Sunday, August 3

An August wishlist..

This August is hopefully going to be a pretty busy month because I've got a job interview, a driving test, some friend's birthdays, and of course Electric Picnic at the very end.
Other than those big things, I will be doing my usual part-time work, some research into coding and digital marketing, might film a youtube video, and still reminiscing on renting a modern apartment around Grand Canal Dock.

As for a couple of things I wouldn't mind picking up when I get my first pay check are Hatching Twitter, the book about the founding of Twitter which sounds pretty similar to the Facebook story.

Another is the Nutribullet which I have been eyeing up in Brown Thomas for a few weeks now and which I am certain will be the beginning of a new healthier me.. !

Another thing on the wish list is that trip to Berlin in September. 
I have some close friends who are planning a trip over to visit a friend and I have never seen Berlin which almost seems like a crime these days. It sounds like such an exciting city so a few days there wouldn't go amiss seeing as I haven't been abroad in several long months.

Next up is a polypro hula-hoop. 
My current hula-hoop does the job, but I am simply outgrowing it and need a lighter and smaller hoop that will make practicing off-body tricks much easier.
Unfortunately they are pretty hard to track down and purchase the right kind. Maybe I will have some luck at a stall in Electric Picnic.

Ukulele lessons are also a must, since I bought that uke a few months ago now and I still cannot seem to be able to get it in tune, in spite of trying many times using youtube tutorials and buying a cherub tuner.

Oooh yes, another thing that fits in nicely to my new fit and healthy approach in September is black Nike free-riders. Although Im not much of a running fan, I do enjoy the gym, or hiking and at least having nice sports gear.

And I think the last thing on my wish list is some accessories for Electric Picnic. 
Half the fun of festival life for me is being able to look a bit crazy and release the inner hippy, tree-hugger. So I'll be after plenty of feather headbands and face paints for the festivities this year.

Saturday, August 2


Last night I went to see Boyhood.

I had heard a little about it because it was filmed over 12 years using the same actors, so it immediately sounds a little different.

Well wow. I can tell you that this is an exceptional movie. In fact, I would go as far to say that it is the best movie I have seen since that of Lone Survivor or Shutter Island, although completely and utterly opposite.

This offbeat story is nothing remarkable, following the journey of a young boy (from the age of 5 to 18) and his family as they grow up in the states of southern America, but it is in the development of the characters that the movie excels.
The story doesn't revolve around any major event, and is both simplistic and realistic in its portrayal of normal family life, so maybe it is this mundane reality of the family journey that makes this movie so refreshing to watch. 

The acting is outstanding by all four of the main characters, the mother (Patricia Arquette), father (Ethan Hawke), sister (Lorelei Linklater) and brother (Ellar Coltrane). 
I particularly enjoyed the interaction of Coltrane who plays movie's protagonist, and Hawke his father, who have such an amusing relationship over the years which is delivered with perfection. 

I am excited to see Coltrane play other characters because he does seem to have been born for the camera. There isn't one moment in the movie where you don't believe he is his character, in fact, I wonder if Coltrane was playing himself the whole time and that is why it came so easy to him... I must look it up. 
He is so natural in fact that he makes ordinary performances like that of his girlfriend in the film (Zoe Graham) look weak. Fortunately, the three main characters of his father, mother and sister (who is interestingly the directors daughter) are good enough to keep up with Coltrane.

Overall, I cannot recommend this movie enough, and feel as though it would have done well in award season if it was released then. 
This movie gets a ten out of ten for me, I loved it so much, and despite being lengthy (nearly 3 hours long), I really couldn't get enough. I wanted to continue the journey to find out what happens next and see where this family ends up and how the relationships evolve. Unfortunately if they do decide to do a sequel, it won't be released for another 12 years as they follow Coltrane in his twenties.

It wasn't just me who thought this movie was exceptional because it seems to have gotten a 9.0 from IMDb and 5 stars from The Ticket.

For a more lengthy in-depth review look at:


Monday, July 21

"Get Sh*t Done!" by Niall Harbison - Book review

I've recently gotten back into reading, probably due to copious amounts of free time whilst I work only part-time. Instead of reaching for my usual trilogy of fantasy novels like Delirium or The Maze Runner series, I've gone for something different that caught my attention.
Although grossly unpopular amongst my friends, I wanted to purchase Niall Harbison's (of LovinDublin) new book, "Get Sh*t done".

I wasn't looking for a self-help book laden with bad language and fortunately that has not been the case. Having said that, my feelings about this book are mixed, and I think it would have greatly benefited from an extra few months of editing, as the whole book has a sense of been thrown together in a rushed manner, and although the content is mostly interesting, at about 200 pages in I began to notice repetition and even one or two contradictory statements with Harbison's earlier chapters.

I enjoy the website Lovindublin, but can understand why many really don't care to entertain it, with its harsh critique and "all or nothing" manner. But I do feel it has filled a kind of "yuppie" niche in the blogosphere. Moreover I have used it for restaurant advice and would heartily agree with many of the sites "Top Ten" lists.

Anyway, to be quite honest, I was curious about this Harbison guy, and why all my friends seem to groan and roll their eyes when I mention his work. So I picked up the book last week, and luckily too, because it is since out of stock.

Overall the book is an enjoyable enough read, with several interesting tips on creating a business, and many snippets into Niall's earlier life which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately though Harbison loses me with his use of sensational language. Everything is "the best", "the biggest", or "the most something", and although one might fall into his trap several times, it eventually it becomes a bit tiring and takes away from what he is trying to say, which could be perfectly valid, without the need for lavish language.

Another small thing I didn't like about this book is that Harbison uses few examples following an outlandish statement about the future of business, or success in business. He has done extremely well for himself no doubt, but he backs his guidelines up with maybe only one example from his previous experiences. In the few occasions that Harbison does uses other examples, he only likens to big companies such as Apple or Facebook. As much as I admire both these companies, I already know an awful lot about them, it would have been far more interesting if Harbison had used less obvious shall we say, examples.

In summary, the book is a quick read, it has some great personal anecdotes and is largely enjoyable. Although it lets itself down with its "thrown together" structure and overall lack of focus and reader consideration, leading me to believe that I probably would not purchase his next book.

*I haven't been able to find any other blog reviews on this book yet, but will post them here once I do.

Monday, July 7

Thoughts on apartments.

A close friend of mine recently moved into his first apartment from home. I helped a little with the moving process and have got the urge again to leave home again for the third time maybe? I have left and returned already several times with the way things have turned out. But I imagine that the next time I move out of my parents home will be the final time, hopefully in part because of my new full-time exciting job (which I have yet to acquire..).

Anyway, back to the apartment. I love the moving process! It is an excuse for a minimalist like me to do yet another clear out and rearrange and organise my possessions. My first apartment was in a very old building in a super location, but the block was so old it was impossible to keep dust out, and all the furniture and fittings were ancient.
I heard once that as you move out, you move up.. so each apartment after the next gets better.
The following one was definitely a step in the right direction in some ways because I had my own small studio. It was brighter and less ancient.. and had slightly more modern fittings. Ergo, the fridge was not in the hall.

Now that I'm finished university, had a near-year away of travel experience, and in search for my first proper job, I feel a share in an apartment is the next appropriate step for me.
Helping Allan out was so much fun, and helped me decide on which area I would like to live in, and realise I do not wish to live alone, though preferably with tidy roommates with impeccable Swedish design taste..
Okay I realise this isn't very realistic. In the past I have been too uptight regards space, cleanliness etc..
But I hope after my time in Australia moving constantly from hostels, dorms and camper vans to tents, that I have chilled out enough to be a suitable roommate candidate.

Only time will tell, and I realise that I will have to insist on certain things such as a double room and private bathroto keep my sanity and be able to live with others in the communal areas.
So I've been keeping an eye out on for places and on pinterest for some small space design ideas and decor inspiration.
I'm pretty sure my apartment won't look exactly like any of the following pictures, but it's nice to have something to aspire to.

Saturday, May 24

Simple musings.

Having finished my last exam on Wednesday, I am left with a feeling of delight, a weight off my shoulders, and excitement about is what to come next.
Unfortunately with possibility, comes uncertainty.
I had previously felt as though I needed some more travel to get it out of my system. I thought of finding a job for the summer, paying off my debts, and jetting off again somewhere exotic, new and exciting.
I hadn't expected to start to settle back into Dublin. Spending 2 out of the past 3 years abroad, it seems customary to pop back to Ireland for a bit to get my exams, sort out my finances and jet off again. But something has made me want to stay this time. Maybe I'm just simply growing up and crave some certainty in my life. I find myself wanting to commit to a phone contract of two years, move into a nice apartment in a good location in relation to the city and my friends, and most of all I find myself wanting to join teams and solidify a social life for myself here, reviving old friendships.
The wanderlust hasn't totally disappeared, and I do find myself occasionally browsing travel blogs, reminising over old travel photos, or just sending messages to friends in all parts of the world, but the urge to get a fun and rewarding job, move into an apartment with new people and buy a car, has overcome that wanderlust, for the first time.


Friday, March 14

Number 1. The Arts Factory Jungle

and the number 1. spot goes to...

The jungle!!!

This is going to be the toughest one to explain. I simply cannot put into words exactly how I feel about this magical place, but I will try my best to persuade you to go.

So what is the jungle?!

The jungle is a small campsite which is part of the Arts Factory hostel in Byron Bay.

Where is the jungle?!

The jungle is located in the The Arts Factory (the best hostel) in Byron Bay, which is approximately 4/5 hours south of Brisbane, and 10 hours north of Sydney.

Byron bay itself is another blogpost of goodness altogether so I won't try to squeeze too much into one.

Simply, it is a seaside town inhabited by primarily hippies, musicians, and every kind of artist you can imagine. 
It is a hub for surfers because it is host to several beautiful beaches. The town itself is pretty small with one main street and tons of cafes and restaurants. 
The lighthouse, located a bit of a trek up a mountain, is also an attraction because you're pretty much gauranteed to spot pods of dolphins below, and it is the most easterly point of the australian mainland.

I had, like all the best hostels, been recommended to stay at the arts factory, located a ten minute walk from town. 

My first week there, I stayed at the hostel itself in dorm rooms, but I was soon to discover the campsite adjoining the hostel.

After a week of forking out a whopping $32 a night in the dorms, I decided I needed to avail of tent-living. A small $100 per week fee. 
A guy I had become friends with, gave me a tiny two man tent, which I pitched easily in the first free space I could find.

But within a couple of days I had myself a massive 8/10 man tent all to myself, including a proper mattress on milk crates and a giant tarp to protect my tent form the rain. 

Buying and selling tents with their allotted plot and whatevers in them seemed to be pretty commonplace, so I just pretty lucky to come across somebody selling a nice big tent in a prime location because the jungle hut and kitchen/amenities.

Jungle hut.

My tent.


In my time in Byron Bay to be honest I really didn't do much. Everyday pretty much consisted of going to the beach, chilling in the jungle hut, playing with hula-hoops, playing table tennis, volleyball, going to the supermarket, chasing bush turkeys, hanging out in someones tent, getting goon for the evening, playing drinking games, and going out.

But what made it so special was being with friends all day long.
Whether we were doing something mundane or exciting, even a bad day in Byron Bay was a good day!
 I met such a diverse and cool group of people that it didn't matter what we got up to, it was always fun! I love these people so so much and I miss each and every one of them.

Between the beautiful weather, the relaxed hostel, the lively town and whatever musical activities were going on in the jungle hut, Byron is my favourite place ever.
It is so hard to some it all up but this video does a pretty good job of showcasing just how wonderful a place Byron is. 

You have to go there.

Wednesday, March 12

Number 2. Fraser Island

So number two on my favourites list of the East Coast is Fraser Island!

If you're a backpacker seriously low on funds, this is the one ultimate trip that you absolutely, under no circumstances can miss.

After weeks of moving from hostel to hostel, eating your meals 3 times daily from the local Woolworths, and generally floating about, it is wonderful to pay a one-off all inclusive fee that sets you up for a couple of days on a brilliant adventure.

There are a couple of options you've got when heading to Fraser Island, you can hire a 4by4 with a bunch of friends and head over yourselves, or you can book in with one of the tours that leaves from either Hervey Bay or Rainbow beach.

On my trip I went from Rainbow beach with the company Rainbows on Fraser, which is, if you're familiar, mixed with the Dingo's groups.

The basic idea is that you arrive and spend a night or two at Rainbow beach in the hostels getting organised for the trip. A group consists of around 8 4by4 jeeps which have 8-10 people in each.

Furthermore the groups of jeeps are then split in two, so you will be going around the island in your car, following 3 other cars.

But at nighttime all the groups mix together in one campsite.

Because of the size of Fraser island there is a lot of ground to cover so its important to get in a good group for your car.

I was with my friends Laura and Gemma, but we made the great decision to split into different jeeps, and therefore in the evening we could meet up and introduce all our new friends!
Sounds kind of cheesy but it was brilliant!

I may be slightly bias... but I do believe I had the best group in my car.. such a mixture of personalities and we all loved having a good singalong and jokes. needless to say there was never a dull moment in all the hours of driving..

A highlight was definitely the drive to lake McKensie, a pretty famous lake for being so beautiful.
But it does take over an hour to get there on an extremely bumpy off-road track.

In my jeep, the seats faced one another along both sides of the car and we just had a seatbelt which went across the waist, which as it turns out didn't do too much because for the entire over an hour there and back, we were all falling around the place and grabbing each other and parts of the car, its was pretty hilarious and definitely one of my favourite memories.

Lake McKensie.

Fraser island is host to a number of different beautiful spots but one of the best is Eli creek which is a freezing cold creek that is so powerful it brings you right downstream to the beach.

So if you can bare the cold, you just have to jump in and lie straight on your back like on a lazy river, and let the creek do its thing.

Eli creek.

Lake Wabby.

In the evenings on the island we would all make dinner taking turns cooking or cleaning between the 10 of us from our car. Then the drinking would comense.. there was a big campfire and plenty of goon, and one of the nights we discovered a brilliant german drinking game called flonkeyball, which is very like snatch the bacon except with alcohol.

I had the best time on Fraser island and with the group afterwards on Rainbow beach, before we all headed our separate ways.

If I was to go back to the East Coast this is a trip that I would do time and time again, and gets a big A+ and 5 stars from me.
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