Party

Look and Lifestyle, Uncategorized, Visuals

I turned 24 this week.

The change has had its ups and downs. Predominantly downs, as you can imagine; at 24 my mum was married, had me on the way and a flourishing new business in the pipeline. At the same age, that chap Spiegel who invented Snapchat was already worth something-billion dollars and turning down offers left, right and centre for his creation. Beyoncé decided, at this shining time in her life, to break away from Destiny’s Child and pave the way to a bright future and a solo career.

I, on the other hand, have been given my first proper handbag by my friends to stop me from carrying around my ‘embarrassing’ net shopping bag and am more often than not covered head to toe in dogs’ wee. This is the marking of my 24th year (25th year? Don’t – even worse.)

Plants

Look and Lifestyle

In life there are various indications that one is becoming old.

Such indications include forgetting and muddling the names of nearest and dearest (“Claire – er, Kate – Jesus!  Karen, can you pass the milk?”) and frantically looking for one’s glasses when they are perched on top of one’s head. Though, luckily, I haven’t yet reached either of these stages, as I approach the dawn of my 24th year I have noticed one specific change in myself which does indicate a certain maturity, despite my eternal incapacity to clean up after myself and my penchant for buying cuddly toys. And that change, friends, is a recent significant increase in my interest for cultivating plants; a feature usually associated, I’m sure you’ll agree, with middle-aged women in straw hats and portly fathers brandishing trowels and scattering slug pellets about their vegetable patches (like – ahem – my own dad.)

Dogs

Uncategorized

Hello everybody, a happy Tuesday to you.

A while ago I wrote about the challenges of leaving college/generally moving between life stages and the problems encountered as part of the process. Such problems include feeling purposeless, at a loose end, and, in my case, downright batty. Suddenly all the energy you’ve been drilling into study and reading and thinking and so forth isn’t needed for that any more and it ends up going into other such exciting activities as questioning what’s wrong with you and shouting at people who ask you what the next step is.

You might be pleased to note that I’ve recently discovered something more fruitful into which I can merrily blast this energy. Something which leaves me covered in dribble and mud and sometimes wee at the end of the day but it doesn’t matter, because it also makes me feel content, purposeful and able to just enjoy things again. That something is volunteering at the local dog shelter, the DSPCA.

An Introduction to Film

Visuals

Gooooood morning.

This is just a little collection of my first developed film pictures for your enjoyment. A little while ago Jack kindly sat on Ebay and bid away at a vintage Olympus for me and got me a great deal, and I began snapping away this month. So I suppose these are like the June Archives. Hopefully I can get a collection out every month on here (I just have to be stringent and, like Jack, take my camera absolutely everywhere with me).

But I’m excited – there are even some projects in the pipeline, the ideas for which have flourished since I began volunteering at the DSPCA (Dublin’s main animal protection shelter). More on this to come.

For now, enjoy these pictures. Some of them are crap but I’m putting that down to inexperience and pressing the button too enthusiastically so the camera didn’t have time to focus…but I’ll learn eventually.

Monday Book Corner Episode 2: 40 Years with the Krays

Uncategorized

Happy Monday errybody.

It’s actually sweltering in Dublin at the moment. I’m sitting at the kitchen table in a t-shirt thinking that even the t-shirt is too hot to wear, but I can’t go backless/strapless/bikini-ed today due to less-than-attractive lobster look acquired yesterday at the Sunday Market. Things could be worse, of course. I could be one of the poor American tourists who decided to come here this week and packed nothing but a range of “Irish Weather Protective Gear” like hiking boots and cagoules, only to find themselves in what can only be described as tropical conditions.

This week the book of choice was also a true story, stemming again from my tendency to become obsessed with other people’s lives and legends. This particular obsession began in Paris, when Jack and I watched Legend starring Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy as the notorious Kray twins.

Kiera’s Book Corner Episode 1: Man’s Search for Meaning

Uncategorized

Good evening pals, and welcome to Kiera’s Monday Book Corner.

Firstly let me apologise for the lateness of this post. If you’re here because you’ve seen me bragging about the Book Corner on Instagram, specifically the post which promised this first entry to be put up this afternoon, I’m sorry I’m late. Aside from the fact that I am nearly always late, my windscreen wipers snapped off the car the other day and I took the opportunity this sunny afternoon to go and get them welded back on, so I was very busy.

The good news is that I’ve made it. It is Monday still and the Monday Book Corner’s first post has made it to the site just in time. Phew.

This week’s read is a book that I admittedly have read once before, sometime last year, but decided to give it another go this week after remembering how profoundly moving and beautiful and tragic it was. This week’s entry is Dr. Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” (available here).

Five do the Wild Atlantic Way

Travel

I’ve just arrived back to Castle Black (my house) after a fun-filled week travelling the south and west coasts of my glorious little country (Ireland, for anyone wondering. Which is why it can take as little as a week to drive around the whole south and west coasts). Sometime in January, my friend Eve and I were contemplating exploring the country we’ve been raised and in embarrassingly have never fully seen, and when my friend Katie in Scotland announced that she and her housemates were thinking of roadtripping around Ireland this summer, we jumped on that bandwagon in full roadtrip regalia.

New Ways of Being

Uncategorized

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I hope most of you are enjoying the sunshine outside today. For anyone sitting at your office desk counting down the hours to the weekend, you have my sympathy and also only about 29 more to wait until freedom. Although it is supposed to rain all weekend, so that’s a pity for you.

I’ve just come back from four days at my dad’s house in the Wild West, as I call it, which is actually not in the west but in the south of Ireland (but in the western part of the south called West Cork and that’s where it gets its very witty name). It was the first time I’ve spent there in as long as I can remember that I didn’t feel an underlying sense of guilt for not reading some sort of dull report or writing practice essays on German poets or checking college emails to make sure I haven’t forgotten something very important. For the first time in at least six years, I felt wholly relaxed and free to do as I pleased, be it helping Dad dig a new little flower bed next to the pond, reading a book (of my own choice!) in the sun room  or drinking old bottles of Namibian Tinta Barocca late into the night without worrying about having a very functioning brain the next morning.

But whilst this lazy post-finals haze all sounds very idyllic and restful, there is still a niggling feeling that I can’t shake off, and I’m sure it’s the same for most college-leavers at some point in the immediate aftermath of finishing final exams. While I was still in the throws of mine, I phoned my best friend Katie in Scotland, who had finished hers a few days previously. “You must feel amaaaaazing!” I gushed, already feeling excitement building as I imagined walking out of the exam hall on the Thursday afternoon into the welcoming summer sun (it rained that day in fact, which is typical). “I did for a few days afterwards,” she said, “but – and it might not be the same for you – the panic about results and what’s going to happen next has started to set in now.” Even though I couldn’t imagine such a panic, even in the days directly after I finished, such a little knot of dread has struggled to its feet and begun to lumber about in my head in the last few days. Sometimes it tires and goes for a rest and the excitement of freedom and looming summer adventures takes over again, but when nap-time’s over the knot gets right back up and back to his post at the forefront of my mind.

Such a feeling, I’m sure many of you will understand, is exacerbated by such things as family friends leaping in front of you and demanding, “So what’s next??!” You can almost see a sort of lottery wheel spinning around in their head with things like “Going to work on Wall Street!”, “Travelling the world!” or “Doing a Masters!” written on each segment. As you hum and haw the wheel slows and ticks past each of these options before landing on “Who Knows!”, and the poor person’s expression is wiped of anticipation and replaced with a blank gaze before they stutter, “Well…it must be nice to be finished, at least”, to which you reply, “It was until this hideous encounter”, but in your head.

The problem is that during college you have so many dreams for your future whirring around in hour very busy head, but you also have the safety-net of “still studying” keeping you from having to act yet, from  having to push yourself into the scariness of Real Life and grab whatever flies your way with both hands. In my case, new dreams are born every day, and where I’m finding myself now is a vast expanse in which ideas ping pong past on an almost daily basis, but don’t stay around long enough to materialise. While I was standing in Dad’s garden watching him prune a fir tree I complained to him about the situation to which he replied, “At your age, your head should be full of ideas. I wouldn’t expect anything else.” He continued pruning the tree and I went inside to put on the kettle, a little pacified but still not completely certain.

One of the hardest things to get my head around is the expectation that a child of 18 knows what he or she wants to be for the rest of their life and must then make the decision to follow that path. That is why I chose a BA in Modern Languages, giving me the freedom, I thought, to apply myself to whatever I like while chattering away in German or French as I go. But now that I am finished, I do not want to be a German or French teacher. I do not want to work in the EU (I don’t think). I do not want to be an academic because I don’t have the patience. So then I, and countless others who leave college with a degree that is not applied, are left wondering “What am I?” and, indeed, “Who am I?”

This is all sounding very negative, and I’m sorry. I might take this opportunity to give a little insight into Positive Kiera’s outlook on all of this: the good side to leaving college with an identity that is not yet perfectly sculpted and a bustling myriad of ideas which will not sit still is that you still have time to decide, grow and choose what and who you are. You still have space to try things, to feel, yes, the occasional thud of defeat, but the plentiful moments that something is working out and feels right. We have all heard success stories about people who have come from little and become great. My stepdad, for example, left school at 16 and became a DJ – though somewhere along the way somebody observed that he was good at maths and now he is the project manager of a bank. Jack recently met a chap in Croatia who, having worked for years on Wall Street and having decided it was not for him, moved to Croatia to become a boat skipper. Stories about change and fate and decisions give me hope for the people who answer “What next?” with “Who knows?” If you have any success stories or advice for college leavers you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

I have written a lot today, haven’t I? I hope you managed to get to the end and haven’t fallen asleep at your desk or thrown your laptop into the nearest dustbin. I also hope that, if you ever find yourself wondering “Who am I?” that reading this will remind you that you have lots and lots of time to become whomever you want to be, and in the meantime you are a wondrous creature with hundreds of possibilities. I am off on a roadtrip now around the Irish coast with some excellent girls. Next Thursday I promise there will be less depth and more pictures to my post 🙂

See you soon and lots of love,

K. x

(cover picture by the amazing Amanda Shadforth at @Oraclefox)

Lucy and Kiera’s Summer Bray-cation

Travel, Visuals

Hello loves!

Today is a magnificent day. I am finished college forever and the sun is shining and later today my friend Ellen is hosting a Grown-Up Children’s Sports Day in her garden (sports will include sack races, egg-and-spoon races, obstacle courses and Competitive Hide-and-Seek, all with a fine smattering of jelly-shots and beer to keep the good-times rolling).

Yesterday, Lucy and I decided to go to Bray and walk around the headland to Greystones where we would cosy up at sundown with a falafel wrap at The Happy Pear. Unfortunately, and characteristically, all did not go completely according to plan. Somewhere along the walk a grey cloud smothered and burst over Greystones, and we found out, at 7.30 pm, that The Happy Pear closes at 6. So we walked just over halfway and then turned back to avoid what can only be described as a falafelless washout.

We did still get a bit wet, mind you. Luckily I had worn a beret to keep my head dry, though as many of you know, when wool gets wet it takes on an unattractive wet-dog scent, and in the end it didn’t prove to be much help. Still, such a weird mix of blazing sun and lashing rain would, I reminded Lucy, surely cause a beautiful rainbow to appear over the seaside town.

“I’m glad you’re such an optimist,” she said. But since I am known, among my closest friends, to be able to completely change my mood and go from Care Bear to Death Stare in less than five minutes, I said, “Yes. Nice of Optimistic Kiera to show her face today. We needed her.”

“Still plenty of time yet,” Lucy said, “for the other one to rear her ugly beret-ed head.” And we both chortled and continued on along the strand, wondering if the men pushing the big orange rowboats into the sea were trying to steal them of if they were the Bray Rowing Club.

I’d better go now; time stops for no man and all that. I have to get my eggs ready for the Sports Day races.

Have a lovely day, all. See you next time!

K. x

IMGP3193IMGP3210

IMGP3226IMGP3259IMGP3270IMGP3292IMGP3295IMGP3166

IMG_7918IMG_7942

img_7898.jpg

School’s Out

Visuals

Because sometimes when you have a two week college break it makes you feel inspired to get creative and hang out by the sea.

Recently I’ve been getting more interested in photography (and if you saw my little ski video you’ll know I’ve even begun to dabble in film which is unexpected since until recently I didn’t know the first thing about filming or editing). It’s a great way to get creative during busy times as well as being good at forcing you to look for the pretty things as you go about your day. Here’s a little bit of fun that my best friend Eve and I got up to during our college break in March, on one of the sunnier days in Dublin.