Is it worth it?

So my sister is in the middle of her final year in secondary school, the dreaded Leaving Certificate that comes around every summer which, unfortunately, isn’t that far away and is going to hit her a lot sooner than she’d care to imagine, despite the fact it’s only November.

Coming home from a long day at school, tired and a little fed up, ideally she’d like to relax for a while, maybe watch some TV, have a bite to eat and maybe a drink before dinner later on. Yet, this is rarely the case. Sure, she may still have a little snack and a drink but all the while multi-tasking between the mountain of homework she received earlier in the day.

At 4pm she comes through the door knowing what’s waiting for her inside the big bag on her back and I know I probably won’t see her for at least another 2 hours or so while she works. Now, if those 2 hours were all she had to do then it wouldn’t seem so bad, would it? But there’ll be dinner, a little time to wind down and before you know it she’s off to do another few hours worth of work. Every now and then it could be dark outside by the time she can even think about putting her pen down.

For anyone who has sat the leaving cert, you will know that this particular year is the polar opposite to any other school year. It’s busier, hectic and definitely more stressful. It can also be quite difficult to deal with for some people. However, my sister seems to be handling it all very well so far. She’s up to date on everything and handing all of her work in on time, even at the top in some of her classes which obviously is a relief to hear. While some weeks are naturally better than others, she gets on with it. With Christmas quickly approaching, so are the Christmas exams and project draft deadlines so it’s no surprise to witness moments of stress here and there.

Seeing her like this, going through the motions of work, eat and sleep, brings back so many memories from my leaving cert year. Like her, I began to feel the pressure around Christmas and pre-exams time. Probably more than I even realised. Like a lot of people, I had moments of anxiety and worry. I broke down in the office of my career guidance councillor with the worry of failing because both mine and everybody else’s expectations were higher than I could achieve. It took a lot for me to ask for help but I knew I had to at the risk of exploding on the inside. It felt so good to let it all out. Despite the tears running down my cheeks, I changed my entire outlook on these exams. I found roundabout ways into the course I intended to study the following September and instantly felt my body relax and almost thank me for coming to the realisation that I will be OK if it doesn’t go my way.

Nearly four years later, I can now see the toll that the all so important exam took on my mental, physical and emotional health. During those few months, I gained weight, was constantly upset and even my periods stopped completely due to the stress. Internally my body wasn’t coping, and for what? A few exams that may or may not help me in life. I know that people have experienced far worse because of these exams and that what I went through is nothing in comparison but these exams can change and affect anybody in various ways. I must say that I applaud people who have the guts to go back and repeat their leaving cert because I know for a fine fact I couldn’t.

The leaving cert is and probably always will be seen as the be-all and end-all by a lot of people. You’ll hear it from teachers, friends and parents that you have to do well in order to succeed. This is not the case and I don’t believe that teenagers should have that amount of weight put on their shoulders. For example, I can recall my very first day of secondary school where a teacher was describing and explaining the importance of the junior and leaving cert exams to us, a group of 12 and 13 year olds with 6 more years of education ahead of them. When I think back now, it seems mad that those exams were the single most important topic of discussion rather than ensuring our survival of first year.

On one hand 6th year is of course an important year, it prepares you for certain aspects of life but on the other hand who needs fear put into them over a few exams? Nobody! It’s really not worth what so many students put themselves through, suffering and struggling in silence by putting an enormous amount of pressure on themselves to do well when there’s always a way into what you want in life. I’m living proof of it. I didn’t achieve what I set out to in order to study my first choice so I studied a PLC (post leaving cert) course.

Four years later, I haven’t looked back. The leaving cert year changed my life completely. Once I got over the fact I was unable to do the course I wanted I followed a different path which I believed would enable me to do it a year later. What I didn’t expect though was to fall in love with media (the backdoor course) and continue to study it for the next three years and see myself studying in the UK for a year, meeting the love of my life and finally graduating with a 2:1 in my degree. I couldn’t be happier with the way my life has turned out and it’s because I didn’t do as well as I planned to in my exams that I am where I am today. It’s a cliché, but sometimes it does seem like everything happens for a reason.

So if you take anything from my rant it’s this:

  • Don’t worry! it’s not the end of the world if you fail
  • Have a back-up plan
  • Try something new, you never know what might happen
  • Don’t let other people fill your mind with worries
  • Ask for help
  • Do your best
  • Ask yourself if it’s worth the stress, worry and pressure
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I’m baaaack!

For those of you who follow my blog and have read my previous posts you’ll know I was away for a year studying for my degree and as you can see I haven’t actually posted much since I left, or returned for that matter. Anyways, like I said, I’m back so please keep checking for new posts J I’ll be doing a few blogs about travelling so keep a look out for those.

When An Ex Texts

ex-message

When your ex’s name pops back up on your phone after any amount of time it can be quite daunting, stressful and not everyone knows exactly how to react. In my experience it seems like they always text when you’re finally in a good place after getting over the break up or when you start a new relationship. It’s like they know! (And this goes for both guys and girls!) I’ve been in this situation a couple times now and I must say it doesn’t get any easier. Any time I get a text from an ex my head fills with questions – why is he texting? What does this mean? What a bastard I’m just over him! But…does he still have feelings for me or does he just want sex? It’s difficult to decide what the best way to approach it is though so we have to consider all of our options before even thinking about replying. 

ex-when ex texts

So what do you do? Well here’s how I dealt with it and some other things you could say when that unexpected text comes through.

Brief and Casual

Should you reply, try keep the conversation flowing at all times by focusing on a topic and dragging it out for as long as possible to avoid giving him the chance to drag up the past. He probably has a reason for texting you but if you want to avoid that awkward moment just keep asking questions and telling him what’s new with you. So basically, keep it friendly and casual while trying to speed it along, unless you really want to keep talking.

Delayed Response

A delayed reply is what I chose to do before trying to have a normal friendly conversation with my ex. But beware because no matter how long you delay, they will bring up the past if they miss you or have a secret agenda! There’s no escaping it to be honest.
Another reason for delaying your response is to make him sweat it out. He has obviously been thinking about you despite your break-up months ago so if you want to make him work for it just reply a few hours later (if you can wait that long).
Finally, if you’re simply not sure what to say then take your time! There’s no timer! Think carefully and try not to worry as you do not yet know why he’s texting, he might just want a catch up.

I’m not ready

If you’re not yet in the right frame of mind for him to get in touch then definitely don’t be afraid to say so. While this can be quite a sensitive time you have to do what’s best for you. Hopefully he’ll appreciate the honesty and you can avoid talking to him for the sake of it.

ex-feelings and bullshit

“Hey all is good with me, hope you’re well.”

This reply doesn’t invite too many follow up questions. It’s straight to the point while referring to how your ex is. He shouldn’t be left with the impression that you’re delighted to hear from him but at the same time you’re not being nasty and you won’t have the regret of ignoring him. It’s done and dusted before you know it. 

Harsh

“I don’t want to talk to you”, “go away” or “leave me alone” isn’t something anyone wants to hear or say but sometimes it’s extremely necessary. Obviously this will depend on whether ye ended on good terms or not. Unfortunately, this is what it had to come to during my latest experience as neither of us were able to move on if we were continuously talking. I was hoping to be friends but he just wasn’t ready and in the end I asked for space which was best for both of us not just me. Sometimes it takes being a tad harsh and direct to help people understand. So unless he’s an absolute pest, you shouldn’t be getting anymore surprise texts.

The catch up

This can go either way – extremely well or it’ll blow up in your face. If you want to get back together with your ex then this is your perfect opportunity to bring it up. Make sure you sus out how he feels about it first though.

So just stay calm, don’t worry because it’s not worth the stress and make sure your ex understands what you want from him/her because unless you’re honest from the start you may find yourself in the middle of an awkward situation that could have been avoided altogether if everyone knew where they stood.

ex-replace

I hope this helps, if you have any questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to comment me! I may not have all the answers but if I’ve been in a similar situation then I’m happy to advice. 🙂

ex-walk past

Mac’s Munchin’ Monday #Triple Berry Crunch

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This is my second time making Triple Berry Crunch after I bought a charity cookbook recently. If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know all about my cooking skills (or lack of) but I found this deliciously simple recipe that can be used as a sweet desert or a sneaky treat after a bad day. The oozing smell of berries alone really will leave you wanting more!

So let’s prep!

Ingredients

225g fresh blackberries

225g fresh raspberries

225g fresh blueberries

4 tbsp. white sugar

2 cups (about 230g) plain flour

2 cups (about 85g per cup) rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar (roughly 220g)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup (225g) butter/margarine

Cream

2 tbsp. confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Tips

  • Ensure you have a deep baking pan before beginning as there will be a large amount of mixture. I used a loaf tin as it has a nice amount of depth and I didn’t really have anything else to be honest. Any deep tin will be suitable.
  •  Keep an eye on how much sugar you use, if you don’t like sweet deserts then use less sugar as it may be too    overpowering for you.
  • When mixing the berries with sugar try not to squash them, keep them as firm as you can because they will turn to mush in the oven which then makes the mixture all soggy and very unappetising.
  • To meet the expectations of the title you will need a crumbly texture, but to a certain extent. The first time I made this I had an extremely crumbly mixture which didn’t turn out so great as it had little moisture so I basically cooked the oats…well burned the oats. So make sure that you have enough crumble but with a balance of moisture which you should get from the butter. The second time I made this I used less oats (only 85g) which helped and turned out far better than my first attempt if you want to try it that way.
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  • When filling the baking tin put more on the bottom layer and less on the top layer because it seems to cook better than half and half.
  • Leave it in the oven until a nice brown crispy top forms as it takes a while for it to cook all the way through.
  • Be careful when removing from tin as it may fall apart. I tend to leave the Triple Berry Crunch in the pan and serve as needed.

Steps

  1. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well before blending the butter/margarine in. If you prefer, you can melt the butter and pour it over the mixture and stir well until you’re left with a soft yet crunchy looking consistency. This is vital for the best result. As I hate the smell and taste of cinnamon and nutmeg I didn’t include them but this is where you would use them if you’re a fan.

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  2. In a separate bowl gently toss blackberries, blueberries and raspberries into a bowl of white sugar (4 tbsp.) ensuring there are no lumps of sugar on any one piece of fruit as this will overly increase the sweetness. While the recipe says 225g of each fruit I only used 125g of blackberries and raspberries which was plenty but again it’s up to you and your taste buds.

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  3. Place over half of the mixture at the bottom of the baking tin and flatten it down with a wooden spoon before covering the entire section in a blanket of berries.
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  4. Next, cover the berries with the remainder of the oaty mixture, leaving little gaps in between so it cooks thoroughly.
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  5. Finally, bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes if not longer depending on your oven.
  6. After a certain amount of time you should notice the fruit beginning to bubble through the topping.
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  7. While the berry smells grown in the oven it’s time to whip up some cream to go alongside your berry crunch. So now let’s whip some cream until stiff peaks are about to form, beat in vanilla and confectioners sugar until it peaks.
  8. 40 minutes later it’s time to take the baked goods out of the oven and allow to cool. Don’t be worried if it begins to sink, it’s a messy desert so it’s allowed to go all over the place. When it’s had time to settle and cool down take a big spoonful of berry heaven, swirl some whipped cream by its side and enjoy!!

See, simple and quick!

As you may know I tend to, shall we say, edit the ingredients as I go along so obviously follow whichever version you prefer, and as well as that, half of the ingredients in this book were printed in cups and the other half in grams so my trusty Google skills helped me to convert it all into grams but if they’re incorrect do feel free to tell me. 🙂

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

very inspiring blogger award

I’m delighted to say I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Inspiring Max, so thank you very much! To say I’m thrilled with this is an understatement as there is an endless amount of talented bloggers out there, so to be chosen is amazing! I never thought my blog would go anywhere so to know that people enjoy reading my posts truly gives me the confidence I need to continue blogging.

Please do check out what Inspiring Max has to offer as there’s something for everyone!

Here are the guidelines for the award:

1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.

3. Share seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated  you.

Mac’s 7 Facts:

1. I’m a nostalgic person and keep a box full of mementos under my bed.

2. I have an ‘untidy room owner’ key ring…I just can’t seem to keep my bedroom clean!

3. I love music – I play the piano, accordion, recorder and tin whistle.

4. I’m addicted to Sudoku

5. I hate butter!!

6. I take ages to read a book, and I mean ages!

7. I’ve been hit by hard times over the years but I refuse to let it get me down.

My 15 nominations:

casey loves

noah weiss

seeing deep

living learning and letting go

six dgreez

one more thing

lyrallya

bunsreveries

small girl big dreams 1993

third eye mom

miss book eater

mental exotica

Window on my world

Thinking out loud

boy with a hat

 

 

Mac’s Movie Night Must Haves

movie night TGIF!! Time to relax and give yourself some TLC. So whether you’re planning a get together with friends, a family night in or you just want some me time here’s some of my must haves for the perfect movie night.

Food & drink

Popcorn is nearly a must have for any movie night in – if it’s microwavable or packets make sure there’s enough for everyone to enjoy for the entire night because you don’t want to run out half way through the film. Drink is equally important and it’ll also help the food last longer.

movie

A selection of movies

Your all-time favourite movie may not be everyone’s cup of tea so try cater to everybody’s taste in order to avoid any arguments over which one to watch. Select a few of your best movies from a range of genres – RomCom, horror, comedy, fantasy, action, etc. Perhaps even choosing a theme such as cheesy movies, old/black and white or sequels would create an atmosphere of excitement. You could also simply pick a few favourite actors/actresses amongst the group and watch them for the night.

movie-selection

Be prepared

If you’ve chosen to watch romantic movies then get out the box of tissues! You may also need them depending on how funny you find that comedy you’ve thrown on.
Obviously blankets, cushions or pillows are a must when watching horrors so do remember them because let’s face it no matter how much you’re into your fright fests I bet you still need to cover your eyes from time to time.

movie-horror movies-crying

People

Choose the right people to have a movie night with. You don’t want the noisiest person alive there otherwise you won’t know what’s happening in the movie. Avoiding major food hoggers is also advisable, there’s nothing worse than putting your hand into the bowl of popcorn or M&M’s and coming out with the crumbs. You need to be with someone who will enjoy the film with you, unless you’ve purposely chosen movies to mock, and not slag off your main man Channing Tatum.

movie-food hogger

Limit Distractions

Ensure all phones are out of reach and are at least on silent because the only screen you’ll be needing is the TV screen! If you have pets you may also want to make sure they are looked after before you begin by feeding them or letting them outside so you can then eliminate that distraction.

movie-distractions

Lights

The darkness is one of my main must haves for movie night. I love watching movies in the dark as it makes you focus in on what exactly you’re watching. I think you’re definitely less likely to get distracted by whatever’s around you but do set up the right brightness/darkness before you start by pulling down the blinds or curtains and dimming the lights to your liking.

movie-get comfy

Get comfy

Change into your pyjamas, pull on your fluffy socks and grab a face mask (if you want). Then sit down and relax with a nice cool drink in the Summer and perhaps a cup of hot chocolate in the Winter time. To take your comfiness to another level drag a duvet, pillow or blanket up and do what you can’t do in the cinema – stretch out, lie on your side, whatever you want.

 movies magmovie-face mask

Now kick back, relax and enjoy movie night! I know I will 🙂

What are your movie night must haves? Comment bellow please.

Mac x