Batting for team shorty…

Honest to goodness that phrase was used once to describe me. But honestly I never thought I was short… I’m 5ft 4inches. That’s only .25 of an inch below the Irish average for a woman. My mother is shorter, coming in at 5’1. And my boyfriend has always been much taller than me, he’s just under 6’2. I’ve never seen it it as a massive disadvantage, I’m quite good at climbing to get to things (or just call Cormac) and it meant I could always wear heels (brings me up to the height of the rest of the women in the office). But recently I’ve been wishing I was a little taller. Why? Well it all boils down to that sport I’ve been banging on about for the past 6 months!

Rowing.

Height is very important in rowing. All to do with physics or some such but basically the taller you are the easier it is for you to get a boat moving quickly. And you’ll never guess what, I’m the shortest in the group of women that I row with. Not only that but my main crew member, the woman who is in the boat with me everyday is 5’11. A whole six inches in the difference. To keep up with her I have to work so much harder. What would feel a little tiring to her would completely kill me. And I can’t help but think how good we could be if I wasn’t so vertically challenged. Or if she would be better off with one of the taller girls Is she just carrying me? Yes I’m just as fit but is that enough?

These questions have been playing over and over in my head for months now. And yesterday I felt like some of these questions were answered for me. We were put out in single sculls and had to row against each other. I know what you’re thinking, I must have been miles behind her. And for the paddle I was, I had to pull so much harder to even stay closer to her and she was rowing quite lightly, only focusing on her technique. But then we raced. And boy did I hold my own. I was quick and I was strong and I was hard to beat.

I wasn’t going down without a fight… or at least until I broke the boat.

And that got me thinking about my own attributes. Attributes that made me a good rower. Attributes I should be proud of instead of focusing on what I’m not. Being lighter than my competition, being fast from the get-go, being strong and being stubborn as fuck. Dammit I am good! And so is she! We make a great team!

Those six inches don’t mean anything when we work hard, stick together and never let the other one give up!

 

Photo shown above: Myself, Art and Ruth. These are the two that I train with the most, yes these two! I’m hella short in comparison!

What do kids even wear these days?

So last night I was at a house party. A friend of mine did the terribly, stupidly brave thing of going back to college. We’re all so proud of him for going back and chasing his dream. And last week he finished! So in true Ross fashion, his wifey had a shindig in his honour. But it was no ordinary house party. Oh no, it was themed. Which I am totally fine with, honestly I love any excuse to make a costume (last Halloween I went into work as a cat, a cat people!)

Problem is, it was possibly the hardest theme I’ve ever had to dress for. The theme was ‘student’. Don’t be fooled, this seems easy but it truly isn’t. There are too many variations to choose from. What era of student? What level? Am I protesty? Am I a stoner? Am I bookish? Should I channel some kick ass students from the movies, like Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect (don’t hate me it’s a great movie) or maybe in Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde (seriously, don’t hate me!) Am I to dress like a modern day student? How do they even dress? Or should I just dress how I dressed when I was in college. I really had no interest in doing the last one, don’t really know why, just wasn’t an option.

So I panicked and threw on some skinny jeans, some beat up old converse, some cheap ass earring from Tenerife, one of my boyfriends old tshirts and an army-style jacket (sorta going for the angsty-protestor-student-doing-the-walk-of-shame-and-has-been-on-a-sun-holiday-with-her-gal-pals-hence-the-earrings look). Cormac wore some torn up combats (which he wears all the time), a hoodie (which he wears all the time) and a fees protest tshirt from his college days. He honestly didn’t look like he tried at all but he really did, he even got cans!

I honestly had no idea what to expect. How other people would interpret the dress code. What would pass for a student? And I was amazed at the different costumes that people had come up with. From the lady (who I reckon was fifty) dressing like an out and out punk (and totally working it by the way), to the man who went as ‘Cow-Elvis’, to the bald man in the lab coat (clearly a science degree theme going on there). And then all the simple similarities, like everybody wearing some sort of sneaker. Converse reigned supreme! It was a complete mish-mash of everyone’s own thoughts of what college life was or maybe even should be.

And just like when I was a student I was yet again the designated driver, some things just don’t change…

Doing it all, except the dishes and trying not to burn out

So my daily life has kicked up a gear ever since the clocks went forward. An extra hour of sunlight meant only one thing to me, waterwork. No more tedious long erg sessions (rowing machines). Anyone who has sat on one of these will know that it’s great to get back off them. With that extra bit of light we could go out at 6.30 and get a good session on the water. Only problem with that is. I am left with NO TIME! I am not exaggerating. I work from about 8.30am to roughly 5.30pm, then I get togged out and head down to the club. We get on the water for about 6.30pm and don’t get off it til about 8. After bringing in the boat, getting changed, locking up and driving home it’s between 9 and 9.30. Then it’s time to make dinner. So we’re eating by 10pm and then we chill for about an hour before I start getting real sleepy and head to bed around 11-11.30 pm. I sleep, I get up and I do it all again. That is my daily routine roughly. Housework does not get done during the week. Dishes pile up (although very neatly) and wait patiently for a spare moment to get washed. Grocery shopping now gets squeezed in during my “chill time” on a Monday evening. Thankfully, I’ve enough clothes to get me through a week without too many loads of washing. On the weekends, I train, see my friends, clean the house and catch on some r&r with the boyfriend.

This is was all going grand, then the other designer went on a three week holiday. You can forgive him as it was his honeymoon. Nontheless, the anti was indeed upped in work. I had a more stressful and more demanding workload. He has since come back but the workload has not lessened. I also have the new task of being the coxwain for the novice quad. Foe those of you that don’t know, that is the person who steers the boat and yells at the crew to row harder (who doesn’t love to yell). I gladly excepted this task not realising how mentally draining it could be. How people do it well is beyond me. EVERYTHING IS BACKWARDS. So this means on my rest days I’m actually still down at the club. I may not be rowing but I’m still in the boat.

And don’t get me wrong, I truly love how active I am. I love the rowing, I love blogging (albeit, quite infrequently) and I love my job. I’m delighted that I still manage to socialise quite a good bit (it helps when you’re friends with the people you row with) and that Cormac and I still manage to get out and do lots of things, from the cinema and dinners to hacking through that part of the woods they tell you not to go in and despite all my whinging Cormac still drags me to. But I felt like I hit a brick wall this Thursday. I felt like I couldn’t keep going. On my way home from training I had a cry to myself in the car (yes I’m one of those people). How do people “do it all” and not burn out? How do they keep going? Are the snorting berocca or something worse? I have yet to figure out the secret. If someone knows please do tell me. Until then, I will solve my problem the way I solving it right now. Chocolate, boyfriend cuddles and a four day weekend which includes a trip home to my mammy. And ma if you’re reading this, I’m fine, don’t panic. Bless her she worries too much.

And as Cormac keeps telling me, would I rather look back and say I gave it my all or say I kept a clean house. I think we all know the answer to this.

Dressing for life…

I think by now everyone knows that I love fashion. I love getting new pieces, I love putting outfits together. I love the confidence my clothes give me. When I was in college I strived to always be fashion forward. It was hard due to not ever having money, but because my days consisted of college and telly watching I wasn’t exactly restricted due to activity. So most days I looked very on-trend. Though I did get some odd looks. (Jaysus people it’s just a leather pencil skirt and cons!) I think this way of life was hugely influenced due to having a blog. I mean if I’m discussing clothes I have to look my best all the time, right?

But my life got busy and it became more than just college and blogging. I started working, started rowing, nephews came along, I started getting more active, I started baking and cooking, I moved out and started living with my boyfriend. And suddenly this need to be blog perfect fell by the way side. Unlike those fabulously stylish fashion bloggers I read about everyday, my job did not require me to look on-point on a daily basis and frankly it was becoming impractical. I mean I do love me some stilettos but they’re not my friend when I have to dash across town to the bank on my lunch break. And I adore white skinnies but I can’t exactly strut up to the rowing club in those, they would get destroyed! But that doesn’t mean I want to stop having fun with my clothes.

Yesterday is a wonderful example of this. As you can see from the above image I was driving a safety launch for some rowers going out for a Sunday spin. (You can also see that life jackets are in NO WAY flattering – I mean I look about thirty pounds heavier!) I could have changed my outfit from something less sensible to something more sensible but I don’t want to have to waste my day with unnecessary costume changes. No, yesterday I needed to be practical from start to finish. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to have fun. I still wanted to be me, I still wanted to show off some style. So I decided to dress for the persona of “chilled seventies surfer chick” which consisted of flares, vans, a surfer hoodie and an oversized plaid shirt. (Trust me it looked good sans life-jacket – why can’t safety be chic!?)

So in a long winded way, what I’m trying to say is that my style hasn’t really changed. I still love all the same things. But my attitude to dressing has changed. Style, to me, isn’t about mere aesthetics, but managing to find that balance between aestheticism and practicality, between what’s beautiful and what works for you. I’m no longer just dressing for my blog. I’m dressing for my life.

I’ve come this far…

Hey! People! Over here! It’s me! You remember me! Freckly? Short? Ass that won’t quit? Well even if you don’t I’m here and I am standing atop a mountain and announcing to this great cyberdom that I am baaaaaaack!

I’ve been gone for quite a while too… Little over a year, but unofficially I stopped blogging properly when I got a big person job. Which is going on two and a half years! I just could not summon the will to write after a long day of work bookended by an hour and a half commute. I was unprepared for it and my blog fell into disrepair. But if I’m to tell the truth I was a little relieved. I no longer felt I had to make posts for the sake of them, seek inspiration from the fashion world when I frankly saw none. I felt my blog no longer reflected me and if I’m being totally honest I didn’t really feel like I fitted in.

The last couple of years has changed me. My life has changed so much and thankfully all for the better! And I miss blogging. I want to come back if you’ll have me. I want to write more about my life and my thoughts, my progress through the world. This of course will mean my style but it’ll also mean my other passions and how they make me feel and how they are paving my life for me. But before I get to all that I of course need to update you guys and what has changed and what has remained of me.

What has remained… – I still have not dyed my hair (I honestly feel this is a very important piece of information) and I have no intention to dye it in the future. I mean, why would I, sure tis gorgeous!

– I still live in heels, being 5’4″ makes this pretty much a necessity and I just don’t feel right otherwise.

– I’m still with the boy! Going on nine years now. He even moved across the country and got himself a new job so I no longer had to do a three hour roundtrip commute. Yes, he is indeed a keeper and I love him to bits… Moving swiftly on!

– I’m still a graphic designer. For those of you who read my old blog it was clear that I had a passion for more that just fashion. Graphic design was a deep love of mine and still is to this day. I’m still lucky enough to work with such a talented team and I still get into heated debates over what image is suitable. Somedays I hate it but everyday I love it!

– I’m still as tactless as always! I’m honest, some say too honest, some same I’ve zero tact. But others have said it’s part of my charm. So there!

What has changed…

– I’m now an aunty! To two beautifully bald boys! Conor is two and JimJim is just over six months. Yeah, my sister didn’t hang around! They’re great kids and I love them to bits even if they have trouble growing hair and Conor is afraid of me because I am “no-mammy.”

– I am now an athlete! Oh yeah, I said it! I don’t just exercise, I train! Ladies and Gents I am a rower! It’s a great sport that allows me to keep fit and kick ass, all while trying not pass out or throw up during a 2k test! And I get to be with some of the best ladies I’ve ever known!

– Due to being an “athlete,” half of my clothing money is spent now on gym gear. Man, I do love Nike sports bras! They’re just so colourful! And sure who doesn’t want their own body weight in lycra in their laundry basket…

– Since finishing college I have lost over forty pounds. I wasn’t healthy and it was a constant struggle to blog and promote the fuller figure when in fact I was desperately unhappy. But I did it the healthy way, ate better, got active and lost it slowly.

– Since I had to learn to eat better, I became a serious foodie! And getting more adventurous everyday. Latest obsession, gozleme… Look it up, thank me later!

So there you have it. We’re all caught up. Will this change of direction fufill my need to blog? Will anybody actually bother to read it? Will I forget to blog after a week? Who knows, but sure let’s give it a go anyway!