’t know exactly. I found myself drawn to Laura Marling’s music as well. Nice, autumn-y tunes. As opposed to the bouncy, pop-y tunes we’d been listening to all summer long.
I finally went ahead and got my hair cut short. I had wanted to do that for a good while, but decided that I wanted to have a nice up-do for the wedding, so this was the time to get the chop. And it turned out fabulous. Still is. Although I’ve had it cut even shorter since then.
I was also bitten by the travel bug. Typical autumn for me, then. I get itchy feet and drool  over travel brochures and then decide it’s too expensive. But that two week trip to Kenya is still somewhere in the back of my mind. It wasn’t too expensive...I don’t think.
                Song of the month: Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds
                Overall score 4/5

October is always a miserable month. Dark and horrible and rainy. This year made worse by my grandfather passing away. No more to be said of this vile month.
                Song of the month: Biffy Clyro – Many Of Horror
                Overall score 1/5

In November we got our notice to move house. Which resulted in some hilarity when we went to see houses for let. Too big, too small, smelly, old and ridiculously expensive. I’m glad both Mr S and I have a sense of humour. The landlords clearly did, too.
The weather turned cold, icy and snowy. Which turned me into a hibernating, weather-obsessed hermit. I was engrossed in television, namely I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! It did prove a welcome distraction from the shambles that was the IMF bailout. Irish economy was in the shits yet the government was denying that they were going to ask for a bailout while the media all over Europe already knew the size of the bailout. Ridiculous.
                Song of the month: Take That – Flood
                Overall score 3/5

We got even more snow and ice in December. Which resulted me in wrecking my back bumper. Sadface. My pretty little car. I did give myself an awful fright, too. Bumper needs to be fixed yet, but at least I’ve gotten a quote and it wasn’t too bad in the end.
The snow caused our workplace to close simply because it was too dangerous to get out there. The snow also made sure that our long planned and eagerly awaited for trip to Finland was out of the question. Same went for the company Christmas party. The thaw couldn’t come fast enough.
On the positive note, we did find a house to move into in the new year. A nice three-bed with the nicest landlords you could imagine. Awesome.
                Song of the month: Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are
                Overall score 3/5