Monday, 23 November 2015

Lit Nit Wit: An ode to Louise O'Neill

The last two weekends I've been working with the same patient in the hospital. There has been a lot of card playing, silly jokes and quite a bit of reading. Last Saturday morning, on the patients tray was a book named Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill. Instantly the name Louise O'Neill jumped out to me. I remember her interviewed on the radio, and my cousin took an Instagram shot of her other book Asking for it. After the assurance from my patient that I could finish it in one day I got to it.

This book is a dystopian future originally for the YA, but has been re-released for all after the publication. I have read a lot of YA in my time, usually after I was deemed a YA truth be told. In this future, women are bred in artificial wombs and raised in special schools to get chosen at 16 by a male also 16 as a wife, if not chosen as a wife, the leftovers become concubines, or are left in the schools to raise the other up and coming girls. The boys continuously watch the girls, over the 16 years and rate them, and nearly always the top ten get chosen by one of the boys. The girls are bred to be pretty with ipads strapped to their hands, social media even though they get the same food and can only see each others feeds. Everyone sees everyone's day and everyone is judged and judged and judged. As Freida and Isabel turn 16  and enter in their final year, pressure builds, tension rise, weights are monitored. I did finish the book in one day. I did cry. This is an utterly heartbreaking book. the patient has to give me a teddy to cuddle as I was so empty after finishing this book. It really looks at an extreme future, where social media presence, looks are the only important thing. The girls only saw pens when the ladies in charge were drawing red circles on the girl who had gained some weight.
There has not been many books where days later I think about the characters and their actions and the whats ifs and if only.

During the week I was again with the patient who had a book voucher and she talked her visitor into heading to the nearest book shop to buy Asking for it, the new Louise O'Neill book. Lucky me I was put with the patient myself again for the weekend, who at one stage refused to speak to me until I had finished the book. This book follows Emma, a very pretty 18 year old before and after an attack on her. It examines societal judgement on women, victim blaming and looks at why so few women go forward after a sexual assault. The thing I most like and appreciate is that I did not like Emma. She knows she's pretty, she takes things from her friends homes. She gets them in trouble and doesn't give a fuck. She is forever in competition with the women around her, just as her mother is. I'm from a small town, maybe not as posh as the one Emma is from, but in every town there are these guys. 19-30, never left the place, maybe went to college near by but hopped back ASAP, haven't a notion of going to Australia or London.They play grand hurling or football, but their not good enough for county. Girls 5,6,7, years younger than them are infatuated with them, if they get any attention off the lad, they become instantly cooler, the only reason they have gotten the attention is cause all the girls that chaps age are in relationships or have left. Those men always annoy me, the biggest case of big fish small pond you'll ever see.

The town is fictitious but the town is in the same county that I live in, so the mention of the clubs and pubs and eventually the mention on the Cork Rape Centre are touches to the book I really like and the term shift, (which means to snog, or make out in other countries).
Cecelia Ahearne is known to write fairy-tales for adults. Im going to say Louise O'neill is the direct opposite. I had to stop reading Asking for it several times cause I knew something bad was going to happen, but I was hoping it would all end "well".  These books should be required reading for everyone of any age. Please read them and tweet at Ms O'neill (@oneilllo) and tell her how traumitised you are, and she'll probably tweet you back

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Lit Nit Wit: How to Build a Girl

In the last few years I was never mad about Caitlin Moran, I'm pretty sure it was because of some tweets mocking people about liking something or someone, clearly it wasn't an utterly big deal or I would remember. I once last an eye over her  autobiography and it really didn't draw me in in all honesty. Recently though Guy Branum of pop rocket shared an article she wrote to men about how women feel about them and it just captivated me with its brutal honesty that men don't know and more than likely don't want to know. When I was last in the library I saw her fictional book how to (blank) a girl and thought I'd sit down and see if her fiction was more to my taste

I have read a lot of coming of age books in my time, usually after I have come of age usually and I am too old for, books such as Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The fault in our Stars and I've always been to old for them. This book on the other hand, is the coming of age book for adults, I never thought I'd see the day. 

This is a first person account of life in the 90's in post Thatchers disembowelment of Wolverhampton and The Midlands in general (I've also recently seen all the episodes of This is England so I know it wasn't a good time to live there, also I utterly recommend all of the This is England episodes, and the Movie). 
The main character is Johanna, the second oldest and only girl of five children who live with their failing pop star of a dad and a post partum mother. Her father has been trying to break the music industry to get them all out of the area and eventually Johanna after believing she has royally ruined her families income decides to write for a music magazine reviewing bands ( the millennial in me scoffed at the fact she knew no one in the magazine and just mailed in reviews for weeks on end and landed a job in no time, and of course worked wearing a top hat).

This story looks at young people trying to figure out who they are,and how they try to be how other people want them to be and expectations from people, which all of us have experienced. Her experience with her sort of boyfriend, as in if I do this this and this that maybe he'll stick with me. It slightly came across as maybe kink shaming a sight but in the book, if you want to do those things you go right ahead, but it shouldn't be done only to keep someone else interested in you. On a separate note it was lovely to see her having a pure enjoyment day with a musician just chilling out feeling pure friendship love for  I have to say her experience of cystitis is so funny, as someone who has been inflicted with that once or twice myself. I would utterly recommend this book,.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Kind of Thrift Haul

I can't and won't call this a thrift I didn't actually buy these items. We have a family member who lived in the states but had a house in Ireland where she'd visit for holidays and leave clothes, shoes and other things in the 70s and 80s. In the last few months it was decided the holiday house was going to be cleared out, and I was allowed to go through the clothes and shoes and bags and take what I wanted, and I can't thank the relative whose clothes they were and to the aunt and cousins who put all the stuff in bags for me and thought of me when they saw certain coats and shoes.

Honestly I love everything I got. Everything has been cleaned, dry cleaned or repaired, I learned to sew buttons because of this, which is a good thing. I also then went through my wardrobe and donated a lot of things I felt didn't suit me. Because of this new wardrobe and hairstyle I feel like my personal style has taken a big leap in a good more chic, I actually dried and styled my hair and I would not have done that two weeks ago, cause I just had so much hair. Maybe its cause I'm seeing my Birthday coming up and this is how I'm going to improve myself as I get older..
I'm finding incorporating the pieces into my wardrobe easy. The pink shirt and cardigan look great with my mom jeans and pink Dr. Martin shoes  Having the low heels is nice, I don't really need high shoes as I am 5'8, but I still have a bit of height and my feet don't hurt in the morning

Turns out you can never have too many shirts..

I threw out four pairs of shoes and two bags and will not buy any for years and years

The black embroidered was made by my relation!!

Look how well those buttons look!!

I could also that two piece as an emergency wedding dress, why I need that I don't know but still....

   It took three weeks for those white jumpers to dry! So worth it though, they are so huge and cozy. I've been wearing the cardigan non stop, It goes with a lot as its such a pale colour, and is perfect for when its still to cold to be wearing the epic ugly jumper beside it.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Donating my hair

Sometimes I get things into my head that I decide I'm going to do.
My hair has been long long all this year and for a while I've been thinking about donating it.
Having long hair was ok, but I was lazy and just piling it on my head and not styling it, so I came to the conclusion that a child who had lost their hair than me who was fretting about how much I need to hoover. I looked up the site Rapuzel Foundation and located a local hairdressers. When I went the first time (back during the summer ) my hair wasn't long enough, it has to be at least 14 inches, so I had to wait. In all honesty I was afraid I'd get angry at the length and just cut it but I didn't. Thankfully

For inspiration I looked through photos of Lily Collins, Emma Watson, Lena Headey and Jo Elvin.I think the fact I'd seen two season of This is England and love Lols' hair helped me pluck up the courage to go short. I had a bob before and again as I am so lazy I didn't maintain it and it looked bad, it emphasised my chins too which didn't help the situation either I screen capped a photo of Lily Collins to show the hairdressers.

So anyway last week I thought I'd try again but as I was in Cork City I went to Origins Hairdressers on Drawbridge Road and after they established it was long enough, I was booked in
. I didn't really believe I was going to do it, even when I told my housemates I was going to do it. I didn't even tell my parents. I told the lady cutting it, Donna I was freaking ever so slightly, she was lovely about it. She tied my hair in a low pony tail and added three other hair ties down my pony tail to keep it all together. And then it was cut off and showed me it. It honestly so strange to look at
Two chairs over another woman was donating her hair, which was about a foot longer than mine. Once our hair was cut, and I saw her donation,it was the closest thing to Dick envy I've ever had.

I spoke to Donna about what kind of hair cut I wanted, as I explained a bob wouldn't work. I had accepted I was  going to go super short so I was going to go for it. So she cut the left side really short and left the right a little longer. The word funky was thrown around quite bit, cause there is quite a few layers and such. She finished my adding some wax and told me over the next few days to try and mess with it a bit.

So far I love it. I already had a texturising spray at home and that has been fun to play with. I've been on twitter and tumblr asking for tips, so far I've been told to wear hats and that the more forward your hair is put the more feminine it is and styling it back is more masculine. Any other tips would be appreciated. Glamour magazine is my favourite magazine and while I was in the hairdressers they tweeted a link to a gallery of pixie crops and I tweeted them saying I was donating my hair and they tweeted me back saying it was lovely, which flabbergasted me, so I tweeted again saying it was because of lily collins and their editor, who then liked that tweet. It was the cherry on top

I've been told I was brave to cut my hair. I think so many people are defined by their hair, which I think is unfortunate really, to be known only as 'The red head' or something like that. I'd hate for my hair style or colour to be the most interesting thing about me. I realise some people see their hair like a security blanket but at the end of the day, they are more interesting parts of you then the coloured protein that comes out of your head......

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Reflecting on September

My August got a bit dispiriting towards the end of the month, I thought I was having something with a chap, but it turned out, nope...Turns out my type is emotionally unavailable.....yay.....
And my housemate husband decided to fall back in love with his ex-girlfriend, who then moved country to be with him and he moved out to their love-nest.........How inconsiderate!!  

Thankfully I had a lot of weekend plans for September.
Firstly I headed to London with my brother to spend the weekend with our dad and go see the Ireland England match in Twickenham. I wouldn't often fly with my younger brother, so that was slightly stressful but everything went well. The thing I love about London is there is always something to do that you haven't done before, namely that day we went to Hamleys for the first time. It was amazing holy mackeral. The royal family are made out of lego and there is so much Harry Potter memorabilia.... my brother as a 16 year old loved it. I as a 24 year old loved it and my dad the biggest child at 53 loved it. Who doesn't want to see a teddy camel that costs over £1000!!

Bright and earlyish we headed to Twickenham, its not often I have a full irish with a pint of Carlsburg...Twickenham is a daunting cool place particularly when England are winning and singing Sweet Chariot. That match was particularly interesting as they were raising money for the soldiers
who have fought in the wars, and so soldiers were at the match in their uniform, there was a pilot in my row. They were all so young looking, it really made me think to be honest. Ireland lost to England but as I said to the man who came up to me all self assured in himself, we beat them already this year and had a six nations to show for it ha

Months and moths ago I was on break at work my friend asked me to come over to London for a Holifest, she didn't know much about it, other than there was paint involved and music.....So of course I said yes. So for the second weekend in a row I was on a plane heading to London at 6 in the morning... Whooo. My other friend from college was also visiting London from Reading so we all hung out. We had breakfast in the apartment,went to Spitalfields market and we made a futile attempt to get croughnuts in Camden Market. I met up with my dad for an Indian, which is still funny to me, this man thinks bell peppers are spicy!! In the evening I met back up with the girls and had some hipster beers in Hampstead!

The day of the festival we headed to the heath for some predrinking and the consumption of cadburys pretzels. Our other friend left to meet her brother and we headed to the park by The Olympic park. Lets say it was easy to see who on the overground ( hint we all wore white). As we were walking towards the gate we had the amazing idea to write each others numbers on our arms, so off we went to the police van cause who else would have a pen but the policemen??? We were (slightly drunken) Geniuses!! After we got our tickets and changed our money for tickets we split,she to get the paint and I to get the drinks, after we found each other, of course she had found a guy from the village over from her in Kerry (if that's not the most Kerry thing I've ever heard). After a while of hanging with them, and me after grabbing his phone and adding her on his Facebook

I have no concept of time in all honesty so after.......a while  my friend came up with the idea we should go on each others shoulders, that's what people do at festivals... it was both our first time at a festival actually. I was very good and lifted her with my legs but I did need a hand to actually stand up, but it turned out the lads behind us were utter legends who we hung out with for the rest of the night. Why didnt I add any of them on facebook?? cause Im an eejit!!  Shout out to Ben, Nick and especially John who stupid enough to lift me up on his shoulders at some stage during the night!! We headed back to the apartment at eleven and of course we went out after of course, after a couple of showers of course. I may or may not given myself whiplash in the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

I was quiet the week after, my neck needed some healing...But the following week I was again off guessed it London (I am legitimately concerned about my Carbon footprint). My lovely father managed to get two tickets to the Ireland Romania game in The World Cup,not exactly the final but the next World Cup is in Japan, you can't go for a weekend trip there!! I arrived the Friday and decided as Dawn O'Porters' pop up shop was still open I'd go and see her stuff. I'd also never
been to Newburgh street so that was another thing I've never done. Dawn herself was in the shop chatting and  typing away. The clothes were amazing by the way. I touched a YSL gown and her own clothes line is only gorgeous. I was on her snap chat story and everything!!! I also saw Victoria Beckhams shop, which I did not go into, and I saw The Royal Academy of Art again for the first time.
Sunday was the day of the match, we walked to Wembely, had breakfast, and of course headed to an Irish pub, where we met the Munster Supporters group and had such a laugh. There was 88,000 and about 87,500 were irish, it was also the biggest attendance at a RCW match so whooo. I've never in my life see a mexican wave go round six times either.      

Monday, 21 September 2015

Lit Nit Wit: Revival

We've all heard of Stephen king. He's one of those people who you feel as an adult reader you should read at least one of his books.  My bar manager is a massive reader and gives me toughish books to read mostly I think to see my reaction. He was the one who gave me Shantaram and funnily enough the part of the book that I felt decreased the quality of that story, he felt redeemed the book. What's more is, I gave him the Illuminators, which he found as difficult to get through as I did, which made me feel slightly better too. I can't wait for him to finish it so we can talk about it.

The latest book he gave me was the Stephen king book Revival. Not a book I've heard of by him, but I felt it was a good place to start.
Revival follows the life of  Jamie Morton who's childhood pastor Charles Jacobs fascination with electricity and it's power and the pursuit of the seemingly impossible.I spent a good chunk trying to figure out, if really what the Pastor is doing has a good or evil intention.Jamie  is reflecting throughout the book, and mentions the terrors from early on, and since its Stephen King I was anxious from the start. OK spoiler ahead, the one thing was I didn't understand exactly how he became a Heroin addict, was the only thing. It was interesting to see how his life evolved and was getting better and then how he was pulled back into the Pastors life. If you've never read Stephen King and you want to start, this is a good book to start with. It's not the scariest book, but you know something is going to happen and the build up is very well done 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Lit Nit Wit; Almost French

I mentioned this book a while ago and how I would review it along with Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris. I was utterly fooling myself that I' d manage that book, Ill stick to the Disney movie I think, ha. If you are able to read and enjoy Victor Hugo I have a special respect for you. 
I digress, so Almost French follows the story of an  Australian journalist who meets a French man on her journey around europe and after one meeting is invited to stay at his apartment and really she never leaves. Instead of being a love story between them it looks at her attempt to assimilate herself into the Parisian culture and the trials that they both face when she is completely ignored at dinner parties who being an outsider, which surprises even her partner. His surprise at this and the extent of the snootyness I found interesting, as at least she had read a book where she was recommended to imagine the other guests as chairs because at the end of the night when no one has spoken to you, you are not surprised or sad as they were chairs and chairs can't speak.

She also writes candidly about her difficulty in finding a journalist job for a while and the affects that can have on someone so used to working and to a newly formed couple. It was also interesting to see how she integrated into her partners life, whereby some friends are not trying with his girlfriend and she and her lack of desire to regularly visit his father. One thing I didn't enjoy about the book was she didn't really talk about how she fell for this man and changes her whole life trajectory, I understand how they meet and she visits him but then it never goes into  detail about how they went from that to them marrying really. It mostly kinda sounds like they are housemates that only hang out with his friends, which makes her convincing him to move closer into the city and not visiting his father quite as  often as a bit pushy.

As someone who could absolutely see herself moving to Paris for a couple of years, more than likely as an old lady with her cats ( it has been discussed that if out of al 17 cousins I am the most likely to end up a cat lady), so it was interesting to see an actual experience, the ups and downs and ultimately was it worth it. I would recommend this book even if you never plan on falling for a French man any time soon.