Taking Care of a New Piercing

Because I have quite a few piercings myself, a lot of you on Twitter and Instagram come to me asking for advice on how to take care of your own piercings. When I first started on my journey of wanting to pierce every piercable part of my body, I made all of the mistakes below at least three times. So here’s a quick and general guide for you guys on how to take care of a new piercing.

  1. Expect discomfort

For at least three days after your piercing is done, it will be red, uncomfortable and you’ll probably bepier in a little bit of pain. Don’t panic and rush to the assumption that it’s infected, remember that you’ve just had a needle jammed through your skin and replaced with a metal bar – I’d be more worried if it didn’t hurt.

  1. Wash your hands before cleaning it

This is self-explanatory, the last thing you want is germs from your every-day life getting onto your piercing and causing an infection.

  1. Clean it with boiling water and sea salt

giphy (1)Cooled boiling water and sea salt, that is all. Do not use soap. Do not use table salt. And please, do not listen to your Granny who tells you that rubbing alcohol will kill all the germs. Make sure you use non-iodized sea salt as well, there’s less additives so it’s unlikely to irritate the piercing. Even if you’re offered pre-made saline solution from your piercer, I’d advise just making your own at home. It’s much cheaper and you know exactly what you’re using.

  1. Clean it three times a daygiphy (2)

Boil the water, add a quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt and then let it cool. Take a cotton bud and clean your piercing with it for a minute or two. Three times a day is a perfect amount, as both over-cleaning and under-cleaning can lead to problems.

  1. Don’t panic

I know when I was younger and had my ears pierced, any bit of pus or crust and all hell broke loose. Mum was convinced that the piercing was infected and my ear was about to fall off, and out came the rubbing alcohol to make it all worse. If you have white pus coming from your piercing, it’s actually a sign that it’s healing healthily. Don’t panic unless it’s dark yellow or green tinged.

  1. Don’t play with it

giphy (4)If I could practice what I’m preaching here, it would be great. Twisting your jewellery can irritate your piercings (despite what the unqualified piercer in the chemist told you after getting your ears pierced aged six) and touching the piercing alone can lead to infection. I know it’s tempting, but stop it. The last thing you want is to look like Rudolf for a month.

  1. Don’t change your jewellery before it’s healed

Again with not practicing what I’m preaching. Most piercers giphy (3)will tell you not to do this because if your jewellery isn’t properly sterilised it can lead to an infection, however I’m here to bring another point forward. If you’re new with piercings, you will not be able to get it back in. About a week after I had my nose pierced, I decided that I wanted to change my stud to a nose ring. I’d been warned to leave it for three months but no, I knew best. I took out the stud, only to realise that I couldn’t get the nose ring in and I had no idea how to put a screw stud back in (those of you with nose piercings will understand the impossibility). Cue literal blood, sweat and tears as my piercing closed up and I had to re-pierce it with a sewing needle and somehow jam my nose stud back in. I had an infected nose for about three months and my piercing is as straight as a roundabout, so please learn from my mistakes.

Sea Sessions 2015 – The Highlights

The post festival blues have well and truly kicked in, and I’m sitting here reflecting on what was one of the most fun weekends of my life. Sea Sessions, you were definitely one to remember. Well, that of it that we can remember of course. Here were a few of the best/worst/funniest bits…

  1. “I know you from Twitter.” We hadn’t even stepped onto the campsite and one of the workers had said it to me. This was followed by a weekend full of people coming up to me saying “You were the Leaving Cert Twitter girl”, and judging by my notes on my phone, I took a few of their usernames down too. 049
  2. “Kick her in the fanny Kelly!” If you went to Sea Sessions and didn’t hear this, as well as “Fenton! Jesus Christ Fenton!” erupting through the campsite at least fourty times over the duration of the weekend, are you sure you were even there?
  3. “I’m so sickened that I missed Sea Sessions Steve.” Missing Seasick Steve was a terrible moment for Brendan, but what was even worse was not being able to remember his name.
  4. The eejit with the guitar that kept playing Wonderwall. I’m very surprised that nobody threw his guitar halfway across the pitch, especially when all the session moths gathered around for a singalong.
  5. “I’m never taking drugs, there’s a man in the bathroom trying to chew his arm off!” Not a great encounter with somebody on drugs, but as if we weren’t put off it enough before, hearing a story about a man with his teeth digging into his bloody arm sure did the trick.
  6. 063The screaming. On Saturday morning, myself and Holly woke up, turned to face each other and started screeching. Yep, that’s how bad we looked after Friday’s festivities.
  7. The drunk stories. This is always going to a highlight of festivals, but listening to the lads’ tales after a couple of cans had us in absolute bits.
  8. “I’m sorry I shifted your friend.” Well, that’s kind of self-explanatory isn’t it?
  9. “Yeah, we’re from RTE.” Lend your press pass to your friends and no doubt they’ll have an absolute ball with them.
  10. The VIP area. On the festival site there was a VIP area for everyone who was with the press or had just paid extra for a VIP ticket, equipped with a bar, some couches, and *shock!* some proper bathrooms. There was about four of us who were under the age of twenty in there, and we sure did stand out. We literally danced until we dropped, it was quite embarrassing really.
  11. “Why is your skirt wet?” “Oh I had a shower.” Does it make sense to you? Nope, didn’t to me either.102
  12. The amount of times the word “fanny” was said on Sunday night. Twenty? Fourty? Eighty?
  13. The acts. Example was by far the best there, followed up by Alex Adair. Cyril Hahn was quite good too!
  14. When I forgot I was allergic to mustard. Waking up looking like you’ve had a dodgy lip job is never fun, and I refused to leave my tent for about four hours until the swelling went down a bit.
  15. Nable. Nable was our table who was nable because she had no legs. She was taken from a pub, and at first we were trying to sell her as an iPhone 10. Didn’t work out too well.
  16. Rock climbing. When we asked Holly where she’d ran off to the night before, she announced that she’d gone on a wild adventure of rock climbing. In the dark.
  17. “Are you a security guard?” Don’t wear illuminous jackets to music festivals kids, unless you want to be pestered by people who think you’re a security guard that is.
  18. Falling in love. Let’s just say we had very hot neighbours, and we were all a little heartbroken when they magically disappeared on the second day.
  19. The goal. Ah, the majestic goal. Our campsite was in a football pitch and there were goal posts on either side, so when one lad scored a goal from half way across the field the whole crowd erupted. Hence lots of roaring and shouting, and e004veryone running across the pitch to celebrate this fella’s achievement.
  20. Looking and feeling like a wild animal. It’s going to take me a long time to get the smell of mud off my clothes.

Overall I had a fantastic weekend spent with some brilliant people, and it’s safe to say that I’ll definitely be taking a trip to Sea Sessions again. The post festival blues are trying to take over my life at the moment, but let’s just look forward to Castlepalooza and Electric Picnic!

Also, a big thanks to Pab Travel, Heineken Ireland and Sea Sessions themselves for the free tickets. Ye’re absolute stars and we got great use out of them!

How I Lost 21lbs – My Weight Loss Tips

Before I left for college, I’d always been skinny. Size 8 was sometimes a little bit loose, and I had arms and legs like matchsticks. I didn’t realise it then, but I was extremely thin, probably too thin at times. When college rolled around, so did excessive amounts of alcohol and noodles. I’m pretty sure my metabolism did a U-turn, because in just four months I’d managed to gain two and a half stone. I was only coming home every three weeks, and every time I’d step on the weighing scale I’d gained another half a stone. It only hit me that I needed to make a change when I realised that I was scarily close to becoming an unhealthy weight for my height, not to mention being seriously unhappy with my body.

I started changing the way that I was eating when I came home for Christmas, and I lost over a stone almost instantly. I think my body went into shock over lack of pizza if I’m honest. When I got back to college, my eating habits went back to being rubbish, but I managed to stay at the weight that I was. Since I started to eat healthier, I’ve lost 21lbs (a stone and a half) and I’m now only 6lbs off my goal weight (which is just a little over what I weighed to start with – I don’t want to go back to being that thin). Anyways, here’s how I slowly but surely lost a stone and a half through healthy eating.

What’s helped me the most is learning how weight loss works. To keep weight off, you need to do it gradually, and my weight loss worked out at losing around 1lb per week. 1lb is equal to 3,500 kilocalories, which may seem like a lot but when you break it down it’s not that much. 3,500 divided by 7 days a week is 500 calories. You need to cut your calorie intake by 500 calories per day to lose 1lb a week. This can easily be done by changes as simple as cutting out fizzy drinks, replacing sugary cereal with porridge and asking for a side of salad instead of chips.

Another thing that you need is patience. You need to realise that this won’t happen overnight, and be prepared for a long journey if you need to lose as much weight as I did. If you fall off the wagon, just get back up again. It happens to the best of us but what’s important is to never give up.

This may seem obvious, but cutting out takeaways made weight literally fall off me. Even if my family buy one, I never eat them at home as opposed to having maybe two a week while in college. A Chinese meal can have over 1,500 calories in it, which is even more than what I aim to eat in the whole day. Not to mention the fact that they’re pretty damn addictive, it’s easier to just avoid them altogether.

I’m a big snacker, and tend to eat when I’m bored which is an awful habit. However I’ve turned this into something beneficial by replacing crisps, cereal bars and peanuts with fruit. Raspberries, blueberries and oranges are all full of antioxidants and contain properties that will help you lose weight. This is also a great way of getting your five a day in.

Balance is key when trying to lose weight, but I do try to limit the amount of carbs that I eat. I don’t let myself have more than two slices of bread per day, and if I’m making a pasta dish for dinner I bulk it up with vegetables so that I feel full without overindulging in carbs. As well as this, I make sure that any carbs I do eat are wholegrain. Brown pasta, brown rice, brown bread – it’s all a little better for you than the over-processed white stuff.

013I drink a crazy amount of tea, but not the kind that you’re thinking of. I’m a big fan of Bootea, I lost 5lbs doing their 14 day detox with it over Christmas. But at €32 for a two weeks supply, it’s pretty hefty for any broke student but there are alternatives out there. Dr Stuart does a great range of teas to aid weight loss, and my favourites are 014Detox, Slim Plus and Lax Plus. They all contain herbs that help clear out your system, and at only €3 for a box of 15 it’s a lot cheaper than Bootea. I’m also a green tea drinker, but it took me a long time to find one that was drinkable. I’d recommend Tulsi Green Tea for people who aren’t keen on the taste, it’s a lot more bearable than other brands. I try to drink three or four cups of “weird tea” as my Mum calls it, every day.

One of the main culprits for my weight gain was alcohol, so now I drink on very rare occasions. I didn’t drink at all last semester until the week we were leaving college, and since coming home I’ve only drank on one occasion, when I went to Life festival. Alcohol is crazily high in calories, and although for any teenager it can be hard to cut it out, it’s necessary if you want to lose weight. Don’t be fooled by people who tell you that there’s no calories in vodka either, there’s over 400 in a naggin. That’s without a sugary mixer, and a lot of people require more than 200ml of the stuff to get into a happy state.

Something that’s essential in any weight loss journey is drinking more water. Not only does it help you to flush all the bad stuff out of your system, it also keeps you full. The next time you’re hungry, drink a glass of water – hunger is often just dehydration in disguise. I drink about 12 glasses of water a day, and it’s easy to add to your diet once you know the tricks. I gulp down a glass before my meal, have one during my meal, and another afterwards. When I do this with all three of my meals, that’s nine glasses already down and I just need to fit another three into my day.

Another thing that’s really important is eating three meals per day. Making sure these are filled with fruit, vegetables, protein and some healthy carbs will keep you full, therefore reducing snacking. If I don’t eat a proper meal I find016 myself snacking on something that has around the same number of calories, like a 400 calorie bag of popcorn. But this is unhealthy and full of fat, and won’t do anything to help me lose weight.

My last tip is for self-confessed chocoholics like myself. It might sound disgusting, but switch from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. And before you make the same mistake that I did, Cadbury’s dark chocolate (Bourneville for example) doesn’t count – it’s got almost as much sugar as the good stuff. If you’re getting proper dark chocolate, it should have a percentage on it. The higher the percentage, the less sugar in it, and believe me you can taste the difference. Start from 60% and work your way up, I’m on the bitter 90% stuff now. Dark chocolate not only contains some antioxidants, but it gets rid of your chocolate cravings and doesn’t leave you wanting more because it’s so sickening and bitter. I thought it would put me off chocolate altogether, but it just made me appreciate milk chocolate even more!

Let me know if these tips work for you guys and good luck on your weight loss journey, you’ll eventually reach your goal if you work hard enough. If you’re not a lazy lump like me, try to include some exercise into your daily routine and you’ll probably lose weight twice as quick.

Here’s a before and after picture, the one on the left is from the beginning of January and the one on the right was taken today. I still feel horrible even looking at the first picture and was very reluctant to post it, but it’s made me realise that there’ actually quite a big difference between then and now.008

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What’s Meant To Be Will Always Find Its Way

With the Leaving Cert almost finished, I’ve met more than a handful of people who weren’t happy with how their exams went. As per usual, the Department of Education seemed set on being absolute gobshites (excuse my French) once again. A lot of people are down in the dumps, worrying that they haven’t gotten their points and will end up doing a course that they don’t particularly want to do. I’m writing this post to reassure, reassure, and reassure once again, that what’s meant to be will always find its way.

When my Leaving Cert finished, I didn’t feel that surge of joy that I thought I’d feel. Instead, I was pissed off. I knew that I hadn’t reached my goal of 440, and had this niggling feeling that I’d hit 425 (I was right). Anyways, I spent my whole summer hoping and praying that Midwifery in UL would drop a few points, and by the time I had eventually stopped wailing after getting my results, it was time to cry some more when I got my offer. Obviously enough, it wasn’t the offer that I wanted. I’d waited up all night to be offered my 8th choice, and I kid you not when I say that I collapsed on my parents’ bedroom floor in floods of tears. I thought that all my hard work had gone down the drain, but now it all makes sense. I was going to repeat, but when I got a phone call to say that I’d gotten a scholarship for writing, I saw it as a sign. If I could get a scholarship for writing, I thought that maybe I could make a career out of it too.

I’ve always had a flair for English. I loved writing, and spent my childhood filling books with stories and poems and songs, it’s always been something that I enjoyed. In fifth year I decided that I wanted to be a journalist, but was put off it by everybody telling me that there’s no jobs for journalists, you have to be a brilliant writer to be a journalist, and there’s no money in it. Instead of going with my heart, I went with my head and decided to pursue a career that was steady, Midwifery. But that wasn’t what life had planned for me, and I was about to find out the hard way. I didn’t even have Journalism down on my CAO form until the very last minute, when I made the best decision of my life in swapping it with Law Plus. There was something in the back of my mind telling me to put it down, and I decided to just go for it.

Back to my results; as if I wasn’t already pissed off enough with them, I’d gotten a C1 in English. I was absolutely raging, I’d never gotten less than a B in the subject. Looking through my paper while sobbing away, I realised that I’d panicked and messed the whole thing up. But I decided to get it rechecked, even though my teacher said that there was a very slim chance that I’d go up a grade. Again, I had this feeling that I needed to do it, so I did. I got Geography rechecked too, and being only one mark off the next grade I was pretty sure that I’d go up. I didn’t, but surprisingly I went up in English. This gave me the B3 requirement that I needed for Journalism, and in week 6 of college I was able to transfer to it from New Media and English (and no, they’re not the same thing, at all).

All these signs and niggling little feelings had been steering me towards the right path in life, even if they had come in some wicked disguises. Being five points off my first choice (and my 2nd-6th all soaring to higher points than the first!), putting Journalism on my CAO form last minute, getting a scholarship, going up a grade in English even though I’d messed up the whole exam, all just little things that were signs of greater things to come. Because I’d believed in myself, and believed that there was a reason behind everything, what seemed like one of the worst things to ever happen to me turned out to be the best.

This time last year, I could have never imagined being where I am today. I thought I’d be a year into my Midwifery degree, but here I am as a student journalist. I’ve had work published in the likes of the Irish Independent and the Irish Sun, I’m the Entertainment Editor of Campus.ie and I’m spending my summer travelling all over the country to review music festivals and interview all the different artists because I’ve been given media passes. I really couldn’t be happier and I’m doing something that I love. So if you’re finished your exams and you’re scared that you 050haven’t got enough points for the course you want, just remember this; what’s meant to be will always find its way. There’s a reason behind everything, having some belief in that as well as believing in yourself will take you very far.

This blog was inspired by this Timehop today!

 

Sea Sessions – A Festival To Look Out For

We’ve all heard the likes of the more well-known festivals coming up this summer, including Longitude and the always popular Electric Picnic. But one event that I think will take the festival scene by storm this year, is Sea Sessions. Kicking off their 8th year from the 19th to the 21st of June, Sea Sessions is looking more appealing than ever before. Sure we have sun, sea and sand, but what else does it have to offer? seasessions20125231638705

The line-up this year is quite possibly the best they’ve had yet, and the reason that this festival is so popular is because of the diversity and difference between each and every artist. Headlining on Friday night is Example, an electric-house act who rose to fame in 2009 with the hit “Won’t Go Quietly”. Saturday night brings us American-blues musician Seasick Steve, who ironically enough has just released his “Sonic Soul Surfer” album, definitely a sign that he was meant to headline the festival this year! Sunday night brings us Maverick Sabre, who’s best known for topping the charts with his R&B hits, with a hint of folk. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? And these are only the headlining acts.

SeaSessions-Line-Up-New2015Throughout the weekend we’ll also have music by Klingande who has hits such as RIVA and the well-known Jubel. Ever popular The Riptide Movement will also be making an appearance, who rose to fame with their catchy hit “All Works Out”. And to add to all that, the funk rock act Black Grape will also be tagging along, as well as The Minutes gracing us with their rock blues sound. This festival has a diverse range of acts no doubt, but that’s not all there is to the exciting weekend.

Unlike many other festivals, the campsite is only a mere five minute walk to the festival grounds. Charging only €25 for the weekend, camping is student-friendly and definitely won’t break the bank. Your mind is put at ease with 24-hour security patrolling the site, as well as, *gasp*, hot showers! But if camping just isn’t your thing and you’d prefer a little more comfort, there’s plenty of hotels such as the Allingham Arms Hotel and the Central Hotel Bundoran situated nearby.

As well as the fact that there’s music to suit everyone, there’s also a variety of activities to suit us all at Sea Sessions. Every year they hold their “Barefoot Beach Olympics”, with events ranging from soccer to skating. Their World Cup style beach soccer is always a firm favourite, with a free drink for each team member included as well as a hefty cash prize for the winner. There can be a maximum of eight players on each team, and the tournament runs on Saturday and Sunday. Beach tag rugby is another popular activity, as you can register alone or as a team. The winners are even invited to the Barefoot wine bar for the presentation of their cash prize when the competition is over. Beach volleyball also proves to be a hit with the festival goers, but it also sees a mix of seasoned volleyball players from all over Ireland competing. sea sess

Sea sessions is also host to retro surfing and bodyboarding, ultimate Frisbee and skating, but the most popular activity by far is surfing. Sea Sessions is well known for this, and has the biggest prize in Irish surfing. It attracts the best names in the sport from all over Europe, and is the core focus of the festival. The top ten surfers in Europe are invited, and flown in to take part in the event.

As if there weren’t already enough reasons to attend Sea Sessions, they also sponsor a charity every year. This year they’ve chosen Rory Gallagher’s “Wish To Walk”. Rory was born in August 2012 in Sligo, named after the World Renowned Rock ‘n Blues Guitarist – Rory Gallagher. Eight months on, little Rory was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, and his parents were told that he would never walk. But his family were not prepared to give up, and discovered an American Nurologist, Dr. T.S Park who informed them that his team in Missouri, USA could undertake an operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy that will enable Baby Rory to walk. Sea Sessions are helping to raise money for this.

At only €124.50, you really do get your money’s worth with a weekend ticket. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely hoping to attend after reading about the fantastic line-up, wide range of activities and Sea Session’s generous association with charity. A peaceful night’s sleep isn’t guaranteed, but a great weekend certainly is.

Festivals – What I Learned From Life

Yesterday I got home from Life festival, which was possibly the most amazing weekend of my life. It was all pretty last minute when I realised I’d be going, because my friend only found out that she’d won 4 VIP tickets two days before. I didn’t exactly have much time to prepare for it, and there were a lot of things I didn’t know (or didn’t believe) about festivals that I’ll keep in mind for next time. So for those of you heading off to a festival this summer, here’s what I learned during my time at Life.

  1. Nobody actually cares what you wear

When you look at pictures of celebrities in magazines who are having the time of their lives at Coachella, all you can183 see is flowy dresses and pretty sandals and cute flowery handbags. I can assure you now that festivals aren’t really like that. Sure there’s a handful of girls around the place who are dressed to impress, but you know what most people were wearing at Life? Onesies, teamed with wellies of course. Comfort and warmth is what I found to be most important at Life, and I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me on that one.

  1. It gets really cold at night time

Not only does it get cold, sometimes it rains as well. And sometimes there’s condensation on the inside of your tent that drips down onto your face while you’re trying to sleep on the cold, hard floor, and you’re shivering so much you look like there’s something wrong with you. Bring a sleeping bag and lots of blankets kids!

  1. Your phone dying is actually a good thing

181My main concern about going to a festival was what the hell I was going to do when my phone died. I was afraid I’d panic like mad without my phone, especially if I got lost in the crowd or something. My phone dying turned out to be the best thing to happen all weekend, without it you spend so much more time having fun with your friends and interacting with others. There’s nothing distracting you from the shenanigans of the weekend, and it’s definitely more of a good thing than a bad thing.

  1. Food costs a bomb

Heading to Life, we decided to buy some food beforehand so we wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money on it for the weekend. Being sensible as always, we decided to buy 48 packets of crisps. Those 48 packets of crisps were as well as gone by the next morning, either eaten or crushed into the carpet of our yurt. After this my diet consisted of hotdogs, hotdogs and more hotdogs, and I don’t even want to know how much money I spent on them. 179

  1. It’s muddy. Really, really muddy

By day three, there wasn’t a blade of grass to be seen in the park and after all the rain it was like walking around in quicksand. The muscles in my legs are still aching because of the amount of times my welly got stuck in the mud and I had to use all my strength to drag it out. But I was happy out, because there were some people there who weren’t wearing wellies at all… Awful decision. After Saturday night I woke up looking like I’d been rolling around in the muck, it was all over my shorts, half way up my top and my bag was so destroyed that I had to throw it out. But hey, a little mud never hurt anybody!

  1. You’ll see more of your friends than you bargained for

180I shared a tent with three girls, and walked in or turned around on somebody getting changed at least 10 times over the weekend. It’s not something that bothered us, but if you’re sharing a tent with somebody just make sure you’re comfortable around them, because there will definitely be instances like this occurring on more than one occasion. This weekend also taught me that we’re not exactly the cleanest, because after the first night our tent was already ruined with crisps and water and God only knows what else all over the floor.

  1. Cider for breakfast is the norm

When you wake up in the morning dying of thirst and the only thing in close proximity to your sleeping bag is cider, it will be drank. Starting a session at 9am is also deemed acceptable, with music blaring from tents and people already pumped for the day ahead of them.

  1. Sleep is for the weak

I’m not sure about other festivals, but at Life the music kept going until 6am almost every morning. Although t157he crowds had died down by then, there was still a huge amount of people out partying, and only the weak would fall asleep early (eg. Me on the first night)

  1. You will go home with very weird pictures on your phone

Multiple photos with strangers, odd selfies of your friends, blurry concert pictures, you name it and it will be on your phone. I came home with some pretty odd pictures on my phone, which makes me kind of glad that it died when it did!

  1. You will experience post festival blues

After a weekend of madness, you’re sure to be exhausted. As well as that, you’re more than likely hungover and in woe over the fact that the festival is over. My advice for this is to curl up in bed, eat some healthy food and watch your favourite show on Netflix. Remember, there’s always next year!