Saturday, 29 August 2015

Album of the Month | I Forget Where We Were | Ben Howard



It is true to be said, at this stage, I am late to the game with albums and raving about them. I'm generally present before the bandwagon or at the complete tail-end, there is no in between. So how did I stumble on this? As part of my sister's birthday present in July, I bought her the album. Taking a chance, after listening to a couple of his songs before, I figured it'd fit the bill - and it seems to have done.

If you've been following my Snapchat, you'll have known I was temporarily residing in my sister's house for a short time when some (major) plumbing works were being done in my own abode! With this, I was left home-alone quite a deal while she worked, which suited me down to the ground. Instead of listening to the radio like I usually do when I'm on my own, I threw on her CD player and low-and-behold, the said album was in the tray so I fired it on. Trying not to sound dramatic, I haven't looked back.

The vocals, lyrics are beautifully hypnotic, immersed in carefully constructed strings and strums. In this album he finds a tendency for electrical, spaced instrumentals and an effects box. All this sounds rather bland on paper but is a work of art to the ears, truly.

My absolute, favourite song in I Forget Where We Were has to be Time is Dancing, it is stunning. Listening to songs like these makes me want to fire out the Fairy Liquid and do a wash-up. Only me? But I can assure you, that's a high regard from your lady here.

"Wrapped up in empathy
The chemicals are pushing past my blood

Hold all my cliches
They are tipping my tongue to tell you that it's love

Hold it in, let's go dancing
I do believe we're only passing through
Wired again, look who's laughing
You again, all you, all you, all you"
(Like, HowCanYouNot?!)

Admittedly, I am reviewing this as a stand-alone, as I have not yet had the time to listen to his debut album, which is fair to say - is quite backwards of me. Having said that, it doesn't take away from my imminent fangirling sessions I have endured as of late.

From top-to-toe, above all, I Forget Where We Were is clearly enriched with experience and memories, and it makes you think; whathappenedhere?

So should you listen to it? Abso-bloody-lutely. You will find the Spotify widget below and will be placed on the right hand side of my blog for the month of September. You can thank me later.

What have you been listening to this month?

Monday, 24 August 2015

Tales of the Short Life



It seems that in the last couple of years, being short, for us ladies, seems to be “on trend”, which is quite bizarre to me. Years ago, we wanted to be as tall as the rest of the girls up and down the runway. No body shape or size, should be just on trend whenever the world sees fit. If you’re as tall as a lighthouse or as short as, well myself, that’s perfectly okay. 

Having said all that, the short-y life is entertaining and includes many a tale to be told. Being 4 ft 9 (maybe 10 inches on a good day) doesn’t fail to be the centre of a (mis)happening or two.

THE BATTLE OF CUTENESS
The “guys love short girls” sentiment has to be one of the most patronising things that has been lamented to me. Yeah? This simply, has not materialised as successfully as people like to make out. 
“But-“
No buts, just make me a cup of tea.

NOT REACHING, NOT REACHING, STILL NOT REACHING
How would you feel, if there was perfectly edible food in a press, you’re starving, you’re home alone, and you can’t reach it?

Think about it.

Pretty awful?

Other beautiful things that are (literally) out of my grasp:
- I’m unable to look over the dashboard in most cars, hilarious and sad, but true.
- Bucket chairs are the epitome of all things wrong in the world.
- The top presses in whatever house I’ll live in will never be used.
- Windows, oh good God, windows.
- High heels are just a no-go, they make no difference.
- Making my way around any kitchen is like RDS show-jumping.
- Paying for items at a counter that is too high should be an Olympic recognised sport.
- This is not an exhaustive list

When I’m out shopping, I often can’t reach the essential things I went into the shop to buy in the first place. I can imagine myself, in my twenties, mid-thirties, heading into Tesco to pick up some gravy – and a chap who works there I would have befriended knowing exactly what to do as soon as he saw me trotting up.
“Well Catherine,” he’d say, “gravy then?” he’d say.
Is that even a question?

THREADZZ
Not many brands carry a petite range, so that’s a problem. The top is too broad in the shoulders, it’s long enough to pass as a dress. Then the dress comes to your ankles where it rests just at the knee on the mannequin. The material gathers at the bottom on your jeans, “just cut it at the bottom” they’d say. Little do they know that’d horrify both my mum and my aunt, who are almost tailors in their own right. Next thing you know, the changing-room becomes a fully forced wrestling match with yourself.

And in the end you opt for a pair of leggings, an oversized jumper and fluffy socks.

R U SRS, M8?
Frequently, people can’t quite wrap their heads around the fact that I am as old as I am.
“You’re going at the Junior Cert next year?” they’d say.
When the information is swiftly delivered that those exams are long, gone, done and dusted, it’s like a whack to the chest and they question the entirety of the universe as we know it.
“And you’re eighteen? Well jhaysus” currently onto the whyisthegrassgreen, “well good girl yourself anyway.”

I can see myself in ten years’ time, twenty eight years of age, after having a week from hell at work, simply looking for a quiet evening at the cinema.
“Sorry, there, I just have to check you’re old enough to watch – what is it? Magic Mike XXLABC5”.

I also reckon the likelihood of bouncers not believing that my ID is legitimate, is a fairly probable occurrence. 

On the bright side, think of the amount of YEARS I’ll be able to get out of my student card for discounts?

Keeping it short and sweet (no pun intended) for today. Have you any entertaining stories about your height? Tell me in the comments below!


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A Short Story | "A Mark on the Calendar"



This is the first time I have shared a short story on my blog. I am by no-means an expert, but you have to start somewhere. This story, I would like to add, is a fictional piece. Grab a cup of tea and have a read and let me know what you think in the comments below.

I folded the clothes like I did every other day. Edges, crisp and parallel to one another, a strict structure to make up for the one that my life lacked. Pretty blouses and tops I’m not sure I’ll wear again for some time. Wednesdays were “pay-day”, laundry-wise. I had a system of jobs to do every day – the same system I’ve had since I was fourteen years old. 

I could hear her stirring upstairs, she liked to take her time to make her appearance. I took a break from the clothes and flicked on the kettle. What mood would she be in today? Her humour swung mid-air daily, and you could only hope the pendulum would land in the favourable direction. 

Every morning she walked in the kitchen, she looked stunned almost, surprised to find herself in the house she had been living in for a handful of years or more. “Good morning, Mam” I tuned to her. She flew her head around, was she surprised to see me, too? “Ah, morning.”

I watched her find her way around the kitchen; checking that everything was in place. Yesterday’s newspaper caught her attention, political so-and-sos plastered on the cover. “Enda Kenny,” she choked, “Taoiseach? How did he manage that?” About twice, or even three times a week, this revelation would take the weight from under her feet. “So the Fianna Fáil crowd are all booted out? Well, I can’t say I’m sorry that it happened – too many shady characters in it, I would say. Although I did take a shine to Eamon Gilmore. He’s still the head of the Labour party now?” For argument’s sake, it was easier to go along with whatever put her mind at rest, “Yes, Mam, he’s still there in the ranks with the best of them.” I don’t think Joan Burton would be losing sleep over my attempt to appease my mother.

The kettle finished boiling, she took a cup down from the cupboard, poured the water, popped in the teabag and stirred it. As I was about to go back to the clothes, I could see her bringing the cup closer to her mouth. She had forgotten to put the milk in to cool it down. I darted from the other end of the kitchen, and took it from her in a matter of milliseconds. If I was a fraction of a moment too late, I would be nursing a scalded lip, mouth and throat. She tried to contest with me, “I was going to drink that, actually.” Keeping my patience in line, I tried to level my voice as calm as I could, “Why don’t you get the milk?”

She studied the door of the fridge, her eyes honed in on the picture frame I had picked, a photo of us on our holidays in Tenerife five years ago, happier times. Beneath the beaming photo, My Daughter, Sorcha, was etched. I intentionally placed it where she would she would see it several times a day. She turned her head to find her eyes on me, she smiled – with the brown, beady buttons I had inherited from her, but it didn’t feel as genuine as it did before. Alongside the photo was a note, it read:


Today: Wednesday 12th August 2015
Sorcha receives her Leaving Cert results
Aunt Mary will pop around at lunch-time, she will bring you to the GP for 1.30

I started leaving these notes on the fridge a couple of years ago, we don’t speak about them, I write them and she reads. It’s said without saying it; we both know why they’re there.

She returned to the counter, not a shade of embarrassment for her slip up two minutes prior, “And you’re getting your results, today? Very best of luck with them, and sure the hard work is done and dusted now, what will be, will be.” I wished I could have believed her.


I deliberately waited until lunch time to head to the school to pick up my results, so that I could get Mam organised for the day. As promised, Aunty Mary arrived at 1.30 to relieve me for two hours or so. I didn’t avail of a great deal of help from the family, part of me doesn’t want to bother them, part of me wonders if they sincerely mean; “If you need anything, just let us know”. It had become a catchphrase over the last while, words – that’s all they are. Having said that, I was grateful. It was important for my mother to go to her regular check-ups. She had been put on the latest clinical trial to treat early-on-set dementia. Every year there was some new “breakthrough”, and whether or which this new cocktail will make any difference would remain to be seen. I was anxious to make sure she was kept on the programme. We have to cling to hope wherever we can sometimes. 

Mary looked at me wearily, squeezed my shoulders and tried to lighten the tone in her voice, “I’m sure you’ll have done great, take deep breaths – it’ll be all over soon enough. Are you sure you don’t want someone to walk down with you?” Funny that, I thought, I’ve seem to miraculously manage everything else on my own and somehow sit exams amid the functioning chaos that is my life. I sighed, “I should be grand, thanks. As you said, it’ll be all over in a jiffy.”

I hadn’t given myself a spare minute to think about what the numbers on a piece of paper will tell me this afternoon. Admittedly, I was just so caught up in getting my exams finished, to be able to say I did them, that I had almost forgotten there were results to be sought afterwards. I took the route to the school, it probably being the last gander I would have for some time yet. In my mind, I had it all sorted. I planned to defer whatever course I’d be offered for a year at least until I had some long-term-fixture in place for Mam. 

*****

The following day, I received a message from Johnny, you have to hand out credit where it is due, and he had been a determined individual the past few months in his effort. I put him off time and time again – who would, in their right mind, decide to put all their energy into someone who has all theirs deposited solely in caring for a person? 

Bearing that in mind, I had a look at my phone all the same; 
“Hope you’re happy with your results. Fancy meeting up for lunch one of the days, catch-up? - John-Boy”

Just as I was about to reply, to reiterate the response that he knew was looming, there was a knock on the door. I checked to see that Mam was safely resting in the sitting room before I answered it. The last person I was expecting to see, stood the tallest I had ever seen him, it looked like he was standing on clouds. If this were a film, John’s signature genial smile would have taken up the whole frame. He consciously organised his charcoal hair into a perfect mess, and dressed head-to-toe in Hollister. He was a man that meant business.

Not alone did he not give me a chance to answer his message, he interrupted me as I was opening my mouth to ask what in God’s name was he playing at.

“Cool the jets,” did my face look as stunned as I felt? “Your mother will be well-taken care of, I called round to your Aunt Mary-“ queue the entrance of the woman of the hour “- and sure look, perfect timing. I had a feeling you’d take your time to get back to me – so I thought if I rocked on up-“ 
I cut across him, “That I’d be snookered?”
His smile went crooked, “I didn’t realise my company was so torturous. No more questions, grab your coat.”

I went into the kitchen to fetch another couple of layers. Mary was putting Mam’s medication into little plastic boxes – she was due her will it, will it not work concoction around about now. I’m not used to going here, there and everywhere at the drop of a hat, “Mary, what’s happening? Are you sure you’ll be okay here for a couple of hours? I didn’t know I was heading anywhere ‘til he showed up-“
“Don’t worry about it, pet” she cooed, “It’s all sorted, you deserve a break. Like we always say, wherever we can help, we will.” The evening’s sun was streaming in and wrapped around her heart-shaped face and platinum coloured hair, making her look like an angel in disguise. I pulled my most thanks a million, you’ve saved the day smile I could muster.

“Sorcha’s off on a date, Bridget, with John down the road.” she said to my mother as I was running out the door.  I grimaced at the label she chose for this turn of events, but my mother would probably forget my whereabouts as soon I got into the car.

***** 

John was the first person I had made friends with when we moved to Lucan eight years ago. He is quite literally, as clichéd as it sounds; the boy next door. He had become my closest and dearest friend in no time, it’s hard to say no to his charm – even as a ten year old. In the last year he had been hinting towards something a bit more committed than our friendship that had stood the test of time. I had tried to steer him clear – he can be just as stubborn as me, it seems.

You could tell John took pride in his VW Polo, despite the fact it was obvious he lacked leg-room, whereas I had plenty. Now that I think of it, I saw him sponging down his precious chariot earlier this morning. 

Although, at this stage in the game, I could nearly trust him with my life – I didn’t like to be left in the lurch. “If you could fill me in on where exactly we’re going, that would be delightful, thanks.”
He grinned at the stretch of road in front of him, rhythmically tapping his fingers on the wheel. A lilac sky cast, signalling that summer was in its prime – but it didn’t provide an ounce of any calming effect on me. I honestly thought he was going to get premature wrinkles with all the smirking he has been doing today alone.
“It’s a surprise, you see,” he was enjoying this, “all in good time, squirt.”

Since leaving our home in Lahinch – the sea and beaches along with it have been the single thing I have missed since moving to Dublin. I hadn’t acquired the salty, crisp air that my lungs fuelled on in quite some time. Even when I do get a dose of it when we’re down, I only consume it in snippets. The air by the coast would make anyone feel young, the sand curled up in your toes keeping you grounded.

My eyes blundered when we pulled into the car park by the promenade in Sandymount. John whipped his head to me, “Since you’re always given out about” he gestured his hands around, and he pitched his tone into a squeak; “’this polluted oxygen we are subjected to’, this is the best I can do, missy”.

While he never seems to stop taking the absolute piss out of me, and I thumped him hard in the arm to let him know, this was the nicest thing he had done for me – it felt strange to be thought about for the first time in an age.

We didn’t say much when we initially made our way onto the strand. Granted, I am on the other side of the country, but thundering onto the shingly grit made me feel closer to home. 

“Isn’t a shabby way to spend the evening, I suppose,” John uttered the first words between us in the last ten minutes. It was getting chillier now, but if it was as cold as the Antarctic I think I would have still kept going. He continued; “And neither is the company, can’t stop the chat out of you,” winking at me.
“I’m just thinking,” 
“That’s what all you women say, sure we all think.”
“Do you want a bruise on that arm, John-Boy?”
He stopped in his tracks and turned towards me, surrendering his arms into an empty space.
“What’s on your mind then?”
I sighed, “What isn’t?”
“Now, now” he teased, “tell Uncle Johnny all about it. You never told me about your results?”
The results. I hadn’t thought much about them myself, being honest. 
I inhaled deeply, I hadn’t said them out loud yet to anyone; “I got 455, I reckon I’d have enough for Multimedia in DCU, my first choice, but I’m not sure-“


He stopped immediately again. Eyes popped, jaw opened and set in such he way he’d never pose for a selfie. His voice cracking and pitching to random frequencies; “Sorcha, that is absolutely, UNREAL? Aren’t you pleased?” He looked like a Jack-in-the-box that was about to set into orbit, RDS show-jumping style.
I thought about it for a bit, surprised at his reaction in comparison to mine. “Ah yeah. I’m delighted,” was I lying? “I’m just not sure if I can accept the offer on Monday, if it comes around. You know how things are at home. I can’t dream of leaving Mam unattended, even for a day. All hell will break lose, I’ll defer my place.”

He didn’t say anything for a minute. Instead, he looked out at the sea and we kept walking while the waves lipped and lapped over one another, a neat strip of foam forming on the shore line. The two Poolbeg chimneys out past the water looking as lost as I felt.

He gestured for us to sit down in a sheltered part on the sand. Finally, he started to speak, taking in a deep breath before he began.

“Sorcha, you are one of the most determined people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. You have put everyone else in your life before your own, and that is something I will always admire about you, you’re completely selfless. I know, believe me, you haven’t had it easy the last few years – and you haven’t looked for any medal for all the work you do for your Mam.” He took a break, another breath, as if he had rehearsed this all week; “But you have your own life to live. Life is for living, isn’t it? You can’t live in the shadow of your mother forever. And I know that sounds harsh, but it’s because I care about you that I’m being honest about all this. You have so much going for you, so much so, you don’t even realise it. 

It’s time for you to think about yourself for a change. We can figure out a way to make sure Bridget will be looked after.  I promise, if it is the last thing I’ll do, I’ll get this to work. We can do it together, because you deserve the best chance – you above all people do, at least”.

I knew John wasn’t a lad of few words, and he stuns me from time to time with half the stuff he comes out with, but this was a new level for him. Deep down, I was agreeing with him. There’s usually something about his manner, that makes me always want to contradict and argue with him. Everything he said was true, a voice of reason. 

He looked smug, happy with himself after the speech be bellowed, “and no strings,” he said, “Pinky promise.”

I laughed, forgetting the last time I had done so. I laughed until it hurt and my head felt dizzy, I laughed until I sensed that I could push the waves all the way to Clare and back. I laughed until I could loosen the nuts and bolts inside my head, clearing the fog. I laughed until I fell and buried my head into his shoulder, without feeling self-conscious, like I had already started to live, unapologetically. 

I didn’t think I’d ever compose myself. “You’re right,” I beamed at him, “your opinion on many a thing is questionable. But you’re absolutely right.” 

On that note, he hauled me to my feet, his face a mirror of excitement, and picked me up in his arms. “That’s settled then,” he chorused, “you’re ready for the off.” 

I laughed again and threw my head back, splinters of rain falling on me as we whizzed around, I would have welcomed a flood, because they tasted like the purest drops of adventure.


*****

I fumbled with my house keys as I was paving my way towards the front door. I took a glimpse at myself in the pane of glass on my third attempt to turn the key clockwise to let myself in. The sea-air must have gotten to my head, I thought. Even in the reflection I saw before me, with its saturated colours toned down, I was the picture of the perfect matrimony of health and happiness. My auburn hair, although, now a mess – went well with my flushed cheeks,  my freckles didn’t demand to be seen half as much, pupils dilated – a sign of youth I was told before.

I found a note on the cabinet in the hall, it seemed I just missed Mary twenty minutes ago; “I had to pick up Tom from his match, I made sure mum was comfortable before I left. Hope you had a nice time.”

Before I summonsed myself to the sitting room, I calmed my breathing and patted down my hair, Mam wouldn’t recognise me in the slightest in my windswept ensemble.

Her eyes darted up, she looked more here, more present, and I saw Mary had helped her get ready for bed. “Ah, you’re back. Did you enjoy yourself?  How is John keeping?”
She remembered.
Overwhelmed, I opened my mouth; but I couldn’t think of anything without hiding my emotion. The day I dreamed of, when she could recount, even a minor happening in the day - had fallen on my lap and I didn’t know what to do about it.

I raced over to her, threw my arms around her neck and my blubbering, salty tears dampened the shoulder of her cardigan. “Ah now loveen,” she soothed, “was it that bad? I’m just after watching the news, it seems I’m behind the times, I feel the same way about Gilmore”. I managed to gather myself, and I cupped my hands around her face, “No Mam, everything’s great, perfect even”.

She started to come back to me, with the 13th of August forever cherished.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Blogging | It's Been A Year


On the 12th of July this year, my blog had its first – birthday? I am not one to get sentimental over time in relation to minor things in my life. Having said that, this blog isn’t a small thing to me – it’s a bit more than my “thing”. A year ago I started up this space and I had no idea if it would still be up and running six weeks later. But here we are, a year on – and I’ve no intention of giving up on my corner of the internet anytime soon.

I have grown up a lot within the year, both personally (not physically, unfortunately) and with my writing. This blog has covered a lot of ground, and I feel liberated that I am comfortable to discuss just about anything here. One of the said posts, was my reaction to the Marriage Referendum result here in Ireland.That is one of the most important things I have written. It is emancipating to be able to document these marks of history here. 

I haven’t done all of this on my own, as many bloggers would tell you. There are people who have supported me from the get-go. I think many people underestimate how it feels to put a certain amount of your life online – to share your thoughts and opinions on things you care about. If I didn’t have your support, I would be talking to an empty matter of wires and connections. I notice the individuals, the same names that keep popping up time and time again, so thank you – you’re a lovely bunch, altogether.

To the people who don’t “get” what I do, that’s okay. Blogging is a concept that some people find hard to wrap their head around. You still read it, you’re here – and you, my dear, are one of the motives that propel me to continue doing exactly what I’m doing.

It is no secret, that writing in general, is another dominant feature in my life. Not every post I write interests everyone, and I understand that, but writing, to me, is exhilarating and gives life a second chance. I’ve surprised myself with the pieces I’ve shared here based on topic and tone. I have even started sharing poems! I have big plans for my blog - and am currently writing my first short story to be featured on it. Hopefully, in this regard, things will continue to be built on and that you will be able to see my style mould and develop as time goes on.

What will happen within the next year isn’t certain or guaranteed, but I do truly hope you can stick around for another while and we’ll see what the cards present us with.

| BLOGLOVIN' | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM |
SNAPCHAT: catherinegal

Monday, 10 August 2015

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me


Recently, I was kindly tagged by Zoe to take part in this post. Her blog, I Believe in Romeo is a fantastic read, and is well-worth an afternoon to have a look at it. You always leave each one of her posts thinking about something new and completely different. She is also a lovely girl altogether, and I'm only more than happy to take part in this.

By now, if you read here regularly, you might gauge the type of person I am - I'm a deep thinker (shock horror) and I'm more than capable to articulate my views and opinions, agreeable or disagreeable, on this space. However, there are other quirkier, and more entertaining random facts (although I don't believe myself to be that interesting in the slightest..) to your gal over here. 

1  DON'T YOU WISH YOUR GIRLFRIEND WAS SHORT AS ME?
If you also sang that song in your head as you read that line, then I salute you. I've mentioned a couple of times that I am not a giraffe of a woman. I am in fact, 4 ft 9. There is no major rhyme or reason for my little distance from the ground. I get elongated with remarks such as, "Oh you're so cute! Can I put you in my pocket? Perfect hugging height! Do you buy clothes from the children's section? Do your feet touch the ground in chairs?" What's funny is, my response is usually no to all of these. You have no idea of the amount of stories I have about this - is there a blogpost in this somewhere along the line?

3 things I will say about this way of living; can't reach, can't reach, still can't reach.

2  GIVE ME A BUZZ
I am an individual that likes to talk - so naturally enough, a phonecall is my preferred method of communication, short of course, of an actual face-to-face visit. This has been derived from my family, mainly my mother. We are a family that is, most of the time, very reachable through our phones. Ever since I started going to primary school, I swapped numbers with my friends and we would ring eachother for a few minutes at the weekends. As I got older, I liked it more and more. Now? I have unlimited phonecalls to any network with the plan I'm currently on. Endless chats. 

Long phone calls before bed are the nights I sleep the best. I always feel I have more news on the phone rather than texting - am I sounding like a Granny already? Should I ever dial your digits, I will probably be laughing for a solid 60-70% of the time and repeatedly asking you; "Do I sound younger than I am when I talk?"

3 ALL ABOUT THE FAAAMILY (EASTENDERS PHIL MITCHELL VOICE FOR ULTIMATE EFFECT)
I am the youngest in my house by a long shot. There are fourteen years between myself and the next person up. My brother and sisters were all born quite close together, but I decided to show up for the craic to shake things up a bit some years later. People are quite surprised when I tell them about this family dynamic, but to me, it seems perfectly normal. 

4  MEMORY OF AN ELEPHANT
It's a rare occasion you'll hear me say "Oh, I don't remember that?" Chances are, I can give you the low-down on the location, time of day, and any conversations that were had at a particular event that is being discussed (if I were there, of course). I can go back in my archives of stock-filled memories right as far as a two year old. I remember the prices of things I've bought, the times at which things have happened - but my specialty is conversations. Many a time I have had to clarify discussions - sure Catherine will know. Pity is, this part of my brain doesn't seem to swing into action for exams quite as well. Although I am an audio learner - (it's the remembering of what people say thing again). 

You mightn't want to insult me at 11.34 pm on the way home from a Cheeky Nandos, because chances are, you guessed it - I'll remember.

5  ANY NEWS?
I feel the need to throw out there the I, nor my family are affiliated with any political party tag line. My family are very ordinary people - we don't work in the media (yet). My mum likes to know what's happening. It's not uncommon for my mum to watch the Six One News on RTÉ, then the 9 o'clock round up, read the paper, listen to the radio and catch some current affair programmes later at night. Since we upgraded our television dish to get some of the English channels, she has been in her element watching Sky News. I've grown up with that, so I guess you could say it rubbed off me. I read the paper (more likely on my phone), and watch some of the news programmes at night. The radio is my favourite way of picking up the news - it's that audio thing coming back into play again. I'm hoping to study journalism next year so hopefully all this can be put into use, somehow. 

I just feel at odds if I don't know what's happening, alright?

6  DIAMONDZZ
My ears aren't pierced *queue the surprised face*. It's just something that hasn't come up. I haven't felt the need to get it sorted. I always joked I had enough metal in my body to out-do any jewelers. It's very hard for me to buy bracelets and watches as my wrists are quite small. Rings are even harder, I'm a size I ring size, or even a shade smaller. It's safe to say I don't own much bling!

7  TRUST ME, I'M (NOT) A DOCTOR
For years, up until I was around sixteen years old, I desperately wanted to become a doctor - specialising in orthopaedics or pediatrics. I think this was mainly stemmed from my own experiences in the medical world growing up - and I felt I could have contributed in a way a lot of doctors can't - I underwent the treatment myself. I wasn't discouraged, I was let to have my notions. I was naive, and thought my own things to handle with could have been worked around. Admitting to myself that this was a career that was out of my reach was the hardest thing I've had to be honest about.

This year I found out there's a question that comes up in the application process, something to the effect of; Do you have any medical condition that would hinder your performance?

LOL, sista, where do I start?

8  "WE'LL HAVE AN AUL SESSION"
I never drank underage - which is, to an extent, almost an achievement in Ireland - or anywhere these days. It just wasn't my scene and wasn't for me. Since I've turned eighteen, yes, of course I've had a sip - but I don't plan on making it a staple in my diet any time soon. I don't criticise people who like to have a good time (although you can do just that on minerals!), but I firmly believe in keeping everything in moderation, or "keeping it country" as my mother would say.

9  GET ON YOUR BIKE TRIKE
When I was six years old I was offered the chance to appear on the Late Late Toy Show (Give it a google if you don't know what it is!) - the famous Christmas toy show we all watch (whether you admit it or not) every year. Unfortunately, the day I was supposed to travel, I thought it was a great idea to get the Chickenpox. 

All was not lost, two years later I reclaimed my appearance. I was on a TMX trike, (for people that will comment, don't you mean BMX? No, hunny, it was TMX) and basically, cycled across the studio and shook Pat Kenny's hand at some stage. Apparently that's my claim to fame.

10  OH LOOK, PEOPLE
There are many things I love doing and seeing - and meeting new people is definitely one of them. I know it's a fairly generic thing to say "Oh, I just love meeting new people". But, I do. I find that I am able to get on with people of all ages - and probably people a bit older than me a tad better, not because I am up my own, but since I do a fair amount of bloody thinking, there are few people who would count hearing me harp on as a source of entertainment. I find it refreshing to hear of people's take on things, how they got here, what they're up to, what they believe in, everything. I am deeply interested in people, and every time I meet someone who I just click with is an incredibly refreshing day in the calendar.

If you have made it this far, kudos - and thank you for reading.

I NOMINATE
YOU


It really is that simple, tell me some random facts about you in the comments below or tweet me - I'd genuinely really love to know. 
Until next time.

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SNAPCHAT: catherinegal

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Snap Happy at Eighteen Bells

This is a piece I wrote as part of Scoil Acla's Writing Workshop. To put this post into a more understanding context - you can read the post I wrote for last year's workshop, "The Walk to Now", here. Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Growing up, for all of us is inevitable - and to accept things in life in our imperfect world.

Four days ago, I became technically, a responsible adult. Do I feel completely revolutionised since the 20th of July? Not quite, but I can tell you, my savings account and driver’s permit are getting in order fairly sharpish. This road has been a long one, and there is plenty of mileage to be clocked up yet. There were many who thought, that this birthday was a distant dream – faraway, possible, but not as attainable as tomorrow. I defied man, woman, and science, I lived to tell the tale – and all the while rebelled against the Plain Jane statement.

I look at the past eighteen years, with my self-acclaimed crisp memory (like every other woman, a friend recently pointed out), and any words I could string together would fail to account the amount of life that has been lived. The people I have met, the conversations I have had, the experiences I have endured, the tears I have shed, the laughs I have enjoyed, and the memories I will forever cherish have moulded me into the woman you see standing in front of you. 

Even this year alone, many small things have materialised, and collectively – will, if not already, propel me to get on with this system of “adulthood” that everyone keeps lamenting on about. I set up a blog, the Marriage Referendum passed, I had my first drink, I learnt that not everything can be done in a given day, and instead, to choose what I do, fabulously. I also walked the longest distance my legs can take me, unaccompanied, I had work experience in broadcast media, a month later I ended up speaking on the radio while in the carpark of my local supermarket. My writing started to become recognised, on a local level at least. I was caught up in the dilemma, more than once of the “who texts first” game – as tiresome as it is. I found that “absolutely”, “fab” and “perfect” dominated my colloquial vocabulary, and that long phone calls before bed are the nights I sleep the best. I stopped limiting myself to the social norm that consumed me, and made a decision to live life as authentically as I can. More importantly, I finally discovered the perfect Kylie Jenner lipstick combination that everyone is currently frantic about – it’s a look we’re all striving towards.

This milestone didn’t go uncelebrated – and I have justified my recent impulse buying for the past month to “Frig it, it’s my birthday”. I had a gathering, which ended up being labelled a “party” in my sister’s house – mainly family, civilised, my type of thing. A couple of nights later I enjoyed my first “few quiet drinks” in Lynotts with my friends. There were photographs taken, naturally enough, a couple of myself and my cousin – and favourite person, Kate. There were two pictures that I put side by side, and I swear those images could go down as the definition of happiness if someone was to ask you what exactly it was. That is the version of myself I want to be let roam free, dodgy teeth, braces an’ all. It was that night that it clicked with me, as my uncle-in-law said, it’s all about family and friends in this life.




It’s taken a village, and a true team to get to where we are today. My mother, and right- hand woman has never failed to stick by my side. She is, without doubt, the strongest person I know. If I could attain her infinite strength, cuisine skills and the ability to whittle down the price of an insurance premium on a Friday afternoon – I will be content for the rest of my days. 

Whatever will happen in the next few years won’t be guaranteed, but I believe the world and the adventures to be had are vast, bright and brilliant. College next year, should the Leaving Cert not be a complete, ghastly venture – will bring about its own idea of fun. I may be under five foot high, but I plan to challenge the seemingly, insurmountable tidal waves that the future throws at me. 




Nothing is too big for us, we set the boundaries, we push up the barriers, and we dance on our own dreams. Unbeknownst to us, that’s what limits us. You should not subsidise a part of yourself for the sake of standards that society likes to slap us in a tsunami craze. Sometimes remaining no more, and no less than who you are is about keeping your head above the water. Some people will understand you; while others may not – but move to your own frequency and let the others catch on in time. These days are for living; I will grow, I will change and I should be able to enjoy it, on my own accord. 


“Mol an Óige agus Tíocfaidh Sí”

Praise the young, and they will follow

SNAPCHAT: catherinegal

Saturday, 1 August 2015

July Favourites | Clare Island | Limerick | Birthday & More



The months are starting to well and truly fly off the calendar at this stage in the game. July has gone, and as the mammy says; "There still isn't any great drying in it". I empathise completely with households who still haven't brought home the turf yet, "We had just about saved it" many would say, "and now we have to start with the rig-a-moroe again".

July has been a busier month for me, thankfully. I had mentioned last month I was taking it easy and letting whatever happen, happen. So what did I get up to? Since I can't escape the island life, I had a night out in Clare Island - where Tommy Tiernan (Irish comedian) was doing a gig. This is the second year he has been doing a grand tour of the smaller islands off the coast of Ireland. Clare Island was hopping with tourists from all over, and being honest with you, it was so busy, you had a job to spot an Irish accent from the crowds of people. Myself and my sister ended up staying in the hostel on the island as all the B&Bs were booked out! I had stayed there before on a school trip, so there was no need for one to turn their nose up at it. We got the ferry from Roonagh, about a 30 minute drive from Westport. The men operating the ferry were very accommodating in making sure we (mainly yours truly) got on board smoothly.

As before, the hostel was clean, bright, and our room was quite spacious. It's definitely a "every man looks after himself" kind of thing, which is what you would get in any hostel. Although I have to say, I did manage to step on someone's toes only 10 minutes of arriving. My advice? Double check that teapot in the kitchen is definitely finished with, one guy nearly had a heart attack when he saw I was going to pour it down the sink. 


L-R:Yours truly, Tommy Tiernan, my sister, Fred Cooke

The gig itself in the community centre was quite enjoyable, Tiernan is known for his controversial ways - but he managed to knock a few laughs out of me. His support act Fred Cooke was brilliant, and very engaging with the audience. I wasn't planning on leaving without a picture, when you're out, you're out!

Couple of weeks later, I took a trip down to Limerick. "What's on in Limerick" I'd get asked, "Sure, just going down for a gawk" I'd say. We stayed in the Savoy Hotel, very swit-swoo for 2 nights. The hotel was lovely, it had a bath and a shower which is a win-win in my eyes. My friend, who knew I was staying in the hotel, kindly organised a bottle of Presecco to be brought to my room. It was there and then I had my first-ever-honest-to-God-proper drink. That's a story for another day. I felt like a very grand lady for my stay as it was all "Miss, madam, ma'am" kind of job, not something I'm used to!

For the 2 evenings we dined in the Chocolat restaurant. I'm no foodie expert but the food, and the hospitality we received was absolutely out of this world for the price. Upstairs, it passes for a day time restaurant/bar, on the second evening we were brought downstairs, and it honestly felt like a different premises altogether.  I highly recommend popping your nose in if you're near Limerick city. I also 

I met up with my cousins on our second day around Limerick - we took a look at the Hunt Museum, and floated around the shops, (I made my first ever MAC purchase, and felt like a complete new woman afterwards), saw Magic Mike XXL, where, some things can't be unseen. Absolutely no story-line whatsoever, but you don't argue with the face of Channing Tatum. Some ladies in the back of the cinema were obviously having a party of their own with a bottle of vino and supplied the entertainment in between the lulling parts of the movie. Before I left the city, after hearing rave recommendations, I went into O'Mahony's Bookshop on O'Connell Street, and that was an experience in itself. They offer a wide selection of books and I was in my element spending the 30 minutes I was there for. For book lovers everywhere, believe me when I say; you will not regret one moment spent there.

As a side note to all of that, Hook and Ladders is a lovely spot for breakfast, very tumblr-esque - but not over the top hipster vibes either. The staff are very friendly and the food is fresh. It was glorious, I could have spent the day there.

All in all, Limerick City is quite accessible to get around, once you have your car parking in order. Any coffee shop/restaurant we went to, the staff were very helpful, and so were the people we met. 

This 18th birthday of mine has come and gone. I didn't go hectic with celebrating, but I did have a "gathering" one evening and a few "quiet drinks" locally a couple of days later. I'm posting a longer in-depth on this next week, so keep the eyes peeled! Have a look at the bottom of this post to see the playlist I put together for the night.

Yesterday marked the end of a week long writing workshop I did with Scoil Acla. It was my fourth consecutive year taking part in the course, and as always it was a joyous and enjoyable week with Irish writer, Macdara Woods and the rest of the group. It was great to see familiar faces and to be completely thrown into an environment that motivates everyone within it. Last night we had our reading night to bring the week to a close. As I say every year, the week flew! You can read up on my experience last year here.




Other things I enjoyed? Knobcast is a brand-spanking-new podcast by three Irish gentleman that I highly recommend having a listen to. (I am not sponsored or affiliated, I just really like the things they come out with!) They post every week and you can find them on Soundcloud and iTunes - have a listen before bed or getting ready, you'll end up in stitches from laughing at some stage!

Finally, I've jumped on the bandwagon and started to Snapchat more regularly like, pretty much, every other blogger at the minute. You can give us an add sure: catherinegal.

I'm also thinking of starting a podcast series based on some of the blog posts I have written and will do in the future. If that's something you would like to see do let me know!


What have you been up to this month?