September Playlist – Blogtober Day 7

Here are the 5 songs I listened to most in September. Find monthly playlists from me on Spotify 🎶

Foo Fighters – These Days

Record: Wasting Light

Favourite Lyrics: ‘One of these days, the clocks will stop and time won’t mean a thing.’

The soft opening that contains my favourite lyrics of this song gives way to rhythmic guitar and belting vocals before coming to the hard finish that Foos are known for.

Paramore – Hard Times

Record: After Laughter

Favourite Lyrics: ‘Hard times gonna take you down and laugh when you cry and I still don’t know how I even survive.’

I love this song. The music and video are both quite upbeat and happy seeming. However, the lyrics tell a different story, one of struggle. I think the juxtaposition of both are quite an accurate portrayal of depression or mental health difficulties – we often show ourselves as happy and ‘fine’ when really, we’re not doing great. Hard Times, and After Laughter as a whole, have an 80’s vibe that somehow sounds current at the same time. It’s a new era for Paramore and far removed from their 2005 debut.

Imagine Dragons – Natural

Record: Origins (released 9th November 2018)

Favourite Lyrics: ‘Rather be the hunter than the prey and you’re standing on the edge, face up ’cause you’re a natural.’

The Grammy Award winning alternative rock group, Imagine Dragons, are back. Natural is angry and raw, maybe not surprising considering the difficulties Reynolds has faced in his personal life in the past year. Almost every Imagine Dragons song gets percussion heavy at some point which makes for great live performances. This one starts quiet, with a choral vocal but by the chorus we have the hard hitting drums we’re used to.

Pink – What About Us

Record: Beautiful Trauma

Favourite Lyrics: ‘We are searchlights, we can see in the dark, we are rockets, pointed up at the stars, we are billions of beautiful hearts.’

This one is emotional and fierce – a pretty good description of Alicia Moore, better known as Pink, too! A power balled, a call to stand up, a song about a failing relationship, a pop anthem, a critique of the political landscape in 2017 – this song is a lot of things at once but it stays authentic throughout.

Snow Patrol – This Isn’t Everything You Are

Record: Fallen Empires

Favourite Lyrics: ‘And in one little moment, it all implodes. This isn’t everything you are.
Breathe deeply in the silence, no sudden moves. This isn’t everything you are.’

Probably my all time favourite Snow Patrol song. This one has the sound an emotional depth that you’d expect from Lightbody & Co. As an album, Fallen Empires has a little more electronica than previous SP albums, which is by no means a bad thing, but this one is the somewhat downbeat yet anthemic sound any Snow Patrol fan would be familiar with. My love of this song has to do with the lyrics, I was tempted to put half the song as my favourite lyrics! It’s one I go back to whenever I’m feeling down.

 

Advance warning that most of my October favourites will likely be from Twenty One Pilots latest release, Trench – I’m so excited!

What songs, new or old, did you enjoy listening to last month? Share some with me below! 

 

Autumn/Winter Date Ideas – Blogtober Day 6

It can be difficult to think of Autumn/Winter date ideas beyond the usual cinema, dinner or bar date so here are a couple of my favourite suggestions!

Indoor picnic – Go all out with this, lay out the picnic blanket on the floor, light some candles,  include your favourite foods and chill out!

indoor picnic

€10 gift challenge – Go to your local shopping centre and find a gift for your partner within fifteen minutes and for ten euro or less. This one can lead to really thoughtful or really hilarious gifts! If €10 and fifteen minutes is too easy, decrease both.

Go to a show – For us that’s seeing a band live but theatre, musicals and art shows are good too! We’ve got Twenty One Pilots and Panic! at the Disco early next year but there are usually smaller shows in local venues that you could go to at short notice.

gig

Embrace the chill! – Wrap up and go out for a walk or check out a local craft market. We have a park not too far from us that has a coffee stall in it, a takeaway coffee is the perfect way to stay just warm enough and being outdoors on a sunny but cold day is lovely!

Have a game night – Enjoy some healthy competition (unless you’re like me and losing drives you mad! haha) whether you go with classic board games or or you keep it current with video games is up to you.

 

Still stuck for ideas? Check out my previous post on some rainy day activity ideas.

What are some of your favourite date idea for Autumn/Winter? Share them with me below!

How to get a good night’s sleep – Blogtober Day 5

The average person spends roughly one third of their life sleeping.* Why do we have so much difficulty with it considering we do so much of it? Maybe we’re not great at switching off, I know I’m not! Here are my top tips for a good night’s sleep:

Reduce blue light exposure at night – Switch off the gadgets or at least put them away and unless it’s an emergency, do not check your phone if you wake in the middle of the night.

phone charging beside bed

Take time to wind down – It’s likely you’ll struggle to fall asleep if you’re not taking time to unwind from the stresses of your day. For some people practicing mindfulness or meditation works (though caution should be taken for those who have experienced trauma**), for others it’s reading a book , writing a journal, or listening to music. Find the thing that works for you and go with it.

Avoid heavy meals and caffeine late in the evening – Sleeping on a full stomach can lead to indigestion or generally feeling sick and the caffeine will keep you awake^. I love coffee and have some most days but I’ve learned the hard way that I shouldn’t have it after 5pm!

coffee

Make a sleep schedule – Try your best to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Our bodies quite like routine, going to bed and getting up and different times every day deprives our bodies of the chance to get in to a routine.

No naps in the evening – If you need a nap during the day try to make sure it’s before 3pm and no longer than an hour so it doesn’t disrupt your night time sleep schedule.

Go outdoors – Try to get outside every day and exercise while you’re there. There are lots of ways to fit in a little time outdoors so find one that works for you and your situation. Both exercise and natural light exposure in the day will help you sleep^^. Personally, I find that taking the dog out for a short walk helps, sometimes fresh air and a break from my phone/tablet/laptop is all I need!

people outside

Make your bedroom a place that invites sleep – I think it’s unrealistic to say don’t have a tv in your bedroom because so many people already do but try to switch it off a good hour or two before you need to sleep and do something that doesn’t involve a screen. Ideal sleeping conditions are cool, dark and quiet!

If you don’t fall asleep after twenty minutes of lying in bed get up and go to a different room if you can. Do something relaxing but don’t go on your phone or watch tv! When begin to feel sleepy go back to bed. Lying in bed awake for hours on end isn’t healthy and won’t do you any favours!

 

*www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21056174

**http://trauma-recovery.ca/recovery/mindfulness/

^www.sleepeducation.org/news/2013/08/01/sleep-and-caffeine

^^www.sleep.org/articles/exercise-affects-sleep/

 

Do you sometimes find it difficult to sleep? What helps? Share your tips below!

Rainy Day Activities – Blogtober Day 4

Netflix/box set/movie marathon – Re-watch an old favourite, try something new on Netflix or do a movie marathon; for me, it’s the MCU!  Stuck for ideas? Check out some upcoming October releases here.

Spa Day – make a rainy day stuck indoors a luxurious one! Do your nails and whip out the face masks. There seems to be this notion that this kind of face & body care is only for those identifying as female or ‘girly’ and that is bullshit my friends! Everyone deserves some pampering so give it a go!

Start a new book – Snuggle up somewhere cosy and start a new book. I’m a total book nerd and easily read a few books a week but not everyone has the time for that so take advantage of a few hours spent indoors when the weather is bad. Comedy, romance, fantasy, factual, comics – there’s plenty to choose from! You can check out some of my favourite books of all time here.

 

books

Spend the day at a gallery or museum – Are you a culture vulture? Then why not visit a local art gallery or museum? You’ll be kept dry, they can be really interesting and the national museums are free!

Try out some new recipes – I’m always using Pinterest to save recipes, there are some real gems on there, why not take a look? Myself and my boyfriend once spent the best part of three hours making a Mexican feast using Pinterest recipes, it was a lot of time but it was nice to spend an evening trying something new together. You could take this one step further and have a cook off with a friend!

Embrace your inner child! – Have some fun at an indoor activity centre – think laser tag, bowling, indoor rock climbing or an escape room.

Visit a brewery – Go one step further than the usual trip to the local pub or bar and learn about how your favourite tipple is made. We visited the Smithwick’s Brewery on a recent trip to Kilkenny and it was one of the highlights of the trip, worth every cent!

beer paddle

What are your favourite things to do on a rainy day? Share them with me below! 

Hope is… – Blogtober Day 3

The Oxford English Dictionary defines hope as ‘A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.’

But hope is so much more than that…

 

Hope is sunshine on a crisp morning,

it’s watching my nephews and niece learn something new,

it’s listening to my favourite songs,

it is watching Great British Bake Off with my mam.

 

Hope is a bunch of fresh flowers,

a nice smelling candle,

car journeys with my dad,

watching Marvel movies,

my dog resting his head on my lap.

 

Hope is a good cup of coffee,

having my family together for birthdays,

the smell of a new book,

laughing at a stupid joke my boyfriend told me,

a nice email, tweet or comment.

 

Hope is yellow,

it’s crunchy leaves in Autumn,

a walk in the park,

peanut butter cups,

waking up at 3am and knowing I still have hours left to sleep.

 

Hope is being grateful for both the big things and the small ones.

Hope is knowing that there will be more of them.

Hope is believing that bad days won’t last forever.

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all..._

 

What does hope look like for you? Share it with me below! 

 

For help, advice and information click here.

 

October TV Shows – Blogtober Day 2

October is by far the best month for premieres of new and returning shows. They arrive at the perfect time too, darker evenings are made for catching up on TV!

Returning TV Shows:

The Flash Season 5 – The CW October 9th in the US/ Sky One October 18th in Ireland & the UK

I’m curious to see how Barry, Iris & the team will react to having Nora around!

the flash
source: http://www.wikipedia.com

Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 – The CW October 22nd in the US/ Sky One October 31st in Ireland & the UK

This gets more weird with every episode and I love that about it! I need more Mick in my life!

Blindspot Season 4 – NBC October 12th in the US/ Sky Witness in November for Ireland & the UK (no exact date yet!)

Not sure about this one…Roman was definitely my favourite character and he was so tied in to everything the other characters did so I’m not sure how it will go without him.

NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 – CBS September 30th in the US/ Sky One in Ireland & the UK but no date yet!

Season ten…TEN! Who is alive and where’s Hidoko?

Arrow Season 7 – The CW October 15 in the US/ Sky One 23rd October in Ireland & the UK

I fell behind on season six so I have some catching up to do but I’m still looking forward to the return of Oliver & Co.

arrow
source: http://www.wikipedia.com

New TV Shows:

Charmed -reboot – The CW October 14th in the US/ E4 in Ireland & the UK, no exact date but it seems we’ll have to wait until 2019

I didn’t know what to make of the trailer for this but I’ll definitely tune in to the first episode to see what it’s like.

Returning Netflix Shows:

Daredevil – October 19th

The Avocados at Law are finally back after a two year break and this new season looks to be grittier than the last – fingers crossed!

Daredevil_season_3_poster
source: http://www.wikipedia.com

Riverdale – October 10th in the US/ October 11th in Ireland & the UK

This will be season 3 of Riverdale and I have reservations. The first season was amazing in terms of story lines, visuals and acting but season two was all a bit…’meh’. I’ll give it a chance anyway.

New Netflix Shows:

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – October 26th

Can’t wait to see this! The cinematography is one of the things I love about Riverdale so I’m excited to see similar vibes in this but I’m disappointed that Salem won’t feature in the way we’re used to. 

Derren Brown – Sacrifice – October 19th

Derren Brown freaks me out in the best way. I LOVE every show he’s done and I’m sure this one will be great.

derrenbrown-sacrifice-netflix

What are you looking forward to watching this Autumn/Winter? Share it down below! 

Autumn Bucket List – Blogtober Day 1

“This is Halloween, this is Halloween, pumpkins scream in the dead of night…”

This is halloween - jack skellington

Yep, the best time of year is here! It’s Halloween month which means crisp mornings, pumpkin everything, fall fashion, cosy nights and of course – Blogtober!

An Autumn bucket list seems like a fitting way to start off so here are some of the best things to do this season:

Autumn Bucket List 3

 

 

This year I’m hoping to go pumpkin picking at Alright Pumpkin – I love their name! I managed to get my hands on tickets to see Hocus Pocus at a drive in and I’m so excited about it! Hocus Pocus is a Halloween tradition in my house, it’s nice that I’ll get to see it in a different way than usual but I’ve no doubt I’ll still watch it on tv too. A couple of weeks ago I tried baking the perfect apple pie along with a spiced bread in preparation for this season – I’ll share those recipes soon. Halloween attractions and scary movies are tough ones for me because being around a bunch of people I don’t know in that setting ramps up my anxiety…and because I’m just a wimp haha but we’ll see how it goes and I’ll update you in a few weeks.

In the meantime I’d love to here from you – do you have plans for the Halloween season? Share them with me below!