Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Challenges of Balancing Work and College

Dublin, Ireland

Originally this post was going to focus on the ways I try to balance work and college the best way possible but it wouldn't be very true to the point I am right now. 

I'd say I'm someone that balances college and work pretty well in general but with that said, there do come stressful times where things just don't run as smoothly.

Like myself, many people in college have a job alongside college either Part-time or Full-time. I'm quite lucky to be in the position where my college hours, at least for this first semester, allows me to to the 32-37.5 hours of work I generally do.

Mentally it's rewarding to be able to discipline myself to commit as much as possible of myself to both this aspects of my life that take the majority of my time. Emotionally it's fulfilling to know I'm finally studying a course I enjoy, working towards a career I'll hopefully enjoy more and working in a fun job that pays my bills and gives me a sense of financial security. Physically running between work and college and friends, the gym membership has gone out the window in favor of a more easily accessible home fitness regime so there's a few bucks to save.

As great as it is, sometimes having to move from errand to errand, place to place can quickly get out of hand and I find myself spiraling into a situation where I'm completely spent. And these are the times where I take a little step back and reevaluate the situation and there are a few key things I look at. 

1. Sleep

Sleep is fundamental to my attitude, emotional and mental outlook. Without adequate sleep I am unable to perform to the level I want which then causes unnecessary stress making it harder for me to sleep and so the cycle continues which is how the last week has been.

As I write this I went to bed at 1am after arriving home from work just after midnight and did not wake up until 11am. I had breakfast and went back to bed for a nap. I'd spent my entire shift complaining about how tired I was and I was going to do something about it.

2. Diet

Ever since I started my job in the food sector my brain has been under the impression that because I was saving some money every time I got a free meal at work, it meant I should then be eating out for all other meals. Which 1) makes no sense and 2) is still costly and unnecessary.
I don't remember the last time I ate an actual fruit and not used a Naked smoothie as substitute for one. I also haven't cooked any meal that wasn't frying an egg in over three months. It seems I buy fruit and generally food only to decorate the fruit bowl or fridge until it starts to mold. No good at all.

3. Exercise

After paying €99 for a gym membership I did not use once after starting college I decided to do away with it and stick with home fitness. I went back to my Workout Trainer app which I swear by and kettlebell workout videos with Bodyfit by Amy.
The last little while however without adequate sleep or nourishing diet, I've been too tired to even think about exercising properly. Instead fast walking to work, and lifting cans of soft drinks are my new favorite exercises.

4. Water

I use to have to run to the bathroom at least once an hour because of the amount of water I drank. However since starting my job three months ago with it's unlimited drink supply, I've indulged in my soft drink consumption more than the water we also get for free.

From now on I'll be on a soft drink cold turkey and the fact that the thought of it makes me want to drink a can of fanta lemon to calm my nerves tells me I have a problem.

5. Day Diary

The final nail in this sinking ship of a situation comes from the fact that I've stopped writing and accomplishing my day to day tasks. I'm sacrificing preparing for the next day to get more sleep and then not completing all the things I need to and creating unnecessary anxiety about tasks that could've been done in a matter of seconds.

I'm taking the night to check out of the world and check in to my mental state with a journaling session and working from the inside out. Looking at these things I'll be making decisions on how to best resolve these issues to make sure nothing effects the other.

I can already tell you time management will be a big factor but there's only 24 hours in a day and as long as I'm not putting too much on my plate, that should be enough time to get everything done in a relaxed healthy manner.

I'll also be prioritizing the tasks and assignments I need to complete to ensure that I'm not spreading myself too thin.
I always try to remember that unless I take care of myself, physically, mentally and emotionally, I will not be able to perform to the ( realistic ) standards I set for myself. As long as I keep this in mind, I'm able to recognize when I need to take my foot of the pedal a little or all together.

How do you find your balance again after tripping up? 

Let me know in the comments!

Till next time

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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Please Don't Touch My Hair

Dublin, Ireland

Today I'll talk about my utmost biggest pet  peeve when it comes to personal space. Before I start, I'd just like to say that this is not a targeted post at anyone and it is not meant to offend anyone who has been ALLOWED to touch my hair prior to this post.

However if we've had an encounter where I was unaware of your intentions prior to the act, then this is for you.

I'm sure you see posts like these pop up every now and again from ladies of the African or Latina community talking about their tales of unwanted hair attention? Well today I'm adding my story to the mass.

This is not a message of political issue or one of cultural appropriation, it's simply a personal message and one I should really never have to say but here goes, please don't touch my hair.

Okay, there I said it.

Let me explain why and again it's pretty simply... I don't like it.

When I was in primary school we had few playground rules to stick by, one that I've always remembered was to keep my hands to myself. It's not the biggest life lesson but it is a useful one.
Imagine getting up to style your hair so it looks as good as you feel and whilst walking down the road a complete stranger decides they'd fancy copping a feel of your hair and thus runs their hand through it. Putting aside the complete lack of manners in the act, it is an invasion of my personal space and a threat to my hairstyle which takes a real long time to do!

When this happens yes I get real flipping mad sometimes, I even question the justification of punching you in the throat but that's only on a bad day. Be it acquaintances or strangers, if I'm lucky enough to cross paths with another soul, even if just below surface level, on this Earth I treat them with the same level of respect I'd like to receive. Therefore if I do not at any point place my hand in/on your hair I'd expect that you wouldn't do it to me.

It can be incredibly invasive and makes me feel insecure if someone touches my hair without permission. Imagine having someone run their fingers through your hair while you feel greasy and can't wait to go home for a shower. They may not find your hair as gross and you may feel it is ( because realistically it probably isn't ) but for that moment you're left feeling even worse about it than you did before. It never makes me feel like my hair is beautiful and soft and fluffy like you may say afterwards, it makes me feel violated.

So for one last time, dear strangers please don't touch my hair. I know it may look like cotton candy and it may be tempting but it's on my head, an extension of me and I really don't like it. You wouldn't run up to stroke my knee so don't touch my hair!

If you would like to touch my hair by all means ask but don't be offended if I say no because I'm not a walking spectacle that you can access with a polite please or thank you. I get in moods of not wanting to be touched, I may not want to ruin my hairstyle, I may not be comfortable with you or the situation, whatever the reason, just because you ask doesn't mean the answer will be in your favor.

Just keep your hands to yourself unless told otherwise. It's not all that hard a thing to do now is it?

So please don't touch my hair.

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to personal space?

Till Next Time

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

I Want To Go Away This Weekend

Dublin, Ireland

I haven't traveled or experiences a new place in so long it's starting this drive me nuts! I've had plans but lately life has been happening to me. I've been moving and working a lot the last few months with college and now a full time job basically I haven't had much time to do nothing except relax in the little down times I make sure to get.

I've a week's work holiday request in for the first week of December and I'm looking to go away. I've compiled a lit of top 5 places I'd like to visit.

1. Paris, France

Its not a city that I've expressed much interest in going before because of questions of racism and how precious they are about the language which I do not speak.

With that said it's pretty close to Ireland so there's a short flight and I'm all too aware of the romanticized image of Paris to not want to see it for myself to see how it really neasures up.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Earlier in the year I was in talks of visiting with two other friends, in the end they went but I stayed behind. Unlike Paris, Amsterdam is a city I definitely want to visit.

From what I've heard and read it doesn't take too long to get to know the best of the city so it would be great for a weekend getaway.

3. Bruges, Belgium

I visited Bruges for a day last October while traveling around Belgium. I immediately fell in love with the old Bruges city centre but I didn't really get to spend as much time as I would've liked.

Returning to Bruges for the weekend, especially at this time could be a very relaxing weekend. I'd be treated to sights of beautiful architecture, delicious food and gorgeous city views. Plus very few tourists!

4. Bormida, Italy

I read about this small country side city of italy in a BuzzFeed article titled " This Town will Pay You To Live Here". I don't necessarily want to live there but I'd love to get a dose of it's beautiful country side atmosphere.

Additionally I really want to practice my Italian some more, a language I speak on very rare occasions but adore it. And after seeing Call Me By Your Name, I'm convinced what I need to get over the bittersweet hole it's opened up inside me is a visit to the Italian countryside.

5. Lombardy, Italy

If I really let myself be honest here, I just want to visit Lombardy because Call Me By Your Name was filmed here. It seems so beautiful and yes I know it's a movie it's meant to be beautiful, but I just want to visit it for myself and experience the undeniably beautiful Italian countryside.

A post shared by Luca Marin (@luca51268) on
Again the chance to speak italian and the temptation of homely italian cooking is enough to make my stomach flutter.

All these places in time will be visited but fir the weekend coming up I can only choose one.

Have you been here or planning to go? Got any tips or advice? I'd love to hear them.

Till Next Time

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

What Its Like To Fear Failure and then Fail

Dublin, Ireland

So a funny thing happened in college. Basically I was really worried that I wasn't good enough to pass my photography class at the level I thought I could and then my photography lecturer told me that yes I'm definitely not good enough, in fact I'm struggling. Now isn't that the gosh darn funniest thing you've heard all year? Yeah me too.

As a child and for the early stages of my teenage years I would sit when told to sit, walk when told to walk, eat when told etc. I didn't do much that wasn't what was asked or expected of me. When I first started blogging as a way to start finding my own voice and with all projects that I have ever taken on, there's always been a strong fear of failure. Fear that by not following some plan set in place by another who probably knows better than I, I'd undoubtedly fail.

In going out on my own, I would fail and confirm my inadequacy. The skills and characteristics I pride myself on will be proven useless and I'll revert back to a routine of structures and processes I can follow strictly.

So yeah receiving this news for a short while threw me back into the deep end of that feeling of failure and inadequacy, a place I've slowly swam out of the last few years. Now I'm a better swimmer than I was back then so I've managed to move away from the deep end and can feel my toes touching ground again but I've come back with a little nugget of new perspective.

I tried so hard to please the opinion of this one lecturer, so afraid of what they'd say that I sabotaged myself. Every click of my camera or thought about this module has been an almost unhealthy obsession with what they would say to the point of simply tiring myself out and giving up. My work could be a lot better than what I have produced but it could also be worse.

For all my fear of failure am I not just setting myself up to fail if all I see is what I'm failing to do right or perfectly according to someone else's subjective views? I feel like I have this talk with myself every few months where I have to reassure myself of where I am, where I've been and where I'm going.

I'm tired of the sound of my own voice in my own head. I feel like I have let the Hormone Montress from Big Mouth inhabit my body whilst I took a little gander off with the fairies.

There's been a lot of complaining, worrying and negativity underlying all these beautiful lovely moments I'm having the last few months. It's just time for an attitude detox and the clock has struck thirteen. I'm not worried about failing this module, just a little disappointed with how it's gone so far. However, it's a nice lesson to brush up on again so early in this course so I remember why I am here and who I'm doing this for.

So yes I'm failing at the very thing I didn't want to fail at but I guess all I needed was a strongly opiniated lecturer to stump on me and remind me of who I am, someone who doesn't like being stumped on!

What character flaws do you find yourself slipping into periodically but learning from?

Till Next Time

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Cliffs of Moher

Dublin, Ireland

*DISCLAIMER* This post is NOT sponsored by Paddywagon or any other party.

Back in July, which feels a lot longer than two months ago, I took a day trip with my best friend Karen to the lovely Cliffs of Moher. For this occasion, we used the delightful service of Paddywagon tours to finally see one of Ireland's most famed attractions.

The day started off messy, to say the least. Having forgotten my purse at a friend's the night before there was the stress-inducing race against the clock to get to their house and into town for the 7am pickup arranged from our stop. With major thanks to my wonderful housemate, we made it with plenty of time to spare to get ourselves back into the exciting headspace for the day's adventures.

The thing that made using Paddywagon so attractive to me was that you weren't only buying a ticket to the cliffs but there were a few other stops along the way that I didn't even know about until Karen looked at the itinerary and told me.

First up was a rest stop at Obama Plaza Moneygall then another stop at Bunratty Castle. We spent approx. 40mins was spent here and I can't for the life of me remember why we didn't even manage to make it inside the castle. It must've been all the pictures we took outside Durty Nelly's!

Our specific tour operated the schedule backward in order to avoid crossing paths with the other Paddywagon groups and other tour company groups. This way the locations we visited would as little crowds as possible. This meant up next was the piece de resistance, The Cliffs of Moher.

Our driver was great to emphasize how miraculous it was that after so many rainy consecutive days, the skies on that day had painted themselves blue with the sun shining graciously down on us.
It was beautiful to see. Not unlike the cliff face of any other cliff but still lovely to be able to say I've been there now. We took plenty of pictures, stared in horror at the surprising amount of people who would sit at the end edge for pictures or simply to look cool or feel whatever thrill they found in the gasps they elicited from those of us around them. 

I also got electrocuted feeding the cows although that was completely my fault. I was completely blind to the many warning signs of electric fencing. We laughed and climbed as much as our feet and time would allow. Following the thrill of the cliffs, we shuffled ourselves unto the bus where our tour guide entertained us with honest reviews of where to eat and drink on our next rest stop in Doolin. It was so sunny we even had to pick up some ice cream!

The Burren, known for its Limestone rocks was next on the itinerary. We had a relaxing drive through the park, all the way down to the 'Baby Cliffs' where we could look out to sea and enjoy the late afternoon breeze.

The day was brought to a fairytale end with a drive along The Wild Atlantic Coast known for its mesmerizing natural beauty and on this beautiful sunny day, it did not disappoint! We stopped at Kinvara where Karen and I enjoyed a quick albeit somewhat slippy stroll around Dunguaire Castle.

It was almost 7pm when we returned to the city and 12 hours on the road although fun really did take its toll on us. I was desperately in need of food and a nap. We bundled ourselves into Boojum and hurried home for my nap. All in all a beautifully spent day.

I definitely felt like I'd made the most of the trip crawling into bed that night. Our tour guide full of knowledge and fun was hilarious to listen to. I had an awesome day with my best friend. Even the fact that my phone proceeded to die immediately after couldn't ruin it! €40 most definitely well spent!

I haven't discovered as much of Ireland as I wanted to at the start of the year but I'm so glad I have this ticked off my list. I'll definitely be returning again when I manage to drag some mates along.

Till next time

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Sunday, 17 September 2017


Dublin, Ireland

It's September and not only is it my birthday next week but we're in my favorite season ever. Autumn! The thing I love about this time of year is the overall coziness of it all. We experience so many different textures, thick cozy jumpers to sractchy blankets that soften next to the fire on a cold night's cuddle.

The warm, fuzzy feeling of staying in on a Saturday night with the rain pounding against the windows, the takeaway expected in 45mins and the movie just about to start is one I always look forward.

I wanted to express this in these pictures and just have a bit more fun with it like I said in my Let The Pieces Fall Where They May post. This jumper is one of the coziest and warmest items I own. It's very versatile and I absolutely adore the color of it.

I especially love wearing it over plain long dresses for a different look that can be dressed up to be smart casual or dressed down to be cozy and fun. It's also great paired with my black leather leggings or black jeans.

This was a really fun post for me to do and I look forward to doing more artistic shoots. It's especially exciting now given that Ill be studying photography and audio for my first semester of college.

I'll be talking more about college and general life in the first episode of Faking Adulthood Now coming our next Friday along with my return to the Get In The Know newsletter which I had also stopped updating when I hit my block. 

There is now a subscriber's only section of the blog for bonus posts, tips, and tricks, roundups, travel announcements etc. There will be a new access code every week for the Subs only section so be sure to subscribe here for it.

Till Next Time

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Saying All I Need to Say

Dublin, Ireland

Top- H&M
Skirt - H&M
Tights - Claire's Accessories
Socks - Primark
Boots - Primark
Bag - Primark
Earrings - Primark
Glasses - Glasses Shop (Use Code: GSHOT50 for 50% off! )

I had typed up all of last night's post as I very often do on my phone and sent it as a text message to myself. At the time my Google account on my new-ish phone was experiencing errors that the basic methods of repair could not fix. In the end, I had to resign myself to an FDR, or Factory Data Reset. Unable to back up my messages and lost in the frustration of having to experience such an issue with my new phone I threw caution to the wind and went ahead and did the FDR erasing a lot of data on my phone, which I knew would happen.

However, when it came to time to copy and paste my post from messages to my Blogger app so I could edit it online, I saw my mistake. My foolish mistake. I couldn't bear the thought of typing out all the sentences I'd worked to carefully curate. Sentences structured to convey the emotions felt at the time, happier emotions compared to the frustration and slight annoyance that now replaced it. I was grasping at words and phrases as they fell out of my temporary memory bank still unaware that they are no longer stored in the secure confines of the blue coloured speech bubble of my text message dialogues.

Needless to say, I felt gutted. Especially when I was so proud and happy with what I had written. But alas, I will concede and deal with the consequences of my own actions. I will also try not to think about why I didn't just send it to myself on messenger too!

In this said deleted post, I spoke of the days before I started taking blogging a little more seriously than I'd like to right now. It's undeniable that the world of blogging has changed significantly since I started writing on blogs over 5 years ago. There are now blogs successful enough to gain money for a full-time living and also blogs successful enough to have a dedicated audience to drive the person(s) that write on it. Both are different forms of success.

When I decided I wanted to go for the kind of success that had the potential to bring in some money after the birth of Albatroz & Co, I read a lot of tips and tricks on improving my blogging game. And although I didn't necessarily fall into an obsession with money and numbers, there were times where these factors did affect my blogging experience and enjoyment. I picked up a lot of habits from my readings. Some have helped me be a better blogger like joining facebook groups geared at helping you become your best blogging self in a community of like minded people and others that I have tried, tested and kicked to the kerb like the idea of pods or follow for follow threads.

Today I am kicking another one to the kerb. I don't remember where I came across it or why it became so ingrained in my mind this idea that to rank higher and improve my SEO, I should be writing approx. 1500 words otherwise I may as well not be trying. Did this improve my SEO or bring my views to my page? To be honest I can not see the correlation between long texts and views on my site.

My most read posts are a combination of my most promoted and also well-written pieces with engaging content. If you're writing about something people want to read and you say all you have to say, what difference does it make how long it is? Especially if I am just writing for people to read and not necessarily to become no.1 on google search? The idea of having to write a certain amount to get a certain result may be proven and I am by no means disputing its validity, I'm just saying it doesn't always work for me.

I have tried it and yes it has tested me and challenged me to research my views or get informed on my opinion before broaching a post to ensure I am confident in the knowledge of what I have to say. However, there have been times where I have not had much to say but felt as though for my work to be significant I need to at least write this amount of words to make an impact.

It's restricting and has gradually become a habit I do not like. An inbuilt characteristic I now want to get rid off. Like an antigen my body has just become aware of, I no longer want this idea that morphs into a necessity to write more than I want to or more than I have the knowledge of to take over and influence the joy I get from writing and navigating this creative space that is my blog.

I fell in love with the blogs I follow not because they write endless pages of text, I fell in love with them for their content which then inspired me to create my own. When I first started out in Fashion  blogging, I looked up to Luanna of Le Happy blog who's beautiful outfits and pictures were always enough to speak for themselves. I too wanted the big, pretty pictures and I didn't put too much focus on the text. I want to go back to this simpler time and share outfits and speak through pictures. Not all the time but some of the time.

Like I said I am not disputing the benefits of writing lengthy text ( of good quality), I'm just simply not going to make it the main focus of everything post I write here on Albatroz & Co. For the likes of articles and sponsored posts, I'll want them to perform really well so of course, I will acknowledge points such a length and keywords that will help it perform better in search engines because at the end of the day if you're looking to earn money and want people to find something, you have to make it somewhat easy for them to find. But I will not be selling my soul and will embrace this mentality to write as much as I need to say what I have to say.

To find out why it is important to have long text and keywords for SEO ranking, check out this rather helpful post from Yoast here.

Till Next Time

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