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Education

The alarm rings, I hit the clock

I look out of my window towards the dock.

I put on my uniform and drag a comb through my hair,

And wolf my breakfast in the kitchen downstairs.

I run for the bus that brings me to school

I barely catch it though I try to stay cool.

Bell rings for first class loudly in my head.

God, I wish I was still in bed.

The lessons drag on until lunch.

Then only an hour on our food do we get to munch.

Back to a stuffy classroom to learn out of books,

Trying to disguise our very bored looks.

The clock ticks slowly to twenty to three.

In a few more seconds we’ll finally be free!

The bell rings; a mad stampede out the door,

Ignoring the books and pens scattered on the floor.

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Vintage Sundays

I love Sundays. It was always a family day in my house associated with mass (of course) and family outings and roast dinners. Occassionally it was also the day when we would visit family or entertain visitors. So I don’t really suffer from the “Sunday Blues” that seem to plague other people of my generation. But there are some Sundays that are better than others, that are truly special. These are what I call Vintage Sundays.

Vintage Sundays, as the name suggests, entail indulging in everything vintage. I moved up to Dublin for work 2 years ago and during that time I discovered the joy of 1940s radio through an app on my phone. When I start the day by listening to that wonderful station I know it’s going to be a vintage sunday. The radio station is streamed online from the UK and consists entirely of music from the 1920s to the 1940s and recordings of speeches from that whole era, including WWII broadcasts and advertisements for popular household products. Nothing gives me more pleasure than lying in my bed, closing my eyes and being transported back to a time that has been re-popularised by The Great Gatsby trend.

Of course vintage sundays include trawling through vintage and antique shops, even better if it’s a bohemian market. Dublin holds many treasures when it comes to vintage shops, both south side and north of the Liffey. Living on the south side myself, I ensure to frequent The 3rd Policeman in Rathmines as well as the St Vincent de Paul Vintage shop beside it. What makes the 3rd Policeman so special is not necessarily the clothes (which are absolutely stunning), but rather the whole atmosphere of the shop. The antiques, jewellery and furniture are scattered around everywhere giving a real flea-market feel to the place. The ambiance is heightened by the music playing as you browse, which varies from 1920s swing, jazz to 1950s pop with the occassional classical albums thrown in. It really is something special to be transported back in time while fingering the fabric of the beautiful clothes. I have acquired many additions to my wardrobe from The 3rd Policeman but I have also been very happy to lose an hour just browsing through the heart-breakingly fabulous fashions of the past.

When it comes to a truly vintage atmosphere, however, there is a hidden gem along Camden Street, not far from the 3rd Policeman. The Ferocious Mingle is a bohemian indoor market which is truly something very special. It is very difficult to emphasise how special this place is. I love coming here to soak up the atmosphere and it just makes me feel so gentle and peaceful to wonder through the stalls, listening to the artists talking and laughing with each other. Oscar Verne’s coffee bar upstairs is just wonderful. Laid out in the style of a speakeasy bar, serving the most delicious hot chocolate and cakes you will ever taste and occassionaly entertaining live musicians who delight the customers with jazz music, it makes the Ferocious Mingle Arcade what it is – a vintage haven. In the absence of live music, jazz radio and swing music can be heard anywhere in the market. At the back of the arcade is a makeshift cinema which shows old style films, again a fantastic experience. I had the pleasure of watching a silent movie of Alice in Wonderland which is now 100 years old. I have passed many an hour in this bohemian gem in our fair city just sipping on rich hot chocolate, listening to live music and admiring the quirky furniture dotted around the place.

For anyone with a passion for anything bohemian or vintage, please visit this truly unique place. I am always relcutant to leave it and when I do it is with 1940s radio playing in my head on my walk home to maintain that precious Vintage Sunday feeling.

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10 Inspiring Fictional Characters

So this idea has actually been stolen from an article I read on Buzz Feed but I thought it was a cool idea. I invite all my friends, men and women to copy this and share your thoughts on 10 fictional characters who inspired you when you met them.

First up:

1. Ce’Nedra – The Belgariad Series, David Eddings

The minute I was introduced to this character in the series I loved her. She’s the feisty princess who crosses words with Garion from time to time and makes a lot of mistakes. She is also fiercely loyal and has a good heart and is a total fighter. As a teenager discovering my own personality, here was a woman with strength.

2. Ginny Weasley – Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling

In a similar vein, Ginny is one of my favourite women ever in literature. I’m a blonde but I used to have a fascination with red hair (still do) so I was already a fan. Ginny is stubborn, hot-headed and totally kick-ass. Growing up with six brothers, she ought to be. Her transition throughout the books is also believable. She starts off as a silly little girl in the early books and grows into a fiery young woman, not to be messed with. This doesn’t come across so much in the films which I was really disappointed with. Continue Reading »

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A few reflections on childhood

When I was a young girl, I always had a fascination with stories. As an adult now in my mid-twenties, that fascination has only increased with a tendency towards nostalgia. I’ve always enjoyed hearing about my parents’ childhood experiences and even those of my older siblings which I would have been too young to remember, perhaps not even yet born. To that end, I reflected on my own early childhood and thought I would share some of my own experiences. Continue Reading »

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First Date

Royal Botanic Gardens LondonI sat on a bench in the park reflecting on the day.
I thought back to the first hour of that hazy morning when I was roused by the beep of my alarm.
To the lunchtime text confirming our afternoon rendezvous.
I remembered the nervous butterflies which guided me on the walk from my house.
My eyes glazed over as I recalled how wonderful he looked sitting on the bench, his golden hair shining like a beacon in the sunlight.
The warmth of sitting beside him, despite the mild September wind, set my heart beating like a drum.
It nearly jumped from my chest when he stole a tender kiss.
Sitting, talking about life, holding hands.
When the sun began to set we parted ways.
That evening, I returned to the place of my first date with my first love, reliving that first perfect day.

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Being A Star

Someone once said that music is the food of love and that dance is the essence of romance. I can’t recall who first spoke those sage words of wisdom but I do remember that it was my beautiful wife Emer who first said them to me. Indeed, the floated into my mind as I watched my captivating partner dance around the kitchen one Saturday morning. A smile slowly crept its way up my lips as I looked upon her. Her small bare feet moved seamlessly across the cold tiled floor in time to the lively swing music pulsating from the large radio on the counter. Continue Reading »

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Sport: A Valuable Asset In Our Lives

Sport. Something which many people don’t place a lot of importance on, but in reality is one of the most valuable things in life. Whether you are merely a spectator or full on athlete there are several reasons why sport should be valued. As well as bringing people together in a social context from all walks of life the health benefits to be derived from it are second to none. This is not limited to physical health. I know from my own experience that being active has an enormous part to play in mental health. Continue Reading »