Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk is GREAT.

When she was 22, she fell in love with her boss.

17 years later, having had her life ruined by media scrutiny, slut-shaming and online humiliation, she’s being very brave and speaking out against online bullying and, as she puts it, changing her narrative.

She’s an amazing public speaker, as it turns out, and makes some amazing points about online bullying and shaming; that young people now aren’t psychologically equipped to deal with the abuse they may receive online, that mistakes don’t define you and that attention and judgement that she personally received was overwhelming.

She also talks about how her mother wouldn’t let her even shower with the door closed in the aftermath of 1998’s scandal, for fear that she might not see her alive again.

monica lewinsky

Here it is in full, along with four other amazing TED Talks I watched and listened to today:

1. Monica Lewinsky: The Price of Shame

2. Hannah Fry: The Mathematics of Love

3. Andy Yen: Think Your Email is Private?? Think Again…

4. Emily Balcetis: Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others

5. Ben Ambridge: Ten Myths About Psychology, Debunked

Enjoy, I know I did!

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Spice Girls vs Girls Aloud

I had a pop renaissance the other day in my car. Scarleh, etc.

Blasting Say You’ll Be There and Who Do You Think You Are by the Spice Girls as I ploughed down the M50 southbound, and then doing my best adaptation of Love Machine and The Promise by Girls Aloud on the way back northbound, I realised that there’s nothing like a good girl group to get your pop spidey-senses tingling. So it got me thinking about the similarities between the two that featured most… And I came up with these:

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1. There’s five of them. Duh.

2. They were ‘manufactured’ as such – Spice Girls by Bob and Chris Herbert, and Girls Aloud by the TV show Popstars: The Rivals.

3. Girls Aloud first single? Sound of the Underground. Edgy for a girl group, big two fingers to the music industry who had girl groups in a fluffy-Atomic-Kitten-shaped box.

4. Spice Girls’ first single? Wannabe. Edgy for a girl group, big two fingers to the music industry who had girl groups in a hidden-from-view-because-they-love-boybands box.

5. Girls Aloud third single? Life Got Cold. Slowing it down a notch.

6. Spice Girls’ third single? 2 Become 1. Slowing it down a notch, over here too it seems.

7. Members? Sarah. She’s loud, she’s a bit mad. Mel B was also loud and a bit mad.

8. Mel C had a penchant for the tracksuit and the abundant pride about where she was from. So did one Chezza Tweedy. They both had a touch of the tomboy about them.

9. Emma Bunton. Quiet, mammied by the rest of the group. Ring any bells there, Nicola Roberts?

10. Kimberly… Curvy, in charge, not the best singer but she makes her voice heard. Geri… Curvy (well, she was at least), in charge, not the best singer but she makes her voice heard.

11. Nadine and Victoria Beckham don’t have much in common but what I will say is this. They both went on to shack up with sports stars. And they both tried to launch solo singing careers and well. We all know how THAT turned out for them.

12. Both groups were dogged by rumours of a feud between outspoken members: Cheryl and Nadine were said never to truly get along, with Kimberly and Nicola sticking firmly by Chezza’s side. And we all know the story between Geri and, well… The rest of them. Mostly Mel B though.

13. HOW ABOUT we do a charity single?? Who Do You Think You Are for Comic Relief… And I’ll Stand By You for Children In Need. Oh yes.

14. Breaking up only to reunite later?? Can ANYONE name two girl groups that did just that?? Cos I sure as hell can.

15. When you count the years both groups were actually together, officially, they both tot up to approximately 6.5 years.

16. They both had token redheads. 

17. One girl from each band had a genuinely good recording voice: Mel C and Nadine. The rest were just grand. Grand to moderately sh*te.

18. One girl from each band went on to huge success having had a bit of a metamorphosis of sorts: Cheryl turned herself from racist bathroom puncher lady to fully-fledged solo star with a TV career and being bestos with Will.I.Am, and Victoria Beckham did her whole “I’m a designer now so let’s just forget what happened with Dane Bowers that time, will we??”

19. This.

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20. And this.

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21. And let’s not forget this.

spice girls school uniforms Girls-Aloud-school

 

And OBVIOUSLY it goes without saying that despite Girls Aloud having more top ten hits than Spice Girls (20 to the Spice Girls’ 10), the original girl power purveyors are still by far the most successful, with nine number ones, and 85 million records sold – compared to Girls Aloud approximately 9 million.

Not to MENTION… Spice Girls made their own movie. And it remains an undisputed classic to this day. DO NOT PRETEND YOU DISAGREE.

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Inside MY iPhone….

lovely flowers pastelsA while ago I did a series of posts with Irish ‘slebs like Pippa O’Connor, Vogue Williams and the like detailing how they told me they like to use their mobile phones.

And someone (I can’t honestly remember who) told me I should do one with MY iPhone details in it. And I thought well, no one gives a crap about mine. But LOOK. It seemed like a handy enough post to knock out of a Sunday night after a big meal when all I really want to do is nap, truth be told.

So here we go:

What type of phone do you have?
I have an iPhone 5S and despite protestations from people to get an Android phone, I still love iPhones and can’t see that changing soon.

Would you consider yourself obsessed with your phone?
The only thing I’m more obsessed with is Beyoncé and if you know me, you’ll know that’s quite the statement.

Do you carry a charger around with you ‘just in case’?
I have one in my bedroom, one in my car, one in my handbag, one at my desk in work and I am contemplating buying one to leave at my boyfriend’s house. So that’d be a yes.

Do you ever bring it to the loo with you?
I can’t remember the last time I went to the toilet and didn’t have my phone with me. It’s almost part of the process now. Making sure your prized possession doesn’t fall into the toilet bowl is as much a part of answering nature’s call as using toilet paper.

Do you panic if you haven’t got your phone in your line of sight?
Like it was my child and they had been kidnapped by human traffickers.

What do you use your phone for that you think is unique or different?
I reverse my camera and use it as a mirror when I need to reapply lipstick at a dinner and don’t wanna leave. I also write handwritten notes and take pictures of them to read later. Instead of just using the note-making app.

How many alarms have you got set right now?
Four. The first is for 6.40. That makes me want to die because I am the very antithesis of a morning person.

Who was the last person you text?
One of (no joke) 68 Whatsapp conversations I currently have active. It was to my pal Aine and the message was three of those monkeys covering their eyes.

How many pictures do you have saved, currently?
2,328 and that’s about 400% less than I had on my old phone which had far more memory.

Do you have any weird habits relating to your phone?
Well given my serious OCD and control issues, I have to clear the little red number indicators as soon as I see them, there can be NONE. And I also close down all my active apps about…. I dunno… 2,000 times a day.

What app do you use to chat?
Whatsapp mostly.

What app do you check/use most often?
It’s a tie between Twitter, Instagram and my Gmail.

What app do you wish you could tell everyone about?
THE PARKING TAG APP for Dublin City parking. Holy mother of sweet divine Jesus the baby lord it is a saviour. If you park in Dublin a lot, get it. And thank me later.

What app are you a bit morto that you have/use?
Well obviously I’ve got ALL the photo editing apps available to humankind and I use them frequently to fool people into thinking I’ve got flawless skin and that sort of thing. I’m sure when people meet me in real life after only seeing my Instagram they’re like EH… False advertising! So scarlet for me on that front. I also have the McDonalds Ireland app and I use it more than I care to admit.

Are you a messy phone user or are you tidy/obsessive compulsive about it?
I am tidiness personified. It’s a little weird to be fair.

What three apps could you not live without?
Spotify, Google Maps and Whatsapp. I’d be lost, lonely and musicless, and well. That’s just sad.

QUICKFIYAHHHH

Vibrate or noise? Vibrate, for eternity.
Cover or no cover? Cover. Beyoncé themed ones.
Minimal or messy homescreen? Minimal.
Finger scroll or thumb scroll? Depending. Sometimes I get thumb ache and have to revert to finger scroll.
Text or call? Text mostly, calls for when it’s important.
Instagram or Twitter? Both! HAHA.
iPhone or Android? iPhone 4lyf <3

And there you have it! Tell me you iPhone quirks, please. Make me feel less psychotic. <3

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18 Thoughts Most Girls Have At Bedtime

Many of them are total #FirstWorldProblems, and many of them (particularly the Beyoncé one) might be specific to me. But see if you identify with these girlcentric bedtime thoughts…

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1. Why does my hair chose MIDNIGHT to become absolute tousled perfection, and at 9am in work I look like Worzel Gummidge?

2. Just one more episode of House of Cards on Netflix. Once I’m asleep before 1am I’ll be able to function tomorrow. *checks clock* 2am!?!? HOW??

3. *checks notifications on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, Pinterest, Gmail and sets alarm*

4. *closes all apps down, locks phone, turns over to go asleep*

5. Ten minutes later? *turns back around, takes phone off charge, checks Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp……*

6. If I brush my teeth now, then the Dairy Milk with Oreos bar I have for eating while I read will be on my teeth all night. But I’ll be too sleepy to brush after I read. Conundrum.

7. I really should clear out my wardrobe. It’ll take HOURS. Don’t do it now. Don’t start it now. *starts organising wardrobe*

8. What day is tomorrow? OH GOD how can it only be Wednesday, this is the longest week EVER…

9. SH*T I forgot to take my make-up off. Ugh, definitely not getting back up to do it. It’ll be fine, I’ll just deny it ever happened and pay for it later in break-outs.

10. Okay, time to mentally plan what to wear tomorrow so that I can get dressed while still fully asleep in the morning.

11. I WISH SOMEONE WOULD BRING ME A BEVERAGE.

12. Why was I EXHAUSTED at 6pm and now I’m bright eyed, bushy tailed and full of brain activity?? At 6pm I could hardly remember my own name.

13. This bedroom really needs a style update. I know!! I’ll make a Pinterest board and then redecorate emmm…. never.

14. I should really shut off all my screens. Someone said something about the light ruining my sleeping patterns. I wonder is that true? *stays alert until 4am*

15. This duvet does NOT have enough togs (or whatever they’re called) for winter. This is a summer only duvet, note to self for next time I almost get frostbite.

16. I bet Beyoncé is asleep already. Homegirl knows the importance of beauty sleep and I’m sure someone sprays lavender in her general direction as she stands up to leave for bed.

17. I’m STARVING. Why isn’t supper a thing anymore?? It was when I was in the Gaeltacht.

18. Why hasn’t science come up with a way for humans to deactivate their thoughts to aid a restful sleep?? I must get on th…. Zzzzz

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15 Things You Never Knew About Tarot

Have you always WONDERED about Tarot readers?? How they came to be one, what makes them so special, why do they have ‘the gift’?? Well I did for a very long time…

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I work with some fascinating people, but none more so than the very lovely Amy Wall. She’s a journalist by day and slings Tarot cards by night. She has been reading Tarot for over 15 years, too. She knows her stuff. She tweets at @theamywall if 15 things is JUST NOT ENOUGH. 

15 Things You Never Knew About Tarot

(and were too afraid to ask… By Tarot expert Amy Wall)

1. Tarot readers are normal people – Contrary to popular belief, most of us aren’t withered old women who resemble something from The Witches by Roald Dahl. We’re lawyers, teachers, doctors and all-round well-adjusted members of society (well, for the most part).

2. There are no bad cards – The Death card may set you on edge, but instead of foretelling your untimely death, it actually represents a rebirth or a new beginning. The Tarot represents both the good and the more negative sides of life. Sure, some of the cards are dark (take the 10 of Swords for example) but for every negative event these dark cards describe, they also offer the promise of a swift new beginning.

tarot 'bad' cards

3. Tarot cards are just cards – Honestly. They contain no hocus pocus or special kind of voodoo. They’re just pieces of card with interesting pictures. The real ‘magic’ of Tarot comes from your own intuition – that’s what guides you to certain interpretations.

4. Tarot is old. Like really, really old – Its origins are shrouded in mystery, but it’s believed that Tarot first emerged in the 1300s. There’s a lot of argument over where it came from – some say Egypt, some say China and some say France, but one thing everyone can agree on is that it is ancient.

5. There are thousands of decks available – You can find a deck to suit any interest that you have. For example, you can buy decks dedicated to cats, traditional decks, gothic decks, decks based on fairy tales – the list is endless and once you start buying decks, you will find yourself collecting them. You can even buy a deck that has the infamous ‘Happy Squirrel’ card of The Simpsons fame included in it.

6. You don’t need to be given a deck – There’s an old tradition that states if you’re meant to be a Tarot reader, a deck will be given to you. It’s a romantic belief, but it’s not true. If you want to read the cards, pick a deck you like and begin. That’s how you become a Tarot reader.

7. We’re not big on predicting the future – There are some readers who will tell you when you’ll get married in exchange for a €60 fee, but most readers will tell you that the Tarot is a tool of self-growth. Rather than predicting the future, Tarot offers a snapshot of where you’re headed. This snapshot changes with every decision you make. Remember – you’re the only person that’s in charge of your future. Your destiny is firmly in your own hands and you can choose to change things at any point.

tarot reading

8. We won’t talk about death or health – It’s an unspoken code of conduct, although some readers deviate from this. The bottom line is you should never leave a reading feeling worried about your mortality or your health. If a reader predicts a horrible illness in your future, just walk away.

9. There are 78 cards in a deck – A deck is divided into two separate parts. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards and includes famous cards such as The Lovers and Death. The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards and they depict everyday matters such as relationships, finances, creativity etc.

10. You have your own personal card – This card is called your ‘soul’ card and reflects who you are as a person and the ideal that you can achieve in this lifetime. It’s very easy to calculate your soul card, simply add up all the numbers in your date of birth and reduce them down to a digit between 0 and 22. For example, 16/12/1987 = 1+6+1+2+1+9+8+7 = 35 = 3+5 = 8. In most standard decks, card 8 is the Strength card.

11. There has to be an exchange of energy – Back in the day, Tarot readers would ask people to cross their palms with silver. In modern times, you’ll pay a fee if you visit a professional reader, or if a friend is reading for you they may ask you to make them a cup of tea or pass them the remote control. Tarot is an exchange of energy, so it’s always best to do something small for a reader in return.

12. Tarot is popular – It’s the most practiced form of Divination (or fortune telling) in the world. This means that Tarot outranks reading palms, throwing Runes, gazing into crystal balls and the art of Phrenology (that is, reading the lumps on a person’s head).

13. We have our own lingo – From ‘Shadow Cards’ to ‘Querants’ to ‘Throwing’ to ‘Significators,’ there’s a host of special terminology that you’ll pick up the more you read the cards.

14. You don’t have to be gifted – People think that reading the Tarot requires some psychic gift or extra-sensory perception. This is completely untrue. The cards help to train your intuition, so the more you work with them and read them, the more your sixth sense will develop.

15. There are no rules – When it comes to Tarot it’s best to trust your intuition. If you want to make up your own meanings, create your own spreads and develop your own method of shuffling, that’s perfectly fine. Trust your gut and you won’t go wrong.

Well now. That’s pretty comprehensive, wha? Thanks Amy for the awesome insights. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, those pics are Amy’s real deck – and that’s from The Wild Unknown if you want to check it out.

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PS. If you’re floating around this here Facebook, I’ve got a competition going. Share and like the page and you could win it!

10 Things You Might Not Know About Grease

I usually love Buzzfeed stuff.

My boyfriend slags me because it’s all stuff rehashed and repackaged from Reddit and the like, but I like when things are packaged up into a shareable format, so I’m always on there reading and sharing and assisting things in their quest to achieve viral status.

So I was genuinely disappointed the other day to read their 27 Things You Probably Never Noticed in Grease post. Because every single one of the things was blindly obvious to anyone who’s even sort of a fan of the movie. And some of the stuff was a bit of an insult to the intelligence of someone who’d just watched it once and napped half way through.

So I decided to do my own mini-version. I’m not guaranteeing anyone will never have heard ANY of the things below, but some of them I found interesting. Slightly more so than that abysmal Buzzfeed effort.

8 Interesting Things About Grease You May or May Not Already Be Aware Of

*super safe title*

1. La Cah-FURIOUS

What maddened me the most was the bit where they (Buzzfeed) said about Frenchy’s ‘name tag’ meaning ‘hairstyle’….

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….when CLEARLY what it says is ‘La Coiffure’ – it’s not a name tag, it’s the beauty school she’s enrolling to. She endearingly pronounces it ‘la cah-fury’ instead of the way it’s pronounced in French when Jan asks her about it…

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2. DAWDLING

When Sonny (‘Mr LaTierre’) gets accused of dawdling in the hallway by Principal McGee, he mumbles something in Italian under his breath. What he says is ‘a fanabla tutti puttana’ and that roughly means “may all the whores go to Naples” in Italian. Basically, another way of saying “f*ck off”.

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3. Hey Eugene! Shake, buddy!

And while we’re on the subject, everyone’s supposed to be in homeroom, but the biggest swot in the school, Eugene, is wandering the halls?? What’s THAT about. And why didn’t Principal McGee reprimand Eugene AND the rest of the T-Birds, who were also very obviously dawdling??

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4. Lightswitch Moment…

In the diner just before Teen Angel appears to Frenchy, the waitress Vi turns off the lights with her elbow. But she completely misses it, and the lights still go off. Keep an eye out. It’s gas!

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5. Age Appropriate

tomThis is an obvious one, but no one was their real age in the movie. In fact, most of the cast were in their late twenties. Stockard Channing, who plays Rizzo, was 33 during filming! Olivia Newton John was 29, John Travolta was 23, Jeff Conaway was 27, Didi Conn was 26. The only person close enough to the real age of final year highschool students was the guy who played Tom Chisum, who was 19 during filming.

6. Hickey from Kenickie’s like a Hallmark card…

“To you from me, Pinky Lee!” is what Rizzo shouts at Kenickie just after she covers him in strawberry milkshake. I always thought she said ‘to you from me, Pinky Liddy’ or something like that but she actually says Pinky Lee, who is an American TV show host from the 1950s. And he was, by all accounts, easily irritated. Which is possibly why she calls Kenickie that?

7. Tammy!!

Again, when Frenchy is about to be greeted by Teen Angel in her Beauty School Dropout dream sequence, she says that she wishes he had a guardian angel, “ya know, like Debbie had in Tammy?” referring to Debbie Reynolds. And sure enough, in the opening credits of the movie, what’s playing at the fictional, cartoon theatre?!

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8. Bored and out of costume??

There’s a part during the highschool dance where the camera is on the band, and just to the far left of the picture, you can see some very bored looking, VERY out of ’50s costume looking men sitting on the bleachers… Have a look. Maybe the crew taking in some of the music??

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9. Coca Cola vs Pepsi Cola

So, in Grease, the filmmakers filmed in the ‘Frosty Palace’ malt shop. And in there, there were lots of signs with Coca Cola branding. And the filmmakers apparently had a deal with Pepsi so they had to blur out the Coca Cola signage – just like here behind Sandy and Tom on their date (very obvious blurring)…

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Which is grand. Until two seconds later when Sandy gets up and BAM. Coca Cola. Unblurred. Why blur at all??

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10. Chin Up!

Okay, this one is a bit out-there. But the filmmakers seem to have cast two lead actors with very, very prominent bum-chins. Right?? Or did they just enhance ONJ’s one on the cover of the DVD??

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Either way, they obviously love a bum chin. Which I’m fine with. John Travolta, as embarrassing as that is NOW to admit, was my first love. I loved him as Danny and I wish every day that he was still 23 with his white socks and his bum chin and he’s terrible singing voice. “Please, come back to me, please……”

Grease fans, unite! Hope you enjoyed this more than the Buzzfeed one.

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LIGHTBULB MOMENT!

It hit me.

One day last week, as I was rambling around the biggest black hole of distraction on the internet, Pinterest. It popped into my brain in the same way I’d imagine a beautiful riff arrives into the mind of a musician… And since then I’ve embraced it fully. 

I now know EXACTLY how to define  my personal style, ladies and gentlemen Dad. In one quick, succinct and perfectly descriptive sentence (well, descriptive to anyone who frequents the likes of Pinterest and the Daily Mail sidebar). And here it is:

Sh*t Celebrities Wear To Airports

This is my personal style. This is how I dress. The essentials?

  • Big shades. Essensh airport wear.
  • A scarf. To add colour to the neutral palette, of course.
  • Comfy skinnies. Sometimes with rips. Cos, ya know. Laid back.
  • Maybe something with a Breton stripe.
  • Maybe something draping off a shoulder. WHO KNOWS.
  • The occasional wedge runner or other inoffensive footwear.
  • Minimal jewellery. A good watch (to tell when your flight is, duh)
  • A giant, hold-all sort of bag across the bend in the elbow.
  • A general look of “I hope no one sees me like this”.

Obviously I don’t always tick all the boxes, but in general, it’s a pretty good way to put a perimeter on how I tend to dress myself.

Here’s how I attempt it…

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And here’s how the pros do it… (much better, I think you’ll find)

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So now that I’ve discovered that, I feel I can claim to have a ‘style’. I never felt very attached to fashion or like I knew how to dress myself at all, until I realised I dress like celebrities in airports. I have found my niche, and here I shall stay, comfortable and neutral until they bring in permanent loungewear.

What’s YOUR personal style??

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Nine Reasons I Love Being Irish

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The temptation to start this post with a sarcastic “top o’ the mornin’ to ya”(however appealing that might be to some of my extensive *cough* American readership) was strong. But since no one in Ireland has ever said that in a serious way, I decided against it. 

Here, for your St Patrick’s Day reading pleasure (in case you’re in the loo between pints and need something to read), are

Nine reasons I just LOVE being Irish…

(oh, and all the pictures are my own by the way!)

The sky at Dublin airport at 7am in November

The sky at Dublin airport at 7am in November

1. We live in a country where you can say “Listen!” and then STOP TALKING and no one is even a tiny bit confused as to why that just happened. We also live in a country where you say “come here to me” to someone who’s standing less than a foot from you and that’s just fine too.

2. We have our problems, sure. But one of the things that hits me most in the emotional guts about Ireland is our resilience and positivity. It’s been rightly tested in the past, and here we are. The positivity flinches, of course. But the fight never leaves us!

3. Mary Robinson. Katie Taylor. Panti. Conor McGregor. Brian O’Driscoll. Ronan O’Gara. Chris O’Dowd. Jamie Dornan. The entire cast of Love/Hate. Dermot Morgan. Liam bloody Neeson, lads. And they’re just a few off the top of my head. There’s about a million deadly Irish people listed here.

Full Irish at Whitefriar Grill, Dublin

Full Irish at Whitefriar Grill, Dublin

4. It’s only when you go abroad to eat out that you realise the standard of food we serve up in this country. It’s incredible. With the raw ingredients we have, we’ve some of the best food in the world. From our outstanding breakfasts (full IRISH, by the way) to our steak, lamb and fresh fish, we’re nailing it.

5. Our national pride is something I’m proud of – confusingly. My dad once cried when Derval O’Rourke came 4th in the European Hurdling Championships. Now if that’s not love for your country’s achievements, I don’t know what the hell is.

6. Gaeilge. Is é mo mhian ach go raibh mé in ann labhairt gach uair, gach lá. Tá súil agam go bhfuil sé athbheochan tromchúiseach go luath.

7. The sense of community we have when we’re anywhere else in the world. There is an Irish pub EVERYWHERE (and whether that says more about our propensity for the aul alcoholic beverage or about our need to convene with our own when abroad is up for discussion).

IMG_19838. Have yiz LOOKED at the place?? Often we’re so focused on seeing the world and the beauty it has to offer that we forget to look around us as we go about our day to day life. Let me tell you, we live in an astonishingly beautiful country. Drive through the Killary Fjord in north Connemara, stand on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher or hop on a boat to the Skellig Islands and have your breath taken from you.

9. We’re known worldwide for being friendly, down to earth, warm and welcoming. And for knowing how to have a great time. And if that’s what the people of a country are primarily known for, I’ll happily live in it forever.

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Hills Hindsight… Ten thoughts I had rewatching The Hills

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 22.35.48I’ve been binge watching old episodes of early seasons of The Hills lately.

For anyone who didn’t watch The Hills… Can I just ask. Where do you get all your girly cultural references?? BECAUSE THE HILLS HAD SO MANY.

“Homeboy wore combat boots to the beach.”

“Sometimes when you love someone, you wanna believe they’re good.”

“Love is not a maybe thing.”

“Boys are like purses. You’re always gonna have that one boy that you’re always comfortable with and you know you’ll always kind of like. That’s your purse that you wear everywhere. Then you have that gorgeous bag that you want everyone to see you with but the gorgeous bag is usually an asshole or costs a lot of money.”

AND MY FAVE:

“The only thing to do is forgive and forget. I want to forgive you and forget you.”

But anyway, during my rewatching, I had some thoughts that I know I didn’t have first time around. In hindsight, and almost ten years later (SCARY, wha??) I’m seeing things differently than I did first time around… Here are some of the many realisations I had:

TEN THOUGHTS I HAD UPON REWATCHING THE HILLS

1. OKAY I know it’s totally set up and scripted and the situations are captured on film and so couldn’t possibly be all that organic. BUT. If you think about it, a lot of the things they were dealing with people go through in real life all the time. Whether you want to admit it or not, you’ve said versions of the ridiculous things listed above. COS I KNOW I HAVE.

2. Brody is a big charming slutbag, Justin Bobby is a total childish idiot who has no concept of how to treat a woman, Frankie really IS a Vilmer Valderama wannabe, and Jason? Well. We ALL know she should not have stayed home from Paris for THAT.

3. Whitney came across really, really well and god knows it’s borderline impossible to come across well on a reality show, such is the harsh editing process the dailies go through. Whitney seems like a genuinely lovely, ambitious, intelligent person and was by far my fave of the girls.

4. Everyone, no matter how secure they are, has been the Jen Bunney of their friends at some point. Needy, inserting themselves into drama, doing sh*tty things behind their friends’ backs and just being generally irritating for spells. Play it cool, girls.

5. Audrina smiles her way through every situation. Even when she was crying her face belied her emotion because it looked like she was smiling. And, while we’re on the subject of aul Auds, she was a total walkover when it came to the double-named, double-douche Justin Bobby.

6. Speaking of walkovers, can someone say HEIDI MONTAG. Talk about being manipulated?! First time watching it, we didn’t know the absolute CAR CRASH her life would become, and how plastic surgeons everywhere would be trying to distance themselves from the work done on her. Good god, Spencer created a monster.

7. How, on first watch, did the viewing public relate to these people?? They all drive Mercs and Escalades and carry Chanel handbags and are rather spectacularly spoiled with great opportunity after great opportunity. I’d have to sell my firstborn to get an internship with Teen Vogue and then I’d have to sell my grandkids to get HANDED a job with Kelly Cutrone. And here we all were thinking they were just. Like. Us.

8. The Hills gave Irish teens a coloured view of what it’s like to work at a magazine, and forever ruined a generation of interns who expected to arrive into a publisher in Dublin and be told to grab their passport and go work in Paris at the Crillon Ball. Such things are mere dreams on this side of the pond, gals.

9. Lauren was the heroine, the character everyone was meant to love etc. And we did love her. But we neglected to see her intense stubbornness, her closed-mindedness about certain things, and that…. SHE was the common denominator in ALL the dramz. What does that tell you??

10. Finally, my overwhelming feeling while rewatching The Hills was: GOD I WISH I COULD CRY AS ELEGANTLY AS LC.

What did you feel about The Hills first time round, or on second watch?? Tell me! Share! Do something!

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Flatlays… What?

I like to think I’m down with the kids when it comes to Instagram and Twitter and all that craic, and when people ponder the newest abbreviation (ICYMI, WIWT and the like) I happily clear up the meaning for them, as if I know stuff. 

But then, you find yourself in a black hole of hashtags somewhere, lost in a sea of amazing Insta pics, and you see one and you go ‘ohhhh… THAT’S what that is…’. Well that happened me recently. With flatlays. 

For a while, I just kept repeating to myself ‘Michael Flatlayyyy’ and laughing. Then I grew up, and since, I’ve been scouring Instagram for my favourite flatlays and I’ve even attempted a couple of my own. Basically, it’s a collection of stuff, laid out flat, pictured usually from directly above. I’m no expert (far from it) but my first one managed about 250 likes (my average like score would be around 30 per pic) so I was DELIRAH.

My tips, based on my stalking of other flatlays?

1. Good lighting is key

2. Colour coordinate where possible

3. Don’t overcrowd it (white space is your friend)

4. Hashtag it with #flatlay and tag some brands if applicable

5. Wait for the Instalove to roll in

Here are my two, for your perusal. If you fancy it, my Instagram is @aislingmkeenan

IMG_5344 IMG_5113

 Comment! Are you better at flatlays than me? (likely)

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