Category Archives: General chat

Beautiful Women

Here’s a few photos of the beautiful women with whom I am lucky to work with every day. Not only are they gorgeous but extremely talented, thoughtful, intelligent, and funny. Yes, you’d hate them if they weren’t so lovable!

I’ve been practising taking portrait photographs lately and thought I’d post some of these informal shots from our lunch date today at The Verbal Arts cafe in Derry. I’ll be photographing one of these cute babies next week too for a more formal shoot so maybe I’ll post one of those when I’m done as a wee taster of my growing confidence and passion for photography. You can also check out my flickr for some other shots.

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Time to put it away

The time has finally arrived. I’ve packed away my beautiful wedding dress.

It has taken me 15 months to do it so in a bid to get organised I’ve now packed it away. Maybe I will have a reason to bring it out in the future again…if I can fit into it! haha Goodbye beautiful dress, it was a pleasure wearing you on my big day :)

 

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There’s no such thing as a gruffalo!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a talk with Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo, Tyrannosaurus Drip, A Squash and a Squeeze, and Rosie’s Hat to name a few) and the Laureate na nÓg, Siobhán Parkinson (author of Amelia, Kate, All Shining in the Spring and Sisters-No Way!).

Two inspirational and interesting women who not only write fantastic children’s books but champion reading and writing for children and support the importance of local libraries.

The event was held in the Verbal Arts Centre, Derry, produced by Dog Ears and presented by Marie-Louise Muir from BBC Ulster’s Arts Extra.

It was a fab event for aspiring writers, lovers of literature and of course the infamous Gruffalo! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to these two writers and their experiences, their attitude to their own writing as well as others.

I was really struck by Siobhán, her humour and openness and her attitude to writing- especially when she described the time in her life when she considered herself a ‘secret writer’ and with which I could identify. I asked her more about this time of her career and how she got the courage to show people her writing. She opened up about her first book and how dear it was to her- a very special and emotional moment for us all in the room.

Both are clearly intelligent, passionate about what they do and at the same time, humble with their success. And Julia was sweet enough to stay behind and sign the books of those who came to see her. A truly lovely event and huge thanks to all the organisers!

My signed copy

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Not all golden at the globes

To sum up my thoughts on the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards from Sunday night- disappointing. I recorded and watched the red carpet and ceremony on Monday, and have been looking at various photos and opinions on the fashion and ceremony.

My first disappointment was in host, Ricky Gervais. After last years slating monologues I had big expectations that once again he would fill the room with gasps as the A-list egos trembled at his feet. This year however, I felt that his jokes weren’t so funny and he had definitely toned down his digs, pandering to the celebs and their egos. Such a shame.

Second, the fashion. Overall I think it was a good night, no total disasters (or as Andre Leon-Talley might say dreckitude) but no one really wowed me either. It was all a little dull.

I think my top picks were: Charlize Theron, Julianna Margulies, Rooney Mara, Sofia Vergara and Salma Hayek.

Oh so close…Zooey Deschanel. I love this girl and her quirky, fresh style but I think the hair was too done and if she’d put it up, it could have really shown off the back. Another almost and fashion crush of mine, Michelle Williams. I like that she tries new things and mixes them with stunning vintage pieces. I loved her dress, the texture and colour but I think the headband was one accessory too many.

And the worst for me was…Sarah Michelle Gellar. It did not work on her or on the red carpet. It was bright but a bit boring, too much fabric and the shape has been done to death.

So all in all- dull and disappointing! I love it when someone gets us talking like January Jones’s 2010 Emmy dress in bright blue. I loved it but it polarised opinions. And I never thought I’d say it but I think I miss Helena Bonham Carter! I want to see mismatched shoes and crazy hair haha that’s what the awards season is about.

Let’s hope that the celebs step up their game for the Oscars in Feb!

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Meet Lola

I have neglected this blog over Christmas and New Year, too busy eating rich food and drinking red wine. I’m still off work, not back until 9th January- yay! This week I’ve been spending some quality time with my gorgeous two year old ‘shiranian‘ (cross between a shi tzu and a pomeranian) called Lola. I thought it was about time that I introduce her. She is seriously sweet, hilariously comedic and I am convinced at times part-human. I thought I’d post a small gallery of photos because who doesn’t love a cute doggy pic?

Today we braved the storm outside and went for a short walk along an open lane near the golf course close to our home. I got completely soaked through but she had a blast in the huge puddles- the things we do for love haha. We’ve been cosying up in the house all evening now with candles lit and music on while I cooked and Lola slept. Believe it or not, I didn’t like dogs until we got Lola. Now I am a changed woman; a true dog lover.

Here’s some photos to ‘awww’ over…

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Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing…a ring

I’m thinking of what to add to my Christmas Wish List this year. It’s always good to help my beloved by collating ideas of things I might like to get as a gift on the 25th December.

I have swayed back and forth from, “But I don’t need anything” to “there are so many people going without any gifts this year” to ” f**k it, I work damn hard all year I deserve a little something under the tree!”

And so the research has begun. My husband has already chosen his golf club and so with our £100-ish limit in mind, I’m really liking some of these treats.

Even though I would love anything from the list above, it is important to remember those less fortunate- especially with the state of the economy right now. My hubby and I have had a very tough year but I know that I am lucky and I am grateful for all that I have in my life. So if you, like me, want to help those who are in a tougher place this Christmas, I suggest donating to St Vincent de Paul. A great charity that helps local people.

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The Good Wife

Alicia hearts Will?

The dark nights are descending and nothing is more relaxing than cuddling up on the sofa with a blanket and a cuppa, even better with a fire going. It’s also the time that I catch up with some of my favourite TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and my new love, The Good Wife.

I’m not a TV addict, I have a few shows that I hate to miss and since the demise of ER, Sex and the City, Friends etc, there’s only been very few that I’ve got into. One that I discovered over the summer when my hubby left me alone for a week :( was The Good Wife.

Lead actress Julianna Margulies is brilliant as Alicia Florrick in this US series. She is very understated, subtle but so present. Her supporting cast is also superb, noone trying to overshadow anyone else and a nice balance between drama and comedy.

It’s going into its third season, hopefully showing on More4 or RTE. If you’re looking for a new TV show that will absorb you in it’s relationships, the storyline, with episodic asides of court drama, then I recommend it. I don’t think I’m giving anything away by the ‘Alicia hearts Will’ tagline because I think most viewers are ‘willing’ those two to get together (sorry for the bad pun!)…I’ll keep watching with hope!

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Matrimonial muffin tops

The definition of a muffin top, quoting from Urban Dictionary is: “When your love handles burst out over the top of your tight pants, giving your lower back the appearance of a muffin.”

Or my personal favourite: “A word used to describe one whose fat is desperately trying to escape the suffocation from tight jeans resulting in the fat tumbling over.”

My husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary in May. We first met in 1994 in secondary school but it wasn’t until we were 17 that I began to really notice him. As shy teenagers, we spent a year of gazing from afar before we fell in love during the last few months of our final year.

And so our love story truly began. Oh bleurgh, sorry, that was too gushy! Let me just say that after eight years of long distance and hard work my now hubby got down on bended knee to propose with the New York skyline as our backdrop. It was perfect, the ring was perfect and we had the perfect wedding day in November last year (Perfect in our eyes in anyway). Photographed by the awesome Erica Irvine Photography.

In planning our wedding, I knew one thing for sure. I wanted to look the most exquisite, elegant and naturally beautiful that I have ever, or will ever look. Big expectations huh? I’ve actually always been a little insecure of my looks, especially my body so my reasoning for this aspiration came down to this:

The number of times that I had seen other people’s wedding photographs, including my parents’ from 30 years ago, and one of the threads that linked them all was how the bride saw herself in them. Of course, we all float through the day, deliriously happy and in love but once the newlywed glow wears off, a new perspective is realised. Some reminisce about how they felt at their most beautiful that day, others (my mother for one) nitpick over every detail of their veil/flowers/hair or how their dress wasn’t ‘the one’. I yearned to be the first scenario. I too often critique photos of myself, tearing them apart body part by body part, blemish and wrinkle…and it gets tiring! I was committed to the marriage, to spending the rest of my life with my man and our wedding was the one day that I knew I would treasure, always.

I am aware that I am not now, nor ever have been obese. I’m usually a size 10-12 but I fluctuate. Three months before the big day, I returned to Weight Watchers. I’d first joined in 2006 when I lost almost a stone. Yes, I understand it isn’t much when others in the group are faced with the long struggle to lose three, four or five stone. And yes, I often felt my cheeks blush when I queued up to be weighed, somewhat guilty and feeling like the others there might think I was mocking the programme. But, I wanted to lose weight as much as them and importantly be healthy in doing so.

It didn’t take long to lose those golden ten pounds for the wedding day and I felt fantastic. I had the dress of my dreams, my hair styled exactly the way I like and make up done to perfection. And good news- I love how I looked on that day so mission accomplished.

Once the excitement of the big day died down, my new hubby and I settled into a married life which wasn’t so different to before. We knew everything about each other and we already lived together BUT being a newlywed reignited the passion, intensified the intimacy and confirmed our commitment to each other. We felt closer than ever.

Which may be part of the reason I am writing a blog about matrimonial muffin tops…if you are married you can see where I am going with this. Once married, we wanted to be together all of the time, we stayed in on weekends cuddling on the sofa with a DVD, a bottle of red, a tub of pringles, maybe some chocolate too…or if we were feeling like a special treat, some cheese and crackers…yum yum. And this would happen after the chinese takeaway or a slap up meal that I slaved over all afternoon.

Domestic goddessAs a newly wedded wife, we tend to nest and strive to be the good wife. We clean, we iron, we cook, we even start baking more because we know that our beloved has a penchant for scones and shortbread. Nigella Lawson hasn’t a look in!

The downfall of this in my case is: Hubby is 6ft 1″ athletic body and I am 5ft 4″ (almost) erm…not athletic body.

I bake for him but I also eat some, I cook delicious dinners which I also eat, and admittedly the portion sizes aren’t in keeping with the above mentioned ratio. We treat ourselves to wine and nibbles, to desserts and treats. No longer faced with the panic of everyone looking at the bride on the wedding day, I also eat without guilt or fear.

And as for exercise, ha! I’ve been too busy training in domesticity to think about any other physical activity. Hence the last time I weighed myself I had returned to my pre-wedding figure. That was several months ago and the eating hasn’t abated. I have very slowly felt my belly swell (and not because of a baby before anyone suggests it), feeling it more prominently when I sit down in my ever-tighter jeans. In recognition of the growing muffin top being ‘suffocated’ whilst trying to ‘escape’, I have been promising myself for three weeks to go to a Zumba class. I haven’t made it yet.

Even though I see my bigger belly, my muffin top, my chubbier arms, the strangest thing has happened. It doesn’t bother me that much. For someone who has been quite obsessive over her looks since teenage years, it feels bizarre. It’s refreshing and a relief. It’s not a case of ‘letting myself go’ now that I’m married because I still care about what my husband thinks of me, that he still finds me attractive.

Then why the new relaxed attitude? I’m not sure. I would like to lose a few pounds to feel a little healthier again but I like the fact that there is no looming deadline clouding over me. I will go to a Zumba class (soon!), I will bake less (sorry Mr Bryden) and I will look forward to knowing there is no pressure to lose weight but to just be. And as our first anniversary approaches, I will delight in the joy of being married to a wonderful man who loves me no matter how many jam doughnuts I can eat in one day (for the record it was 4).

So here’s to the matrimonial muffin top- a physical sign of contentment, wedded bliss and baking ability!

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Weight off my shoulders

Picture this, it’s a normal Wednesday evening, nothing much going on so I decide to have a hot shower and wash my hair. I had been growing my hair since I got engaged in December 2008 and by that evening it fell past my shoulders and half way down my back- the longest I had ever had it. I had wanted long hair so that I could get it put up for my wedding in a classic, timeless style and although I got married in 2010, I didn’t cut it afterwards.

I kept it long and felt like it was some sort of badge, I was proud to have had the patience to grow it. It was feminine and fun. I’d also got very good at styling it- in curls, in up-dos, side low ponytail with curls was a particular fav…

But then on this normal Wednesday evening as I lathered my thick blonde locks in shampoo, I felt this sudden and intense desire to cut it all off. It was such a strong feeling. I often get urges and decide to do something to my hair, whether it’s dying it darker, styling it differently or that one time I decided to get bright pink sections (I seriously did!!), however this was a much more powerful emotion.

I almost grabbed the scissors as soon as I stepped out of the shower but thought “hmmm…probably best to get professional help here”, and I don’t mean a therapist. Thankfully I’d already made a hair appointment with my fabulous hairdresser Roisin at ‘The Works” in Omagh.

So two days later, I broke the news to Roisin that I want to cut off the two years of patience. I was never one for being precious about my hair, I’m of the opinion that it will always grow back, a somewhat different attitude to others I’ve seen in the hairdressers chair with a nervous fear of losing any more than exactly one inch of their locks.

Now, I must explain that Roisin has been my hairdresser for many years and I trust her implicitly. I showed her what I thought might look good on me, a Gywneth Paltrow-style long bob and she worked her magic.

Having about 6 inches or more cut off my hair felt like a weight off my shoulders (sorry for cliche!). It was like two years of stress, anxiety, loss- all the negative emotions- just fell to the floor along with my split ends. My new cut made me feel confident, sexy, fashionable and in a way, me again.

So what is the point in telling you this story? ;) To recommend a change in style and it can make you feel like a new person, or re-discover your old self…either way it is a change and we could all use that every once in a while.

So here’s to my new hair style. And a new lease of life. Although…I might go even shorter at my next appointment!

 

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Hi,

Welcome to my blog. I will slowly update it with interesting snippets of my life and style. Click on INtroducing to find out a bit more about me and my thoughts for this site.

Hope you enjoy!

Sarah x

Welcome

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