Tuesday, 19 September 2017

should you reinvent yourself?

I've been at a slight loss for words lately, kept busy by new circumstances. I spent over an hour writing my college timetable into my moleskine in the hopes that I'll bring that thing with me everywhere in the autumn. I've been on the website of my university, day after day, seeking information about buildings and people and societies. I hoovered my room late last night, and have a whole list of surfaces I want to clean today so that I can feel fresh.

I've been listening to "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington on repeat. I don't really know why, because it has no relevance to my life, but I've been enjoying it, and any time that it's not on Spotify, it's in my head, so I choose to listen to it properly. All the while I've been thinking about fresh starts, like the one I'm soon going to be making. We hear it a lot, it's got to be said, "college is the perfect time to reinvent yourself". And I was listening to that on repeat too, but I've started to realise that I don't really want to reinvent myself.

I don't want to be someone else, or someone new.

I want to be the person that I am inside, that only my closest friends get to see, that only my family knows. I don't want to change really, only in confidence.

I think I'm learning more about myself as I go along. I kind of sort of know what types of clothes I like to wear, the ones that make me feel pretty and comfortable. I have a vague sense of what my better qualities are, and of the worse ones that I need to work on. I'm learning all the time how to like myself better, and realising that most of my fear of being judged or disliked is me talking, and not anyone else. I've got to admit it too; all of the kind comments you leave on this blog help me to know these things.

So, as I sit here in my dressing gown and think about what outfit I want to wear, and what items I should bring with me, I want to remind you too, that the only person you should want to change for is yourself, because there are so many little things about you that those around you love, but never say. You have the right to love yourself as unconditionally as a parent loves their child. Forgiving yourself is important, loving yourself is essential.


p.s. i've opened a shop on redbubble, so if you'd ever like to support me in my now struggling college student life, please do take a look!


Sunday, 17 September 2017

The One

In a world where magic comes from the stars
You are the one thing that captivates me.
You are more mystical than the Aurora Borealis
With her blue and green web as she lights the lonely sky.

Ursa Major does not have the prowess
That your knowing eyes hold,
The sun is too far away for me to know,
And the planes lift people who do not see what I seek

But you,
You are so deeply beautiful
In ways the firmament has only seen once before;
When your mother looked at your crinkled face 
And knew that you were The One. 

5 aug '17

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Milano // Leonardo, Duomo, Galleria Vittorio & Sforzo Castle

Our first day in Milan was wonderful. We had to wake up too early to catch our flight, which made the travel there quite grueling. The bus from the airport to our hotel revealed to us the vast amount of graffiti in the wider city and the unusual way in which the locals cross roads, negotiating with the cars. Once in the heart of the city, after a nap in our room, we took to the streets and began to explore.

We saw the monument to Leonardo da Vinci, an exciting prelude to seeing The Last Supper the next day. We struggled with maps and road signs to find the Duomo, Milan's cathedral, which is so huge and spectacular. We spent a long time queuing up to get in, and an even longer time exploring the depths of the cathedral. It's so intricate and fantastic.

Next came Galleria Vittorio, a very exclusive shopping arcade which houses the likes of Prada, Louis Vuitton and Armani. The roof is made of glass, making for a sunny yet sheltered shopping experience. We decided to get some gelato there, just to feel the tiniest bit fancy. I got a delicious pistachio one, which threatened to melt all over everything, but was nevertheless delectable.

Our final stop for the day was the Sforzo Castle, another vast entity. Our legs were so tired by this point, that we could hardly walk any more. However, we were impressed by the grounds. An arch loomed in the background, which really caught my eye.

Overall, our first day in Milan was wonderful. It felt great to orient ourselves in a city we'd be spending the next few days in. We got a first glance at the shopping opportunities, and got to enjoy the architecture and the friendly nature of the Italians there.

Have you ever been to Italy?

Friday, 1 September 2017

3 ways to display your photos featuring Printiki #sponsored

I don't know about you, but personally I've been gathering photos on my phone and SD card that I love, but are so random and disconnected from each other. There are those funny photos from nights out with friends, magical sunsets, landscapes and dog pictures that I hold dear to my heart but have no idea what to do with. I decided it was finally time to get some printed, and with the help of Printiki, I did just that.

They arrived, beautiful and vibrant, exactly what I wanted. I had 30 perfect squares to work with, and now had to decide what to do with them. I decided that for the first craft, I would do the traditional picture wall, a sweet piece of decor for the previously boring and blank space above my desk.

1. Wall Art

I initially chose to do two rows of seven. It was both fun and challenging to choose photographs which would go nicely together, but I think I managed. Once I'd finished picking out the photos for other crafts, I went back and stuck up more. Now that I'm finished school, I understand why university students often have photo collages on their dormitory walls; it's so nice to be able to look up and relive some of my fondest memories, and to see the faces of my dear friends.

2. Journal Page

I have rather a small journal, but these photos still fit nicely! Having your journal littered decorated with photos is a nice way to punctuate foreign trips, days with friends, or simple moments in time, such as babysitting your nephew or giving your sister a hug! The bullet-style journal I have is fun too, because you can join up the dots to create frames around your photographs.

3. Decorate your Folders, Binders and Notebooks
shout out to the lighting for reminding me of late night study sessions
Who doesn't love to personalise their school supplies? I remember the first time I designed the cover of my binder, aged 11, all of my friends were impressed by and envious of it. When you're in the middle of a long school day, or boring college class, it can be nice to look down at your work and see familiar faces or beautiful tropical scenes. There's something quite comforting about it all!

Please have a look at Printiki's website to learn more about their printing service, and their instagram for more ideas of ways to display your prints!

Do you like getting photos printed?

Anna x

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

accents coffee & tea lounge

The usual tale:
The author is uninspired by the old
Even the newness which envelops her thoughts
Seems told before
Nevertheless with pen in hand
And a new old café with old new seats
She persists and writes her last first poem
And sips at her first last coffee
Until her pen has run out of ink.

thanks to accents for letting me take pictures!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

how i feel about leaving certificate results 2017

I'm sitting on my bed, staring at a pile of notes that have been on my bedroom floor since I finished my last exam six or seven weeks ago. I wasn't sure whether I'd recycle or cremate them, but it's been so long now that I don't know whether I want to do away with them at all. In a box on my desk, I have Irish and German flashcards. I still remember what most of them mean - it hasn't been that long - but still I feel strangely about parting with them. Essentially, I liked most of my subjects and don't want to forget all that I learned, or really stop learning them.

I was so terrified to open my results on Wednesday. I'd been anticipating the moment for the entire two years of the leaving cert course, getting particularly anxious in the week leading up to the event. I kept coming up with ideas of how terribly it would go. I dreamed that I had barely passed ordinary level maths, and got low grades in all the subjects I liked. In a way that helped because I knew that it would never be quite as bad as that.

Nevertheless, the morning came and we all strolled up to the school to collect my brown envelope. I wanted to open it away from my family, just so that I could know first, and open it as slowly as I wanted.  I was more relieved than anything to see that I had gotten good grades, top grades in some cases. I couldn't say I was happy with my results, but it was too soon. All of my months of hard work and, as the exams came closer, no play, had just been summed up for me in one single number. It felt kind of underwhelming, like I wanted more than a number, (the numbers in the new system range from 1-8, no more As and Bs), maybe a letter grade or a percentage or "very good".

I took out my CAO points calculator and inputted my grades. The grades are secondary to the points which gave me a rough idea of whether I'd be getting into my first choice for university. In Ireland, most college courses want you to get a number of points, but it changes every year because it's based on supply and demand rather than suitability for the programme. Which is stupid, if I'm honest, because you can get higher grades in English, Irish and Home Ec and still go on to study maths if all you got was 50% depending on your chosen university. I got points which should enable me to do my chosen course, but I'll find out tomorrow at 6a.m. when the offers come out. wish me luck.

I brought my results and calculator back to my parents, who were waiting for me a few meters away. I burst into tears once I'd shown them, prompting my dad to exclaim "don't cry! people will think you've done badly!" but I couldn't stop yet. Relief really is the only word that fits. I mean, I got really good grades, but I still have a hard time convincing myself of that.

Only 1.2% of everyone in the country who sat the art leaving cert got the top grade, a H1 (formerly A1, >90%). A lot of people in my class were disappointed not to have achieved a higher grade, which I totally understand because I was surrounded by girls whose talents I was envious of, and who put in long stressful hours at all points throughout the year. I didn't expect to get the top grade, seeing as so few people get them, so I wasn't surprised not to. However I must admit that it still bothers me that some people were robbed of higher grades due to the examiners' standards being too high.  It's like they expect us all to be artists whose work is saleable rather than students who have been studying art at a non-professional level.

Perhaps the problem is the change in the grading system. The fact that they've changed it makes any 2s (80-89%) seem like they're worth less than previously A2s or B1s. An A2 being 85-89%. Making the grades purely numbers based makes the grading feel more harsh to me, a strong feeling of "second best" rather than "a slightly lower grade".

Anyway, not long now. It's 18 hours until I'm sure of my fate, and I think everything will feel a lot better then. I tend to my hard on myself anyway, and coming from a family of smarties and a friend circle full of amazing intelligent girls probably doesn't help. I know a lot of people are proud of me, and I should be too. I'm both under and over-whelmed it seems!

Thank you so much for reading, I owe you the usual bloggers apology for being MIA for a few days.

Anna x

Sunday, 6 August 2017

maybe love

As I walk down the street,
Alone this time,
I take in every road sign,
Every shopfront, 
Every curb and crossing.
I pause to peer into empty cafés
And look at vacant bar stools.

I picture you sitting in every spot,
Reclining on the couch in the doctor's waiting room,
Flicking through an old magazine,
Waiting for the green light,
Walking through revolving doors at the old hotel.
Because I'm worried that you'll be my reality
And I have to make sure you fit.

Anna O

taken on an iphone 5s

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Destination: Galway City

Galway, Galway, Galway. A delightful city in the west of Ireland. And it's so tiny, which is amazing and makes it perfect for a day trip! There is so much to do and see, but it's possible to squeeze it in to one day. The town centre is small, but there were so many street performers. Galway is a place that holds on dearly to its tradition of the Irish language and tradition. Almost all of the performers were playing trad music or Irish dancing. There are loads of pubs there in the traditional style. There are also loads of adorable shops, including an amazing toy shop that sold foreign made toys. So cute! Also, I adore all of the Irish sign posts. They have a prominence in Galway that often seems lacking in other parts of the country

The River Corrib runs through Galway City, and is apparently amongst the shortest in Europe. My traveling companion and I had an amazing stroll down along it. The water was moving so rapidly, and was remarkably clear. We even had the fortune of seeing a rainbow created by the spray and the gorgeous sun that was out that day- which I must add, is rare enough in the west. Seeing such a vibrant rainbow was magical!

We visited Galway Cathedral before lunch. I didn't want to take any photos there, it just didn't feel right to me. However, it is beautiful, so beautiful inside. It's huge (unsurprising) and has a very good mood about it. The organ in particular was very impressive to me, and I left the church with a fantastic sense of calm.

Lunch that day was spectacular. The veggie special on was Spaetzle! Dude! I adore Germany, and this particular dish is German. I have never seen it outside of Germany before, and so I had to try out the Irish version. I was not disappointed, rather, thrilled. My friend who'd never tried the dish before also had a very positive experience. I was sorry we didn't stay for desert, but we had much to do! Also, they had Irish made lemonade there, which was pricey but tasty. My sister was the one to recommend this restaurant to me, and now I'm recommending it to you. It's called Ard Bia at Nimmos, and is right beside the Spanish Arch.

Being the total nerds we are, we had to check out the NUI Galway campus. It was really lush and pretty, and we spent ages chatting away on the grass. It was a very peaceful spot, hard to imagine it full of students as it will very shortly be.

Our final destination was Salt Hill, a very picturesque beach area along the Atlantic Ocean. The views were spectacular, and the air so so fresh. We headed back into town and got some pub grub before heading home. It was a lovely day out, one which I would love to repeat.

Where's your favourite spot for a day trip?

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