Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Making 2017 My Year - Prioritizing Self Care

Well, guys, it's been a while since I write a post about how I'm taking steps to make this year my year. As I write this, I'm finished college, but waiting to sit my final exam. I've got a new job. I'm making real progress in my professional life. I've booked the trip of a lifetime to visit my best friend over New Years in Japan. Things are exciting, and moving forward at a rate I nearly can't fully comprehend. And it's great, I'm thrilled. But I'm also run down.

With that in mind, I'm going to jot down a few little tips for self care, to help to boost you up when you're feeling run down and tired.


Take Care Of Your Insides

Looking after your physical self goes hand in hand with your mental health. I've started taking a multivitamin, and it's nice to know I'm making an active, albeit small, investment into my health, whether that's a placebo effect or not. I feel less sluggish. It's an easy way to keep your energy levels going and ward off any little sicknesses that are doing the rounds. A little boost can help a lot.

Go for walks, runs, to the gym, whatever you like. I like to walk when I can, and usually I will use the time to reflect and think. It's good to clear your head with a little jaunt into the world.

Show Yourself Some Self Love 

This is different for everyone, but you should always take time for yourself, at least once per week to just switch off, and do something that you feel will serve you, and only you. Pamper nights are something I try to do even if it's only just to put on a face pack after I take off my makeup. Some of my favorites are the Montage Jeunesse ones that you can get almost anywhere. Cook yourself a nice meal, put on a DVD, and relax while you paint your nails or something of that nature. It's worth investing in yourself, to remind yourself that (even if its only one evening per week) feeling relaxed and taken care of is more important than that email (which can wait, girl, trust me!), or that call.

Self care can be anything you want, by the way, from a pamper night in to a pint with a friend or whatever you like to do. If you want to do the ironing as a self care activity, that's up to you.


Make Time For Your Interests

Something I've come to learn this year is that if you have an interest that not everyone else does, that's okay. I love going to art galleries. I like the serenity, the creativity, the quiet violence of a surrealist painting from WW2. I don't share that with many of my friends, really, and that's okay. That's extra Me Time, when I go to do that. If you have a shared hobby with someone, that's awesome, do that!

It's okay to have fragmented interests within a shared hobby, though. For myself and my boyfriend, we love to read. He loves fantasy, and honestly, with the exception of LOTR, Harry Potter, and some Pratchett, I couldn't care less about fantasy. I love non-fiction, Sci-Fi rooted in reality, dystopian novels. I'll read biographies of painters and Ross O'Carroll-Kelly til the end of my days, and he wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole. If you like to read quietly with your other half, do that. Make a pot of tea or coffee, curl up at opposite ends of the sofa and share the quiet together.

Find A Meditative State You Enjoy 

If you had told me last year I would be using guided meditation to ground myself, I'd have laughed rudely into your face. But here I am. I use the Headspace app that a friend recommended to me. That's useful during the day if I feel myself zoning out.

At night, I do something a bit weird, but it works for me, so maybe it'll help you. I go to bed around 11pm every night and I put on a Bob Ross video on YouTube. I let that play quietly in the background and I focus on my breathing, while Bob paints his happy little trees... I'll breathe in deeply but gently, and I'll breathe out quietly. I focus on my breathing for a minute or two, and then I'll try to focus on the weight of my legs, then my arms, then my torso and before I know it, I've woken up the next morning. Since I started doing this, I don't have nightmares, I sleep deeply and unbroken. It's been such a helpful tool. The only bad thing is I never see a finished painting! A small price to pay, really.

There are a million other tips I could write about here, but I'll leave it there for today. 

If you have any other tips for me, please let me know in the comments! 


Monday, 2 October 2017

What Time Is It? It's Quiver Time*!!!

Quiver Time Logo from
Quiver Time Logo Image:
If you didn't know this about me, I've been playing Magic The Gathering for a few months now. In that time I've amassed quite a collection of cards. I have been storing my decks in deck boxes, and those deck boxes in an archive box I had laying about for a long time. 

Now, that information is meaningless without some context: I live in rural Meath, and my trek to my Local Game Store, of which I have two, Gamers World Jervis St, and Sub City Mary St, can take two hours on a bad day. I also play MTG before college most Thursdays with my friend Darragh on Thursday afternoons. This adds extra bulk and weight to my college bags and makes transporting my collection both bothersome and tiresome.

Recently I've attempted to cut my travel decks down to one Commander deck, the C16 Feline Ferocity, for those curious, and a Rakdos (red/black) standard deck, though even still they take up a chunk of space in any bag I put them in, from my backpack to my purse, especially with my playmat in a cardboard tube. My only saving grace is that my boyfriend lives a stones throw from both Gamers World and Sub City and so I don't have to worry once I make it to Dublin. The thing is, I want to be able to take all of my standard decks, my commander, some sideboard goodness and some other cards with me all the time. I also want to carry my Glorybringer Playmat (Amsterdam GP, not that I was there, it was a gift) with me too, in one compact place. I mean, Ixalan has had it's pre-release, so I want to be able to experiment on the fly with different tribal combos, buy boosters and not worry about space or transportation.

Enter, stage right, the Quiver Time case. Quiver Time is a small company that makes one thing, the Quiver Time Case, and does it really well. From the moment I opened the package, I was blown away. Firstly, it was somehow bigger and smaller than I expected in equal measure. It's bigger in that it's thicker, more sturdy than I imagined, and smaller in that despite it's thickness and build quality, it's still compact. Then I realised there was a plethora of other accessories, two red and two black acrylic dividers, two packs of clear sleeves for cards, velcro dividers for sectioning off areas of the case, two end caps to square the ends of the interior (which stops cards bending) and two straps (one wrist strap, one back/shoulder strap).

To the non-MtG players reading this, the level of division and protection offered may seem like overkill, but honestly, this hobby can get expensive. Players like myself, and competitive players alike want to protect their collections at all costs.

As soon as I had un-boxed it I popped my current "in play" decks into it, and my play-mat, zipped it up and took in the fact that now I have a compact, space efficient way to store and transport my collection. The outer skin of the case is a thick, tough PU made to look like leather, with water resistant zippers and great quality pull tabs. The strap is super strong, well woven to take the hefty weight of up to 1000 cards and anything else you want to pop in there. I wouldn't worry about dashing through the rain with this on my back, that much is for absolutely certain. It's tough, but it has to be to stand up to me!! 

One thing I noticed and continue to be delighted by is the sheer level of love and attention that has gone into the concept, design and build quality of this case. I have nothing but the highest respect for people who pour their love and attention into creating amazing things, and the team over at Quiver Time have my utmost respect and admiration. I get intense joy from the name too, Quiver. As an archer, I am endlessly drawn to things that remind me of my beloved sport. Throwing this over your shoulder, across your back, it really does look like a medieval quiver, Robin Hood style. Very cool indeed!

I should also say that this case is not just for Magic The Gathering, it's suitable for all kinds of people, whether you play Magic, YuGiOh, poker, whatever you like! There might even be a cheeky pack of Uno cards getting slipped into my Quiver soon, but shh, don't tell Dex!

It's ideal for the intrepid traveler, such as those who play at Grand Prix, the Pro Tour, even just those like me who play with friends in the city. Truly, I cant imagine there being a player out there that this wouldn't be a good purchase for. It would also make an incredible gift for someone you love, who loves card games.

Quiver Time sells on Amazon for £39.90 GBP, and comes with a bunch of extra accessories such as dividers, a long strap, a wrist strap and deck separators similar to what you get in Ultimate Guard 100+ Deck N Tray boxes. It fits sleeved, un-sleeved and double sleeved cards, most standard deck boxes (Ultra Pro, Ultimate Guard etc), dice, accessories and your play mat. What isn't to love, guys?


I was not paid for this review, however, John over at Quiver Time did send me this for review purposes. As always, my opinion is 100% my own. I want to thank Dex for taking these photos, and being the lovely model in the last two!