The third Monday in January is considered ‘the most depressing day of the year’. Why is this you may ask? The holidays are over, the weather is fairly miserable and many Resolutions of the previous year have failed. Below I have created a list of things to do if you are having a rough day. 🍃
Visit a neighbour – think, are there any old people living nearby who might enjoy a chat and a cup of tea? These people might be living alone and could do with some help or company.
Do some gardening
Do some yoga or meditation
Wear a face mask
Have a bubble bath
Change your bedsheets and pjs
Have some icecream
Watch a funny movie
Make a nice cup of tea to have with your favourite biscuit
It is ok and good to cry when you feel sad. Anybody and everybody should cry every now and then (cool people cry too). Crying releases endorphins and oxytocin. Suppressing emotions has detrimental effects in the long-run and can cause depression, anxiety or physical stress on your body. (Sadness and depression are not the same thing- many people use these terms interchangeably).
This recipe was fun to make and I am now a self-proclaimed brain surgeon. 😷💉
140g butter, at room temperature
140g caster sugar
170g self-raising flour
1 tbsp milk
For the Zombie icing
300g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter
Red food colouring
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour and add the milk. Spoon into the cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely.
For the Zombie icing
In a bowl, beat together the icing sugar and butter until thoroughly combined.
Stir in enough food colouring to make it pink and mix vigorously until evenly combined.
Spread a smooth layer of pink icing over each cupcake in a domed shape.
With the tip of a knife, make a line down the centre of each cupcake. Pipe a winding pattern of icing on each side of the centre line to create the brain wrinkles. Place the iced cupcakes in the freezer until needed.
In a shallow bowl, stir together the golden syrup, cocoa powder and a few drops of red food colouring.
Remove the cupcakes from the freezer and drizzle the tops in the syrupy “blood,” allowing any excess to drip off
Salthill is one of my favourite places to go for a walk. I went there yesterday and it was very busy as it was a sunny day. I went with one of my best friends Niamh (Niamhus) after we went for brunch. We walked the promenade and went on the ferris wheel that is beside Leisureland before buying a cool drink at Centra and sitting by the sea. The Salthill prom in County Galway is a lovely place for a walk, especially when the weather is good. ☀️
There are many things to look forward to after the Coronavirus pandemic settles. Meeting friends on a regular basis, visiting family members, travelling abroad, staying at hotels, driving beyond 5km without getting stopped by the guards, going to the cinema, going for drinks, takeaway coffees, going for food, buying things we don’t need, getting dressed up (rather than tracksuit or pjs), clothes shopping, food shopping, playing sports, going to concerts, attending events with large gatherings of people, attending birthdays and weddings, reopening of schools and Universities, back to work, going to the beach, going for roadtrips, going to parks, going to markets, going to the hairdressers and salon, going to mass, museums and galleries.
Friends from my M.Sc course and I were lucky enough to go to London before the lockdown. We stayed in London for three nights. We were really excited the weeks leading up to it and would not stop talking about it and planning what we were going to do. A month beforehand, we went for brunch in Java’s Creperie, Galway and made an itinerary. We booked a hostel for a good price and found some good deals on Ryanair too.
Friday 6th March
We arrived at Shannon airport bright and early. After going through security, we did not have long before boarding the plane. I was sitting at a window seat and bought a coffee on the plane. When we arrived, we got Stansted express to the city which we had booked before arriving. Firstly, we headed for our hostel and left our bags in the luggage room. My first impression of Rest Up hostel was that it seemed close to the city and had a good student atmosphere. It was a bright, sunny day which was good. After leaving our bags in the lockers, we walked towards the London Eye. We didn’t have to queue for long as we already had tickets booked. There were stunning views of the city from the top. I had been on it before with my family when I was younger, but it was worth going on again. After the London Eye, we went for food. I had a nice grilled chicken and rice salad. Then, we did a river cruise. We boarded the boat with the London Eye river cruise company. The boat trip was approximately an hour long. I enjoy river cruises in new cities as you learn a lot of history and facts. I recommend doing a river cruise on the first or second day in a new city, so you have an idea of your surroundings. In the afternoon, we headed back to the hostel and checked in. The 5 of us had our own room, which was quite small. We did not mind though as we were only there to sleep. The bathroom was down the hall and not very clean, but we were playing a small price so could not complain.
Saturday, 7th March
We got up and went downstairs for breakfast. Unfortunately, there was no kettle, fridge or sink facilities. There was a café in the hostel however and a breakfast if you wanted to pay. There was a large seating area which we could use so we went to Tesco express across the road and bought some breakfast supplies. I bought porridge oats, peanut butter, bananas and a Costa coffee (good choice Jo). We enjoyed our breakfast, went back to the room for a couple of minutes and were on our way. First, we went to the Tower of London and Historic Royal palaces. We got a guided tour which was very good. The tour took about an hour and the tourguide was dressed as a beefeater. The crown jewels were amazing but we could not take pictures. It was nice to walk around the grounds and learn about the history. In the afternoon we got a light lunch at a nearby café. I had tomato soup. Then, we did the Tower bridge expedition. We didn’t have to queue for long. We were able to walk across the tower and look down at the river and cars underneath. I had never been there before. There were great views of the whole city from the top. Afterwards, we went to a small food market located nearby that was full of foods from all over the world. In the evening, Christina and I had a lovely salad at a Covent Garden cafe. It was a cute, dainty and aesthetically pleasing. The others had eaten earlier so went wandering about. Afterwards, we went to see the spectacular Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. We bought tickets earlier in the day at a ticket booth in Leicester square. The show was 10/10. The location was a huge, stunning, fancy theatre. It was an unforgettable night. Christina and I bought sharing packs of Cadburys chocolate buttons beforehand, snacks are key. The show was definitely a highlight of the weekend. Afterwards we walked to Piccadilly Circus. It would almost remind you of Times Square, lots of bright lights, advertisements and stores. At around 11pm we went back to the hostel.
Sunday, 8th March.
In the morning, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards which was due to start at 11am. We were a little early so walked to St James’ Park, saw 10 Downing street and Parliament Square beforehand. The changing of the guards was worth seeing and it was a lovely sunny day. The marching band was fantastic and well-rehearsed. After that, we walked through Green Park and Buckingham Palace Garden to EL&N Café where we had yummy croissants and coffee. When we left the café, it had started to rain so we decided to get the bus to One New Change Shopping Centre. This is located near St. Pauls Cathedral and there are good views from the top of the shopping centre. We got snacks and lunch in M&S and sat down for a while. In the evening, we had dinner in an Indian restaurant called Saravanaa Bhavan, located near Trafalgar Square. We all ordered a dish called Dosa, which was served with coconut chutney, mint and sambar. It was the first time I had this Indian dish and it was very spicy, but tasty. We walked along the River Thames at night and the views of the city lit up at night were amazing.
Monday, 9th March
After our breakfast we got the bus to Camden Market. This was around 20 minutes away from the hostel and was worth going to. It was a marked packed of wonderful food stalls, jewellery and homeware items. Everywhere was so colourful and the town was very busy. We had lunch here in the afternoon, I got a falafel wrap. We went to Covent Garden on the same day. I preferred the ambience of Covent Garden although it was also mainly food stalls and people selling jewellery and bits and bobs. Covent Garden is a lovely part of London city that I would recommend seeing. At around 4pm we began to make our way to the airport. We had our bags with us so did not have to go back to the hostel. Several undergrounds and trains later, we got the Bus Eireann bus departing Shannon airport at 10pm to Galway.
Every now and then I enjoy a good room clean out. It doesn’t take long before there are all sorts thrown in every corner and my wardrobe is bulging. Having a clean room that is junk free can make a difference to your happiness and wellbeing without you even realising.
Cleaning out your room can be a lengthy process. In this post, I have included some tips on how to declutter. Since you have more time on your hands during the lockdown period, it might be a good time to clear out your room.
1.Study space. Make sure your desk is clear from unnecessary items such as makeup and jewellery. Keep these on a separate stand in another part of the room if you can. Buy a desk-tidy for your stationary items. These do not cost a lot and can be found in poundstores or office supply shops. They will keep all your pens and pencils in one place where they can be easily sourced when needed. Make sure the chair at your desk is sturdy, yet comfortable and buy a cushion for it if you have to. Keep desk drawers tidy and organised. Throw out any papers or rubbish you do not need. A small dustbin under your study desk might be ideal. If you have notes and books from years ago, consider if you want to keep them or if someone else might use them. Some charity shops accept second-hand schoolbooks.
2.Wardrobe. It is recommended to organise your wardrobe every six months. If there are clothes in your wardrobe you have not worn in over a year, it might be a good idea to toss them. Organise clothes into three piles: Keep, Donate to charity, Bin. This method always works for me and helps me to maximise storage space. Try to organise clothes by colour, type of clothing or season. For example, keep all the reds together, blues together, greens together; keep jeans together, tops together, dresses together; keep summer clothes separate from winter clothes. Whatever way works best for you.
3.Furniture arrangement. This may not be possible or recommended, but sometimes swapping where one desk is for another or moving a box of shoes from one side of the room can make a big difference. Visualise how you want your room to look in your head. If I am moving furniture, I draw a plan of what will go where. Ask for help and permission before moving any furniture (you do not want to end up scratching paint off the wall, I learned the hard way). You want to try to maximise floorspace and let as much light to enter the room as possible (unless you’re some kind of hermit or computer nerd). Google Feng Shui for optimal balance and positive vibes.
4.Don’t shy away from the glass cleaner, hoover and sweeping brush. All 3 of these tasks can be completed in less than 15 minutes if you put your mind to it, making a big difference to the overall look of the room. Grab a few rags and get scrubbing! Surfaces you may forget that easily gather dust are the sides of cupboards, the door, skirting boards and window ledges. Be careful you use the correct spray i.e do not use glass cleaner on wooden surfaces.
Open the window(s) while cleaning your room and on a regular basis.
I hope you found these tips useful. Comment what your thoughts are and if you have any other tips💭
It has been a few weeks now since quarantine began. This week, restrictions are starting to ease. However, many people continue to work and study at home for the time being.
There are many challenges associated with working and studying at home and it may have taken a while to adjust to this new way of living. Establishing a daily routine will help you to work more efficiently.
Make sure your workspace is clear, clutter-free and organised. Ideally, you should be studying or work at a desk or table rather than sitting on the couch or lying on your bed. Try to maintain a good posture. If you have children, working while they are at home at the same time is not ideal. Allocate a designated workspace that is quiet and ideally away from where family members are.
If you have a work meeting or videocall, make sure you are appropriately dressed and there is a tidy, bright background. Try leaving your smartphone in another room while you work to prevent it from distracting you. Limit your social media and phone time until a certain time of the day when you are finished working. Get some fresh air every now and then and schedule in daily walks. Take regular study breaks and have a short walk around every hour or so. This will allow oxygen to flow to your brain and blood to flow to your feet. Stay hydrated throughout the day and drink plenty of water.
Spend time with your family members each day. While living and working under the same roof as your family members 24/7, there will sure to be some conflict now and then. Watch a movie or play board games every so often. Just because you can’t go very far doesn’t mean you cant spend quality time together.
Many people are getting used to working and studying at home and many big companies reckon this might the future. Comment what your thoughts are 💭
The Coronavirus is a phenomenon that has been affecting the world for a couple of months now. The lockdown period started in Ireland in February, 2020. People have been confined to their homes for weeks. Schools, colleges and businesses have had to close and large gatherings have had to be cancelled. Many people have had to work from home, with only ‘essential’ workers allowed to leave the house to go to work. Social distancing measures were enforced, and hand sanitisers were sold out in no time. The global pandemic has had an affect on everyone in many ways and will continue to have an affect on people and businesses for many months. In this blog, I discuss how people’s mental health is being affected and what they can do to take care of themselves.
Instead of the daily commute, people must work at home- this could mean sitting at the kitchen table or sitting at the same desk in their rooms for weeks. Of course, this will cause feelings of boredom, isolation and from time to time. Not seeing colleagues on a daily basis will surely have an affect on people’s overall happiness and wellbeing. There may be children in the house or a large family. Distractions and noise will not equate to very productive work over a long time.
The closure of shops, cinemas, pubs, cafés, restaurants will mean people are not mixing with each other or doing things they enjoy. On the plus side, people are saving money by not going to these places on a regular basis. However, many businesses have had to shut down and many people have lost jobs. It is a very uncertain time for many. Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last, although restrictions are easing in Ireland since the beginning of May so things are looking up.
I have made a list below of some things you can do for your mental wellbeing:
Help out with chores (hoovering the house/car, dusting, washing up, painting,farming)
Clean your room
Get in touch with family members (grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, people abroad) and friends. Post them a card to let them know you are thinking of them.
Practice yoga or meditation (there are lots of great youtube videos out there)
Avoid watching the news too much or reading too many articles
Take a break from social media and deactivate your account if you have to
Listen to music
Browse online clothes stores
Plan your next holiday(s)
There are many health services available that provide confidential counselling and I have provided a list below. It is important to note that these organisations are under tremendous pressure during the COVID-19 crisis.
Overall I believe Ireland is doing a great job with handling the coronavirus pandemic. We are lucky to have great people leading the country and it makes me proud to be Irish. Hopefully in the not too distant future things will be back to normal again.