Looking for some Arty Farty Vibes in Galway?

Here is a piece I wrote for NUI Galway’s newspaper recently where I combined my love of Galway, quirky places, arty vibes, and lists. Perhaps it will be of some use to some of you!

1. The Secret Garden

Colourful cushions, fairy lights, books, board games, open space, handmade furniture, local artwork, coffee, cakes and teas that you can smell before tasting.
Sounds like your kind of vibe? Head to The Secret Garden at 4 William Street West.

2. Dough Bros
There’s more to tasty ingredients and slick social media to running one of the most successful restaurants in Galway. This is clear the moment you enter brothers Eugene and Ronan’s pizzeria  – where you can read all about their uplifting story on their colourful walls, relax on their hip furniture, admire their innovative tomato can light fixtures, whilst watching them perfect the art of dough.

3. Galway City Museum
This spacious, current building not only has one of the best views of the city, but houses some of the best art exhibitions, and holds some of Galway’s richest history… and it’s free! And while you’re at it, you may as well go and have a gawk at the coloured painted houses that sit nearby on the banks of the River Corrib. (If you catch it all on a sunny afternoon with the visiting black swan, it’s more than Instagram worthy!)

 

4. The Great Escape Rooms
Have you ever paid to be locked in a room for 60 minutes with a group of your pals? Well, you should! The aim of the game is to work as a team, solving clues and making connections in order to escape. But it’s an escape on another level too – the rooms are so brilliantly designed that you will instantly forget your daily life, and be focused on nothing but your surroundings. For more, click here

 

5. Tribeton
Tribeton is by far one of Galway’s most remarkable art-deco buildings. There is almost too much to say about the design here – hand painted floor murals, huge open stair case, two tiered chandeliers, antique mirrors, beautiful furniture, vintage style lighting … the longest bar and most open kitchen you will find in the city… not to mention the amazing cocktails.

6. Coffee Werk & Press
The coffee shop scene is having a bit of a moment in Galway right now, so it was difficult not to make this an entire list of cafes! But in terms of aesthetically pleasing interior, with showcases of national and international art and crafts upstairs, this little gem on Quay Street is where you need to go. With each coffee made to perfection, and arty vibes throughout, you’ll find your mood instantly shifting to a more positive place.

7. The Town Hall Theatre
If you are seeking to support music, theatre, dance, comedy, literature, film and lots more, this is the place for you. With events on year round, it’d be rude not to!

8. Caribou
This craft beer spot in Woodquay has really lifted the bar! Extremely comfy laid back vibes and a huge supply of board games – it’s worth popping into Shane and the lads if you’re looking for somewhere with good drink and good vibes.

Image result for caribou galway

9. Biteclub
Excellent street food, bohemian vibes and funky music. Biteclub on Abbeygate street is perfect for a fun brunch with friends, or dinner and drinks with a date.

10. Hazel Mountain Chocolate
Located on Middle Street, stepping into Hazel Mountain is like stepping into another realm. Rich chocolatey aromas fill the open space, and there is always a chocolatier available to explain the art of cocoa beans, whilst serving you their signature hot chocolate.

 

I Don’t Care Anymore

In the past couple of weeks I haven’t accomplished much (study wise) because Netflix exists and The Front Door  opened a new Gin bar and now I’m stressing out a little, but that’s okay. I mean, I’m not entirely proud of my addictive personality and tendency to procrastinate/binge, but I’m okay with it. I’m okay with me. You see, something strange happened to me recently, and I think we need to talk about it.

It was a regular morning in the life of the Tull-Meister. A regular morning, until the mirror.
*Example of regular morning in life of Tull-Meister: Wake up with beautiful Italian ride of a man beside me, and an even more beautiful dawn outside my huge window. Feel totally rested, all set for anything or anyone the day can throw at me. Jump out of my king sized bed, ready for my fifty minutes of morning yoga with Pier (French personal trainer/life guru). Take shower in my all marble bathroom. (The bathroom is the size of an average childhood bedroom, and I love the way my angelic voice echoes off the marble when I sing….)*

I think I was singing something Whitney Houston that morning, only a little better than her – but I can’t be sure, it was just a regular morning… As I looked at my wonderful blemish free skin in the mirror, I remember thinking: “Wow, I look incredible!! It must be all the delicious kale and other very green things that I absolutely love eating…”

Okay. So maybe I have been watching a little too much Netflix, and that is not exactly how a regular morning pans out for Tull-Meister… but it was indeed, a regular morning. Until the mirror.

So there I was. On this regular morning. Being my regular self. Ready to start my regular make-up and getting dressed in under seven minutes routine. It was a real Galway kind of morning – cold and crisp with potential of clearing, sleet with a chance of snow, with some sun threatening a heat wave. The toes on a pair of slightly scruffy boots peaked out longingly at me from the bottom shelf. I stared back pensively at them… It was what one may refer to as “having a moment”.

Like many things that have been deemed unstylish, the boots are a particularly comfortable boot, perfect for Galway weather – my elegant and stylish granny once called them “practical” in the special bubble-wrap way grannies have of never ever hurting our feelings. I have a very steady relationship with the boots. But, as I said – unstylish. I’m probably (definitely) not hipster enough to pull them off with the black New Look pinafore dress I was sporting.

But then it happened. I had another moment.

I took out the boots, put them on, and stood in front of the mirror. They looked slightly outrageous … I looked slightly outrageous. A smile grew on my face.
I don’t care, I thought. I DON’T CARE.

After the mirror incident, I danced out the door, and feeling lighter after my realisation, walked to college. Along the way, I looked down at my comfortable little feet and started to doubt myself … was I going a bit mad? Or even worse, was I turning into some kind of wanna-be hipster? I mean, I am extremely intelligent, witty and progressive… But I’m just not edgy enough to pull off the effortlessly cool look. And, even worse, my vision is perfect, and my budget is low – there is no way I could afford some thick rimmed glasses…
Was I simply getting too carried away with my liberal arts degree? Was I going to start telling people that I study “orts”, not “arts”? Was I going to grow a beard…?

I thought about turning back and changing into something a little more …mainstream, but I was already late and I was just so damn comfortable. Before I knew it, I was in college. And you will never guess what happened when I got in there….

Absolutely nothing!

It was just a regular day. I was studying “arts” in NUIG (where there is absolutely no dress code), I was comfortable, and I didn’t care. The more steps I took through NUIG campus in my magic boots, the less I cared.

Image result for i dont care

 

The less I cared about the boots, the more time I had to care about what I was really in college for.

So, I decided to start applying my new way of life to everything I possibly could. Each day brought more and more things that I don’t care about to my attention… and now I am a truly enlightened being!

I decided to take a sabbatical from time sucking Instagram. I sat at the front of a philosophy lecture and asked questions. I declined an invitation to the college bar by simply telling the person “I don’t want to go”. I told somebody else to stop sending me “streaks” on snapchat, what age are we?! I didn’t smile at that ignorant bus driver. I wore gym leggings to do my grocery shopping – sure I may as well get the use out of them.

Basically, since that magic mirror moment of realising I don’t care anymore, my quality of life has improved. It sounds so basic – probably because it is- but, somewhere along the way, I was socially conditioned into caring about these irrelevant little things, and it seems I was wasting my time. Now, I haven’t reached the waking up with Mr. Italian, doing yoga and eating very green food all the time perfect life… In fact, I haven’t accomplished much more than finishing series on Netflix in the past few days, but I’m okay with all of that. I’m okay with me. Now that I have stopped wasting time caring about other silly things, I can afford a Netflix binge now and again.

You should try it. Tell me what you don’t care about.
(I’m joking – don’t tell me. I don’t care).

Some Recent Life Changing Decision’s

I was lounging in my dressing gown last night, googling pictures of your man that played Nate in The Devil Wear’s Prada, when I started to think about decisions. You see, Nate was feckin’ gorgeous – with a more dangerous kind of look than the striking James Bond type, he was cute and ordinary looking enough to make you believe that maybe even you could find him at the bar in Electric some night. But Nate was also a big baby! Remember he threw that strop in the movie when he thought his birthday was more important than his girlfriend’s writing career?! Ugh. So, as I sat there in my dressing gown, I stopped drooling, and came to a decision.

Image result for nate the devil wears prada
“If I ever happen to have a boyfriend with a mop of curls you’d love to bring home to Mammy, I won’t let him come between me and my writing… even if he does have ice cool blue eyes that would cure the worst of hangovers” I decided.

This got me thinking about all the other decisions that I have made recently, and how they have altered my life. For example, last week I decided to buy myself a stapler, and my life has never felt more together.

Image result for stapler

Last month, I decided to replace binge watching Netflix with binge reading books. The month before that, when I was getting nostalgic for strong eight year old Tull-Meister who could take on her brothers in a wrestling match, I decided to exercise with a goal to become strong rather than to “stay in shape”. (Now, I’m not exactly a gym bunny. I’m more of a let’s sit in a café with scones and books kind of bunny, so this decision was never going to be an easy one. The majority of my workout attempts have involved me sweating and screaming in the style of a movie birth-scene, rather than a fun fitness video. But there is a lot of hope that I will be wresting my brothers like back in the 90’s very soon).
Now, before I go off on a tangent about how learning to wrestle your brothers is actually lot healthier than exercising to become a certain size (the daft idea of constantly striving for weight loss is simply female oppression if you ask me!)… There’s one particular decision I made this academic year that changed my life, and I think we need to talk it.

I moved out of my student accommodation, and into a palace.

When I say palace, I mean my aunts beautiful home, with a dishwasher, heating, and lots of other complete novelties that do not exist in the realm of student accommodation.

Image result for palace bedroom (my new bedroom)

Since my aunt (who is beautiful, warm and tidy, just like her house) took me in, I don’t know myself! It was an adjustment at first, because I am essentially a house guest, and house guests are … weird. They are basically friendly spies – going around your home, collecting information about you, like if you shower daily or not, and taking note of that Wine for Dummies book you bought in the airport seven years ago. They are intrusions to a person’s primary territory – and I think that is why our natural instinct is to not allow them to stay any longer than a couple of nights. So, I tried my best to fit into my aunts primary territory, and not appear like a spy at all, by doing the things that she does, like talking about work and general adult life.

“Kev in my work office is really annoying me” I’d begin.
“Caoimhe, you work in a coffee shop, with all girls….”
“Oh yes, ammm sorry, the stock market has got me all frazzled. Would you like to go … lampshade shopping some day?”
When she looked at me like my head had turned into an actual lampshade, I realised I had to come up with a better way of convincing her that I could be an adult, that I could fit in.

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So, I did what all experts would advise in these scenarios, and wrote down a list of my strengths.

1. I make a great lemon sponge.
2. I don’t listen to reggae music (much).
3. I follow Home and Away religiously.
4. I’m a good sturdy build (I can’t borrow/steal slim aunts clothes).
5. I can write.
I have since learnt that lemon sponge loses its novelty quite quickly, and that sometimes a simple “thank you” can do the job. (If not, it might help to write about it).

 

22 things I know as a 22 year Old With 4 Years of University Under the Belt …

1. The semi colon is a way of joining two clauses of equal importance to each other; it links ideas together. It’s not to be confused with a comma, a full stop or a colon. (This was the first and possibly most important lesson in my Creative Writing class). Image result for semi colon

2. Water is the essence of beauty.

3. Pasta is extremely diverse – one can survive on pasta for up to six days a week. (Well, I’m still here, aren’t I?!)

4. Procrastination has its pros. (I’m pretty much the queen of all nighters when it comes to assignments and study. Over the years I have tried to change my work and writing style, but I’ve finally accepted that my best work is produced under pressure. And that’s okay).

5. Shut up complaining! I don’t know about you, but I like to complain. I whinge about the weather, about assignments, I say I have “writers block”, about the cost of a purple snack bar… But sometimes this can take over, and become a complete distraction from the opportunities we are all surrounded by. We are so lucky. There is no excuse for needless complaining.

6. Most landlords are greedy demon spawn.

7. Four cups of coffee in a row is too many cups of coffee.

Image may contain: 1 persontry to avoid co-hosting a radio show after 4 cups

 8.Buy a bra that actually fits.

Image result for support bras funny pic

9. It’s okay not to know what you’re going to do after college. I wasted a lot of this academic year worrying about what I’m going to do afterwards. I researched master’s degrees, loans to do the masters, graduate visas, sugar Daddy’s (lol, jk!)… But then I woke up one morning, and had a good chat with myself over a cup of coffee… “You’re only 22 years old. The years after you graduate are so open and filled with opportunity… Write, travel, learn, take risks, stop worrying”.

10. That tiny coffee shop in the IT building does the best coffee on campus.

11. “I’m a student/I’m in college” is a justification for almost anything. Drinking at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon? Have a messy bedroom? Need to get a taxi for a few euro less? Stayed up till 6am watching Disney movies? Haven’t eaten anything but cereal in 2 days? Accidentally killed somebody? Most of these can be justified by your student status … most.

12. Leaving your teens does not mean leaving spotty skin behind. Adult acne is a thing too.

13. You don’t need to drink to have fun. Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of pre-drinks followed by pub drinks followed by club drinks followed by after party drinks followed by the cure drinks… But it turns out that being sober can be just as much craic. In fact, so much craic that I probably should have put this as number one on the list.

14. Two cups of green tea isn’t going to cleanse you of the pre drinks followed by pub drinks followed by pub drinks followed by after party drinks binge. Nor is two days of healthy eating going to turn you into an Instagram babe.

15. Re read 13 & 14.

16. You can iron your clothes with your hair straightener.

17. Return your library books. It’s not that hard.

18. You don’t have to read all of the books. You don’t even have to buy half of the books. But remember – you get out what you put in.

19. Don’t eat in the library, PC suite, lectures, or while you are walking. Just take 15 minutes for yourself and go eat somewhere appropriate. (This is more a plea to the masses than a lesson I have learnt. Please).

20. Save some of your cash money dolla bills. Don’t rush into Penny’s the minute you get paid. Seriously, you don’t need three candles, fluffy socks and that pair of shoes you haven’t even tried on.

21. Back up your photos/computer documents/that novel you are working on ….

22. Never reply to a message when you are angry. Or drunk (or both).

 

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What lessons have you learnt over the past few years? (or, what is your choice of pancake topping?! I’d love to hear! Tweet me here 🙂 )

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

Remember when we were six years old and the teacher would ask the class what we were going to be when we grew up?

The majority were going to have secure, mostly public service jobs. “I’m going to be a teacher/doctor/Garda” they’d announce, with a sure smile, as they dropped their colouring pencils to think of the nice pension plan that lay ahead in sixty years time.

Next, there would be a solid show of hands for fireman, singer, ballerina and vet.
Then, came the two dreamers. One would be sitting at the front of the class, shouting about how they were going to be “The President of The United States”, even though we were in a small school in a rural town in Ireland.

The other, was me.

“I am going to be a mother, or a writer… Or both” I would say, my cheeks burning as 24 pairs of eyes would turn towards me and my unpopular dream.

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(Can you spot the aspiring writer?)

The other day, I had a reflective hungover moment at The Yellow Thing on campus, where I realised I only have half a semester of college left – and my answer is still the same. Eighteen years of education, and I haven’t changed my mind.

Image result for nuig yellow thing (The Yellow Thing, NUIG)

Now, I am a Cancer, so I’m naturally stubborn – but I think the fact that I haven’t changed my mind on this one has to be talked about. Have you a couple of minutes? Could we talk about it? Thanks.

Image result for therapist couch

Oh, you want me to lie down on that red velvet couch and talk about my childhood? Don’t mind if I do…

Okay, well I think I can blame Mammy Tull-Meister for a lot of this. (What kind of Irish Mammy would she be if she didn’t get the blame for almost everything?). Mammy Tull-Meister is a beautiful, all knowing being, you see. She is goodness and grace incarnate. So, I suppose it’s only normal that when I was a little girl, I wanted to be “Mammy Tull-Meister, new and improved millennial version, with real live baby instead of sticky baby born” when I grew up.

But I’m not entirely sure what the writer dream was created from. Perhaps it came from a muddle of Roald Dahl books, a fascination with people, and the fact I received fancy stationary for every birthday or Christmas present, ever (I still do). Perhaps Mammy Tull-Meister read too many Maeve Binchy books when she was expecting me.

Look, I don’t know. We could be here all day trying to figure it out, and I know you don’t have that kind of time. I know you’re busy studying to be/being a teacher, nurse, computer engineer … maybe you really did become the President of the USA (Obama, Trump – I know you read my articles… )

Image result for donald trump reading

(Donald Trump reading from my blog)

Anyway, the point is, I haven’t changed my mind. And I don’t need to. What needs to change, is the question.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a future orientated question – and the future can be a magically dazzling place of possibilities. Or it can be a frighteningly uncertain place, for those of us whose career choices mightn’t be as straightforward as others.

So, instead of asking ourselves what we want to be, maybe it’s time start to asking how we want to be.

I want to be happy, and writing makes me happy. How about you? 

Valentines Guide: What To Do When You’ve Got No Boo

Ever since the great philosopher Rihanna claimed she “found love in a hopeless place”, I’ve been wondering where that was. And after four years here, I think I am qualified to say that no – it was not NUIG. Of course, we’ve all gained a plethora of knowledge since our first days here at NUIG, from how to reference in APA format, to how to buy three weeks worth of groceries with 20 euro. Some of us might even say we’ve “found ourselves” here, but very few of us have found love…

Until today! So fasten your seat belts, put your pants on, drink five espressos .. just pay attention, okay? Tull-Meister is here to tell you how to find love, just on time for V-day.

1. Get Swiping

Mammys are always right. Some of you may recall that mine encouraged me to “get on the tinder” way back in October, and I haven’t looked back since. Apart from that accidental date I ended up having with my second cousin (Galway is a small place), Tinder has been a pretty good time for me. Some of you may have even matched me yourselves, and you will agree with me when I say that I am at least 45% better looking, 56% more interesting, and 80% more pleasant on my profile. In the world of tinder, you can be the best fake version of yourself – and swipe through other fake versions of people to your hearts content. A sure way to happiness, and perhaps even to find the one.. So get swiping.

Image result for tinder symbols

 

2. Start Striving

If you’re reading this, you are more than likely a millenial, like myself. You were probably born some time between the 80’s and late 90’s, not giving a feck what you looked like. For the first few years of your life you were a screaming snotty mess, wearing bright coloured puffy clothes and eating a stable diet of delicious liga biscuits. Bliss!

You weren’t born caring about your diet, what size you were, what clothes you owned, how big your lips were, how shiny your hair was… but the thing is, you were born into a world that told you that you should care about these things.

That’s right kids, drop those liga biscuits – its time to learn how to measure your self worth. In order to be better, to be happier, to find love … you need to take a good long look at yourself. Then look at a Kardashian. Then look back at yourself. Then sit down. Reflect… Think: how could I look more like this? Slimmer, bigger boobs, bigger lips, shinier hair, a nicer ass, defined cheeks.. the list goes on. So get striving.

 

Image result for kardashian family

 

3. Pay Attention

It’s Thursday night in Galway. I’m sitting in a bar, flicking my perfectly long and shiny blonde hair. There’s a man oppisite me. A nice one. This is the closest I’ve gotten to a real life date – the fourteen year old girl within me is skipping around with her stupid mullet hair cut.
How did I get here? Simple. I paid attention.

In November, I picked my suitor. November was perfect for me, because the pubs of Galway were a little quieter and my suitor happened to be a happy go lucky bar tender. He also happened to have a penchant for hunky dory crisps and the foo fighters. (Information such as this was gathered on those quiet November evenings, when I saw him eating the buffolo flavour ones, and heard him tell a customer he was going to a foo fighters concert with his girlfriend).
I then proceeded to buy a foo fighters tshirt on ebay, and a years supply of hunky dorys to always have in my handbag.

Next step: stalking his girlfriend on Facebook. She was blonde with genuine eyes. My conclusion: he likes blonde girls with genuine eyes.

Naturally, I dyed my hair blonde. I’m a red head, so there was a transition period where I wore a lot of hats, but I’m almost perfect now – I just need to look into those lip fillers, and be a little slimmer…

It’s Thursday night in Galway, if the barman was single and on the opposite side of this bar, this might be considered a date. If I was given a chance to actually love myself, maybe it’d be easier to find love.

Is it time we stop swiping and striving?

 

 

The Three Steps to Becoming an Adult … (and what happened to me when I took them)

Here’s the thing: I’ve never really accepted the transition to adulthood.

If you ask me what the most important book I’ve ever read is, I will probably describe the Enid Blyton and Jaqueline Wilson collection that is stacked in order of size on the lilac shelf in my bedroom. If you happen to know that particular lilac shelf, you will know that it matches everything in my room, including the lilac “groovy chick” cushion on my bed. If you know me well enough to have seen my cushion collection, you will know that it excites me almost as much as a pair of fluffy socks.

Image result for jacqueline wilson books
But, in the spirit of it being my final semester of college, I decided to give this adult craic a weeks’ trial. Here’s what happened…

 

 

1. Yoga                                                                    Image result for yoga

The first great thing about going to yoga class was that I hadn’t been to my gym for so long that nobody recognised me, so I got a “free trial” and saved myself a tenner. The second great thing came in the form of an important adult style lesson about being riddled with notions. You see, being so full of preconceptions, I had expected the class to be full of outré characters. But, to my surprise, there were very few people who seemed to come from long haired green organic goat chakra farms.

In fact, the majority of the class were very healthy, toned and trendy looking individuals. Well, if that isn’t an advertisement for hot yoga, I don’t know what is – I thought, as I watched Mister Muscle in front of me stretch his calves. Then, our instructor walked in, and I swear I’ve never seen somebody so comfortable in their body. She lit some incense and started to float around the room, rhyming off mystical language about energies … and before I knew it, we were all united as sweaty elastic bands, bowing to each other and half whispering “Namaste”.
I left the class enlightened and slightly floating (although, I’m not sure if that had as much to do with the yoga, as it did the fact that Mister Muscle definitely winked at me when he said “Namaste”…).
Anyway, the greatest lesson was learned in the dressing room afterwards: It is obligatory to take a full length mirror gym selfie to post to social media (there are filters to edit out your sweat patches and red face). Because, as Buddha himself said: “If nobody on Instagram knows you have done yoga, hast thou really even done yoga?”

 
2. Regrets
Entering the adult realm, for me, was kind of a big deal. So, it was only fair that I decided to leave all my regrets at the door as I walked through. The fact that I spent the tenner I saved at free yoga trial on McDonalds? Left at the door. That mullet style haircut in 2014? No entry. Your man I shifted on the fifth floor of the nightclub in Prague? Sorry, not tonight pal… Je ne regret Rien, and all that.

Image result for je ne regrette rien tattoo

 
For a couple of days, I even considered getting a tattoo of “Je ne regret Rien”, and decided I wouldn’t regret that either. Namaste, to that – I thought, as I sat back imagining all the things I’d done that weren’t on my list of regrets anymore.

 

But, then it struck me….                                .
What about the things I hadn’t done?
The unfinished novel. That rejected tinder date. (What if he was the one? Or one of the ones?) That unpurchased green embroidered shirt in Penny’s. (What if she was one of the ones?).
So actually, je regret a few things. And that doesn’t have the same ring to it for a tattoo, but it’s still okay.

 

3. Conversation
Back in my prime (Prime….ary school, that is) I was known as a master of conversation.
“Good at spelling, very chatty – needs to be moved often”. Was the standard comment on my end of year report. And now, I decided, was time to let my gift shine through – in an adult way.                                    Image result for school report

 

 
“We seem to be … getting a lot of weather” I found myself saying to Mister Muscle at yoga class attempt number two.
Step Two was to replace sarcastic jokes with polite comments. The idea was that in order to be a true adult, I would use the phrase “Okay, great, no problem”, with a huge smile, whenever I felt the urge to be sarcastic or rude.
At my part time job in a café at the weekend, I found myself reflecting on what a brilliant adjustment I had made into adulthood – I felt free, liberated … Namaste, regret free – when who walks in, only my yoga instructor.

Image result for coconut soy latte
“A tall, non foam, goats milk, half caff, organic latte in a recycled cup” She requested.
“Okay, great, no problem….” I smiled through gritted teeth….

 

 

 

 

Displaying Snapchat-939541105.jpg   Here’s a picture of me all smiles, being an adult. Talk soon x

New Years Resolutions? Don’t be daft.

I didn’t achieve my new year’s resolutions in 2016. And either did you.

Last January I decided to be a little more realistic than writing my usual wish list (ie. learn to do the splits, give up chocolate, read a book every week), and settled with just one goal for the year – finish the novel I was working on. While I do have over 80 thousand words, and some characters that feel like real friends at this stage – it is only a first draft, far from finished.

I know that you didn’t achieve yours either, because I recently read that only 8% of people do. So, statistically I’m going to bet that you didn’t learn the splits or give up chocolate either.

And that’s okay. Sure, new year resolutions are a bit mad anyway, aren’t they?
I mean, I usually leave the festive season feeling tired and tubby, with a stubborn gathering of sugar/alcohol-induced spots on my chin and cheeks, and a strong desire to do some kind of yoga retreat on a far-away mountain for a couple of days. And in that state, it’s far from “getting in shape” and “saving a few bob” one should be thinking of. It’s only a recipe for guilt, and maybe even a mild heart attack.
Honestly, I’ve battled with new year resolutions for time immemorial. When I was seven, I decided I was going to complete the Harry Potter books my older brother had been reading. From January to July I struggled with the overwhelming amount of words, too stubborn to admit this to anyone in the world (I’m a cancer). That July I was given the next book in the series for my birthday, and the whole ordeal culminated in an early-life break down, and a weird resentment towards Harry and Hogwarts for the rest of my days (soz).

Then, a couple of years ago, I joined the bandwagon and decided that once January hit, I was going to “get in shape”. A completely mad idea, for more than one reason.
Firstly, past Tull-Meister couldn’t even define what this ambiguous goal meant. What is “in shape”? Is it the ability to sprint 4 miles, or do ten push ups? Is there body fat percentage involved? Or did I simply just yearn to look like the images of perfect misguided models and Instagram babes being shoved in my face every day? A little like finishing a novel, it was something too vague to be achieved.
Yet, off I went, (like the big cliché consumer I am) and bought new runners, some yoga pants, and about twenty lunch boxes to fill with only very green stuff. Then, feeling like a true adult with lunch boxes in every corner of the house, I got completely ahead of myself. I challenged my two athletic (male) house mates to see who could do a plank for the longest. If you don’t know what a plank is, just think of an intense form of torture and you won’t be far off. I had approximately 60 seconds of glory when I won, closely followed by three days of feeling like I was bet up. Then, when I turned to my lunch boxes for comfort, I was struck by the realisation that the pizza in the freezer was a lot tastier and more suitable for my line of work at the time – broke student.

Yes, perhaps if my goals were a little more specific or achievable, I would be part of that 8%. But for now, I am content to enter the new year in my traditional tubby state, guilt free. Join me.

“Fur Coat, No Knickers…”

In case you’ve been living under a rock like me, the above phrase is used to describe a woman who seems elegant, but in reality is actually quite vulgar.

I only learnt this recently, (every day is a school day when you follow the king of Snap Chat, James Kavanagh @jamesksnaps) … and to be honest, it has absolutely nothing to do with this post, at all.

I just really wanted to let you all know, I finally got the fur coat of my dreams, and couldn’t think of a better way to get your attention!

Now that I’ve got your attention, may I speak freely about the love I have for my new coat? Thank you.

I cannot tell you how fabulous I feel when wearing my new beauty, it has changed my life. Even if I’m constantly being compared to Bet Lynch which is not the look I was going for at all…

Image result for beth lynch coronation street

 

I still feel happy and warm and fabulous …..

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Now, I know tis far from fur coats and personal shoppers that we were reared, but I’ve come up with some links to where you can get a warm, fabulous fur like mine. Honestly, don’t thank me, sure I only love traipsing around shops and sites and doing everything except what I’m supposed to be doing.

I got mine in my beloved, New Look for around 80 beans. There are also some pretty tempting ones in River Island, and of course Top Shop.

 

 

An Open Letter to a Suffering Friend

Some of you may find this hard to believe, but I actually have a serious side, AND I have friends… Take a moment to get over the shock of that – boil the kettle,do what you need to do. When you are ready, below are some words I shared with somebody suffering from depression recently. They may be of some help to you, or somebody you know.

Hey there, funky tits…

I’m going to start by apologising for my delayed reply. I have no excuse, only that your message deserved more than a quick generic response. You deserve more, ______. It breaks my heart to think of your pain and suffering, but I need you to hear me when I say this: I am honoured that you opened up to me. Thank you.

I know that the distance between us may make it a little easier for you to come to me, and I get that … but I am so glad and grateful that you did. I also know that you have huge support with your family – it puts my mind at ease to think of you at home with those crazy creatures these days – but I need you to know that you have all my support too. All of it.

I do not know your pain, but I want to try and understand it. I want to be the person that you can call at 3am without a second thought. I want to be the person that can make some sick inappropriate joke that will lift you for even the tiniest moment.

I want to make it all go away. I wish that I could. But I can’t. All I can do is offer you my support, and some thoughts. Maybe they will be of little help to you, or maybe you will find some comfort in them. Please just hear me out.

As I said, I do not know your pain. But, I know that your pain wants to make you feel alone. That way, you are more vulnerable. Please don’t let it do that, my precious _______. Even if you feel like a feeble baby bird in a nest, unable to fly or fend for yourself. Even if you feel like a baby gazelle being pulled from a pack by a vicious lion… please remember, your pain wants you to feel that helpless. You are not that helpless. You are not alone. Please share it with me, it might make it the tiniest bit more bearable.

I’m getting real deep here, maaaaann. But I suppose January can be a reflective time of year. When I think that this time last year … I was probably walking around in my purple dressing gown, consumed with worry about chapter plans for my novel, not having a clue that you were in your dressing gown, consumed by this. But also not having a clue that we would become this close. Isn’t that a scarily, glorious kind of thought? I feel blessed that we have become close, and that through our friendship I have learnt so much about life and perspective.

Although a year is not very long in the world of friendship, I feel like I am in a position to say that everything that you have been through has molded you. You can tell me I’m a total cliche, but I feel that your pain has made you stronger, wise … somebody who really cherishes the value of happiness.

Remember the idle chats we had outside _________ on those worry free afternoons? Remember how we laughed. Remember how capable of being happy that we are. Remember how you would snort and wipe tears of laughter, then take a moment to be mindful of how great it felt to laugh, to have friends, to talk, to live… From that, I learnt so much!

But mostly, remember how tears would spring to your eyes if I told you of other people’s suffering. As if you really understood and felt these random peoples pain. ________, I am sure you have realised this, but compassion and empathy like that are rare and special. In that way, it could be said that your own suffering has made you even more beautiful.

It’s those kind of qualities that drew me to you. You are real, humble, warm and genuine. You do not deserve to suffer any longer.

I wish that I could advise you what to do with your pain. But that is really up to you. I completely understand how doing destructive things might make you feel like you are lessening it for a bit. I get that. Drinking, smoking, eating, harming …. I understand the search for anything that will deaden it. Anything that will distract you for even a moment, probably feels right. But you know it’s not. I know that you know.

The fact that your suffering has lead you to who you are, makes me feel as if you could use it as a tool. Sometimes, the people who let their pain in, understand where it comes from, are the best … and eventually happiest people!

You have stood in front of pain, been broken by it. And that is probably why I love you so dearly. Because of it, you have become compassionate, empathetic, sympathetic, warm, understanding, positive, humble, real, hilarious … a million things that my descriptive skills will never even touch on the beauty of.

Every time I think that somebody as special as you could suffer so horrifically, a knot of discomfort forms within me. It is unfair. I don’t know why or how that happens. But it does. And I am here for you when that happens.

I don’t know if any of this helps. But I hope it does. Maybe not right now. Maybe later.

Anyway, I am here for you. You absurd, charming being.
I love you so very much,
Caoimhe x

http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us

http://www.pieta.ie/