Bye bye January

Hello you lovely lot, sorry things have been quiet over here in blog land. I have been working on a few EXCITING projects which I can’t wait to share with you all! But alas, wait I must. They are VERY EXCITING though. It will be worth the wait….

I just wanted to drop a few lines to say that January wasn’t actually all that bad on a personal level tbh. I hope you can say the same? I say on a personal level because if we go GLOBAL then the state of the world right now is terrifying and that does not a good January make. Thank goodness for Winona Ryder though. #LEGEND

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I am however extremely excited that February has arrived for a few reasons. February marks a very special time in my life. I have decided to refer to this February as ‘Independence Month.’ I can remember being distinctly blue and down in the dumps around this time of year on a number of occasions. I also made some extremely difficult (at the time) decisions which I thought I would never return from. Yes there were difficult days, I doubted myself on many occasions BUT I know I did the right thing for me and my sanity so I guess I just wanted to say that if there is something in your life right now that is holding you back or someone who is dimming your light then CHANGE IT. You will get through it and you will come out the other end a stronger person with clarity of purpose like you would not believe. At least that is what has happened for me. I plan to celebrate this as much as possible this month and forever because WHY THE HELL NOT?

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So, I cannot wait to get back to you all with the latest excitement I have a brewing. I am currently mainlining FRENEMIES; Loyalty Turned Lethal on the ol’ Netflix and have decided that my goal in life is to become one of the reconstruction actors on one of these shows. So if you happen to know any casting directors then send them my way.

That’s all folks! All of the loves xoxo

 

The universe is crying and we’re all going to need an umbrella…

Yesterday I sat as I am sure many of you did, watching the television with my head in my hands. Donald Trump was sworn in to be the 45th President of the United States of America and it wasn’t a cheese related nightmare. This is real life. I listened as he made his speech and my heart sank. I was momentarily relieved from this pit of despair by internet memes because if we didn’t laugh, well….

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Today when I got up and looked at the news the reality hit home even harder. Climate change has disappeared from the U.S. Government website. Like, gone. It hasn’t been fixed or anything, it was just deleted. Much the same way as it would seem President Trump would like to delete anything and anyone he doesn’t believe in or agree with. Which is terrifying. A man with access to codes to unleash the most destructive nuclear weapons in the world and an inability to stop himself from acting on impulse. I mean, what could go wrong?

I know I don’t have to go into detail about the things he has said and done – we heard about them all repeatedly on the television, in the newspapers and on the internet for the past year when he was on the campaign trail. I also am not going to point fingers and blame voters and electoral colleges because there is no point. The deed is done.

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Today I attended the sister rally of Women’s March DC at Belfast City Hall because I felt like I HAD to do something, ANYTHING. I’m not American. But I am human, and that is what today was all about. Yes, it was called the Women’s March. Yes, it was lead by women. Strong women, hurt women, women with a fire in their belly to actually BE the change. But this was not a ‘man hating women’s club’ despite what Piers Morgan (bleurgh) would want so many to believe. This was about human rights for ALL.

Jennie Carlsten set about organising the event 2 weeks ago when she realised she would not be able to be at home in the U.S. to attend the march there and she wanted to show her solidarity – in doing so she also provided the people of Belfast with the opportunity to do the same and that is a gift that I for one will never forget. As the crowds gathered, Jennie explained how she had expected a turn out of around 40 people based on social media – however the turnout was estimated to be around 1200 in total. Men, women and children united for one cause. To uphold our rights as humans and to maintain the safety of minority groups within our own communities and around the world. This was unity despite diversity. This was a resistance.

We were addressed by speakers from Belfast Feminist Network, Housing for All, Climate Change, Gender Jam NI, Black Lives Matter, Chamindra Weerawardhana and Amnesty International. It was a privilege to hear them and it was a privilege to be heard.

I was standing beside a mother and daughter and we were speaking once the rally had ended. Her daughter was probably around 2 or 3 and was an exceptionally well behaved first time demonstrator. Her Mum told me that she just felt that she needed to do something, to take action. That in 15 years when her daughter is old enough and she asks her, ‘Mum, what did you do about it?’ that she will be able to say that they were there and that she didn’t just sit back and do nothing. We then began to discuss the impending election in Norn Iron (imagine that? being able to discuss politics with a stranger in Belfast  and not worry about them finding out what foot you kick with)

What I took away from today was that things are not how they used to be. Somethings are worse (Trump) but some things are better. We were able to hold a peaceful demonstration outside Belfast City Hall, united despite diversity for one greater good. Equal rights for ALL. Who you choose to vote for in #AE17 is 100% personal choice. I will however advise you to make sure you find out what the party you choose to vote for ACTUALLY stands for. Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International put it best when he said, “there is no point in praying for an earthquake and then panicking when you have to deal with the rubble.” Make an informed choice. Be the umbrella the universe needs right now. May the force be with us all….

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Photo courtesy of Ms Ana Matronic via Instagram

Everyday’s a school day…

Hello my lovelies! How are things? As usual I have been doing some thinking and in this internet driven world we live in, if I don’t blog about it who can say whether it really happened or not.

Let me paint the picture. I took today as a ‘me’ day which involves doing very little other than the things I like to do which include walking,  having a bath, watching Parks and Rec and keeping a bag of Maltesers in the fridge until I can no longer take the temptation (1 hour) but the entire day I was agitated. Even when walking in my bath and eating Maltesers while watching Parks and Recreation.  Like unsettled to the point of rage. The reason I took the ‘me’ day was because this has been happening on and off for a few days so I thought that this would take it away. Needless to say it didn’t so I was forced by my brain (thanks, brain) to think about what was annoying me. I identified the issue in seconds because I knew EXACTLY what was bothering me. Then came the hard part, what to do about it.

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My actual brain while in the rage

So in an earlier blog post I talked about the ability to let things go and how I find that difficult. I read the post back to myself and got even more angry because I wasn’t doing what I said I would do. That was helpful (can you hear my eyes rolling?) I then sat on and on and on and seethed the day away which as I am sure you will agree was exceptionally healthy and productive.

I always put a lot of pressure on myself to resolve my own issues, probably based on the fact I was heavily criticised in a previous life for being too dependant but I always thought that’s what friends did for friends. One friend feels bad/needs help and the other friend does what they can to try and help build them back up and the roles switch and vice versa. Y’know like give and take. So instead of reaching out, I continued to seethe. The old critical tape still playing in my head with the unhelpful messages all coming through loud and clear. “Roger that, I’m worth nada, best not bother anyone with anything stupid like how you’re feeling.”

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CRITICAL TAPE

Then I realised, hang on a minute. That critical tape? The one that seems to be stuck on repeat at times? That is NOT TRUE. How do I know that? Because of PEOPLE. The people in my life who I choose to have around me on a daily basis and who enjoy me being in their lives too (possibly because of my Maltesers) but most likely because I am me. The give and take thing IS what friends do for friends, DUH. So I bit the bullet and I reached out. No tip toeing around the topic, just plain and simple text saying what I was angry about and why and y’know what? It stopped the tape. I wasn’t looking for Hallmark verses about how wonderful I am (which was lucky) but what I was looking for was honesty, from the people who know me and who care enough about me that they would take 5 minutes out of their day to talk me down. And they did.

Sometimes we spend so long beating ourselves up about things that we coulda, shoulda, woulda blah blah. It’s not worth it. Believe me. I didn’t even enjoy my Maltesers (ps this is not an ad for Maltesers, I just really like them) Sometimes we make poor decisions on who we let into our inner circles and that can ricochet through every future relationship. Not everyone is a snake in the grass. Take the lessons and put them to good use – don’t let the words and actions of someone who hurt you at one time, impact you forever. What use is that to you?  Every person we come into contact with will teach us things. It is up to us how we put those lessons into practice. Learn to identify when your critical tape is on a loop and show it who is boss by pressing your own stop button however YOU want to. Better still, convert to MP3, it takes up way less space.

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So there you have it. My thinkings of the day. I’m glad I recognised what was happening and did what I needed to do to break the cycle. Everyday is a school day, right? I’m going to go out there and do what I need to do to make ME happy.  I don’t know about you but I feel a trip to the shop coming on (Maltesers are 2 bags for a £1……)

January Blues? How about January BREWS?

Coffee is amazing, right? It’s the FIRST thing I go to in the morning to start my day off right. Well, I have been doing it all wrong up until now. I was invited along to the very first Wanted.Coffee ‘Cupping Evening’ as part of the Food NI Hour which takes place on Twitter every Monday night from 9-10pm. Oh my word. What have I been doing with my coffee life? Certainly not living it to the full as I learned last night.

My lovely chum Lynne (of award winning Eating Ideas fame) and I met in the wind tunnel formerly known as the city centre and battled the elements to Adelaide Street where we began our international coffee tasting adventure. And what an adventure it was.

The lovely Liesa introduced us to the idea behind Wanted and their ethos that “Dedicated coffee drinkers deserve better” which I immediately fell in love with. I know for a FACT that when I go for a coffee I want it to be a treat. Why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy that at home? Answer – I should and with Wanted.Coffee I can, and so can you!

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Liesa introducing us to #wantedcoffee

We were then left in the capable hands of Paul Devenney (International Coffee Master) and what he doesn’t know about coffee isn’t worth knowing. Paul brewed us 3 of the Wanted blends (Sumatra, Ethiopia and Colombia) and gave us some handy hints and tips as he went along. His recommendation is 21mg of coffee to 300mls of water for the perfect flavour but obviously you can change the measurements to suit your preferred taste. I am a lover of strong coffee and the 21:300 ratio really did the trick for me.

As an instant coffee drinker (aka coffee heathen) I was absolutely amazed with each blend. My personal favourite was the Ethiopia blend which had notes of citrus which really made the coffee taste so good. Paul also recommended that the water you use should be around 85 degrees so if you are using a cafetière, heat it first using the hot water from the kettle but don’t pour the water on the grounds straight from the boil, allow about 2 minutes for the water to reach the optimum temperature and then use a container with a small funnel rather than the kettle to give you control of the water as you pour it onto the grounds – this allows all of the C02 to be released evenly to let the coffee ‘bloom’

I had the chance to grab a quick chat with Paul as he brewed and we talked about how a cup of good coffee can truly be an experience. Right from the grinding of the beans to the pouring of the water on the grounds allowing the blooming process to take place. I mean, if they can have full scale tea ceremonies why not have the same attention to detail when making a coffee? We deserve it!

Wanted is a coffee subscription club offering the best blends from around the world direct to your door on a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription plan basis. They also offer an online store where you can buy a bag without a subscription. Month to month they change up their blends to offer you even more choice and variation with rare beans sourced from around the world aka single origin, micro lot coffee then they ‘roast it and post it’ from their factory in Lisburn!  You can choose beans (if you like to grind your own coffee) or pre-ground coffee. Also, f you can’t make your mind up the the Master Roaster will do all the brain work for you and you’ll receive the coffee that they believe you would love the best! You’ll also receive a free Wanted ‘Brew Guide’ with your initial order with lots of hints and tips on how to make the perfect cuppa at home! There are also decaf options for the caffeine free coffee lovers!

Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Well to make it even better the lovely folk at Wanted have provided me with a special discount code for YOU my lovely readers!! Simply enter the code TENLINDSLIKEDTHAT at the checkout for 10% off a 3 or 6 month subscription!

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This is nothing like you would buy in a chain coffee shop (which let’s face it, has been my entire coffee education) – I went out today and bought myself a cafetière – not even kidding, I am about to begin my quest to become a discerning coffee drinker. Join me?

It’s 2017 – what have I learned…

Okay, so we’re only 3 days in but I clearly remembering only having one maths class to learn Pythagoras Theorem so using that logic I could have learned a lot. Stick with me here….

In the run up to the New Year I did a major clear out of my house. 2 days, all guns blazing (or vacuums sucking) and 23 bags of unnecessary clutter later my home was free from debris. In the clear out I came across a lot of stuff that I had forgotten that I had. Some of which brought back amazing memories and some of which brought back memories that are best off in the trash. I created 2 memory boxes, got £15.16 from the clothes people and visited the dump on 4 occasions. I then saged my house and myself safe in the knowledge that I was C.L.E.A.N and free of ties and memories that had no place in my 2017.

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Well, guess what? I was a little bit incorrect. Not fully incorrect by any stretch of the imagination, my home is now a safe space for me once again. Unless of course there is some kind of violent crime committed and by chance the police look in my drawers. My rolled EVERYTHING will surely mean all fingers will point to me as a detail obsessed psychopath.

But in the cleansing process and the days thereafter it has become extremely clear to me what I have left to work on. Some things are going to be a cinch. Others, not so much.

I have to learn to let go. I am a ruthless declutterer of physical things, this became apparent to me last year when we were getting my Uncle’s shop ready to be passed on to new owners AND in the Homestead Clearout 2016. I am however an emotion hoarder. My brain does this thing where it holds onto emotions and they become extremely real tangible feelings again, despite there being exceptional lengths of time between the actual occurrence and my present being. The most prevalent of these is anger. Which I suppose is a step up from sadness which is what I had been dealing with. The other is love. Not current but past. The kind that sometimes makes you feel a bit disappointed that things didn’t work out the way you had hoped.

As I mentioned in a previous post I am reading The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and this has prompted me to be reflective. In it he talks about how reacting to feelings of anger or love can be the most destructive decisions you can ever make for yourself. This rings true with me on so many levels. I could write ’48 Laws What Did You Do That For Lindsey?’ purely based on decisions I have made out of anger. Also in the current climate of social media it is extremely easy to make these decisions publicly and loudly. What are inherently your thoughts and feelings suddenly become public knowledge and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Last night I posted to Instagram but it wasn’t out of anger or love. It was out of reflection. I don’t want to make a habit out of it but I also don’t for one minute regret a single thing that I said. In fact, I haven’t regretted anything I have said for a long time because I have realised that I am no less of a person than anyone else and that my feelings are as valid as anyone else’s. However, I do know that some of these feelings are destructive to me and me alone. And what is the point in that? It’s literally that saying about “drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I mean, if a person wasn’t ready, willing or able to see their OWN behaviour when it was pointed out to them, why would I believe they would have seen how it was impacting ME? Why would I be holding onto that? So what if they want the world to believe they are this type of person when you know they are THAT type of person? Why does it even matter?

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It’s easier said than done OBVIOUSLY or else I’d be writing about pancakes or something. It makes you question who you are as a person, what you did wrong, why you couldn’t make things better etc. When people present as rational, emotionally intelligent humans on a daily basis it’s hard to believe that they can’t see what they are doing. Here’s the truth in my opinion, I have come to terms with the fact that everyone knows what they are doing. No one is that stupid. In the majority, most people are out for themselves and although I struggled with that before, it makes complete sense to me now. Right now I am all about looking after myself.  I don’t think anyone should be treated badly or harshly in the quest for self fulfilment in any way however I do believe that if we are on the receiving end of harsh treatment that then is the time to skedaddle. That is how we look out for ourselves and that is what I did. Winner!

So there you go. That is my first reflection on 2017. I am going to try to be more mindful of when I am slugging down that poison and LET IT GO. How are your NY’s going? Have we all recovered from cheese inhalation? Let me know……

Ps I included some pictures from my most recent wanderings – sorry they don’t really tie in but they are pretty, right??

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…..