2016 – A year in review…

You are being SPOILED – 2 posts in as many days. Well, you are so wonderful you truly deserve it. Here are some of my faves from 2016….

1. Things to listen to…

This year I was blessed with not one but 2 favourite albums. The first is by the amazing Hi-Fi Sean (lead singer of the popular 90’s group The Soup Dragons) – the album is called “FT” and it consists of a series of killer collaborations which will blow your socks off. My absolute favourite song off the album is ‘Testify’ which I first heard when the lovely Ms Ana Matronic played it on BBC Radio 2 on one of her stints covering for Jo Whiley (ps Ana is DJ’ing on Radio 2 on NYE from 11pm – 1am so if you haven’t heard her show before PLEASE tune in. It’s gonna be a belter) I have included the video link for ‘Testify’ right here so go and enrich your ears.

My other fave this year was from my fab friend Dolls – the album is called ‘Eat It Up’ and it is beyond amazing. Nikki is beyond fabulous in every way. She works her arse off day and daily to create the most beautifully smooth yet edgy synthy dark pop that NEEDS to be heard. The album was released in June of this year and is available to buy on iTunes. I have several faves on the album tbqh, Breakfast Club, Friend or Faux, Doing It Correct, Swim and the super infectious In Control – you must download this album – make it your New Year’s resolution.

2.  Places to Go

My love affair with Flame and Bootleggers has continued to grow this year but there is most definitely a new kid on the block. Kua Ana in Victoria Square is food HEAVEN. I went there last week with The Mighty Spalison as part of our inaugural Christmas Crawl and I could not have hoped for better. The food was amazing, the staff were INCREDIBLE (thanks to Ash and Ross) I had been once before at their Christmas event which I previously blogged about but this time my bloggers hat was well and truly off (I think I left it at the mulled wine stall in the Christmas Market.)

I got the chilli cheese fries, the chilli cheese burger and multiple mince pie milkshakes (with malibu) and sides of sweet potato fries pictured above. Such a major combo. Kua Aina are celebrating their first year in Belfast and are going from strength to strength. Their ethos is focused on flavour and making use of our local produce ensuring that every meal is super fresh. Carnbrook Meats in Dromore produce the 100% pure beef for the burgers, French Village bakery supply the signature baps for the burgers and Morelli’s provide the ice cream for the AMAZING milkshakes. What could be better? Hawaii via Norn Iron!!

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3. Shows to Watch

I could wax lyrical about the importance of watching Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. But that goes without saying. I’m going to stick to things I watched this year. I have become a Netflix obsessive. So out of the possible hundreds of things I have watched I am going to tell you about 2.

The first of which is Lady Dynamite. Maria Bamford is a genius and the entire show is delightfully unhinged. Make it your business to give this a go. It is described on Netflix as ‘quirky’ and ‘absurd’ which are fabulous adjectives and the cast is top notch including Ana Gasteyer, Jenny Slate and June Diane Raphael as the 3 Karen Grishams.

My second recommendation is One Mississippi which is available to watch on Amazon Video. This show alone is worth the Prime membership. I wrote about my love for Tig Notaro previously – One Mississippi is a semi-autobiographical comedy which focuses on Tig and part of the intrigue is trying to figure out which bits are real and which bits are made up. You gotta give this a go as well.

Both of these shows have also been commissioned for second seasons so roll on 2017.

4. Things to read…

Okay so you MUST read Amy Poehler‘s autobiography and of course Tina Fey‘s because these women are comedy icons IMHO.

Shaking things up with a late entry is Robert Greene’s ‘The 48 Laws of Power‘ – OMG – this book is blowing my mind. So much so that I needed to get the audiobook to listen to while I walk. I cannot get enough. For anyone with an interest in conquest, self-defence, wealth, power or simply being more aware of power and it’s, well…. power,  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

So there you have it, some of my faves from 2016. Nothing too heavy for this New Years Eve Eve. Let me know what you think! Obvs tell me if I am missing out on anything spectacular also – I’ve watched all 7 seasons of Parks and Rec 4 times this year alone so I am bound to have missed out on something…..

 

What day is it?

Hello! I am writing to you under a sea of Tunnocks Teacake wrappers and Schloer, in fact it is a miracle that I can even tap the keyboard. How was your festive season? Not that it’s over, but I mean the Santa part. Was a good time had by all? I do hope so. Forgive my lack of posting, I just felt that until I had something of some worth to say that I would not bore you with piffle about things of zero importance. It was kind of a public service, so you are all welcome.

This bit in between Christmas and New Year is very vague isn’t it? Does anyone actually know what day it is? I know it’s not just me that is struggling with the specifics. 2016 has tried to make it clearer by killing off my favourite people one by one on a seemingly daily basis which you would think would make it a bit easier to remember but nope. Ugh. I am still so utterly devastated at the loss of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. I don’t even have the words. Carrie Fisher was such a fierce role model and her public battles with mental health and addiction and her ownership of these made her even more of an idol in my eyes. It gets kind of old when you see people / celebrities harp on about how they are so supportive of this, that and the other when in actual fact you KNOW they couldn’t give a toss. It’s all for show and it’s painfully obvious when their actions don’t match their words. Carrie Fisher was a true advocate and she not only talked the talk, she walked the walk. She raised awareness and she fought stigma and for that I will be eternally grateful.

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Image source – Getty / Steve Granitz

It’s hurtling towards 2017 at a rate of knots and I can’t wait to say cheerio to the old ’16 surrounded by my faves and doused in vodka. At the same time I worry about placing a LOT on the incoming year. This year has been pretty gross for most of the people I know and for some it has been worse than for others. I guess what I am most concerned about is leaving everything up to the change of a number.

I have heard so many people say that they can’t wait for things to get better in 2017. I am certain that I have said it myself but then I realised that it’s got nothing to do with what year it is. It has to do with the effort I put in to make things better for me. I have worked my arse off this year in order to get myself out of some pretty hairy situations. I did it. 2016 didn’t put me in the spots that I was in, I did. I made some whack decisions. I trusted some whack people. That had zero to do with it being 2016, a lot of those foundations were laid yeeeears before. That was to do with me and my own lack of focus and direction. In fact, if those things hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.

I am looking forward to the New Year. Not because I believe that things will magically improve and idols will stop dying etc. I am looking forward to it because I have drive and motivation that I never had before which only came to fruition because it had to. When it gets to the stage that you feel your entire life has fallen apart and you are petrified you have 2 choices. F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours. For too long I was paralysed by fear. What if I made the wrong decision? What if my friends didn’t like me anymore? What if I upset people by saying how I felt? What if, what if, what if…..

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@thegoodquote on Instagram

Even writing that transports me back to when those things were my be all and end all. As long as everyone else was okay, that was all that mattered. THAT was where I went wrong. At the end of the day the only person that can truly make things better for you is YOU. Ps the quote above is possibly my fave – this is so true – do not sacrifice yourself for the good of others.

So as we head into 2017, which is however many days away, I want you to promise yourself that you will look after YOU. By all means celebrate the end of this omnishambles of a year by booting it in the arse as the twelfth bell tolls on NYE but when you wake up on 1st January, make sure you rip each and every day a new one.

Happy New Year fellow warriors, we got this…..

Adulting, eh?

Adulting has the capacity to be pretty rank at the best of times. Generally the term is associated with things that aren’t so fun such as bills, work, taxes, hangovers, cleaning, MOT’s and other such shudder inducing tasks. This week I took a new approach to adulting and I adulted HARD and y’know what? It wasn’t half bad….

So, for those of you who know me (and now for those of you who don’t) you will be aware that I have been fighting a losing battle with the one thing that is supposed to give me peace, tranquility and a cosy place to turn to. Yes, my bed hates me. Here’s the short version. My bed is one of those beautiful wooden ones with a glorious headboard and a FULL MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS (not a dopey topper). Well, we started butting heads about 3 months ago when I leapt upon said bed with wild abandon (to eat pizza) using my left knee as a landing pad only to snap one of the slats around the head area. One slat. NBD (or so I thought)

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I adjusted my sleeping position so that I was avoiding the dip. All was well in bed-land. Okay so I woke up with a sore back – that’s what growing up does to us ALL. I did try to fix it. But oh my giddy aunt have you ever tried to lift and entire king size memory foam mattress alone? Here’s a tip. DON’T. Then a few weeks later another slat went which meant I was actually lying in a dip and was seriously too terrified to move. This was handy as it was during my insomnia phase. Another part of growing up. Adulting, eh?

Finally, 3 nights ago I was almost decapitated by my own bed (imagine head trapped between mattress and headboard) so I decided enough was enough. I went to the bed shop and I stated my case to Jonny the Bed-Man aka my hero. Within minutes I was good to go. new bed on order and not a care in the world. That night I went home and single-handedly with the power of a million humans slid my mattress 3 inches off the side of the bed and temporarily fixed the slats. Ergo, for the minute sleeping is precarious yet not life threatening.

Buying a bed is a horrifically adult thing to do. Guess what is even more adult.

BUYING ART.

Yes indeed. I, Lindsey, am now the proud owner of ART. For my HOME.

If you follow me on Twitter (which you really should) you will know that I am a Terry Bradley superfan. His pop up gallery on Chichester Street is probably my third most visited place in Belfast only surpassed by Lush and more recently Patisserie Valerie (shout out to my cake lovers) If you haven’t been then PLEASE go. It’s open until Christmas Eve and is seriously a little haven of tranquility in the middle of the craziness of Christmas shopping. I chose this beautiful print called “Cocktail Hour” which is highly relevant and in my opinion super gorgeous.

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Cocktail Hour by Terry Bradley

I cannot wait to collect that bad boy. If you look in the bottom right hand corner of the picture you can see my little sweaty hands taking the photo. Well, now said article will be in those sweaty hands and I will be AN ART COLLECTOR. How’s about THAT for adulting…..

I also took some calls regarding a PPI claim and looked into getting my house revalued but that’s for another blog. Bet you can’t wait for that one to drop.

For real though, adulting requires a lot of flexibility (not just when your bed breaks) and all in all it can be a pretty rewarding undertaking (so long as you get a bed and some art out of it) so even though some of the stuff STINKS – stick with it, because the pay off can be amazing.

Let me know what you have been up to this week? Apart from Christmas shopping because that is one part of adulting that is REALLY HARD WORK. Ps if anyone is good at wrapping can you come over and wrap all of mine? I will pay you in Elf and Ryvita…

Jars are for biscuits…

This morning I was doing some adulting by cleaning out my kitchen cupboards. I bet you are all hooked now. I mean what could be more interesting than a blog post about kitchen organisation. Well, sorry to disappoint the pan-o-philes amongst you but I’m gonna swerve at this juncture to what I actually want to talk about.

While surrounded by pans (that’s your lot pan fans) I came across an empty jar. Audience participation time, this is your line, “What’s the big deal about an empty jar?” (your cooperation is MOST appreciated and this is much cheaper than a pantomime so you can thank me later) Well, it’s not the jar itself, but the reason I had the jar in the first place.

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About this time last year I bought said jar with one plan in mind. Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, my plan was to write something positive that happened or something I was grateful for each day and fold up the piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then on NYE 2016 I was going to read each one and it was going to be the most amazing and fulfilling experience EVER. Well fact fans, for those who were paying attention, you will realise that today the jar was EMPTY. Some questions ran through my mind…

  • a) Why was the jar still empty?
  • b) How had I forgotten something I was SO determined to do?
  • c) When did I give up the ghost and pack it away?

I came up with zero answers. Apart from the obvious booming voice in my head saying “well Lindsey, the answer to all 3 questions is that you can’t stick to anything and you’re a loser who bought a jar and didn’t fill it with anything life changing, DUH.”

That was rude wasn’t it? In reality that could have been my answer. I could have accepted that as fact.But the thing is, yes there have been some bumps in the road but all in all with my reflective head on I have a lot to be grateful for.

This year has been full of change. I was not a fan of change. At all. But I have learned that  sometimes you have to make room for good things to come in and in order to do so, you have to let go of the not so good things. I don’t call them “bad” things because that negates the good that has come from them. The not so good things didn’t seem ‘not so good’ at the time. In fact they seemed pretty amazing. Which is why it’s so hard to let them go, right? The process of reflecting and growing takes time. It doesn’t happen in a day, a week or even a month and to be quite honest I didn’t even see the process taking place. It’s so strange isn’t it? That some of our most life changing elements can happen right under our noses and we don’t even know we are doing it?

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I learned to say no. The big bad two letter word that caused me so much angst and guilt my entire life REALLY isn’t that big or bad. I believed firmly that saying no automatically meant I was being selfish. How wrong was I? Someone a lot wiser than me said, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Saying no is really all about self-care and that has become a priority for me and PLEASE, as we enter 2017, make YOURSELF a priority for you too. You will find you are a lot more able to do the things you want to do, including helping others, if you make sure you are well taken care of. Harsh truth? No one else is going to do it for you.

I went out of my comfort zone. I know I talked about my first visit to a proper hairdressers and it was all a bit ELL OH ELL but that’s one example. At the opposite end of the spectrum I also did and am continuing to do one of the scariest things imaginable for most humans. Ready? I am being 100% honest about my thoughts and feelings and SHARING these with others who (dun dun dunnnnn) MIGHT JUDGE ME. I am sure you can imagine the trauma this could cause to a recovering people-pleaser such as myself and to tell you the truth (because that’s how I roll now), some elements of this have gone better than others. BUT here’s the thing, I am SO MUCH HAPPIER. If someone is behaving in a certain way that causes upset or hurt – instead of accepting it (which is in truth, giving them permission to continue) SPEAK UP ABOUT IT. In reality, what do you have to lose? 9 times out of 10 the other person will be devastated that they have caused you any form of harm and the behaviour will cease and your relationship can grow. For the remaining 1 out of the 10? It’s time to slide on. It’s not a loss, it’s making room for more good stuff to flow. But it’s not just about the negatives. Tell the people you love that you love them, if you are impressed with something that someone has done, let them know – spread the love, you don’t know how much it can mean to someone to hear the positives.

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So all in all, even though my literal jar was empty (not anymore, it’s now full of biscuits), my metaphorical jar is overflowing and it is SO much easier to quiet the booming voice in your head when you take the time to reflect.

If there is one thing I would love for you to take from this post it’s that life is too short to be so hard on yourself. The good things are there if you make the seemingly scary strides to go and grab them.

As always I would love to know your thoughts, hit me up on here or over on the old Twitter – the username is @lindslikedthat btw. Until next time….

 

 

So many firsts, so little time…

So, remember I was trying new things? Well! This weekend I had not one, not two, but THREE new experiences all in one day. I know right? I am really exceeding my own expectations here too. It’s a wonder I write this stuff for free.

The first new thing I did was to attend a writing class. Yup. I bet you are all so glad that I will now be able to string an understandable sentence together. Ps it took me literally 4 attempts to write that sentence so maybe more than one class is needed. Anyhoo, my friend Stevie (who also has a blog over —> here) has been telling me for a while now about a free writing class he goes to in the Falls Road Library and it so happened that I was able to go along on Saturday. Not only did it mean that I got to catch up with him but I also got to learn some pretty cool stuff from a real life published author.

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I stole this image from laurencedonaghy.com – hope you don’t mind!

The guy that takes the class is called Laurence Donaghy. He is the author of the urban fantasy trilogy, Folk’d which is set in contemporary Belfast. You should check them out. This week the topic was all about building characters for your story. I’d never really considered writing any fiction but the class definitely got me thinking about never saying never to trying my hand at it. At the end of the class, Laurence gave us the chance to read something aloud for feedback. My friend Stevie absolutely blew me away with his piece which was entitled, The Foot In The Hall. Hopefully he will post it online somewhere so you can all get the chance to see what I am talking about. If you follow Laurence on Twitter (@LarboIreland) or indeed my pal Stevie (@johnnyutah66) you’ll see when the next class will be and if you fancy it, you should definitely go along.

We then wandered into town and for the first time ever for me, despite walking past The Spires daily – we called into Comic Book Guys NI. The shop is amazing, they stock movie memorabilia, toys and the largest selection of comic books I think I have ever seen – vintage to modern you name it, they have it. Oh and if they don’t have it? They will order it in for you. Pop in when you are passing next. Twas there that we met up with the lovely Hayley (tiniest human ever) who showed me DISNEY COMICS therefore she quickly shot up my “list of fave people.”

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comicbookguys.co.uk or on Twitter @comicbookguysni

The last of my three firsts is one which I am semi-ashamed of. Not because I did it, but because it took me so long. Ladies and gentlemen, I had never before Boojum‘d. I know, how did I live without the burrito goodness? Your guess is as good as mine. Once I was taught the ropes (bowl or bread, beans or no, beef or chicken, guacamole is extra) I built myself the most impressive burrito bowl I had ever seen. Okay so having never been before I had VERY little to compare it to but anyway. It was majestic.

So there you have it, that was my Saturday of firsts in a nutshell. Needless to say it was great to accomplish all of these feats in the company of one of my oldest (not as in old old, but you know what I mean) friends. Here’s to many more Boojums and getting poked in the eye with an umbrella upon entry to the Christmas Market.

What did you do this weekend? Anything exciting? Anything new? Let me know! You know how I like to know EVERYTHING…

 

Get over it…

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Yeah, that’s right, you heard. GET. OVER. IT. Those 3 words are the most overused and the least understood in the entirety of all humankind. How in the WORLD do you “get over” something that has actually broken you? I mean, ENTIRELY. Not just being dramatic. I understand the tough love approach and yes, I agree we can all benefit from a kick up the arse from time to time, but those words?  Bleurgh. They bounce around in the receivers  brain like the echoing demons.

There are so many things that happen to us on a daily basis that require a certain amount of getting over. Like on the drive into work someone cuts you off when you clearly had right of way. It miffs you for what, a minute tops? But then as if by magic, you get over it. At lunch time you realise that you forgot to pack the tomato separately from your sandwich and now your bread is soggy, annoying right? But again, we get over it.

How about when someone you trusted with every fact and nuance of your life decides you’re not really their cup of tea anymore and they jump ship when you are at your LOWEST ebb (before that kicking you at every opportunity) leaving you REELING with complete despair for who you are, who you were and obliterating your ability to trust another living soul or your own judgement? How do we get over THAT soggy sandwich part of life? Because it happens. And it is NOT that easy to just “get over it.”

Break ups and endings in any and all forms (relationships, friendships, The Spice Girls) are HORRENDOUS. Having your trust annihilated is absolutely devastating and it is exceptionally difficult when you are in the middle of it, to imagine yourself being on the other side of it EVER AGAIN. There is no solution or quick fix. If there was I would have overdosed on it with glee. I am sorry to say to any of you struggling right now – that it just takes time.

Of course we can approach this amount of time in different ways. We can go at it with a positive outlook (which is COMPLETELY FAKE at the start) OR we can go at it with a negative outlook (which is easy and includes RT’ing quotes – mainly from Instagram and sharing song lyrics – mainly Adele) – needless to say I go for a mixture of both.

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Example of said quotes – from @thegoodquote on Instagram (ps this one I 100% stand by)

In the world we live in today, social media is a blessing and a curse. Back 10 years ago if I didn’t want to see someone because it hurt too much I could just NOT GO TO THEIR HOUSE  or NOT LOOK AT MY PHOTO ALBUM. But now it’s like a military operation. Blocking, muting and unfollowing and STILL there is a tiny chance that the face of the person you NEED to not see right now will still creep up on your timeline. Everything is PUBLIC. Everyone knows EVERYTHING. Plus by being so available online – other people truly believe that your business is automatically THEIR business. You know what though? It isn’t. If you don’t want to see / speak to / speak about X,Y or Z it is up to you. More recently I have also learned that it is okay to say that to “concerned followers.” If you don’t want to answer a question, then DON’T – you are obligated to no one but yourself.

I was told that it was ‘unhealthy’ to approach things that way. (Me, unhealthy? *she says licking biscuit crumbs off her fingers*) Well maybe it was! So what! That is what I needed to do. Some people just deal better with aversion therapy. I really do not. That was my immediate response. To delete everything.

My next step was one which I found way more difficult. It was about putting myself out there and spending time with the people. It may seem like an easy move but I reaalllyyy struggled with that and I still do to a degree. I spent such a long time not communicating with people that it felt really difficult to go to them with my metaphorical tail between my legs. That was when I realised the beauty of people who truly care. They will still care even if you have been a plonker / off their radar.

Then the next step for me was meeting new people and learning how to trust my own judgement and other people. For most of this year I have trusted my cat. That’s it. Even then it has been rocky at times. I was talking about this with my friend and as I have said in different blog posts, negatives are not difficult to find, they like to make themselves known. On the flip side (and there is always a flip side) I can also identify positives that would not have happened had my life not been slowly set on fire over a period of time beginning in early 2015 and finally exploding in 2016.

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This is why I don’t trust her sometimes – she’s always plotting…

One of my dearest friends said something to me when we caught up a few weekends ago and we were talking about all of this. He said, “You’ve always been the same. When you love something, whether it’s a person, place or a thing – you love all of it, the very bones of it, warts and all.” I tried to delete that part of me when my heart broke initially. Like I HATED that part of me with a passion and would have given anything to not be like that. I tried really hard for a while but then I realised that I can’t be anything other than who I am, and if that isn’t for you then that’s how it is. Plus being a caring person really isn’t the worst thing in the world, right?

As we are moving towards the end of this year, I can say that I am in a much better position emotionally than I was (although sometimes this is doubtful, I cried during Like A Prayer today). In the words of my number one favourite philosopher, Madonna – “I can forgive but I will never forget.” I have gained amazingly strong, talented, independent and loving friends and reconnected with family who have brought out what I believe to be the best in me and I am so eternally grateful for that (#teamcocaw).

So really, I think the key to ‘getting over it’ is to realise that we can’t do it alone and that it’s okay to ask for help and that is takes TIME. Do what you need to do. The people that love you (and those people are out there even if you don’t believe it) will pick you up and dust you off as many times (and for as long) as you need them to until you’re ready to face the world again. Oh, and the world had better watch out, because this time you’ll be stronger than ever.

Let me know what your thoughts are? I know people have so many different ways of dealing with things. I don’t think mine are too off the wall. Oh and if you just need a few words of encouragement then you can totally let me know, I think you’re all pretty great tbqh…..