If you follow me on Twitter you will know I post my thoughts or views on things as they are at that very moment, and you might have noticed lately I've been discussing mental health and my lack thereof a lot more regularly. 

As I get older and more responsibilities are laid onto me I feel like my life can resemble a tower of Jenga bricks, able to take on lots at one time, however remove one key 'brick' and the whole thing will come crumbling down.  I'm a stress head, and over thinker and I am my own worst critic.  I suspect a lot of people living in my generation or probably even in the younger generation must feel this way to some extent.  We have so much pressure applied to us usually most of it coming from ourselves, and I often lust for a simple, more easy lifestyle were social media didn't exist nor the broadband connection to supply it.  I think about this quite often and how I feel like I was destined to have lived in my Granddad's or Dad's generation where things just seem easier.  Of course I doubt they were, and in some ways they would have been much harder but what I am getting at is the idea that more time was spent outdoors, or with loved ones or doing more worth while tasks, living....  Part of me is terrified to have children as I know how cruel the world is now I myself have grown up and the conditioning of the 21st century only appears to be making things worse.

I find it hard to get out on paper what goes on inside my mind.  I can only describe it as busy.  Busy with self loathing or negative thoughts a lot of time at least.  I will go through periods of great sadness and the feeling of emptiness where washing my hair is too much hassle.  I'll usually come home in the evening and go straight to bed and scroll through social media which makes me feel worse!  Does anybody else watch all snapchats, instastories, catch up on all social media apps and then just start right back round at the first one again refreshing for new info.  When I sit and think about how many hours of my life I have spent doing so I feel ashamed and angry at the time I could have spent doing something useful.

Then after a few hours or days of feeling like this I'll flip 180 and have all this motivation and think "fuck feeling like this, I'm gonna fight back" and it works for a while until we start back at the beginning again.  I can go through such highs and then dip right back down to some of the lowest places, it's exhausting. 

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I don't always remember feeling like this, I reckon it gets more noticeable with age.   I spend a lot of time thinking about it all.  I am a deep person, I like to challenge myself and improve how I do things and be the best version of myself.  This I am sure is a great thing to be, but at times I feel it can be the worst trait I have.  I am never content, I am always wanting more, to be more, for life to have more meaning, to enjoy the simple things, live a carefree life and so on.  I often wish I was someone who could easily settle however in honesty I never switch off.  I can be found in bed each night playing over the entire day tormenting myself with checklists running through what I did and what I didn't get done, what I should have said instead or planning the day to come or week or month or year! 

My mind is always alive and jam packed yet can always find room to worry, worry about the things that probably won't even happen, or I won't know until I reach that point in my life.  Can I have kids? What if I can't have kids? What if my Mum gets cancer again? Has she got it again and just doesn't want to tell me?  What am I going to do when my Parents die?  All of the above will often be mixed in with overthinking such as; Did I unplug everything before leaving the house? I can often be found turning around, checking 2/3 times before leaving or ringing my Mum to call out to confirm on her way to work.  Otherwise, in my head I will never settle.  I'll be panicking the house will go on fire and Pippa my dog will be trapped.  Thinking people are talking about me is also a big concern, or panicking that something that isn't my fault somehow is and I'll get sacked from work, which then in turn means I won't be able to afford my mortgage and will loose my house.

Pressure is something I am well aware I apply to much of  towards myself.  Whether its to progress in my career by a certain age, earn a particular wage, be happy, blog more, learn new skills the list could go on.  I spend so much time juggling all of these thoughts and emotions that I get to a point where I end up having a complete breakdown usually caused by the smallest most insignificant thing happening, and then begin to rebuild myself back up again.

Writing this all down has been an eye opener for me.  I am aware it sounds absolutely mental and I'm not sure how I even manage to function with the rest of life when I permanently have this on top.  When it comes to mental health I read a quote which said that Anxiety can feel like being in an abusive relationship with yourself, and it couldn't be any truer.

I made a deal with myself lately to spend time training myself to be calm.  I'm reading self help books, spending less time on social media, practising yoga & meditation, exercising, looking after myself in regards to self care, breathing and slowing down.  I listen to music, audio books, podcasts to focus my mind and stop it from wandering at night time, I wake up earlier to allow myself more time so everything doesn't begin in a blur of panic rushing around to get ready. 

Slowly I believe I might be getting somewhere...
When it comes to the Spring/Summer or slightyyy warmer months - lets not get too ahead of ourselves this is Ireland people! Anyway, I tend to crave lighter foods like salads and put the tins of soup to the back of the cupboard for those days I don't feel like cooking.  My only issue with Salad is that often they aren't very filling...

In a bid to not be starving 20 minutes after eating lunch (who am I kidding, I always will be) I through together a little "Spring Rainbow Salad" or rather a salad that might actually fill you.  The filling part coming from the Quinoa, although rice, pasta or cous cous would work well.  Or if your having a bit of a lazy evening and don't feel like prepping, the microwave rice or quinoa work just as good!

For this salad you are going to need (although really you could chop and change these ingredients out with whatever you have in your fridge at the time)

  • Quinoa
  • Stock cube
  • Sweetcorn
  • Beetroot
  • Cucumber
  • Red Onion
  • Radish
  • Tomato
  • Nuts & Seeds (pine nuts & pumpkin seeds)

The recipe, if you can even call it one consists of;

  1. Rinsing the quinoa, and cooking for 20mins on a medium heat.  Throw in a vegetable stock cube to flavour, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed.  The Quinoa should look a lot bigger in size.  
  2. Drain once cooked, and run a fork through to make it a little more fluffy and light.
  3. Chop up all your veg, add a dressing if you like.
  4. Mix together and top with seeds of your choice.

What do you like to make for a quick and easy summer lunch?

After receiving a voucher for Christmas to spend in TKMaxx I found myself a couple months back standing at the shampoo aisle ready to treat myself.  Shampoo was never something I have splurged much money on and often just bought the Superdrug own brand £1 bottles, but my hair had recently become much greasier and flat as a pancake so I thought I would try something new.

I had previously used the coconut Faith in Nature shampoo after receiving it in The Vegan Kind subscription box a long time ago and had never seen it available to buy anywhere locally.  Armed with my voucher I was most definitely going to pay that little bit extra for the huge pump bottles that are still standing strong after almost 3 months.  Baring in mind that I wash my hair every other day that's pretty good going for £5.99 per bottle.

For a bit of background on my hair type, I have pretty dry coarse hair that frizzes up like Monica from friends and that very well known episode when they go on holidays.  Any ounce of humidity or rain and the frizz begins, so I often look for something that will add a bit of moisture back in and tame the beast!

Although this range is aimed at dry hair I actually found the shampoo to be very striping and wasn't a huge fan compared to their coconut version.  It left me with that squeaky clean feeling so bare this in mind if that isn't something you like.  It also isn't the type of shampoo that lathers easily which I guess is probably down to it using more natural ingredients, but once a little water was added it foamed up quite nicely.

The conditioner came to the rescue however and added the moisture the shampoo took away back into my hair and it was light enough to apply to the ends and all over.  I tend to leave this on whilst washing and shaving to allow it to really soak into the hair and once rinsed my hair was incredibly soft.  

Afterwards brushing through my hair was eaaaaaaasy which is a big deal considering my hair is usually a ball of tat after washing and the smell was divine and really hung around for a few days after washing.

Overall I really enjoyed this product, I especially loved the conditioner and am eager to try out a few more scents from the brand.  It's great value for money, I love the addition of the pump for ease of use when your hands are wet & the icing on the cake - it's completely Vegan & Cruelty free!

Have you ever tried any products from Faith in Nature?
Can we just talk about how it's bloody hard to describe to you my love for these delish raw vegan bites without saying the word balls - yes I have the immaturity of a teenage boy, so what of it!  But seriously though if I am ever out in a cafe, or noseying through the free from section of Holland & Barrett and I spot some cacao or coconut flaked protein balls, your guaranteed I'm gonna' buy um.  After picking up a Deliciously Ella one recently and realising how little ingredients can be put into them I thought I'd give it a whirl myself....

I didn't particularly follow any tried and tested recipe but instead just gathered everything I like that I had in my cupboards and hoped for the best.  I picked up the big bag of Raw Cacao powder from TKMaxx as I had a voucher to use up from Christmas, I'd definitely  recommend checking out their food aisle as they tend to have some really different food items there which you don't typically see in the big supermarkets and often a lot of it is vegan and gluten free.

So I ended up with;

  • 1/3 cup of pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of blanched almonds
  • 2 tbl spoons of raw cacao
  • 1 absolutely heaped tablespoon of Peanut Butter
I soaked the dates in boiling hot water for 30mins or so until they had a gooey consistency.  Ideally you'd want to soak these over night or for a few hours in cold water, however boiling water tends to speed the process up a little.

Once these have soaked, drained out most of the water leaving approx 1 tbl spoon of the date juice (niiiiiiiice) and add to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend!  I would recommend tasting the mixture and adjusting to your taste at this point.  You may wish to add in more cacao or almonds depending on how chocolatey you'd like them to be.  

Additional ingredients: You could try adding some maple syrup to the mixture to add a little sweetness, vegan milk chocolate or cocoa powder if you find cacoa too bitter for you, chocolate chips or a vegan protein powder if you want to increase the protein content.  You could even try adding some flavours like caramel, orange or mint flavourings.

Once all the ingredients were well mixed and combined I then took the mixture and split this into 6 sections and began to roll this between my hands to shape them.  I placed some tin foil in a baking tray although ideally you would have some baking parchment to stop these sticking, and for 3 of the 6 I rolled in some coconut before placing into the fridge for a couple hours to allow them to firm up slightly.

As you can see I then served these up later with a big dollop of Swedish Glaze vanilla ice cream which was delicious.  They are really great on their own or with a big old cup of tea.  I love how versatile they are, and how easy they are to make and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the pre made ones.  I can't wait to start experimenting with more flavours.

Have you made your own balls before? There I said it!

The older I get in life the more stress seems to grab hold of me by the ankle and give me a real good kickin'.  That's not to say people in their teens don't have their fair share of it, heck University was one of thee most stressful and challenging times of my life so far, I still don't understand fully how I made it through in one piece.  But, owning a home, leaving the family one, being a fully fledged graduate with a 40hour+ work life, whilst trying to juggle a relationship with friends, family and the other half is bloody exhausting!  Not to mention trying to find some time in there for things I enjoy doing such as this blog, cooking or hitting the gym...which we will talk about later.

I have weeks were I am total boss lady and I am fab at getting all the shit done and I love those types of weeks as I feel so accomplished, like I have my life in order and actually enjoy scoring out some of the bullet points in my ridiculous to-do list.  Then on the other hand I have weeks were I've busted my proverbial balls but if you were looking in from the outside you'd think I had done absolutely nothing because progress wise I haven't.  Those are the weeks which quite frankly I have have my fair share of and they can go fuck!

I feel like I go through these phases of just giving up hope.  I'll have one of the aforementioned weeks or months and usually at some point I'll get disheartened, frustrated and just want to throw the towel in.  It's those times were literally carrying out the basics such as feeding myself well or washing my hair that I just stop caring about altogether.  I get in such a negative mindset that everything and anything is shit, I am a failure at life and quite frankly couldn't care less what happened.  This is the version of me I absolutely loathe, and I hate for anyone to see this side to me because it's the ugly side I wish no one did see - I couldn't be any farther from this person, yet at the same time, this person is me! Does that make sense?  Can you tell I'm currently undergoing this mindset?

Usually it takes for me to spend a day or two as this version of me until I get bored of laying in bed watching meaningless YouTube or Insta videos which inevitably make me feel even worse about my life, before I get up and have a serious chat to myself about what the hell I am doing sitting around moping and my kick ass self comes back into play... at least until the vicious cycle comes back round.

I guess you clicked on this post hoping for a magic cure, one that's different from those crappy posts you read where people tell you to eat healthy or do some form of exercise.  Deep down I know that both of these things help, in fact I recommend you do both - but at the same time I know this is the last thing I want to hear let alone do when I'm in the midst of my self loathing phase.  Exercise at times genuinely is the only way I function as an adult after a shit day at work, I focus the frustration into whatever I'm doing in the gym that night and become overjoyed with progressing outside of my 9-5 by lifting an extra 5kg or being able to run an extra mile.  You should really try it... once you pick yourself back out of that mood though, everybody should allow themselves a day in bed if they feel like it.  Don't ever neglect yourself or limit yourself from feeling crappy.  It's unrealistic to think we need to spend every waking moment this happy person.

Yanno what though, typing out this spontaneous blabbering blog post bloody helped!

Does anyone else ever feel like this?

I like to consider myself similiar to a wine connoisseur, except it's not wine at all, it's Netflix.  I have spent many hours, days, weeks, months, years watching Netflix series and like to think of myself as someone who knows their tv. Like I mean, if we were at a pub quiz its guaranteed the only round I actually stand a chance at, actual life things you should know like World War facts, or Capital cities...notttttttt so much.  Naturally I then needed to talk all about what I am loving lately.  If you know me in real life you'll know this is 50% of my daily chat - the other 50%? Food that goes well when watching said tv shows.  I have no life, I am aware.

 I mean I have my obvious shows that everyone has probably already seen by now, if not - what are you even doing with your life? - Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Power..... this blog post could literally go on for years.

Jessica Jones - one of the newer Marvel tv shows features Jessica Jones aka (Jesse Pinkmans junkie girlfriend) a private investigator and with super human powers who frankly is bad ass b*tch.   I never in a million years thought I'd be into comic book movies and shows and used to sigh at the thought of being dragged to another marvel movie with Simon (except for Thor, I mean who in their right mind wouldn't enjoy Thor?) but as I slowly get around to catching up on some of the greats I find myself becoming completely hooked!  Please feel free to list any I must watch below.

Altered Carbon - I'm really going all out with my tv taste lately and sci-fi eske things really were not my jam until I became seriously over-obsessed with Stranger things - can you really call that sci-fi? who knows.  I adored Joel Kinnaman in The Killing, which fun fact was the first ever tv series I watched back in my uni days when I discovered Netflix, oh the joy!  So I tend to gravitate towards anything featuring him. It is set more than 300 years from now where society and way of life has been drastically changed by technology, death is no longer a permanent thing with human bodies or "sleeves" being interchangable. I like how it's obviously set in the future although really isn't too unrealistic in ways in regards to the AI & each person having a main chipset implanted.  I love the futuristic and techy side this show brings and such an interesting concept that might not be so far fetched after all. 

Brooklyn 99 - This is one of those shows you can dip in and out of and you don't really have to watch in any particular order.  It really reminds me of Scrubs so if that was your thing back in the day then you are really going to enjoy this.  It has such a stupid sense of humour which I absolutely love, it's so light hearted and silly it just makes me feel joy watching it.  It is based on a group of NYPD detectives in the 99 Precinct with the main character being Jake Peralta who reminds me exactly of JD.  The immaturity and childishness of Jakes character will instantly make you love him.  It's so light hearted and with the short episodes it's one you can watch easily.

Peaky Blinders - I mean I actually feel years behind with this one.  My own Mother and Father were on stealing my Netflix password years before I even really knew what this series was about.  Anyone else have a family of theives when it comes to their Netflix account?  There is theme beginning here with shows I never in a million years thought i'd even entertain the idea of, yet then went on to become so obsessed with I'm googling fan tee's to add to my ridiculous collection.  Tommy Shelby, need we even say any more?  I'm horrendous at trying to describe what this is even about so here is a quick blurb;
Britain is a mixture of despair and hedonism in 1919 in the aftermath of the Great War. Returning soldiers, newly minted revolutions and criminal gangs are fighting for survival in a nation rocked by economic upheaval. One of the most powerful gangs of the time is the Peaky Blinders, run by returning war hero Thomas Shelby and his family

And there you have it, my top tv series of the moment... what have you been watching lately? I'm always on the look out for something new to immerse myself into next so leave your faves in the comments below.

There is something I absolutely love about browsing through books in a store and picking up a new book, to bend back the fresh cover and delve into a new world.  I have such an addition to picking up new books whether online, audio or in the shop itself and no matter how many I have on the shelf at home which at one point I was dying to have, yet have never gotten round to reading...I still end up buying another. 

I am on a mission to cut back on my spending, whether it be clothes, ridiculous priced toys for my pup, tech... I spend far too much on unnecessary items every month and then wonder why on earth I haven't managed to save a penny.  Books is my latest area I'm honing in on mostly because I have an enormous amount on my bookshelf that I have never read, some I have never even attempted to read.

So I have set myself a challenge that I must read all of the unloved books on my shelf before I can pick up a new one.  I do have the exception of donating books I just won't ever read due to it not being of interest to me.  Family and Friends often bring around bag fulls of books they have read and no longer wish to hold onto and of course I say yes to free books - I mean who in their right mind would say no?  Some I end up absolutely loving, however the majority of hand me down books tend to me of a certain stereotypical romance gone wrong variety that just isn't my jam.  Hand me a good crime thriller, or fantasy book over those any day of the week.  So, along with refraining from buying new books I also need to donate those I just won't ever read and learn to say no to books I know won't interest me.  It's the natural hoarder in me, and the need to fill my ceiling high bookshelves in the living room.

I set myself a challenge every year on Goodreads to encourage me to pick up a book more often.  I adore reading but find the idea of picking up a book over an episode of Jessica Jones difficult to do.  It can be hard to set aside time to read and it's something I really need to start doing.  I used to often listen to books through Audible both on my train journey to university or when travelling to work in the car, now I am working 5minutes away from home I don't have that free time unfortunately so I need to find a new way of incorporating this into my busy routine.  Maybe start listening to audio books when I'm doing the chores in the house?

Anyway, what I am trying to say in a round a bout way is that I love reading I just find it quite hard to motivate myself to start reading.  Once I am submerged into a great story I almost rush home to find out what is happening next.  I recently finished reading "Eleanor Oliphant is absolutely fine" and it was definitely one that fell into that category.

So let me know, do you have stacks of books piled high waiting to be read? Do you find it difficult to motivate yourself to read? & when do you like to read?

If you would like to keep up on what I am currently reading you can catch me over on Goodreads - here
I had just realised on the 23rd that it had been an whole 365 days since I left my family home and moved out into my own house with Simon.  It's hard to believe its been that long and we have done quite a lot to the house in that period which I thought I would give an update on for anyone like myself who is really into their home decor.  I also wanted to scatter through some of my tips or advice or even just some things I have come to learn or realise about moving out... spoiler alert: lots of bickering!

I set myself a goal earlier this year to travel lots in 2018, but cheaply.  The two aren't often portrayed as going hand in hand but I am determined to stretch out a small budget and experience some amazing sites this year.  We do plan on travelling abroad at the end of summer but  I want to spend a lot of it living out of a small bag, sleeping in a tent in rural Ireland.

 Some of you might be thinking, "But you are from Ireland".  There is so much to see and do at our own doorsteps that we often forget what our own country has in store.  Ireland can be explored from the highest point of the North to the bottom of the South in a matter of hours and why I haven't climbed into the car and road tripped my home country sooner is bizzare to me.  I really truly feel blessed to live in such a vastly green, true to nature country oozing with places to venture, and I plan to make the most of it.

 I thought I would start off by sharing some photos I took a few weekends ago when we stayed a night in Sligo town.  We stopped off at any brown "point of interest" sign along the road and seen some spectacular views and all only 2 and a bit hours from home.  The highlight for me was visiting the Strandhill area where we ate lunch in a really cute cafe and ran up huuuuuge sand dunes.

 Getting outside into the fresh countryside air is when I feel like the truest, best version of myself.  Everything from the working week fades away and becomes a distant worry, I live in that very moment and I feel so relaxed and care free. There is just something so soothing and good for the soul and I would quite literally go mad if I spent too long cooped up indoors. Social media wasn't even on the agenda for most of the trip and my focus was on spending some quality time with Simon & my camera. 

Make sure to get out and explore your local areas.

Shepherds pie, or cottage pie - who really knows which is which? was always a firm staple in my house growing up.  When I turned Vegetarian it was quite simple to replace the meat for Quorn or soy mince but since going Vegan & also being Gluten intolerant things got a bit trickier.