Wednesday, 4 October 2017

New York Diaries - I've made it

Hello, from a very sunny New York City! 

Polaroid by @oldchemical 2nd Oct 2017. Brooklyn Bridge. 
I  wanted to do a blog post of my early days here in NYC before I forget some of the things I think are important to remember.

So I arrived off the airplane last Friday the 29th of September - I flew with Norwegian Air and I have to say for a low budget flight it was perfect. The staff were so nice and the food/drink on board was sufficient for what I needed - but with that being said I did also buy loads of snacks before I got on the plane!  

So hoping off the 8 hour flight I jumped on the express bus outside Stewart International Airport that would take us into the city - a long, VERY long two hours later I arrived in Port Authority and was met with the bright lights and beeping noise that is Times Square. Thankfully I had someone who knew what they were doing meet me off the bus so we quickly jumped in a taxi outside Port Authority (there is a taxi rank so it was easy to grab one) and headed off to Queens to my new apartment. The yellow taxi cost only $21 dollars plus a bit more for a tip, but overall it was cheap and dropped me right at my door! 

Fast forward four days later and here I am sitting in my new room that was thankfully furnished when I moved in - has plenty of storage and a nice street few, of well a street but still it's not of a wall so that's a bonus! 

I'm still tired, I've been going to sleep at 9/10 at night because I can't keep my eyes open and then waking at 6/7 but I suppose that is a good sign as I can make more use of my day! 

My biggest worry about moving here was navigating my way around the place - terrified because I didn't have any 3G. On Saturday I braved the subway, bought my weekly ticket (it cost $31 and for a monthly it is $116 but I went with a weekly in-case I lost my monthly one!) 

Before I got on the subway I download two apps that have been SAVING MY ASS and a must for anyone visiting the city! and NYC Subway - both free on the app store and work offline, so you don't need Wifi or 3G. tracks your location - even on flight mode and shows you were you are at all times! 
NYC subway app is a life saver, if you are at a station and no where your next one is, you just put it in route planner and it tells you exactly how long, how many changes and what line you should be on!

Uber and Lyft are also two must haves in this city - however you do need Internet access but only to request the ride, so once you have it ordered turn it off and you're good to go! 

After working every day this summer to make as much money as I could I am still in holiday mode as I begin my fourth full day here in New York -but choosing to see all the free sights as to not waste my money - there is so many things to do here and I want to see as many of the famous sights as I can before starting work.  So today I did something I have always wanted to do - Top of the Rock.

So that's all I have to update on, currently sitting here trying to find Journalism jobs online which is a bit over whelming but I am powering through. If anyone reading this wants to offer me as a Journalist then please hit ME UP! 

Today on top of the Rockerfeller it really hit home that I am lucky enough to be living in one of the greatest cities in the world. When I wake up in the morning I almost feel guilty for not jumping out of bed and going to explore right away - even now sitting on the couch I feel like I should be out exploring but I have to remind myself I have 13 months to do all that. 

Until next time.......


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Like, Realizing Stuff

Kylie Jenner once uttered the infamous line: "Like Realizing stuff" in January 2016 where she talked about her New Years resolutions in a video on her Youtube Channel.


"Like, I feel like every year has a new energy and I feel like this year is really about, like, the year of just realizing stuff. And everyone around me, we're all just, like realizing things" - KJ, 2016.  

And her like many other brands have capitalised on this infamous line for branding for suckers like me who occasionally like wearing slogan t-shirts. I bought it with Longitude in mind but I didn't end up wearing it. I bought mine from Missy Empire and got it in a size 14 as I am normally a 12 I thought I will get it a bit more lose fitting. Wellllllll little did I know Missy Empire size 14 is like a Men's XXL.  It is like a dress on me and it is really tucked into my jeans in the pictures below. So if you're thinking of buying t-shirts from them, I would either stick to your own size or even size down!!!! or if you want to wear it as a dress than work away....

Jeans: Primark; Shoes: Van Dupes from Primark; T-Shirt: Missy Empire; Watch: Cluse 
A big shoutout to photographer extraordinaire Rachel Murray for helping me with these photos.
You can go show her some love on her Instagram and Twitter

Hope you liked the post! 

Also I started Vloging so check out my Youtube Channel HERE!  

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

one step forward, two steps back?

Hello there, 

It's been a while since I've sat down and wrote on here. The summer has been flying by in-fact it's over?? This time last year I was in full on panic mode over my Thesis for my Masters and here I am a year on a few months experience as a Journalist under my belt, I went back working in a Hotel (something I swore I would never do...) and in less than four weeks I am packing up my life and moving to New York City (more on that soon....). 

This post is as I have said a million times before my attempt at a fashion-type blog post, once again it's just my comfy/causal/blackclothesoutfit. Shout out to my photographer and bestie Rachel Murray for taking the photos, we had an absolute laugh doing it and she's a gem for helping. 

As I mentioned in the above paragraph I went back to work in a hotel as a waitress after spending 8/9 months working as a journalist for the local paper here in Sligo and it is 8/9 months where I learned so much and will value that experience for years to come. Long story short I needed to make more money quickly as I knew I was heading away in September. It was a hard thing to do because I felt like I was quitting my career and what I had worked so hard on in my Masters the previous year. I was watching and still am, all my follow classmates killing it in the Media world - and rightly so they're all amazing Journalist/broadcasters/PR people. I felt like I was 'giving up' but at the end of the day, money was needed and I keep reminding myself you have to make sacrifices to get to where you want to be. 

Customers in the hotel constantly ask me 'Oh so what are you doing in college?' 'Are you just working here for the summer?' and it does get to me. I always reply, 'Well I am a Journalist, I did my Masters last year, I'm just working here before I go away'. It frustrates me because what if working in a hotel is my job all the time? which is perfectly fine, but there are plenty of people who have dropped out of college and are having to put a pause of their career like myself just to make more money to get by. They're questions make me want to work even harder. 

Jeans: Topshop Joni Jeans, T-shirt: Men's Section Penneys/Primark, Belt/Sunglasses: Penneys/Primark, Denim Jacket: New Look Shoes: Vans Slip Ons, Watch: Cluse

So what all that being said and done. I know I made the right choice because going to New York is something I have wanted to do and at the time stepping out of the Journalism game was something
that I had to do. This time three weeks I'll be preparing to head stateside and hopefully get some valuable experience in the big bad world of Journalism. Exciting but terrifying times ahead. 

But I'll be sure to keep writing just this time with prettier pictures of New York. 


Monday, 3 July 2017

My First Ylog: DownPatrick Head

So I took some footage back in April when teresa and I went to Downpatrick head and I threw it all together in my first 'vlog'. Not everyone's cup of tea but I actually really like editing and taking footage so we shall see how it goes. More to come. 

Check out the video below. 


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Where I've been and where I'm going

                                 New York, New York. A city so nice, they named it twice. 

                                                                 Instagram: Nova.York

Obsessed with a city that I have never even been, does in your dreams count?

I have been transported in TV shows to a city that apparently never sleeps, I've googled and saved more pictures of the iconic skyline, I follow every Instagram account that has pictures of this city and of course the obsession with the 90's dream show: Sex and the City where a blond runs around the city buying the most expensive shoes in the world, drinking cosmos every night all the while writing one small column for a news paper. 

Or Friends, where a group of 20 something year old all gather round a cafe during the day not working all the while living in dreamy New York apartments. 

                                                                    Instagram: Rachel Murray

New York is somewhere I have always wanted to go and I am one step closer as I sent off my graduate visa application to Boston to the Irish Immigration Centre last week.  

In the last few months I have been telling people I am moving and most recently I told a customer at work (more on work later...) and he look so flabbergasted that I was planning on moving to a city the other side of the world on my own. "Why?" he asked, to which I responded, "Why not?"

Instagram: Finn Harries

I have been very absent on this platform. I had such high hopes at the beginning of 2017 to keep updated and establish myself a lot more as  a writer, I don't think the word blogger can apply to me but life got in the way and here I am 6 months into 2017 and I haven't ticked too many things off my bucket list.

I no longer work as a journalist *sigh* but sometimes you have to make sacrifices to pursue other dreams. But I think my time in my local paper gave me a lot of insight into myself personally, this blog and my career. You can get lost in wanting to be like every other 'blogger out there' and my time writing about real stories with the paper made me want to create content on this blog with real people and not simply 'here is what I am wearing' etc etc. My short lived, first real job in journalism was the experience that I needed to make me realise that yes, creating content and writing articles and stories about real people and real life subjects is what I do want to do with my work life.

I am back working as a waitress in a hotel and made that choice so I could make more money before the big move. I have to keep repeating to myself that I am not going backwards in life leaving journalism to be a waitress and keep reassuring myself you have to make some sacrifices. If you had told me that this time two years ago I would have my Masters and be moving to New York I would have laughed and then probably cried because it was something I really wanted. Yet here I am making it actually happen. 

The closer September looms around the more excited I get, I am aware how different it is going to be. I won't have the comfort of a 20 minute car journey to my home in Bunninadden, nor will I be able to pop over to one of my best friends house at the drop of a hat. I won't have my dog, parents or nephews or nieces to visit but I need something to shock me out of this comfort. This way of living, because to tell you the gods honest truth: I. Am. Bored. 

Bored of the same conversations, bored of the same scenery, bored of the lack of adventure. 
I want to be thrown into the deep end, because how else do you learn how to swim?

Instagram: Retro Flame

So the man that asked me why, why why why would I want to move to New York? an on my own?
Well I couldn't think of any other place in the world to chase after my dreams (cringe at even writing that). I am aware of how much effort it is going to take. I don't think I will land the dream apartment, job or friends at the drop of the hat. But if I don't take this chance now I never will. 

The majority of my friends are settling down, getting married and having children (yes even at the young age of 25...) and while I am so happy and pleased for them, it is not something I want for myself right now. 

But what if you end up hating it? is a question that keeps popping up in my mind time and time again. While falling on my face, failing and having to return home is something I would not like to happen I am aware that if I did at least I can say I tried.

Instagram: Lcs Closet

So if there is anyone out there who needs an intern for Journalism/PR/communications in New York city and the surrounding area or perhaps needs a new housemate for September, let me know, I'm sound I promise and I have several people who can vouch for this ( 


                                                    (Shout out to my No.1 reader: MMG)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Living with Lyme: The Invisible Illness

L-R: Fiona Quilter, Miriam Morrison and Avril Winters who are all part of the North West Lyme Group and suffer from Lyme Disease. Pic: Sinéad Healy    

Lack of awareness of Lyme disease in Ireland means the illness is under reported and often goes un-treated. Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the Borelia bacteria and is transmitted by infected Ticks.The most common sign of infection is an expanding area of redness or what’s commonly known as a ‘bulls-eye rash’(pictured).   

(Bulls Eye Rash: Pic: Google Images)

The disease can lay dormant in your body and attacks when your immune system is weakened. Treatment is available in Ireland, but consists of a six week course of antibiotics, which may not always be enough.

Lyme disease causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, joint pain, headaches, heart-palpitations and if untreated with anti-biotics it can result in a range of symptoms similar to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, bells-palsy or multiple-sclerosis. 

However according to Dr John Lambert, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Mater Hospital in Dublin said it is ‘a poorly understood disease’ and the tests provided in Ireland for Lyme disease are often inadequate.

“The Lyme test is often negative, but patients can still have Lyme.  A positive test is helpful to say that the infection is there, but a negative test’s does not rule it out.  Doctors do not seem to understand this basic principle.  There are other infections similar to Lyme and other strains of the Lyme bacteria that are not picked up, so patients will get sick following a tick bite, the Lyme test is negative, and they are told ‘there is nothing wrong’ when indeed the wrong tests were done.

“Doctors debate whether Lyme can cause chronic infection, and argue over whether to treat with antibiotics for longer periods of time. Many are told just to treat for two to four weeks and no longer.  But there is good evidence that it requires longer courses of treatment if the infection has gone chronic, or has been in the system for a long period of time.

“There is a lack of awareness and a lack of studies to see how much Lyme we actually have in Ireland.  No one really knows. I think Lyme is on the increase, but also patients are more vocal now and raising the awareness and not settling for a ‘no’ answer. Patients are going out of the country to get ‘alternative’ Lyme tests done, which are more sensitive than the antibody tests done here.

“Irish patients travel all over the world so they may be picking up the infections from tick bites here (Donegal, Sligo, Galway, Kerry, Wicklow) or they may be bringing them back from the USA, Lanzarote and so forth.”

48-year old Fiona Quilter from Sligo contracted Lyme disease more than 8 years ago and is an advocate and member of the North-West Lyme Group. Fiona had her GP send blood tests to Germany where clinics specialise in treating patients with Lyme Disease. Within three days she was diagnosed with the bacterial disease.

Blood tests carried out in Ireland often do not test for Lyme, and therefore the treatment available across Europe is far more extensive. Doctors can treat it early once a rash appears after a bite, they can provide antibiotics that will stop it. 

However those suffering with the illness for years are not treated extensively in Ireland and are forced to travel to Germany and Czech Republic for intravenous antibiotics, vitamins, light therapy, oxygen therapy and many more treatments.    

“We want doctors in this country to recognise that this is an illness it is not all in our heads. We should be treated as citizens in this county and not have to go abroad for help.” said Fiona.

Miriam Morrison from Sligo received a tick bite in 2015 but it wasn’t until 2016 that she was diagnosed. She said the illness has affected every aspect of her life and was bed-bound due to pain and weakness in her legs.  
Avril Winters from Leitrim has been battling the illness for more than 10 years and believes the disease has changed her entire life for the worst. What began as an exciting holiday to Morocco in 2007 ended up changing her life after receiving a tick bite.

“I got the bull-rash on my leg where the bite was and I remember thinking, ‘I hope I don’t have this forever’

“Patients are learning to treat themselves in Ireland because doctors won’t listen. You get forgotten 
about if you don’t look sick. It can get depressing from not being heard and left to rot. I’ve had doctors treat me for depression when I knew it wasn’t mental, it was how I was physically feeling” said Avril.

In March 2014, Barry Cryan started feeling unwell and thought he was coming down with the common flu. His GP carried out routine tests, including one for Lyme Disease which all came back normal.  

Frustrated with the outcome and not feeling any better, Barry struggled with the disease for more than two years and found his memory was beginning to deteriorate. It wasn’t until he found Fiona’s story on Lyme disease in the local paper that he became aware of his options.  

“I had bloods sent to Germany and they showed that there was something badly wrong, in fact my immune system was compared with that which you would expect to see in a patient with HIV.” said Barry.

After an extensive few weeks of treatment in the Czech Republic more than 12 months ago, Barry is starting to feel ‘normal’ again. He believes that Lyme disease is rapidly increasing in Ireland – within a one mile radius of his home in Monasteraden County Sligo more than four people suffer from the disease.

“The test for Lyme Disease in Ireland is not accurate outside of a very small window when you get a tick bite, most doctors don’t recognise that. Just because you can’t find anything wrong it doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong, it just means you’re probably looking in the wrong place.”

38 year-old Shirley Breslin from Athlone was bitten by a mosquito in 2010 resulting in a large bulls-eye rash. She wants people to be aware that while ticks are common with Lyme disease, any blood sucking insect can carry the bacteria and ultimately affect its host.

After presenting her rash to a doctor they told her it was a ‘normal skin reaction to a bite’.

“This normal reaction was a text book bulls-eye rash which is associated with Lyme Disease. Chances are if I received even one month of antibiotics then, I would not have the problems I have today. That can be hard to take at times as my world has been turned upside down.” 

Shirley has spent years suffering with insomnia, chronic fatigue, pain in muscles and joints, loss of power, spasms, twitches and various other side-effects of the disease. 

After losing the power of her legs she felt enough was enough and went in search of an answer.

Shirley eventually went on to receive treatment in the Czech Republic, she takes various medication, painkillers, and antibiotics but unfortunately still needs a lot more treatment due not only to Lyme but the co-infections that accompany it and the damage it's caused to her body and immune system. 

“All patients have asked for is accurate testing with adequate treatment for an adequate and appropriate amount of time – It is not a big ask.

“I'm one of the many who are now Chronic Lyme Disease Patients/Sufferers due to the failure of not providing a simple service, a basic right that any individual should receive.” said Shirley
To find out more and for support group see: Tick Talk Ireland
(This article first appeared in the Sligo Champion on May 2nd Edition)