Tuesday, November 22

Raising Ivy


On the 1st of October, Ivy was born. She was tiny, helpless and an adorable ball of fluff. The first time my sister and I saw her was when she was a week old, hidden under some Ivy ( yes, hence the name )(apparently I'm like a native American the way I name my pets). She was the only kitten in her litter or at least she was the only one that her mother chose to look after.

 However her mother cat isn't the best of mothers. She was just a stray cat that my uncle fed and she ended up staying. So after three weeks she decided she didn't want Ivy anymore. I found Ivy In her usual spot, freezing cold, soaking wet, covered in her own diarrhoea and barely breathing. It was horrible to see. Everyone thought she was gonna die, and fairly soon. But I picked her up and put her on a cushion, covered her in a blanket and brought her home. I spent four hours gradually trying to heat her. First, just inside the door at home, then by a radiator and finally near the fire on a hot water bottle. Every now and again she would stretch and let out this horrible moaning screech. It was so upsetting to be there.

After the four hours, she still wasn't anyway warm. Under her paws were so cold. But I was afraid she might dehydrate so, with a dropper I fed her warm water mixed with a little sugar. She still wasn't moving so it was only when her mouth opened that I could drop some water on her tongue.
During the night I got up again to giver her some water. She slept on a hot water bottle with a blanket over her.

The next morning she was sitting up. A friend of mine had raised kittens during the summer so she gave me some of the powered milk that was leftover, until I could get to the vets. That day I fed her with a dropper, which is extremely difficult to do. The day after I bought my own box of powdered milk and it's much easier to feed her with the bottle that is included.

Now she is 7 weeks, and I can finally sleep more often. Being a mother is so difficult, all the crying, pooping and constant neediness! I can only imagine what a real baby would be like. But anyway Ivy is doing brilliantly except for the biting. She just loves to attack our feet. She plays outside in the shed during the day and enjoys scaring my other cats; Daisy and Mona ( they're beginning to accept her as part of the family).  Her favourite toys are shoes and laces and she like to cuddle before going to bed.





So this what I have super busy with. Minding a kitten and trying to keep up with college work, leaves little time for blogging. 
Do you have any pets?
Always, 
M ^^

Sunday, October 16

Repeal The Eighth


So, What is The Eighth?

The 8th refers to the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution which guarantees the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother. This law that was brought in in 1983 means that abortion is illegal in Ireland except if there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother. This forces women to travel abroad usually to the UK for abortion which is physically and emotionally traumatic and stressful, and often isn’t even an option because of the cost.

Why do we need to repeal it?

I believe that women have the right to choice. Being pro choice does not mean being anti-life. It means giving control, responsibility and simple human rights back to women. They can evaluate their situations and choose what is best in their own circumstances. The law at the moment isn't stopping people from having abortions. It’s forcing people to travel or worse, find other means like self-inducted abortions. This is extremely dangerous. If a woman does not want to have a child whether for personal reasons, or if she just isn’t ready to care for a child, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape, she has only two choices. Have the baby or travel for an abortion.

Why are people against it?

Some of the arguments I’ve heard from the pro-life side include “abortion is murder”, “adoption is an alternative to abortion” and “a foetus is a human being with a right to life”.

First of all adoption is not the alternative to abortion, it involves a full pregnancy of 9 months. In this time, there is the risk of the mother’s life and that of the unborn. Health (Mental, Physical and Emotional) and home situation are all other factors that have to be thought about. Then there’s the stress of giving birth, handling the adoption, if the adoption actually goes through, the stress and what life will be life after it all. Especially if this is an unwanted pregnancy, there is a lot to cope with. And choosing to parent a child is a massive decision. Not to be taken lightly. In a way the 8th takes away this choice. You could argue that if you didn’t want to be a parent then you shouldn’t have sex. Then go tell that to all the men that they can only have sex when they want to be a dad. Go make this a law. Go tell teenagers and adults to obey the rules and don’t listen to their urges. Go stop rape. Go stop unwanted pregnancies. Face it, it’s not possible. And anyway sex isn’t just a way to get pregnant, it’s not a contract, for many it’s an act of love or pleasure.

Secondly, a foetus isn’t a human being. It has the potential but it isn’t a “life”. And therefore doesn’t have rights to live. You may disagree with this or think it harsh but I think if you’re so concerned with the right to life try doing something to help all those other children and adults starving and dying in the world. I can say that they are definitely human beings and have a right to live, unlike this foetus you're so worried about.

Why should I have an opinion on it?

This law is a part of my country and someday may affect me. As a feminist, I believe in equality and the 8th amendment impedes basic human rights to women. Legalising abortion gives more options to women, men, transgender and non-binary people. It is safer and gives control back to women over their bodies.

How can we Repeal the 8th?

To repeal an Amendment we need to have a referendum. Right now it’s all about gathering support and signatures for the referendum to happen. Black jumpers with “Repeal” written across them has become a symbol of support for pro-choice. A petition has been setup to gather signatures to call for a referendum.

So join the movement to repeal the 8th Amendment and pave the way for a more equal, safe, and healthy Ireland.

Always,
M

Tuesday, October 4

Adventuring: Copenhagen


On the 27th of August, my friends and I jetted off from Ireland, bags in hand.
Destination: Copenhagen.
Excitement: 100%.
Budget: worryingly austere.
Nevertheless our (almost) annual trip was jam packed. I'm a big fan of timetables and lists so I organised most of our days. None of us had ever been to Copenhagen before this. It turns out the weather is a little bit similar to Ireland but much warmer and much colder at the same time, none of this normalness. The first night we were at the hostel, there was a thunderstorm all night with constant flashes of lightning, although I slept through it all.... travelling is tiring, okay?!

Our budget for this holiday was quite limited and Copenhagen is ridiculously expensive! The Copenhagen Card is a great idea, because you save so much. You don't really need it for travel, everything is within walking distance. Food though is crazy. I had to live on pizza because it was the cheapest. Pizza for breakfast. Pizza for lunch. Pizza for dinner. Surprisingly I still love pizza. In Denmark they speak Danish and although it isn't necessary to learn the language, trying to travel around can be quite difficult because the names of places are so hard to recognise and remember. We stayed in DanHostel near the central station which is a fantastic hostel, brilliant view, but more of a hotel than hostel. We would have enjoyed more of a youth hostel, where we could meet new people and new cultures.

 Copenhagen is a beautiful city and one I would be absolutely thrilled to live in, if I knew the language.

Tivoli Gardens

This is the most magical and beautiful amusement park I have ever been to. We spent a whole day here. And you need all that time and more. It's free to get in if you have the Copenhagen Card but I recommend getting the unlimited ride band. It's the equivalent of three rides anyway. And you are not going to Tivoli and just going on three rides. It's like Disney Land for Adults. Some of the rides are not for the faint hearted, like the Demon, the drop and the plane that goes 120 kilometres an hour. You can't move with G-force on it. This was my favourite place in Copenhagen.





Christiania

This is the hippy village of Copenhagen. Strictly no cameras or phones and no running. Pretty cool place to wander through. It has great markets, such cool quirky hippy things. And then there's also the drugs aisle. Basically guys wearing balaclavas selling weed out in broad day light. 


Copenhagen Zoo and Carlsberg

We took the bus tour to Copenhagen Zoo and then after to Carlsberg. Both were fantastic and totally worth the visit. Carlsberg is small but you get to enjoy two free beers whilst walking around the museum and seeing the horses. And the Zoo in Copenhagen was so enjoyable. A great day trip for anyone.




Adventure is Out There!


Happy Adventuring!
Always,
M ^^

Sunday, September 25

Harry Potter [and the Cursed Child] and Cake


To be able to read a Harry Potter book for the first time again is like being a child waking up on Christmas morning to a castle full of toys and with clouds of snow falling softly outside. It’s magical. The Harry Potter world is not as over as I thought it was 5 years ago when Deathly Hallows came out. To make the moment last longer I tried to only read a few pages each night over two weeks. As an obvious Potterhead I was expecting the sky, moon and stars from this book. But it only gave me a telescope to look through. In other words I was a bit disappointed. I felt like J.K Rowling didn’t write this( and technically she didn't). That this plot line didn’t come from her mind. Instead some pottermad teenager in the south of England spent every night for a few weeks typing away at his laptop creating this fanfiction. That’s what it seams like. Fanfiction. However I think if this was a book in it’s own right, if it didn’t have this massive phenomenon to live up to, I’d be writing a raving review. The fact that it is also a play did impede my reading at the beginning. I am not used to reading scripts.

The Cursed Child is still a very enjoyable read. And for the most part I loved how the characters had turned out 19 years later. The story was more about the relationship between Harry and his son and I’m not sure if I think it was too forced or whether I just wanted a happily ever after story. I mean they already stopped The Dark Lord for crying out loud - why let them suffer any longer?! Then again, that’s life. Harry Potter with all it’s flying cars and talking hats is still a story about humans. Pain and hurt has no boundaries.  ★ ★ ★ ★

To celebrate the new play, Harry’s birthday and just Harry Potter in general, I made a Harry Potter themed cake! I tried to make Quidditch hoops out of cocktail sticks and empty kitchen role. It wasn’t quite what I wanted it to look like but plenty more time to practice.


"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light"

Always,  
- Marian

Sunday, August 14

Wonderland Cake



My apologies for my awful photo editing skills but I wanted to make a picture that had the bizarreness and dreaminess of Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite stories ever. As a child I had this big book with thick boards as pages and jigsaws on every second page. It was my favourite. I also had a video (tape) of Alice through the looking glass from 1987 that I watched so much I'm fairly sure our video player didn't even need the tape to know what to play.

And somehow there are pictures on google images of the exact one! LOOK!!!(actually its for sale on eBay too) Oh that does bring back memories....

Anyway, as you all know, Alice Through The Looking Glass came out in cinema a couple of months ago as a follow on from the fabulously mad Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. Unfortunately I only got to see the movie last week but for what it's worth I thought it was excellent! The whole concept of time and the story behind the red queen and the white queen really put into context their own stories as characters.

For the occasion of this movie I decided to make a Wonderland Cake. I love baking in themes and of course my mind with crazy with ideas for this cake so my initial plan was to have a very simple and almost calm decor. So that when you cut into the cake you'll see where Wonderland exists. On the inside.

I'll give myself 90% for effort and maybe 40% for execution.

I do need to work on my decorating skills....






Alice in Wonderland always gives me that fuzzy feeling. A feeling of wonder, magic, freedom and of course your hair miraculously turning ginger.


....with a few mad laughs from dear old bloody big head....


But that is all for now folks. I must arise and go now, and go ( no, not to Innisfree) to Wonderland (obviously!)

A very merry unbirthday to you!
Always,
M x





Tuesday, August 9

Kitty Hawk [Books Two and Three]


I must thank the publisher and author Iain Reading for sending me these books. Of course this has no way affected my opinion or review but free books are absolutely awesome! I am super excited to continue this series. Especially since the next one is apparently in Ireland and also features the Titanic! One of my many favourite things.

The Hunt For Hemingway's Ghost


SaveSaveTitle: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost
Author: Iain Reading
Pages: 236
Stars:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Three Words: Mysterious, Adventurous, Enlightening

There was about a year between when I read the first book, The Curse of the Yukon Gold and this one, the second book. I had very much enjoyed the first instalment of Kitty Hawk. Actually no, I surprisingly really loved my adventure with Kitty. She brought me to Alaska in her De Havilland Beaver ( sea plane) and taught me much more than how to spot a humpback whale.

This is why I can't believe I didn't read Iain Reading's next book so soon! The Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency series has something for everyone!

Interestingly enough I started reading this book on a plane to Spain. So as Kitty sat in her pilot's seat flying over North America, I sat in my 14F  aerlingus seat flying over the English Channel or Bay of Biscay or whatever it's called. It filled me with excitement and a longing to explore. There's an innocence about this book that makes me feel childish or somewhat foolish. When I was reading this books I felt I could do anything and go anywhere. My dreams suddenly seemed so much more achievable. I like that this book makes me feel young. Although don't get me wrong, this book isn't just a child's book. I was afraid it would be aimed for a lot younger readers but I think that it's so universal that anyone could read and love it.

On the plane
The main reasons I give this book such a high rating are because of firstly what an awesome character Kitty is. She is curious and independent. She loves to explore and learn. She is ambitious and somebody I would aspire to be. Secondly the secondary characters in this are fantastic! Just like the first book I really felt I knew them and that they could also have been main characters. Jack and Jodi were just very cool people and if I knew them in real life then I think we could be very good friends. I'd go scuba diving with Jodi and listen to old stories from Jack. This leads me to my third point, the amount of stuff I learned in this book. All this information about pirates, pieces of eight, treasure, Spanish ships and voyages was presented in such a fascinating way that I didn't even realise I was learning at all. I don't want to talk too much about the story but the mystery in this book was successful in such way that all my guesses were wrong and it had be doubting my own guesses. I was certainly glued to this book from the moment she set foot on the Keys.

Even though Hemingway isn't exactly the main point of this story I still loved how such a famous author was weaved into it. Any book that talks about authors or books just makes me feel more connected to it. I loved the history in this book and how vivid the adventure becomes.

I highly recommend anyone to read this book. If you love travelling as much as I do it's a fantastic way to learn about cultures. And if you love mystery it is almost like a modern day Nancy Drew. And if you love YA, it's not a typical YA but I still think you should read it!


The Icelandic Intrigue


Title: Kitty Hawk and The Icelandic Intrigue
Author: Iain Reading
Pages: 201
Stars: ★★★★
Three Words: Informative, Beautiful, Gripping

First off, I have to say, what a beautiful cover!! When I saw this I just fell in love! It looks like a painting. As they say a picture can paint a 1000 words and this one paints a million. I think it's the colours, the brush work and the fact that it's right in the middle of action, I can tell that something big is happening!

In this next story line, Kitty is continuing her round the world adventure and lands in Iceland. Although I Ireland is (relatively) near to Iceland I have never been there. By the end of this book though I felt like I had. The country is described so beautifully by Iain Reading. I also learned a HUGE amount about Icelandic culture. For instance, people don't have family names but instead make up their own second name by combining "daughter of/ son of " with one of their parent's names. It's so fascinating, I never knew this stuff before.

The action in this book got a lot more dramatic and definitely kept me gripped. The story feels like it's getting older as if aimed at an audience that is growing. I also really liked the environmental factor and learned so much about geographical things like volcanoes  and geothermal energy.

However I felt like some things didn't fit together. The Russian guys are kind of random and I was still waiting to come full circle and find out that they were connected in some mad way. I was wondering about a mystery that wasn't even really a mystery. Perhaps I just missed this in the book and haven't realised some mega plot line ....

Anyhoo another element I very much loved was all the fables, the elves and the magic! And also how this tied in with story. Very cool!

I do like when a jigsaw fits nicely together and for the most part this book did. I encourage anyone with a yearning for knowledge and fun to read these books.



What are you reading at the moment?

Happy Reading!
Always,
M x

Thursday, July 7

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cupcakes


Good Morning Sunshine! The Earth says Hello! And what a beautiful day it is to bake cakes. Usually I would consider myself an ambitious, experimental baker. I like to have a long planning process thinking of all the wonderful flavours, colours and detail. This sort of baking takes a long time and doesn't always turn out as planned. However there is nothing wrong with staying simple and making a classic cupcake!

My sister is the world's biggest white chocolate fan so as a little treat last weekend, I made her raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes. I'm more of a milk chocolate fan and blueberries trumps raspberries every time but these were pretty good! 


Using Rachel Allen's Cupcake recipe I just added some chocolate chips and raspberries.

Ingredients:
110g butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour

Method:
~ Cream butter and sugar
~ Add eggs and vanilla and combine
~ Fold in flour and some rating agent
~ Mix in chocolate chips and raspberries. Try not to make it go to mush :L

I'd recommend doubling this mixture cause you might have to share unfortunately :L


Happy Baking!

Always,
M   
xxx

Saturday, July 2

June: Book Reviews


I know I've titled this blog post "June Book Reviews" but really I should call it "JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune Book Reviews". Yes - That does mean I've only read 5 books in 5 months. Wow. A book per month. Marian - what on earth is wrong with you?!

Out of the 5 books my favourite was Asking For It. I started following the author Louise O'Neill on instagram which is how I found out about her two books. Within 48 hours I had read Asking For It. A book I would highly recommend. The most disappointing I think has to be Gone. Not that it is a bad book or anything, it just didn't live up to expectations. I know there are many people out there who ADORE these books, even with All its Creepiness! It just wasn't my cup of tea, I'm afraid.



All of a sudden everyone older than 15 just disappears. Poof! No explanation whatsoever. And now all these kids are living in a bubble like thing and life is chaotic but also a bit wonderful. It is an intriguing idea and a dream for many children out there. A world without adults, no rules, eat as much candy as you like. Partly bliss. Majorly horrifying. I was of course enthralled by the setting of this story but it was the characters that got to me. I just thought they had too much childishness and too much maturity that their qualities sometimes conflicted with who they were. There’s also this high tension like all the time that I found exhausting. I really wanted to like the book there was these niggling things that ate away at my tolerance. Also the lack of answers and explanations was frustrating but of course made me hungry for more. A huge factor in this book is the violence and sickness of some characters. I don’t know how there could be characters so evil. It’s not human. Drake didn’t have flaws, he was the devil! Imagine pure evil and then multiply it ten times. That is Drake. When I finished this book I was on the fence. As a stand alone book, I don’t think it works. So if you're going to read it, be prepared to read the whole series.





If I thought Gone was violent, then Hunger is absolutely ferocious. The character development in this book is fantastic. I found they could be very 2D in the first book but in this I began to feel like I could understand the characters on a personal level. The bubble/world is still adult-less and the reasoning behind it is terrifyingly vague. Of course chaos is crazy and the supernatural powers of people and animals creates much tension. I enjoyed this book more than the first one but it is a lot more freaky and disturbing.




Carrying on the story from the previous two, this book gets a whole lot darker but also more addictive. Characters began to shape more and even though they could be totally evil, I began to like them more. And the Title of the book had me thinking is this real, is any of it real? It twisted my mind like crazy. I enjoyed this book more than  the other two. I'm not sure why but I've gotten more "sucked" into it. There are a lot of new characters in this as well which makes the book more broader ( even though it can only get so broad - you know - with being stuck in a bubble/dome and all) I am eager to continue the story now, but also a little scared....



I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not a crime reader. I probably never will be a crime reader. Yet this is a crime book and I rather enjoyed it. It's a little heavy on the law side. So much law lingo that I have no interest in made it difficult to read at times. It's all about revenge for an accident this guy caused many years ago. I thought I knew how it would play out. I was sure from the beginning. But there's all these twists that were just excellent and so unexpected! It was so surprising. I would definitely read another Eric Matheny book again. His plots and storytelling has something that I do enjoy. 


For a fiction novel, this story is all to real. It's traumatising and depressing which makes it even more awful that it is still relevant today. But a fantastic book that does open the eyes of people who think they understand rape and sexual assault. Everyone needs to read this so that society today will as a whole know rape as something from the past.
This was my favourite book of the year so far. I encourage people to read it but I must warn that it is not for the faint hearted. It depicts a small town in Ireland where Emma lives, goes to school, gossips and bitches with her friends, get drunk at parties and puts on her image for everyones else to see. It's also where her life gets turned upside down when the R word comes out. Rape.


Have you read any of these?
Happy Reading!!
Marian

Monday, May 23

Adventuring: London


This Easter was the second time I visited the Glorious City of London. And it was just as spectacular as it was three years ago. Much like Ireland, England's weather is "okay" and can be very unpredictable. So I decided to bring a bit of every type of clothing. In the end, it was that nice dry crispness with enough warmth to be comfortable walking around and enough coolness to cuddle up in a wooly coat. I did a lot of planning for this trip (... well I do a lot of planning anyway. I have a serious addiction to writing lists ) but it turns out you need a LOT of time, especially for museums. They are just so goddamn beautiful. In Three words London is:

Diverse
Tall
Buzzing

Museums

The National Gallery: As always this is my favourite museum in the world. I love art and taking the time to walk around this magical building is a wonderful experience. It brings me peace and calm to sit and look at a painting, wondering who this artist was, where was he when he was painting this and why did he paint it. Did it make him happy to work away perfecting a picture or had he seen something so inspiring it kept him up all night trying to paint it? As they say a picture can paint a thousand words.

The National History Museum: This museum was my Boyfriend's favourite place we saw in London. It's a really fantastic day out for anyone. Full of dinosaurs, reptiles, mammals and butterflies, it's so much fun to see everything in there enormity up close.

The British Museum: I found it amusing that they called it the British Museum when mostly everything I saw did not come from Britain. Cool glass ceiling in the main area, it's so bright.

Victoria and Albert Museum: Unfortunately we only got to spend a little bit of time here. It was surprisingly a lovely museum! There is SO much stuff to see, everything is cluttered together. I would recommend going here.


Tourist Sights

Madame Toussaudes: Aside from everything Harry Potter, this was undoubtedly by favourite sight. It's a lot of fun taking pictures with the wax models and trying to use snapchat filters on them. The marvel cinematic experience was brilliant! And the Star Wars part was fantastic!

London Eye: It takes a half hour on the London Eye as well as the long queues. It's nice to be on it once and the view is lovely but it's not something I'll come racing back for.

Tower Of London: Britain sure likes beheading. The beefeaters tour was interesting and rather fun. Didn't get to see the Crown Jewels as the queue was way too long but I think I may return sometime.

Bus Tour and Boat Ride: It's a nice way to gain knowledge of the city and see it above ground rather than the tube. I'm a big fan of bus tours because you're not worrying about tube maps and figuring out where to go and how to get there.

Warner Brothers Studios: I could do a whole post on this MAGICAL place. Seeing all the props and costumes up close just makes Harry Potter so much more real. <3 Everyone needs to visit here. And the shop there is just out of this world. I can't begin to explain the emotions that run through you when you enter the building. Seeing the chess pieces on the way in or the Harry Potter posters on the busses, it makes you well up with such pride and a feeling of home.

Shops and Food

Disney Store: Not as big as I expected. I mean it is London, two floors seems small. Then again it is Disney so naturally it was still brilliant! My boyfriend bought me Tigger and Piglet <3

Forbidden Planet: I felt so cool and nerdy in here. It's full of marvel, comics and manga. Expensive shop but any nerdy guy or girl will love it.

Platform 9 and 3/4: I don't think I need to explain how uberly awesome this place is!!! It has 2 shops now. I wanted to buy EVERYTHING. But I held my head high and only picked up some Berty Botts Every Flavour Beans.

Paperchase: I am a MASSIVE stationary Fanatic! And this place was just HEAVEN. I even have a loyalty card for there now even though I don't think I'll be in London for another few years.

National Gallery Cafe: We had some cream Tea here and it was absolutely lovely. Very expensive but well worth it.

Fish and Chips: DELICIOUS! Got some outside Tower of London.









Have you been to London? 
Where in the world is your favourite place?

Adventure is out there!
Marian  xxx