The Healthy Eating Buzz

Northbrook Bootcamp began on Monday. I wasn’t going to write a post on it until we were at least a week in incase we fell flat on our fat faces (inevitably into a vat of Thai take away). I may be prematurely proud but three and a half days have passed and we are doing amazingly! We are each taking turns to cook dinner in the evenings, exercising as much as we can, counting calories obsessively, going to bed at a reasonable hour and generally staying on our best behavior. It may not seem like the biggest deal to most but for us going one day without eating junk and sitting on the couch all evening is nothing short of a miracle. For me the change is drastic, I did my first 10km run on Monday, have had a minimum of 8 hours sleep each night and have eaten bucket-loads of veg & salad every day -I’m sure my body is crazy confused about what’s going on.

The truth is we’ve made ourselves unwell as a result of all the drinking, eating, lack of sleep and being bold. After countless Mondays weighing up the damage from the weekend, we were starting to see lasting effects of our lifestyle and it was time to do something about it. I don’t think this marks the start of a complete 180 in our reckless unhealthy lives where we become vegan marathon-runners  but if any part of this new regime sticks we’ll be winning.

Wish us luck!

The Long, Long, Longitude Weekend

Well that whizzed by in the blink of an eye! A full three days that felt like a few hours -crazy fun hours (time flies and all that). After years of attending Electric Picnic -a four-day mud-marathon endurance test, three days of great music at a festival where you get to go home and shower every day sounded almost too good to be true. In reality it was no less messy and no more tame. It would have been less traumatic to my body and my spirit had we gone home after the respectable finishing time of 11pm each night. Alas the festival atmosphere was undeniable all the way through, various venues in town and an array of house parties were calling us and, too hopped up on drink, good music & ingested glow stick goo, we were powerless to ignore it.

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Dublin was still enjoying it’s uncharacteristically hot July weather so each act was bookended with some flaking out on the grass and reflection (deep emotions and insights through drunken ramblings). Impressing myself with my early arrival, I saw Cast Of Cheers first and they were great, followed by Marcus Foster (may have had a little crush on him and his keyboard player), Vondelpark, Django Django, Foals and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. The stages were just a short walk apart so it was so much easier to fit in everything we wanted to see than at the bigger festivals and there was no need for wellies due to the dry weather and fewer people.

Getting in at 5:30 Saturday morning did very little for our stamina but Saturday’s line up was happening with or without us so after a cooked breakfast, shower and a lot of hugging, we boosted morale enough to drag ourselves to Marlay Park for the second day of revelling (it was actually evening by the time we got there after a Dundrum  mojito & barbecue stop and a brief prosecco rest in Ballinteer on the way). Villagers, as always, were excellent. We caught the end of Trentmoller before the amazingness that was Paul Kalkbrenner.

Sunday’s late start, similar to Saturday’s led to us missing Frightened Rabbit and the Minutes as the nights started to take their toll on us but we made it in for Hot Chip, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, some of SBTRKT’s DJ set and Kraftwerk. Honestly Kraftwerk were slightly disappointing for me, I’d been looking forward to seeing them for so long and actually found them a bit boring. The 3D glasses were fun though!

One of my favourite things about any festival is catching acts you wouldn’t necessarily go to see in a stand alone concert and becoming a fan, Paul Kalkbrenner and Foals really delivered for me in this way. I can’t wait to see them again.

So the three days joined into one big blur of luminous facepaint, whiskey-smuggling and questionable decisions and have resulted in a mud-caked, vaguely human-shaped ball of pained, pukey, paranoid Jenny blob on the couch and that all too familiar faint groaning sound that I can’t stop making. Or at least I think it’s coming from me.

There Is No Better Feeling

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A Belly Flop into the sea on a blissful sunny Friday in Dublin is the finest of things.

A few friends and I took to the 40 foot and plunged into the cold sea water, in the least graceful fashion, to cool off from the tropical heatwave Dublin is currently enjoying.

In the “hazy, lazy, crazy days of Summer” version of events we remember the kids’ laughter, smell of suncream and sight of 99s all ’round fondly and omit the pretty brutal girl fight we witnessed from across the beach. It is still Dublin after all!

Instead bombing into the sea at speed, the fuzzy feeling of drying off in the sun and flaking out on the beach as the sun sank slowly lower in the sky will live on in the much-instagramed Summer of 2013 memory box.

This may seem unusual to those from warmer places but the ability to spend an evening outside without the threat of imminent rain, hail or sub-zero temperatures is so unbelievably out of the ordinary. The wonderful novelty of of sauntering about town with no jacket! Our little country breaking from it’s baltic norm.

The joys!

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Caffeine Buzz

I’m 36 hours into a crazed, caffeine-fueled, massively efficient work week.

Four coffees and six cans of Diet Coke a day seems to suit my system, I’m starting to wonder how I ever got anything done without it. I feel like I’m in a video game. One where I’m winning. Winning at life. I’m getting through to-do lists like never before, the house is spotless and I’ve all of my craft class projects up to date.

I don’t really know if I’m actually more productive or just more enthusiastic and positive about a fairly average amount of work getting done but it feels soooooo good!

They’re Calling Me “Accident-Prone” (Polite Word For Clumsy)

So, I had another little tumble.

Having taken up running 8 days ago I decided to take my new fast legs for a spin through Herbert Park and hit the deck after tripping over some uneven ground. It would be fair to say that the highest stone sticking out of the ground was about 4cm above level and I should have been lifting said fast legs higher than this but I still feel like it was the fault of the dirt track and not my own (*shakes fist at earth). I ploughed into the ground in front of two runners (real ones) and two groundskeepers, who helped me to the nearest tap to clean my wound (conveniently placed exactly where my February bike fall left me maimed). My arm is all stingy and sore but my pride came off a bit worse.

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Given my history of failing to stay upright all the time and what I would call an unlucky run of injuries, I should probably have given this running career a tad more thought. I’ll keep on trucking for now, maybe even taking more care of myself and watching for obstacles.

Note to self: Lift legs higher.

*UPDATE: Two days later I was swinging my arms two vigorously while walking and punched a wheelie bin. I now have a plaster on my knuckles to match my arm. I, personally, think it makes me look more street.

Just Blend In……….

Here Goes.

I just bought two lady magazines a Diet Coke and a coffee. My plan is to sit down, drink a lot of caffeinated liquid and pretend to know what I’m doing. I’m wearing red nail varnish (a throwback to my England trip -the honest truth I can’t find my nail varnish remover) and that’s making me surprisingly more comfortable turning the glossy pages.

I still feel a little like a fraud.

I don’t know who Cara Delevigne is and there’s a two-page story on her. It seems I’m expected to already know who she is -since they offer no explanation. I’m going to Wiki her on the sly under the table. Embarrassingly, you only need to put CARA into google and it knows who I’m looking for. Of course she’s a model! Holy crap -she was born in the 90s!

Moving on, a smattering of Sex Info that I find interesting, more celebrity gossipy stuff that I find less intimidating and head-first into shoes and junk that I think looks silly. It’s good to know that white and floral clothes are all the rage these days, a bunch of angry-looking models are staring at me.

There’s a Twilight Saga review in here that damn near made me cry.

I am so out of my depth!

I may be getting too serious about the supposedly light-hearted, sexy, glossy magazines but I can’t help thinking how enormously hollow it is -and in turn makes me feel. Instead of feeling like a newly-empowered, magazine-toting woman, I feel drained by every word in this thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are healthy elements to it, I find the sex advice very pro-woman, confidence-boosting and generally positive, then there’s a career section that has excellent guidance and an overall bold and encouraging message. That aside, I’m drowning in a sea of advertisements, designed to play on insecurities.

If I could pop a copy of Country Living or even Woman’s Way in to this sexy, glossy cover I would. I’d take knitting patterns, recipes, gardening pointers and calm innocence over looking at moody-looking models, self esteem-shattering celebrity comparisons, endless shallow wardrobe and cosmetic tripe on the hard sell any day. That sort of sums up the energy of it though, hiding my boring, middle-aged, domestic self under the guise of interest/participation in young, fashionable (empty, to my mind) endeavors.

I might keep the nail varnish but be out and proud with my choice of recreational reading.

I (sniff) FELL OFF (sniff) MY BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE!!!!!!

I have never felt so sorry for myself! Gather ’round, I will tell you my tale of much woe. Sooooooo much woe! Brace yourselves.

So there I was, cycling straight (down a hill so gathering a good bit of pesky speed!) when a big-haired woman in a big stupid silver car pulled out from a little road in front of me. I tried to swerve and break to give myself more time to stop but the thin layer of ice on the road left me skidding and before I knew it I was sprawled indecently across the road like starfish roadkill, face-down, limbs akimbo, right beside her car.

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I hadn’t even opened my eyes before three lovely men were shaking my shoulders and picking up my bike, they pulled me up by the arms and walked me off the road while big-haired woman sat in traffic (that’s right -she was in such a rush to pull out onto a main road TO SIT IN TRAFFIC!!!), eyes dead ahead, afraid to look at me. After a minute she drove off and I was busy being fussed over by a little bunch of heroes and fighting back tears I didn’t want to cry in front of them (be a big girl, Jenny).

I spent five minutes assuring them I was absolutely fine, thanking them profusely and getting myself together before I turned away, inspected my stingy wounds and cried (loads!), My bike was jammed somehow and the wheels wouldn’t turn so I limped off across the road to lock it to something, called my boyfriend to cry at him for a little bit and hobbled off towards the DART station feeling mighty sorry for myself. Good thing I’m a trooper.

So here I am now, nursing my injuries and assessing the fallout (real bike damage is yet to be determined, she’s in with the doctors as we speak). I’m compelled to tell you, this process has been quite cathartic and now after making four sobbing phonecalls to loved ones and having written this I am starting to feel a good bit better about my ordeal.

Thanks guys!

Why It’s Written In Joyce’s Heart

Dublin, to my eye, is a beautiful place.

I often walk around this city, down streets I’ve walked at least 100 times before and find something new & amazing. Walking on a boardwalk, over cobbles, through the throngs of shoppers or down the alleys there’s an unmistakable energy. It doesn’t have a name and I’m pretty sure I only felt it when I’d lived somewhere else and come back but it’s made of magic. Sure it can be grumpy and damp at times but this place has quirks, it’s fun and interesting. In fact, it would make a great first date. We should set it up with a cute, fun city we know and see if they hit it off. Preferably one with a vaguely similar climate without a difficult time difference.

Well, Dublin, I see you clicking with Amsterdam. It has canals, you have canals. It likes bikes, you like bikes. You don’t massively dislike tulips. You’d never be stuck for chat.

I’ve actually never been to Amsterdam (though I might have to go soon and inspect this floozy my city’s been seeing).

Admittedly, this took a surreal turn. I just wanted to state my love for this great place. It has character, charm and humour despite its troubles. The segway into dating part of the Netherlands was accidental. Long distance wouldn’t really suit anyway. Your loss Amsterdam.

I can’t help but wonder about Dublin’s online dating profile now though………..

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So, it happened again. I was asked if my parents were home by some kid, at least 5 years younger than me with a clip board, peddling his wares (or some cheaper alternative to one of our utilities) on my doorstep.

I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that I apparently look like a teenager at 28, or that I replied “No, they’re at work, sorry” and closed the door.

I might need to cool it with the sun dresses but at least I can go a few years without worrying about night cream.