Thursday, 13 December 2018

5 Lessons Learned in 2018

The year is winding down and it's time for a little reflection on the past twelve months.

I've learned a lot this year, and I'm going to tell you all about the lessons 2018 has taught me.

Image: Wolf Bear - I believe in the good things coming, today and every day. 

1. I Can Do Anything I Damn Well Please. 

This year has had an overarching lesson above all - I am the master of my own fate. I can do whatever the hell I want and I don't have to justify myself to anyone.

Now, looking at this statement it's fair to say that it could be construed in a negative light, but I don't mean it as such. I'm not just rolling around doing whatever whims take me and I'm certainly not out to hurt anyone with my actions. What I mean is that I CAN move to India. I CAN quit my job and go freelance. I CAN propose to my man. I can do anything. And that lesson is so positive for me.

2. The Only Way Out is Through. 

I will say to almost anyone who asks that I loved my old job. I did. For ages. But then it became a chore. It became repetitive and boring and it eventually began to grate on my mental health. I knew that I couldn't just give up though, and so I persevered and made myself keep going as I searched for a job that would help me pursue my dreams.

I am glad that I kept going, that I openly discussed the issues I had developed with the job with my managers and my friends, and I am so glad that I am pursuing my freelance dreams, because it has only bolstered my opinion that the company I worked for prior to my freelance career are awesome - because they understood my viewpoint and they were there for me until the very last moment.

3. Intentional Living is For Me

India has taught me something about myself that I really never fully focused on: I am far more thoughtful than I ever gave myself credit for. I have learned that living intentionally is far easier and brings a lot of contentment to my life. I am trying to be more thoughtful about how I consume everything (which is bloody difficult in a country like India), and I feel the benefits of it already.

Granted it has only been a couple of months, but I am feeling so much better about my life and my footprint. As I write this I can happily state that I have managed to have an almost zero waste cup of tea in Starbucks - opting for a ceramic cup, not using sugar packets, not putting my teabag on a napkin, asking for a jug of milk instead of a UHT packet and so on.

FYI, I'll be uploading my What's In My Low Impact Bag in the future, so check that out! 

4. Make Gratitude the Attitude

I've always been the type to say thank you to anyone who has ever done something for me, but this year I have been more vocal about it again. From emailing companies who create a product I love and enjoy to expressing to my friends what they mean to me, gratitude is the most wonderful thing we can spread. Telling people that we appreciate them is so important. You have no idea what that small moment of connection and positivity can do for a person's mental health, your smile and positivity can bring real change to the world around you.

I've also been donating to creative projects by creators I love and enjoy where I can, though this is entirely non-essential.

5. Put Down The Tech

A lot of my life is lived online, but I have come to learn and further, enjoy putting my tech down. Making friends with people, learning about the world around me, feeding the street dogs in my locality - all of this has been facilitated by putting my phone down and paying attention to something beyond my screen.

I've been able to come off my antidepressants, I've learned how to mitigate my migraines, how to live more thoughtfully and how to actually be a human. When I do want to take a step away from the world, I don't feel bad - balance is the key, and there's no guilt on the occasions that I do need to block out the world - I'm just not constantly plugged into an electronic device.

So there are some lessons I've learned this year. I hope they were interesting to you and perhaps inspired you for 2019. 


Saturday, 1 December 2018

TTDTYA - Owning a FitBit

Something I have always wanted is a Fitbit, but it was always more of a nice thought, an arbitrary piece of kit I was never really going to buy for myself. Really, I was enamored by the idea of a FitBit, taken by the notion of tracking my fitness and everything else.

The thing is, I haven't shot my bow in a year, I haven't been out for a run in about the same, and I knew in my heart I would never buy one so long as I was so unmotivated in my sporting/fitness life.

Then I was given one. And my life is changed.

Here are all the things they don't tell you about owning a Fitbit.

You'll Be Suspicious At First.

When you first get it, you will be unsure, and a little suspicious. What can this gadget really do for you? How great can this glorified bracelet be? Is it really all that? Is it seriously waterproof??

Eventually, You'll Warm To It 

You'll charge it, set it up, install the app, and put it on your wrist. Then you'll forget about it for a while. You'll look at the app after a couple of days and see your sleep, your steps, any other activities, and you'll suddenly be enamored by it. After a few more days, you'll have started to set goals and see your habits starting to come to the fore. That's when you'll start to think, "This Fitbit malarkey is actually grand!!".

By this time, you'll have forgotten about it and worn it into the shower, or while you've done the dishes, and you'll begin to accept the waterproof nature of your new gadget.

It Will Seamlessly Integrate Into Your Life

By now, you'll trust yourself to wear it into the shower, and you'll have it on while you sleep, so you'll have started to see a clear picture of your fitness and your health habits. You'll check the app a couple of times a day, and each time, be more and more impressed with the information it gives you. Oh, you slept for 6 hours? But you were restless around 4am for 17 minutes? Well, bed earlier next time so!

You'll Regain Lost Motivation 

I used to run competitively, I was always out pounding the pavements and hitting the gym. That has not been the case recently. My FitBit has helped me with that. Because I've been wearing it every day, when I cycle to work or walk my housemate's dog in the evenings, it has helped me to slowly recover my goals. I've been slacking, and I know it. Now my FitBit holds me accountable. There is no denying the cold hard fact

When Your FitBit Needs To Be Charged, You'll Be Grumpy. 

It only takes a couple of hours to charge my Fitbit, but when I've got to take it off and plug it in, I'm not an impressed camper! I tend to charge it in work, where I'm sitting, and won't need to worry about my logs being inaccurate. Charging it is necessary, but it annoys me to no end!

You'll Want A Band To Go With Every Outfit 

One thing I've started to do is shop around for pendants and bands to put the FitBit into. Fancy looking bangles, pendants, and the silicone straps in every color. I'm going to wind up with a strap to match every outfit on a day to day basis and a fancy pendant to put it in to wear out to events. You'll become obsessed - unless you're into the "all black everything" aesthetic. Probably even then!

So there you have it! My list of things that they dont tell you about owning a Fitbit! 

Are there any things I've missed? Tell me in the comments below!! 

Amy x

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Lip Service: Minimalism and Pink Converse

So I was watching through some content on YouTube as I do on an almost obsessive basis, and I happened across Matt D'Avella, eventually finding my way to this video here:

Something about this video struck me. This idea that is perpetuated in elitist minimalist circles that you can't be part of their super exclusive club if you don't conform to strict ideals of what it means to be a minimalist.

You cant be a minimalist if you're a bookworm. 
You cant be a minimalist if you're a CEO. 
You cant be a minimalist if you're a beauty blogger. 
You cant be a minimalist if you're...

Heres the thing. I'm striving to be less cluttered and I find certain things, not everything now mind you, but certain things weigh on my mind. My clothing collection is one. I have three wardrobes on two continents. Fuck that. Who needs that? I should be able to happily store my stuff in one place. Not three.

If for me, minimalism is denoted by not having a bi-continental wardrobe, but rather having a few items I love dearly, and eight pairs of shoes, then that's what minimalism means.

Minimalism is relative. RE-LA-TIVE!!! If you are a clothing hoarder, and you cut your wardrobe down to half, and you staunch your shopping habit, then good on ya! I commend you for making a positive change in your life.

My motivation for minimizing is to declutter my space, both brain space and my surroundings.

I can be a minimalist if I truly want to move towards a lifestyle of less.

So how do I get to that end goal? To that lifestyle of less.

I've been ruminating on what actions I can take to get me to a place where I can feel I am functioning as a minimalist relative to my old self, and parting with things I don't miss, don't love and don't want anymore is going to be the first step. Starting with a fresh clean slate is important to me, and I want to be sure I get off on the right footing. Part of this means untangling the sentimentality that runs through each and every item I own.

If you're wondering why I have a picture of a pair of Converse in this blog post - a tatty dirty pair, to that end, I will tell you the answer is two-fold.

The first reason is that these were the first truly difficult item I came across. I know they hurt my feet now, they're past their best, and they need to go, but I love them. How can I get rid of a pair of shoes that served me so faithfully for so long? How can I just cast them aside like they don't matter? Like they mean nothing? What kind of person just dumps something she loves like this?

Do you see a pattern forming in the thoughts and questions here? Cause I do!!

I had to be very firm with myself and say, "Amy, they're shoes. They don't have feelings, nor are they capable of complex thought. They're literally some rubber soles, fabric and lacing to cover your feet. Get over yourself."

And the thing is, I know that is right. I know that it's true that they've served me faithfully, and that by continuing to cling to them, they are simply occupying physical space in my life, as well as occupying mental space. By continuing to keep hold of these tatty trainers, I am giving power to the part of my brain that forms silly attachments. They're shoes, not my childhood bear.

The second reason I borrowed from the gentleman above too, but from a different video. If taking a picture of them and keeping that picture helps to in some way placate the part of me that needs to be sentimental, then so be it. I can take these pictures, rid myself of the item, collate the item to a digital album that keeps them organized and safe while moving on with my life. I can keep a record of the things I have appreciated and loved in my life, while also being free to live my life unencumbered by stuff. 

I managed to have a stern word with myself, and then snap a picture and just... deep breath... let them go. Exhale. Immediately I felt lighter.

There are obvious areas in my life where I can't live a spartan existence. I have a very very nice record player and collection of vinyl, and while I might be able to donate or resell a few records, I wouldn't dream of slashing it down just to fit some idealized vision of a minimalist lifestyle. Again, this all just brings home the idea of minimalism being a relative concept, a relative lifestyle.

At the end of the day, you don't have anything to prove to me, to the elitist minimalists who only own 100 items, to anyone! You have to blaze your own trail and in doing so, you will come to learn what minimalism means to you and how it works best for your life.

I hope this has been useful to you, and I hope you are enjoying your journey!

Amy xo 

Monday, 26 November 2018

Red Goes Green: Ways To Declutter Your Life

If like me, you love a good clear out, you should enjoy today's post. I have been working on decluttering my life across three locations, Hyderabad, Meath, and Dublin.

Most people have three methods of decluttering: The Bin, The Charity Shop, and Recycling. Now I get it, it's easy to put clean plastics and cardboard and other recyclables into your green bin, and it's not a huge thing to bring your glass bottles and jars to the Recycling Banks, but what about the things you can't readily recycle or donate?

Today I am going to bring you my tips for decluttering your life, including the awkward things, in the categories of Donate, Recycle, Trash, and Misc.


Good quality clothes, such as that dress you bought last year that you swore would be "the dress" but you only wore three times. My modus operandi for donating is, "Would I want to wear this?", "Would I buy this?" and if you say yes, and it's not in absolute rags, it's good to bring to your local charity shop.

Now, the thing about this is, if you have a lot of stuff to donate, you may need to spread it around different charity shops. I like to give to my local Saint Vincent de Paul shops, which gives me the opportunity to donate in more than one area. It's also not cool to just dump all your shameful impulse buys in one place and make someone else do the hard work, so think about your plan.

You can also always donate at local bring banks if they have clothing donation bins, and if you live in an urban area, you might even be able to donate to local shelters and so forth. Have a look online for the best resources for you. Seriously. It'll take ten minutes and it will be a great use of your time.

Alternatively, donating can take the form of offering your friends first refusal on items from your wardrobe, before you take the remainder to the charity shop or donation center.


Easy enough, if you have access to a car. What I like to do is to take a day to do the sorting, and get all of the recycling in one place. Then in the morning of the next day, or on a day when you can, load up your car and head for the local recycling center. They will have designated areas for cardboard, tins, electronics, and so on. One thing I love the recycling center for is the clothing recycling facilities. Any clothing that you have that is holey, or tatty, or whatever else can be sent to recycling for textiles.

The beauty of this method is that you can make a huge dent in a small amount of time, and you can really make a change. Recycling center entry fees are extremely affordable, and if it costs you a couple of quid to get in, it's worth it!!

Equally, you can always take a couple of things that are not fit for donation, but in decent condition to make into rags for dusting and cleaning, saving you the cost of paper towels or fancy-schmancy microfibre cloths!


Of course, there are things you may have to bin, and the likelihood is that you will have to toss out, and that's fair enough. The main thing to bear in mind here is to minimize the amount you need to toss in the bin.


There are things that you shouldn't bin, that you can't easily recycle and that you should not donate. Things like old pillows, teddies, and duvets/blankets. You can donate these to local dog shelters. Honestly, they will be delighted to get them and use them, and you will feel so good that the kitties and the puppies that are sleeping on them are warm and comfy.

Food scraps can be composted for the most part, if you have space or utilities to do so. If you don't, please do not fret, you are already doing the best you can.

Gift bags are good to keep and reuse, to re-wrap a gift for someone you love. Save your dolla-dolla for use on other things!

If you have doubles of things you don't want, then pass them along to people you think might enjoy them. For example, I have a second set of cutlery, so I gave the extra set to Dex for work, and now he has a low-impact lunch kit!

I hope these were useful to you!


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Monday, 19 November 2018

Red Goes Green: Easy Low Impact Living Swaps

As I've been doing more to be a conscious consumer and make better choices with regard to being more eco-friendly and lowering my footprint on this planet, I've come across a few different swaps that were incredibly easy to make.

Ta-Da! A shiny new segment on my blog, dedicated to all things sustainable and low impact!

I know not all of us have the money to go out and spend on replacing things in our lives that are more eco-friendly and less wasteful, but there are certain choices we can make that make our day to day lives greener.

I've tried to include the approximate price brackets for these swaps so I can show you how accessible they really are. The idea of this movement is to make conscious changes that add up to a more sustainable lifestyle in the long-term. It's also a great way to save money, which, for me, is important as myself and Dex are going to be saving for our wedding come the new year, and we want to be sure that we are doing everything we can to help ourselves in that goal!

Reusable Water Bottles 

This can be as easy as reusing a bottle you got water in one day and simply refilling it wherever you can. If you are in the market for a good quality water bottle that will last you a long time to come, then you could pick up a double-walled bottle from stores like Stock on South King Street, or even TK Maxx.

TK Maxx is a good option for budget-friendly choices that usually are not wrapped in plastic, then put in a box and so on. You can usually pick out the bottle you want from a shelf load of options and all you have to deal with is the sticky label on the outside. Much less wasteful than a plethora of single-use water bottles or a bottle wrapped in two or three layers of soon-to-be trash!

Cost: €0 - €10

My canvas bag I got in my local Ikea
Canvas Grocery Bags

My mother instilled in me from a young age that to carry a small foldable shopping bag with you is the most useful thing you can have. Most of us have one or two lying around that we were given for free at some event or that came with a purchase of some kind.

I have two that I keep on me at all times, just to make sure that if I do need to carry something on a moments notice, I don't need to worry about needing to get hold of a plastic carrier bag. Once I've gotten to my destination, which is usually my home, I simply fold it up and pop it back into my bag for the next time I might need it. Handy!

The beauty of the canvas bag swap is that you can get ones that are personal or that fit your ethics/morals/tastes to a tee. I have one for a few years now from the Yes Equality movement during the Marriage Equality Referendum a few years back. It makes me smile knowing that the purchase I made of that bag helped to fund a movement I was passionate about, and I feel so badass knowing that I get to show my support not just for my beautiful LGBT peers, but also for my belief in being more environmentally sound.

Cost: €0 - €3


I have a reusable cutlery kit that I adore, but this doesn't mean you need one.

You could just as easily snag a knife, fork, and spoon from your cutlery drawer and use them. All you are doing is helping to avoid the use of plastic cutlery. Let's be honest here, plastic forks are shit, and they're a waste. Carrying cutlery is easy as! If you wanted to be extra environmentally sound, you could even wrap them up in a cloth napkin to eliminate your use of paper napkins!

Cost: €0 - €8


I'm sorry, I'm just so so obsessed with my Safety Razor that I cannot shut up about it. I want to kick my own ass for going on about it so much. Honestly, though, it has changed my entire shaving routine. I get a closer shave that lasts longer and I enjoy the process.

You can get safety razors from all kinds of places, from AliExpress to eBay to more specialized local stores like, and they come at all sorts of price points, ranging from low to very high. Once you've made the investment into the razor, the blades are all you need to replace, and they are super cheap.

You can recycle the blades, but be sure to do so SAFELY. They're sharp, and you don't want to undo all your good work by slicking some poor binman open. Many razor sheaths (the plastic thing they come in) have a reverse slot for the old blades so you can be sure you're being as safe as possible in your disposal.

Shaving with a safety razor has taking a boring, generally dreaded chore to a wonderful self care task. I like to combine a few other self-care things with the process of shaving my legs, such as doing a hair and face mask combo, listening to some music or a podcast, and generally taking the time to enjoy the meditative process. Compared to disposable razors which don't shave as closely, the whole process of shaving with one is not nearly as enjoyable all around.

Who knows, you might end up like me, who now faces the task of getting a safety razor for her fiancee who has taken a liking to my one!

Cost: Razor; €20 - €100+, Blades; €3 - €10 per pack of 10

Feminine Hygiene Products

If you are a person who has periods, you will know that the use of disposable products is absolutely rife. By making the switch to reusable alternatives, you will be saving money as well as waste.

I have a menstrual cup, but I'm also dying to get hold of a few reusable pads to try out and use during the nights. I'm not repulsed by my own body, neither should you be. Empty the menstrual cup, wash the pads, it's not a huge deal to do and the environment will thank you for it!

Cost: Varies

So there you have some easy Low impact Living Swaps that don't break the bank, but that you can treat yourself too if you would like to. The cost involved with each of these swaps are mostly one off purchases that you will have forever with any luck, or if you must make repeat purchases, you won't have to do so very often at all. 

Remember that this lifestyle is a journey and you don't have to be perfect. Doing your best is absolutely enough! 

Til next time, 
Amy x 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

My Skincare Routine : Indian Edition

Since coming to India, my skin has actually been pretty well behaved. The humid climate of Hyderabad is pretty forgiving, or so it seems to me! I've updated my skincare routine pretty drastically since we arrived, more or less chucking anything that didn't seem to agree with my skin and the heat. I've also seriously leaned into the national love for the brand Kaya and The Body Shop.

To start, I'll begin with my face. I picked up a set of Kaya skincare from the Kaya counter in Shopper Stop, boasting a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. You can even buy a serum separately, but I haven't bothered. It was around 1800 INR or less than €22 all in.

The Kaya Purifying Cleanser is a clear gel consistency, with a light scent. I use a pea size amount with lukewarm water to gently massage my face and if I feel the need, I will use a mild exfoliating sponge into the bargain.

I pat my skin dry with a towel and then I take the Kaya Purifying Toner, spray it onto a cotton pad and wipe down my face and neck with it. After this step, if I'm feeling fancy, I'll use a couple of spritzes of The Body Shop Vitamin C Energizing Face Mist (945 INR or €11), before gently pressing my Purifying Nourisher into my face and neck for a lightweight moisturizer.

Once I've all of this done and I've let the whole regimen sink into my skin for a few minutes, then I like to assess whether I should do a face mask in the evening and if I do, I choose between two I particularly love from The Body Shop: Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying (1895 INR or €23) and Polishing Mask, and their Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask (1895 INR or €23). I will smooth one or the other on for 15 or 20 minutes in the evening, and rinse with lukewarm water. I tend not to bother moisturizing too much at night as the evenings are incredibly warm and I feel as though sweating off my lotions and potions would be wasteful.

Body-wise, I use a loofah scrub and The Body Shop Indian Night Jasmine Shower Gel, which smells incredible. Once I've dried off I use a light gel lotion, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream, which I brought from Ireland! It has little to no scent and sinks in super quickly. I always feel soft and smooth with this body care routine, without being weighed down in the heat.

Next time, I'll go through my hair care routine! 

Til then, 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Things They Don't Tell You About: India

India is an incredible place, but there is a steep, steep learning curve that comes along with it! I have never been the type to go anywhere unprepared,  no matter the destination.

Everywhere I've ever traveled as an adult has been accompanied by a guide-book of some kind, often a phrase-book too, which I feel allows me to be as prepared as I can be, while online research helps me to assimilate the cultural differences more easily as I know what to expect from the get-go. If you've read this post, you'll know that I was pretty thrown by everything India.

So, what have I learned?

1. People Will Stare At You (At Least)

Just accept this and move on. You will be stared at, you might be approached by people who want to talk to you, or take a selfie with you. If you're a pale and pasty person, it's one thing, but if you're blonde, red, or any "unnatural" hair color, you're going to get more looks than if you're a pale brunette.

Other things you may experience is shouting. It's not meant maliciously, as in my experience Indians are warm, welcoming and so friendly. They're just curious about you. You are different after all. I've had people pull in off the road to talk to me, but I usually try to politely say no and keep walking.

I've also had people hang out of their car or busses to stare as they pass by. It's fine. It's just curiosity, and that's okay.

2. The Poverty Will Shock (And Probably Upset) You

It's not uncommon in India to see a big glass shopping mall full of high-end brands beset by shanty-villages full of huts and makeshift houses. It's also pretty common to see people washing on the side of the road in broad daylight. It's pretty upsetting to see. There are kids running barefoot, street-dogs roaming around and other sights that you won't see in the west. It's tough to take, and it is deeply upsetting, but in most cases, people are seen smiling and happy no matter their situation. I guess the thought is that it can always be worse.

3. They Will Do Some Things Better And Some Things WAY Worse

Things India does better than Ireland: Ice-cream, microwave popcorn, customer service (even if it is annoying), affordable technology, jewelry (specifically gold and diamonds), cheap taxis (Uber and OLA - represent!), bar culture, colorful everything.

Things India absolutely does not do better than Ireland: Burgers, Mexican food, kitchens (don't even get me started!), time-keeping, leaving you to browse in shops (the culture is to be helpful to the point of annoying), grocery stores.

I find almost all of the pros outweigh the cons of this country. The food is all incredible, and so so cheap! Even when we go for a fine-dining meal, it's still very cost-effective. Transport is so affordable it's actually causing me anxiety about going back to Dublin prices!!

4. It's So Much Bigger Than You Can Imagine

The city we live in, Hyderabad, is huge. Honestly, it's on a scale I really could not come to terms with until we got here. I had thought to myself that I would go and visit this place and that place until I wrapped my head around the sheer scale of the place!

For context, Hyderabad city is AS BIG as Dublin COUNTY. The center of the city, the Old City around Charminar and Chowmalla Palace is equal to the "Dublin City Centre" area in terms of size. It's pretty hard to walk anywhere unless it's under 15 minutes away.

5. Despite Everything You Will Be Warned About, India Has An Irresistible Charm

You will see trash on the side of the road, but you'll also see the most colorful lorries around. People will stop you for selfies, but they will be so lovely to you, that you won't even mind. You will be seen as "wealthy" by street bazaar vendors and they will try to double the regular price, but if you haggle, they will smile at you and see you as one of their own. Your Indian friends that you make might underestimate your ability to assimilate, but when you do, they will be so proud and dub thee "Part-Indian".

Remember, when you come here, it's a learning curve that you need to give some time to in order to surmount it. With that said, it's a wonderful country, you're going to love it here.


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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Our Engagement Story #IProposedToHim

We're engaged!!!

Today I wanted to tell the story of how we got engaged.

I had been thinking about getting engaged for a long time. I mean, a long time. Honestly, this idea was floating around my head for months. However, one day a few weeks back, I couldn't move beyond the idea anymore, and I had to vent. I had been sitting on this for so long, it was time to air it to another person. We had talked about this before and had always said marriage was where we were headed, but it was abstract. I needed to get the thoughts and ideas out to someone who knew us both well enough to be informed, but who I knew would be honest no matter what.

The watch was much too big, despite my swiping a watch he already had to match the sizing!

I texted my friend Stephanie, who is Dex's best friend, as well as an amazing friend to me, and swore her to secrecy before divulging. She immediately texted back "I knew this was coming!!!" and we had a long chat, which the shortened version comes down to her saying "Fucking do it, and when he says yes, text me first!!". She even sent a video message for him to watch after the proposal.

I ran the idea by my mam, who was chill, and my sister, who by the way, didn't help with the nerves, texting me asking "Well??? Have you done it yet?"

It was time to start getting serious about things. Research time! There was only one thing, and that was the paranoia that Dex would hear my thoughts or see what I was searching for on Google. Honestly, it was hard to fall asleep and stay asleep for two or three days. My ads changed on every single platform I was on. Instagram? Watches. Twitter? Watches!! I was a woman possessed.

Indian Champagne and a bubble bath in our 5* suite!

Once I found the place I was going to buy the watch, I went straight into the nearest branch, and started the looking process. Initially, I had narrowed my search to a couple of brands, but of course, true to my nature, I was thrown by the sheer amount of watches and assistance I was given in store. I ended up throwing the budget out the window and going with an incredible watch that, had it not been on sale, I never would have been able to afford, but I knew in my heart, this was THE watch. Professional looking but super luxe too. I asked the team to keep the watch for me, left the Hublot one I swiped from his bedside table for sizing, and I sat down to do a day of work in the Starbucks around the corner.

In between working on my files for the day, I pinged Dex's mum on Facebook Messenger and asked her to drop me a line when she had a few free minutes. Honestly, I was shit scared, to put it bluntly, and it was the most stressful wait of my life for her to come online, even with the time difference from India to Ireland. When she came online, I just asked her out flat, if I could have her blessing to ask him to be mine forever, and nearly burst into tears in the middle of Starbucks when she said yes, and was so incredibly kind and supportive of my asking. Now there was nothing stopping me. I had the go-ahead from the most important voice in the whole shebang!

Once I finished up for the day, I went back to the store, bought the watch, and set about putting a plan in motion to pop the question. Initially, the plan was to wait until we went to Goa for a relaxing mini-break, but I knew that was not going to be possible. Where would I hide the watch? What if he found it? Jesus, would I sleep again? I'd be skeletal from stress. That plan was out the window. So I went and picked up a bottle of aftershave I had seen him admiring in The Body Shop the weekend beforehand, and made up a sort-of plan in my mind.

Right after he put a ring on it! (feat. A watch that actually fits!)

I decided to just ask. At home, in the privacy of our apartment, with no crowds or stress. Just the two of us. So I went home, cleaned the apartment to within an inch of its life, and sat there, stressing. Waiting. Watching the clock, and not watching the many, many things I had playing on Netflix. I put on my favorite yellow dress, did my hair, put a little makeup on, quickly cobbled together a cute Spotify playlist of romantic songs, paired my Bluetooth speaker to my phone. And then finally, he came home.

He came in the door, popped his bag in the chair and as he visibly relaxed, I told him there was a gift on his bedside table. While he went to retrieve it, I pressed play so Ellie Goulding's cover of Your Song was playing, grabbed the watch box, and stood in the doorway of the room, just out of sight. I could hear scuffling, sighing, and a muffled expletive. Calling out to him, as nonchalantly as I could, I asked what he was doing. He was changing into his pajama shorts. Then I didn't ask.

"I was going to get down on one knee, but I think this makes the same point.", tears in my eyes, wobbly voice, barely standing before the man of my dreams. (I will never ever make light of anyone proposing, it's scary as all hell.)

He looked at the watch, then he looked at me as the penny dropped. I was barely keeping it together, as he asked "Are you serious?" or something of that ilk. I nodded, and then I asked, "Will you marry me?" and a little sob escaped me as he said yes. I have never hugged someone so tightly as I did at that moment, and when the shaking subsided, I kissed him and I actually said: "Thank god for that, I was so scared you might say no,".

We let it settle in for a few minutes, and then I knew I had to text Steph to let her know the plan went..... to plan, I guess! And then it was time to text my best friend, my mam and sister, other friends, and for Dex to do the same. He rang his mum, and his brother and sister, and we sent a cute selfie to them to have as well.

We had a couple of mini celebrations, the first was in a private suite in a 5* hotel, where we were treated like royalty, and a couple of weeks later we had a bit of a do with friends in a great little outdoor bar. Once we get home to Ireland, we will be having an almighty party, that's a fact!

A close up of the ring for those of you who might be nosy!

Dex wanted to pick out the ring I would wear with me, so we went to a few jewelers and I was torn between two rings I adored, but eventually went for the smaller one because I'm not really a flashy person, and I didn't fancy a big massive sparkly thing. So we went for a nice little sparkle instead.

Honestly, getting engaged is such a wild ride, and all I can say is even though everything has changed, everything has stayed the same. It's been incredible, and now we get to embark on this new adventure into the rest of our lives together, together!

Girls, you don't have to wait for him. If marriage is something you've been talking about in the affirmative, then go for it. Screw tradition.

September 25th, 2018 changed my life for better and forever, and honestly, the 25th of September 2020 cannot get here quick enough so I can be Mrs. Dexter Whelan forevermore. 


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

I've a Feeling We're Not in Dublin Anymore...

When I said I would join Dex in India for a three month work assignment, I thought I would get off the plane and have the whole place cracked in the time it took to do the research beforehand. Basically, I was a cocky little shit and I believed books were better teachers than actual real experience. Oh, dear, how wrong I was.

You see, the thing is, you get off the plane, you go through all the immigration checks, the visas, the passport control, you are thoroughly searched and allowed through the airport and it doesn't hit you. You collect your suitcase at the baggage claim area, and walk through the arrivals gate and it still won't have hit you. And then, if you're lucky like I was, you meet your chauffeur, and you get on the road to your new, albeit temporary, home. It won't have hit you then either. You're in a country where you are in the minority.

Let that sink in.

On our first day in Hyderabad, we pretty much just got to the apartment, locked the door behind us, and passed out for a lovely 7 hour nap before ordering room service, getting onto the WiFi to get in touch with various family members, and then going back to sleep.

Sunday. Our first full day on Indian time. We decided to head out and explore a bit around our local area, Gachibowli. I was excited, hyped to see the real life India I had spent so much time reading about. We set off out of our complex, leaving the colony (estate, township, village, whatever you want to call it) and headed towards the main road. We had gone no more than five-hundred meters and that's when I hear it - the eye-watering, cringe-inducing crack of a bullwhip. Then I see him. A squat, round, wrinkled man, walking barefoot towards us and dressed in nothing but a pair of ragged shorts, with about a third of his body crudely painted. He progressed towards us at a steady pace, arms out-stretched, begging wordlessly. I skirted round him in that way you do when you see something or someone who you feel endangered by, facing him all the time until he had passed me and continued on his way down towards where we had started.

That was when it hit me.

That exceptionally mis-quoted line from The Wizard Of Oz never seemed more appropriate than right at that moment. Except instead of Toto, it was Dex, and instead of Kansas, it was Dublin. I was suddenly and very rudely, I might add, brought down to earth on the dusty side of Old Mumbai Highway with an unceremonious bang.

More Soon....