Kidulthood?

I am currently at that awkward stage graduates know all too well, between finishing college and finding a proper job in my field of study. I still feel like a student who wants to lie in till stupid o clock, binge watch “Pretty Little Liars” all evening and hit up Dicey’s, Coppers and DTwo all in the same week, but at the same time I want to start establishing myself career-wise and begin building my empire. Why did adulthood think it was ok to creep up on me like this? I mean, thanks for the opportunity, but no thanks. I would rather stay in college forever, spending my days strolling nonchalantly around campus eating chicken fillet rolls and downing cheap pints in the Nubar between classes. I always thought I would graduate and walk straight into a job in the legal profession or further my studies at Kings Inn’s but having decided to stay in San Francisco on my J1 for as long as I could (which I don’t regret for a second) I came home in October and felt like I missed the deadlines and was pipped at the post by my peers. Its almost inevitable, looking at your old classmates Facebook pages to see did they manage to snag one of those gold-dust graduate jobs and  end up feeling disheartened, chalking yourself up as a deadbeat disappointment for not “making it.” It doesn’t help when Facebook keeps shoving memories of “this time last year” down your throat which for me, includes photos of my best friend and I at Pride in San Francisco having the best craic ever, drinking a bottle of cognac while posing for a picture with some man dressed up as the pope and two police officers. Its hard not to beat yourself up and think wow, what have I actually done in the past year?

It was while I was having one of my weekly rants in work about how its not what I want to be doing and I’m not where I wanted to be at this age blah blah that one of the ladies I work with gave me a sound snippet of advice. “This is just your work, its not your life. It simply enables you to go and live.” And she is absolutely right. So your in that weird “kidulthood” stage before taking the leap and becoming a fully fledged adult, and your working in a job that may not be what you envisioned during your sambuca saturated days at college but thats ok because without the experience your gaining now you probably wouldn’t be able to succeed later in that renowned role anyway. And when is anything worth doing ever easy to achieve? We’ll all appreciate our success much more if we accept that the journey is just as important as achieving the end result.

If I had never worked in retail then I wouldn’t know how to handle the perplexing, persnickety public and I never would have realised that I can somehow tap into this secret pot of patience and perseverance when I need to. I have also developed a good work ethic, I’m reliable and able to work on my own initiative and I know now when I do finally reach my end goal and bag the job of my dreams, I’ll be well able for it because of the experiences I have attained along the way. I still miss being able to walk outside the door of my little apartment and bump into five people I know on my way down to the shop, then end up being dragged to a house party on a rival college’s campus. It feels very alien at first, realising everyone has gone back to live in the counties they’re all from and you cant just conjugate out on the square for a chat but it also allows you to see which friendships are the real deal and who was just along for the ride. Whenever I do get the chance to meet up with my college mates we all act like big fairies anyway and I think we always will, kidult’s adults, whatever. And if we can all survive it anyone can.

By simply googling “life after college” your confronted with pages and pages of results, packed with opinions of people just like us who are trying to navigate this whole “should I eat this entire tub of Ben and Jerrys caramel chew chew for dinner or actually chop up vegetables and cook meat and shit” stage. Its always comforting to know that your not the only one.

And anyway, if you haven’t started from the bottom, then how can you properly appreciate the view at the top? 😉

Advertisements

Lookbook

Hey guys! Just realised that since I started Sins and Sparkles I haven’t once written a post about beauty/fashion which is what I was initially going to limit my blog to. So glad that I didn’t end up doing that! But the beauty ballistic beast in me is screaming for acknowledgement so I’m going to do a piece on the look I wore going to Rihanna’s concert in Dublin.

For my hair I took some inspo from Riri herself and decided to do a huge head of poodle like curls. It took me about an hour and I kept burning myself followed by having mini meltdowns after each incident but it was worth it in the end, I loved how fun and voluminous it was! I used a regular curling iron, taking really small sections of hair and wrapping it around the very end of the iron where it was thinnest to make the curls really tight and full. When I had done my full head I teased apart the curls and fluffed them up to achieve the volume I wanted. My hair is naturally very straight so it doesn’t keep a curl very well but these stayed put all night (and the next morning) win win!!

IMG_2806

I kept my makeup quite minimal as I wanted my hair to do the talking. I went for a flawless base which I achieved with my new fav foundation, Charlotte Tilbury “Magic Foundation” in 3 on top of Benefits “pore-fessional primer.” I then added contour with the Anastasia Beverly Hills powder contour palette in fair to medium, Urban Decay’s “naked concealer” in fair blended in under my eyes with a beauty blender and probably too generous a sprinkling of The Balm’s “mary-lou manizer” highlighter which is absolute life! Brows were achieved using my trusty Anastasia Berkley Hills dip brow in “chocolate.” I decided on a matte red lip to inject some colour into my look, in “perfect red” by NYX, one of the best and most affordable cosmetic brands out there, I love their stuff. Finished it off with THE best mascara there ever was, Too Faced’s “Better Than Sex”. It needs to be tried to be believed.

IMG_2834

I wandered into Penney’s on my lunch break a few days ago and saw this gorgeous playsuit on a mannequin that I probably wouldn’t have looked at twice at on the hanger. In my go-to colour, black with cute detailing and a lovely lace back it was a bargain at only €16. I matched it with a brown belt, also from Penney’s and another steal at €4. I teamed them with my new sandals from River Island which I’m literally living in, they were €50 but sooo worth it they’re really comfortable and they go with absolutely everything. My friend and I ended up walking from the Aviva all the way back into the city centre after the concert and I wasn’t even hobbling, thats when you know you’ve found a fab pair of shoes 😉

When it comes to accessories I never really bother, I always concentrate on my makeup more than anything else so I decided to make a bit more of an effort and wore a black choker I bought in Forever 21 for €8 with a whole load of bracelets I had in my jewellery box at home. I also threw on a pair of funky ass glasses I bought on aliexpress for about €5  and bam! I was ready.

IMG_2839

If anyone wants to know anything else, drop me a comment under here and as always, let me know what you guys think! X – AMK

Turning the “grim gym” into a “win win”

Four months ago I joined the gym and actually managed to stick with it. As someone who is fully convinced they are allergic to running (it makes me itch) this was a BIG accomplishment for me. Literally if a car is coming and I’m in the middle of the road, that wont even force me to run. I have two failed gym memberships under my belt and after wasting a significant amount of money, I ended up feeling even worse about myself than I had before for not persevering. I have since been able to change my negative attitude towards exercise and found little ways to use the time I spend in the gym to my advantage. So if anyone reading this is on the cusp of motivation and needs a little push, I hope this helps!

The best thing I ever did for my body was book a holiday to Ibiza this summer, although I’m 100% sure I wont be able to say that afterwards when my liver is hanging on by a thread however it sparked some serious motivation in me and really pushes me whenever I feel like I don’t want to bother. The thoughts of lying up on a perfect white beach for two weeks and squirming feeling like I look like something that crawled out of the sea was a thought I couldn’t allow become a reality. Despite people perceiving me as an extremely confident person, I actually suffer a lot with random bouts of anxiety so even plucking up the courage to walk into a gym and ask them about prices was really hard for me. I went around a few before finding somewhere I felt comfortable. The gym I finally decided on isn’t crazy busy and the majority of the members are old people so that suited me perfectly, no macho men or gamey girls in sight! After being in there a few times I felt confident enough to make an appointment with a gym instructor to get a fitness plan done out for me. It was immediately after this that I copped one of the instructors was a guy I had shifted on a night out and given a fake number to, talk about awks, so I spent the next three days praying it wouldn’t be him I had the appointment with and thanks be to god, it wasn’t.

I felt like if I could somehow slide through that awkward ordeal unscathed, I could definitely pull it together and work my ass off to get where I wanted to be. My confidence started to grow and before long I had my fitness plan learned off by heart. From being in the gym and surrounded by other people with the exact same goal as me, it changed from a place I always thought of as intimidating and isolating to somewhere that I felt comfortable and encouraged. From seeing how other people exercised and through trial and error I learned what exercises I liked and didn’t like, what worked best for me and what didn’t suit me at all. I even braved the weights room and started using the machines that the big muscly guys who make weird noises go on!!! The more I go the more confident I feel returning each time, knowing that I have become a little fitter, a little faster, a little stronger. Its also a great stress reliever, I challenge you to try to think of anything else except dying when your 60 seconds into a plank. Its like I have rediscovered my body and how it works, I have pains in muscles I didn’t even know I had and I can see changes in places I didn’t think it possible to tone. It was while I was realising all of this that I discovered the most important thing of all.

For the first time ever, I was approaching exercise with the single goal of improving my physique and becoming a more confident and healthy person as a result. What I wasn’t doing was thinking “hmmm I’m so much fatter than her I wish I looked like that” or looking at magazines and feeling upset because I’m nowhere near as thin and as perfect as those girls in the photos… Those girls aren’t even as perfect as those girls!! None of it is real and even if it was it wouldn’t matter because focusing on someone else to get somewhere you want to go is never going to work. I am doing this for me, because of me and staying focused on myself. When you stop constantly comparing yourself to someone else you have time to appreciate the results you have achieved and it feels 100 times better acknowledging yourself rather than stressing about meeting false expectations. Everyone is different and people lose weight in different ways, in different lengths of time and from different areas, and the sooner you learn that the better. There is no other feeling like the sheer joy when your able to fit into those jeans you’ve been holding on to for years with the hopes you would one day parade down the street in them like a catwalk, or taking selfies and realising your sans that double chin. Knowing you’ve worked your ass off and feeling good about yourself, thats the ultimate goal.

 

IMG_2743

My Relationship with Alcohol

I am more than partial to a few scoops. And everyone I’m friends with wouldn’t say no to a couple of ice old pints either. There’s nothing like enjoying a Kopparberg in the beer garden after work, downing a few shots to drown your sorrows or sipping on gin and juice to celebrate something special. I like how it can instantly take the awkwardness out of a situation. The Dutch courage it gives me, allowing me to dance and chat to people like I never would if I were sober. Its like a push up bra for your personality. There is also such a social aspect to drinking, if your arranging to meet up with friends/family/a date you usually do so over a few bevys. But lately I’ve started to take notice of all the negatives, which I usually discreetly sweep under the rug preferably while enjoying a glass of Prosecco.

This past weekend proved to be the turning point. As per usual me and the girls decided to go out for the bank holiday, pre drinks at home then out to the club as you do. Only this time I woke up Sunday morning iphone-less. My eyes stung from the harsh light streaming in my bedroom window and as my head started to pound I stretched out my hand to make the familiar swoop under my pillow for my phone. It wasn’t there. Starting to panic now, I check my handbag. Not there. Then I realise I wasn’t even supposed to stay at home last night.. All my stuff including my car is at my friends house. What happened? WHERE IS MY PHONE? After running around the house in last nights clothes wailing and asking myself why I’m such an idiot, it struck me for the first time ever that nothing else only alcohol was the reason for this. If I hadn’t been drinking then I wouldn’t have memory loss consistent with being knocked unconscious. I wouldn’t be minus my phone, which feels like one of my limbs has been severed off. I keep thinking “oh I’ll show one of my friends this funny video” or “that was definitely my phone vibrating” to reach down into the void that is my empty handbag and not be able to feel that familiar rectangle in my grasp. Eating is boring. Lunch at work is painstakingly meme free. And trips to the bathroom have me resorting to reading the labels on soap bottles. The last straw was when I realised I had no way of setting an alarm for the next morning, so I bit the bullet and bought a new iPhone.

It physically pained me having to dip into my savings to replace it and it got me thinking about all of the money I have wasted over the years on drinks I cant remember surrounded by people I wish I could forget. Splashing the cash around my tiny boring village when I could be saving it up to go somewhere new, bigger, better. All the drunken slurs you cant take back, because words can never be unsaid. And those awkward times you’ve woken up in someone else’s bed. Petty fights you’re not quite sure how they started, rowing with your closest friends all because common sense has departed. There was one stage in college where I went through six cameras in two years, a friend of mine lost four purses, one of the other girls had to replace her phone. Three times. At what stage do we all agree its time to take a step back and have a think about our relationships with alcohol?

If a boyfriend or girlfriend was a bad influence, made us argue with our friends and family, told us it was ok to buy that fifth shot of sambuca and proceed to charge for the dance floor like a lunatic, lost some of our most precious possessions and at the end of it all made us vomit our guts up we wouldn’t allow it so why do we let a substance have so much hold over us? I am not saying I’m never going to drink again. I don’t know when I will ever be ready to say adios to it completely. But what I am doing is seriously thinking about the volume I drink and how I drink it. Im 21 years old, its about time I learned my limits s

and respected them. A few jagerbombs are all well and good as long as you don’t wake up regretting what you’ve done the next morning, or even worse, not remembering what you’ve done at all.

So alcohol, my aul pal, I just want to set the record straight. Yes I may want you but no I don’t need you. Kind of like Prince Charming.

The Right to Die?

Hey guys! So I started working in a solicitors office this week, and it got me thinking about the fine line between something being legally wrong and/or morally incorrect. While I was studying for my law degree it became increasingly apparent that this battle between morality and legality, especially with regard to highly emotive issues, was intrinsically linked to the law itself.

Now that my brain is back in law law land, I have decided to write this blog post about a particular area of Irish law that always splits opinions. I hope you find this interesting and informative, let me know what you think and tell me in the comments whether you agree or disagree with what I’ve said!

The law surrounding

Euthanasia.

That being, the administration of lethal medicine with the intention of ending ones own life. Euthanasia, or as i prefer to call it, the right to die” is currently illegal in Ireland. In stark comparison, its counterpart “the right to life” is afforded protection under all international, regional, and domestic human rights documents.

As Irish citizens our Constitution upholds the rights we know and value so highly, like the right to vote, to own property and to integrity and autonomy. What you may not know, is that there is immense ambiguity and uncertainty in both our Courts and Government surrounding the legality and moral legitimacy of euthanasia.

The Irish courts have recently been faced with challenging cases surrounding the “right to life” and corresponding “right to die” in regard to abortion, another highly emotive issue. In particular, they are concerned with the conflict between the mothers right to die with dignity, and the unborn child’s right to life. Following the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, it was anticipated that Ireland would take progressive steps towards rectifying the extremely worrying position of women being viewed by the State as incubators for an unborn child, rather than human beings in their own right.

Unfortunately this was not the case and very similar disturbing circumstances arose in the PP v HSE case. This involved a mother who was clinically dead and being kept alive artificially because she was pregnant. Her body suffered multiple infections and medical professionals stated that there was no reasonable prospect of the foetus surviving. Her family as well as the father of the unborn child also agreed that her life support should be switched off. Under Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution, the right to life of a foetus must be protected as far as practicable. This put the doctors in an extremely precarious position. If they turned off the life support they could potentially be held liable by the State for ending the foetuses life. After a harrowing ordeal lasting four weeks, the court ruled that this somatic treatment could be terminated, allowing the mother to die naturally and inevitably ending the life of the foetus.

The most perturbing aspect of this case is the fact that the judiciary focused so heavily on the potential survival of the foetus and raises a number of crucial questions. If the foetus had a reasonable chance of surviving, would the mother have been preserved in this vegetative state to protect its right to life? This would be a clear disregard for her right to bodily integrity as well as the right to die with dignity. If the pregnancy had been more advanced would this also be the case? If the couple had been married, and the father decided he wanted to exercise his parental rights and try to preserve the life of the foetus, would it be permissible to keep using this woman as a human vessel?

So as Irish people who are legally entitled to be autonomous, self-determining individuals why have we not been given the freedom to decide whether euthanasia is an option for us or not? Is it the case that the State is in a superior, knowledgeable position making them better suited to determining what happens to a person’s life, than the person themselves?

An increasing number of countries within Europe and beyond have chosen to legalise euthanasia for a number of reasons. So the final question to be asked is this;

Should euthanasia be protected under the right to life in Irish Statute?

For me, the answer is a simple yes. It is legally provided for that no individual, no State body and no organ of any Government can tell an individual that they do not have the right to life, so why should they be able to tell someone they do not have the right to end this life if they wish to do so? By implementing adequate safeguards regarding euthanasia laws, it would prevent vulnerable people from abusing the practice. In Belgium the legislation asserts that an individual must be capable and have presented a “voluntary, considered and repeated” request to die. The Assisted Dying Bill in the UK sets out that a doctor must be satisfied that a patient has a terminal illness, has full mental capacity and is able to make a voluntary decision free from any pressure. Many people who are suffering severe discomfort due to old age or whose quality of life has rapidly deteriorated due to a terrible illness should be permitted to make the decision to end their own lives if they wish to do so. The majority of people do not want to see their loved ones suffer terribly and unnecessarily as a result of their right to die not being provided for.  Euthanasia which comes from the Greek “eu thanatos” literally translates as “good death” and isn’t that all we could really hope for when the inevitable occurs? Providing for the right to die could make that a viable option for those people.

Havoc and Devastation

This is a poem I wrote a few weeks ago that I never intended on sharing with anyone, however after discovering The Darkest Fairytale‘s blog, I was inspired to post my own poetry. As always, let me know what you guys think!

I don’t get why no one gets me.

What’s inside is something they just can’t see.

I have a lot of dreams and many aspirations,

But while I’m here all I create is havoc and devastation.

 

I want to spread my wings and fly,

Away from this hell and these prying eyes.

Then I feel that familiar pull,

Dragging me down where their minds are so dull.

Sometimes its easy, faking content,

But mostly its draining, so much time spent.

 

A constant nagging deep down in my gut,

Keeps on reminding me I’m stuck in a rut.

I’ve lost who I am now I cant even see,

Why no one ever seemed to get me.

The dreams and aspirations I may never achieve,

All the havoc and devastation because I don’t know how to leave.

HEY! Can a girl get a date around here?

I think it must have been Tinder that signified the end of real dates. All that “dating” consists of these days is swiping left or right on some randomers face, cheesy chat up lines (Netflix and Chill anyone?) and unwarranted dick pics. Oh how I long for the days when my grandmother was growing up, where your gaze would meet that of a handsome man across the room and they would then ask you to dance, not make an unwelcome grab for your arse and ask you where your staying tonight. When did all the guys get together and suddenly decide to swap suits for snapbacks and manners for misogyny? Well I think its about time us girls set the record straight. No, a “cheeky Nando’s” is not an ok plan for a date. Asking a girl out and then picking her up, driving her around in your car and parking up somewhere, is also not a date. It’s creepy, it’s weird and to be honest its how far too many episodes of Criminal Minds start off. If we agree to meet up with you that does not automatically mean we are going to kiss/sleep/anything with you. We owe you nada. Please refrain from asking for nudes. If it was going to happen it would be because we want to, not because your begging like a badly behaved puppy. Nor are we going to have a conversation with someone about how big/small/round our boobs are. They’re kind of stuck to our chests, we don’t need anyone to tell us what they look like.

In this tech driven society where girls are constantly deemed “crazy” for even texting a guy twice, its discouraged us from making the first move and guys no longer seem able to be the one to take the bull by the horns so what’s a girl to do? What we need is to bring it back to basics. If you like someone, tell them. Forget the snapping, whatsapping and Facebook tapping and have a real conversation with someone. Face to face. That way your “👉🏽👌🏽”? text which, when challenged, you claim only meant that we were fit but we all know what you actually meant, cant be misconstrued. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If two people like each other then they should both want to make an effort to impress one another, simple as. Thanks to Geordie Shore we now have lads competing against their friends for the title of “top shagger” and regarding it as a similar accomplishment to winning the Nobel peace prize. Now lads think they will be perceived as “weak” for telling a girl how they really feel, but I cant think of anything more manly than being able to admit you like someone and putting yourself on the line for that person. Am I right girls?

Reading this back, I should really take a piece of my own advice. There is someone I’ve liked for a while now and I’ve been too shy to say anything, but why should I let the ignorant views of some pathetic keyboard warriors stop me from going after what I want? I might aswell break all the rules and send him an absolutely shocking double text!!! Maybe it wont work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever! In the words of one of my fav people, Lily Allen:

“Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits”

Because yes, its hard out here for a bitch! Its time for all the ladies to stop being afraid to go after what we want just because history has taught us that we shouldn’t. Chivalry may be dead but that doesn’t mean our dating life has to die too. So gals, take that risk. Make that move. And guys, if you have the cojones to approach someone that has caught your eye, keep it old school. Everybody loves a gent.

 

Lily Allen – Hard Out Here

Mental Health Awareness Week

With the week thats in it I have decided to share my views on mental health awareness and my personal experiences with the issue.

I cant remember what age I was when I first started thinking that I might not be the same as everyone else, but it has mulling away in the back of my mind for a very long time. When I was a child I felt I was more mature than the other kids my age, but also more angry, more confused, more defiant. I was sent to counsellors who didn’t understand me by teachers who didn’t know what to do with me and so the cycle continued until I was 15 and I learned to suppress my innermost feelings. And I was not alone. Statistics show that 70% of children who experience mental health problems have not had any appropriate intervention at a sufficiently early age. It wasn’t until recently, at the age of 21, when I started to write all my thoughts down each night that I felt some sort of relief. My head was always so full of anxiety, fear, anger and a constant impeding doom of helplessness. I felt like I was 10 stone lighter after emptying my thoughts out on to the pages. I was able to confide in my diary in a way I could never confide in an actual person, without the worry of judgment or misunderstanding. I have never spoken about what goes on inside my mind to anyone, and no one I know has ever spoken about their mental health to me. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in Ireland will experience a mental health problem in any given year. So why is there still a stigma attached to people who admit that they are experiencing such common issues? In our modern day society where it is deemed acceptable to get ossified from alcohol and strip naked on reality tv shows and have Swarovski crystals glued on to your not-so-private private-parts, it is time that this phenomenon of sufferer-shaming is wiped out once and for all. When something insignificant annoys you, like your hairdresser cutting 4 inches off your hair instead of the trim you actually wanted, nothing makes you feel better than venting about it to a friend. So imagine how isolating it is for people dealing with something as serious as a mental health issue, feeling like they cant get that same “weight off their shoulders” sensation because they’re too used to bottling everything up inside for fear of humiliation and rejection? The changes that need to be made in order to cease this widespread attack on the voices of people with mental illnesses are vast, but everyone has a part to play and together we can change the fact that most people suffer in silence. It’s the blasé bully making casual jibes that someone is “mental” or “unstable” when they admit that they aren’t coping so well. It’s the little things we have let seep into society and now view as acceptable, like the social media monsters who label girls as “crazy.” No explanation required just simply, yes your a girl, your nuts. Sounds absurd, right? I logged on to Facebook just today and was confronted with a meme which quickly informed me that “If a girl is cute, smart and single you know she’s a psycho”. These nonchalant japes at mental illness may seem insignificant, some of the perpetrators may not even realise the negative effect they are having on the fight against mental health taboos, but it all adds up. It contributed towards my decision to not discuss my mental health with anyone, and I am certain I am not the only one. As of yet, I still have not sought any professional advice about my mental health, partly because I wouldn’t know where to go or who to talk to. I have tried googling what I feel and I have been faced with different results telling me I am either depressed, bipolar or suffering from an anxiety disorder. Not helpful, whatsoever. But hey, at least my laptop wont judge me, right? Well I for one am sick of pretending I’m ok if I’m not, hiding how I feel on the inside so people on the outside don’t label me and put me in an isolated box. I’m choosing to be brave and if I can do it, anyone can. Sometimes I feel like I am in control, sometimes I don’t, and thats ok. One of the entries in my diary reads;

“I wonder do other people feel this way, even on my own I feel led astray.”

Of course they do, and when someone is struggling they shouldn’t have to think twice about reaching out for help. Too many things in life are difficult, lets stop allowing being who you are and looking after your mental health to be two of them.