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First semester

The last post was almost 3 months ago, that, I am ashamed of and I will save you the excuses, as busy and crazy as final year is I am really...

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

First semester

The last post was almost 3 months ago, that, I am ashamed of and I will save you the excuses, as busy and crazy as final year is I am really enjoying it. The work load can seen over whelming but when I know it is all work that will benefit me in the long term, that makes such a difference. I could go as far as saying that this year was the most amount of work I have put in at my home university, I can say this because I completely mean every word. 

When you are passionate or even as simple as interested in a project you will give much more of an effort than trying at a project that you have no interest in, because all you will do is try and you get nowhere with a lack of energy like that. 

My head, my thinking, my thoughts, emotions were far from focused on college when I started in first year, I knew that I wanted to study design and I had never been interested in anything else, when I was in school it was the one subject that had a shimmer of hope of employing me. Although by the time I made it to college I was so exhausted with the years of work to get there, I had lost why I worked so hard to get there; I questioned myself, was it all worth it? do I still want this as a career? where has all my motivation gone? None the less I got a place on my course and I had to make sure to pass first and second year. 

I made it into second year with the idea of applying to study abroad in america, for third year, at that point it was something that interested me as soon as I heard about it those couple of months earlier but there was applying, getting through, affording it and then going. If I didn't have america to look forward to I can be sure I wouldn't have finished second year and graduating would have been a lost goal. 

Once I had my year abroad finished I came back to third year completely refreshed, as my dad always says when times get over whelming; stop, take a step back and sharpen your metaphorical sword. At home everything was set out for me in my degree, I was for the first time allowed to choose fun courses that I wanted to work on, be independent (the real form of independence, when you don't run home on a Friday from college to get your clothes washed by mum) make new friends and have a year that would help inspire me again, allow me to fall in love with design and sharpen that sword that grants me to come back stronger and ready to take on the crucial final year. 

So far I have managed to prove myself right. Along side all these opportunities that I managed to gain whilst away I meet a lot of people that have very similar ideas as me, to dream big and aiming high for that job that might seem almost impossible to anyone else. I was much more positive towards my work and anything that I happened to be working on (now don't get me wrong I have my days where it seems like nothing is working out, waiting on that breakthrough or just pissed off with people and the world around me, well sure don't we all have days like that... I hope so, don't leave my hanging here). 

Now in my final year, I decided to focus a huge amount of my time at the beginning of the semester to choose projects that would help build my portfolio and create work that I was completely interested in. Projects on the side where also of interest, anything that caught my eye, freelancing, logo designs and competitions. In particular photography competitions. I had been fond of photography for a very long time, and when I purchased myself the Canon 600D back in 2012 the interest has just grown. I took my first photography class whilst abroad and I did learn some editing techniques but mostly it pushed me to spend time on taking pictures, when it was a class I made a conscious effort to focus on taking good quality pictures. So back in October a competition appeared on Facebook from a company called 'Connect House' (http://www.connect-ed.life/welcome/they are established in Tokyo. They were looking for a creative photograph that was in line with the categories that were listed, the prize was two weeks accommodation in Tokyo, Japan along with money towards flights. 

This was a fantastic opportunity that I had nothing to loss when applying. I searched through their hashtags and choose the topics that I liked and choose a recent photograph that was perfect for the entry. 

Honestly this is one of my most favourite photograph's that I have had the opportunity to capture. The image got through to become a finalist in the competition and low and behold A week or two after I had entered I got a very exciting message to inform me that I was the winner of the competition.

Well words could not describe the excitement that was surging through me, combined with a healthy dose of shock. The days that followed allowed for the fantastic news to sink in and allow me to come to terms with what is just around the corner. Not only was I getting to go to Japan, a place I had never been to before I was getting the chance to visit one of my very close friends; KIE!!! I haven't seen her since leaving Durango back in May and the cherry on top Emma was going to be in Tokyo at exactly the same time as me; What are the chances? 

Being in final year and trying to squeeze two free weeks in for none other than a holiday, I thought was impossible but don't worry I would make it happen. I had to claim the prize before May and I wasn't finished college until the end of May, therefore my only opportunity was the end of January when I handed in all my coursework. This was the break I needed, sharpening the sword just before beginning the last leg of my degree. 

Flights booked, coursework in full swing and Christmas just around the corner, I had to make time to write this very proud post. Elements are just falling into place, I don't take any of the opportunities that I have for granted; I worked hard to make them happen and this is one I will never forget. Heres to eating sushi and cuddles with Kie and Emma. 

Everything happens for a reason. xx

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Goat chase


I can easily say that I spent the last month craving an adventure, now I'm not talking a plane ticket to Spain (which lets be clear if someone was offering, I wouldn't say no) but when I was pondering the notion of a get away, I was think more along the lines of camping or hiking up in the Sperrin mountains, away from everyone, no signal and being disconnected.

I got handed a project in my 'moving image' class, to create a short film based on one of William Allingham's poems of our choice, as soon as I found my poem I knew exactly what I was going to base mine on, so the following day I charged the batteries, grabbed my camera and I was bounding out the door on a mini day adventure.

Taking myself up to Glenelly valley in Cranagh, to the my Grannies original homestead where she was born and reared. I plan to base my short film on the old farm house; I spent the day up on the side of the valley with the wind howling and in between showers of rain but none the less it could have been pouring buckets down on me and it still couldn't have washed the smile off my face, I was satisfying that adventurous streak in me. It didn't stop there, on the scenic drive back down the valley I spotted a road that I had heard so many stories about and references to, though I had never ventured up. I quickly dropped the gears and winded my way up the narrow road that moved with the shape of the river that flowed along side and finally reached an old abandoned cottage, parked up and went for a dander.

This photo would brighten up anyones day

It's always nice to know that no matter where I go, I manage to make some new friends even if it is a family of goats, clearly this was the climax of my day; even though I was terrified out of my mind. Honestly shaking so much that I didn't think I managed to take a picture at all. Don't get me wrong, I love goats, I could easily waste my day watching hours of goat videos and hopefully own my own little goat some day but there was an element within me that thought, is this goat going to ram me if I go anywhere near his kid's.

As you can tell we were best friends in no time at all (after I safely behind a gate).

Everyone has their different ways to unwind; maybe a glass of wine, a hot bath or a run, all of these I can relate to in some sense but what I class as number one in the unwind category is disconnect. I have to disconnect myself from everything fast paced to reconnect with the motions of life again, I just have to remember to do it more often.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

"Come on AYLIN"


The feeling of pure love and appreciation.
We can create these perfect moments in time to celebrate with friends and loved ones but when you are on the receiving end, it is completely out of your control what your reaction will be. Confusion? Amazement? Mine was utter shock.

The moment I walked into the living room I will never forget the first thing I seen but a glimpse of these perfectly kept tiffany blue Nikes. I knew only one person that owned a pair (since I was with her when she bought them) and kept them so well; but it was coming to terms with how they managed to end up in my cousins holiday home in Donegal. My mind couldn't keep up to speed with what my eyes were seeing. Aylin.

How could I comprehend this, I was given the gift of two wonderful friends who to my excitement and adventurous as they were, accepted my offer to visit; how did I manage to deserve the gift of one traveling all the way from Germany on top of everything else? A surprise is an appreciation of a person, you keep a secret not to lie but to treat them and when I found out that absolutely everyone around me knew; I couldn't control the tears. Later I was told to no surprise of mine, the task that everyone had of keeping me in the right place and not to ruin the surprise for myself was a challenge; an understatement.

What I want to say and what I am saying are two different things, something that words can't describe; the stock, excitement and love that I felt that day, even now looking back at it. I will relish what my family and friends done to make the surprise that day possible. 
Especially Aylin. My little princess Elsa.

Frozen Sister

Friday, 4 September 2015

Cliffs of Moher


First time here also. You would nearly think I chose this road trip with myself in mind but honestly when do you ever be a tourist in your own country? Not very often. Do one touristy thing in your own country after reading my blog; it might be more fun than you think.

Beautiful day along Ireland's wild atlantic way.

Dingle Co.Kerry


My first time in Dingle, I was in Kerry camping as a kid on family holidays but never to Dingle. So many people recommended checking it out and seeing if for myself and delighted I was. Fungi the famous dolphin showed his face in the bay as the sun started to set on the rolling mountains, pictures can't even capture the real beautiful that we saw that day. Once the sun was gone we headed for the pubs. 

'5x hot whiskeys please'

Even though we all had managed to come down with a cold, sore throat or headache we doctored ourselves that night with the treatment of a well known remedy.

 Back to our hostel where we were staying but not without a show of shooting stairs to top a breath-taking day (highly recommend the rainbow hostel to any budding traveller).

Road tripping across america and all these far of countries is fun, but by goodness does Ireland have beauty like no other. Love my home.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The rocky road to Dublin


What better way to see what this beautiful country has to offer than pack up the car and go on a ROAD-TRIP. First stop Dublin (obviously). Within a couple of hours of being in the city we landed ourselves in the Guinness storehouse (they call it a factory, personally it wasn't a factory it was just an old store house and you got to pour your own pint) non the less it was a good experience and nice view from the bar on the top floor.

 Wonder how many miles these shoes have done...?

The weather was absolutely perfect in Dublin, no sign of rain and what better way to see any city than on foot. Aidan and Shane joined us on our week long road trip, a combination of all three of us (mostly Aidan) we managed a pretty decent tour.


I had never been on the tour at Croke park before and it was something that I have wanted to do for some time now, since the sun was still shinning, we headed for Croke park GAA stadium. The entire visit was brilliant, I would highly recommend the tour to everyone, wonderful history of the sport and the history of both the country and the city; plus our tour guide Cian was absolutely fantastic both entertaining and knowledgeable for young children, students and adults who were all in our tour.

Hill 16

Cusack stand and Davin Stand

Next stop Co.Kerry

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Heart of the glens; Take 2


I had the next two weeks all planned out. Packed full of things to do and places to show Emma and Ander; along side Shane wanting to run Cushendall's Lurig run again this year, I wanted to bring the guys to the Antrim coast, show them what it has to offer as well as Emma wanting another tick on her bucket list; with a visit to the Giants Causeway.

Along side all the excitement and build up to my guests arriving, Shane was also arriving home the same time. He was returning from Norway where he took part for the second year in a row in the Tromso Sky-race, a gruelling 45kilometres with an elevation of 4400m; overall an outstanding ability to first of all consider taking part in and secondly beat his time from last year. His decision to take part in the Lurig run was with an outlook of simply having fun and he had no preconceived idea of pushing himself since he was only home a couple of days and was recovering from injures.

With that as his outset from the beginning of the race, we cheered him on with excitement has he set off with a strong confident pace that would exhaust me if I attempted to keep up. Non the less he blistered in at a time of 30:25 coming out No.7 overall improving his position from 10th last year. Just goes to show the strength he has, some times he doesn't even realise his own ability.

After all the excitement that Cushendall had to offer we headed north along the coast and decided to add a stop to our tour that we didn't do last year, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I had not been here since I was in the scouts and that was quite a few years ago. Summed up very well by Ander "so its a rope bridge out to a big rock surrounded by water?"... eme Yes. Thats about right. Fun Fact, not far from the rope bridge there is an old quarry that was used to film scenes from 'Game of thrones'.

Next stop the Giant's causeway as Emma says 'Finally'. I was surprised as to how good the weather managed to be, with the past two months showing signs of winter rather than summer conditions, we got a mostly dry day with good visibility over to scotland, allowing us to tell the guys an old myth of Finn MacCool the giant.

I was having such an incredible day yet I couldn't stop myself from becoming somewhat nostalgic. Exactly this day last year, mum and I had watched Shane's race, walked the interlocking basalt columns of the giants causeway and as we done this I was constantly thinking of how many days I had until I was leaving for america; I had already left my job and in my final week of preparations. 
So much has happened in one year, so many decisions have been made; so many people I have met that formed into friendships. As I watched Ander plod around on the rocks and Emma smiling from ear to ear as she pinched herself in relation to where she was, I couldn't help but close my eyes and cherish this moment. The idea had never crossed my mind that I would be standing here in exactly the same place a year on with friends that I had made in Colorado. Woooh does life move quick.

2014                                                                         2015

With some extra stops on our whirlwind tour including a drive through Bushmills town, a sneak peak at Dunluce castle and the cherry on top; fish and chips in Portstewart by the sea.

Next american ninja warriors in training

If you thought that was everything, think again. To round this 'relaxing' day off nicely, we had to get the guys a sup of the black stuff especially since Guinness tastes best in Ireland. Fact!

An unexpected view


The perfect weather conditions along side the right timing equalled to a beautiful first flight for myself in over a year and a smooth first flight for both Emma and Ander. Theres just no words to describe the feeling of sailing over where I call home; I don't take the opportunities and experiences that I get for granted and to have the chance of sharing this gift with close friends, I'm simply speechless (that doesn't happen often).

Maghera 'Hall street'. Photo cred. Ander



The day has finally arrived. Quite some time talking about it, a few months of planning, a couple of weeks of anticipation and it's finally all coming together. Emma and Ander are here. The feeling of a long prepared planning working out is extremely satisfying.

It began back in December over Christmas, both Ander and I decided not to go home for the holidays (instead my family were travelling out to visit) whilst I was resting my broken foot we started thinking about what would happen when it was time to go back home, would we like to meet up and would it really happen. Without another thought the preparations began; first choosing the month of August (best chance of good weather) and secondly the all-Ireland Feadh is a sight not to be missed. From then on it was set.

Safely arrived and ready to see what the beautiful emerald Isle has to offer.

Hiking An Carn

Whats a more typical thing to do on your first visit to Ireland, than go for a walk up a mountain; through fields full of sheep, jumping over rock walls and gates.
They managed to get a really taste of what Ireland is all about, all in one day.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Instantly hungry

Something a little different. I have a passion for food; both making and baking but mostly eating good food. I am a vegetarian (well to be honest a Pescetarian, I eat fish sometimes) for health related reasons, we as a family converted to a healthier lifestyle when my brother and I were both very young; beginning as vegans then as we got older we were able to eat dairy products without having the effects of asthma since ours bodies had built up the resistance over the years of healthy eating. 

I definitely varied off track with that story just a tad but there was a point, we have always looked at alternative to what we call 'bad' foods and how to enhance our food and make it interesting since everyone claims that vegetarian food is very plain and boring. I disagree, by being vegetarians or pescetarian you try new alternatives and explore new flavours that meat eaters might not. 

I thought I would share one of my favourite simple meals that I make; it's super easy to throw together and it tastes absolutely delicious (if I do say so myself) my 'Bucket Salad'.

Spinach, Lettuce, Rocket, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, cucumber, Sunflower seeds, Almonds

Olive Oil, Balsamic dressing, Mustard powder, Salt and Pepper, Honey

Take the seeds and nuts, put them in a dry pan and roast them to enhance the flavour. Mix up the dress in a jar, tear the spinach, rocket and lettuce up, pop in the 'bucket' chop up tomatoes, cucumber and mushrooms then add on top of the leaves along with the roasted nuts and seeds, pour in some of the dress. Simply mix and gobble up, washed down with a cup of green tea or yogi tea and thats me sorted. 

I love photographing food; although it has a side effect of instantly making me hungry when looking through my camera.

Friday, 12 June 2015


Do you ever wonder why we are put through particular challenges in our lives? Why me and not them? Why in general? 

As humans we are inclined to questions things, situations, circumstances etc. When I was a child, if I was asked to do something my first reaction was, why? It was instinct. If I have learnt one thing from life so far, it is no matter what way you try and protect yourself from bad or unpleasant situations happening theres just no point; these issues are going to arrive in our paths and come knocking at our doors whether we like it or not. So why fight it happening or avoid them. I've been through my fair share of problems in my life (who hasn't) and right in the middle of it all, I wanted nothing more than for it all to go away with the click of my fingers. Now, I never thought the day would appear that I would say this, but I am so glad of those challenges and difficult times because they have helped to shape the type of person I am and have shown me exactly what I can handle when I am put under pressure. 

"A tea bag can only show it's true strength when put into boiling water"

I never say any of this lightly, don't get me wrong people go through situations that are life changing and practically impossible to imagine; I'm sure if they had a choice they would prefer not to go through but I stand by these words that 'everything happens for a reason' the timing, the circumstances and the people involved. 

I was watching Evan Almighty the movie recently and a part of the movie stood out to me more so than ever before, possibly because it was relevant but when God was talking to Evan's wife he said;

"Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patiences, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? 
If someone prayed for the family to be closer do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them the opportunities to love each other?"

We ask ourselves why we are going through these tough times and why it has happened to me? But every time a new issue arises I realise that there is always something to be learnt from it. I have in the past also asked to be better at something; and what way to get better at something than to have practice at it. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The month of May

Any other year I would be more than glad to see May, its was always one step closer to exams finishing and summer finally starting but for the first time ever I wouldn't be bothered if I didn't even arrive. May was the month I was heading back home, the 1st of May was the day I had to move out of my apartment on campus, the 2nd May was graduation and as the days ticked by more and more people were leaving town. It was bitter sweat, I obviously was excited to see everyone back at home but if that day was June, July or even August I wouldn't be complaining. 

My first experience of an american graduation did not fail my expectations, better than I thought and a great roundup to a wonderful year. A day of pure celebrations.


The toughest day of all was not so much the day I left but more so the day that I had to say goodbye till two of my closest friends; I know for a fact that all four of us were upset but it was the first time that it really sunk in; We were all going home. I don't know if people thought that I was crazy when I said this, but I was privileged to be feeling as crappy as I did that day, it was a clear sign that those who I had dropped off at the airport were that great of friends that saying goodbye was so difficult. 

Its one thing going to college in Durango and getting to spend the evenings and weekends having some fun in town but its even better when theres no college or homework to think about. It was finally summer!! and I had a week before I was off to New York, time to have some fun.


 Cinco de Mayo

 Biking the Grid with Lindsey and a sneaky Liquor run.


What can I say, this whole experience has been... 'A whirlwind Adventure'.
I'll be back some day Durango don't you worry, this isn't the last that you have seen of me.


 Kathy and I taking on Manhattan one rooftop at a time.


 Grand Central Terminal

Got the chance to meet up with Jason in Manhattan for the day, taking the boat over to Brooklyn for ice cream, walks and beautiful sights of the city.

Desert time

Rounding off the day chilling in the summer sun in union Square park.


Thanks to Kathy and her friends I had a wonderful time in Manhattan, these ladies sure know how to have a good time in the city; they know where the best restaurants, bars and places to hear good local music are. Thank you Kathy for a wonderful week and letting me have a taste of my NY dream, living in the city.


What a way to round off these 9 months but a window seat no one beside me so I can sprawl out and have a nap, a good movie and flying with my favourite 'Virgin atlantic'.

America I Loved you.