Bettering Ridley

SECONDARY
Ridley: So last year, Latimer had the idea that 2015 would be a Year of Self Betterment. Basically, it was a plan to become the best version of yourself in all aspects of our lives. After she explained to me what exactly she meant, I (of course) loved the idea, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Now, obviously it’s 2016, and the year of self betterment did happen in 2015, but not nearly to the extend that I’d intended. So, this year, and more than likely next year and probably the year after (I see this as an ongoing project to be fair…there’s a lot of about me that needs bettering…) I want to continue and expand on this idea, so I said I’d share some of the areas in which I have been trying and will continue to try to be a better person.

Personally, I think there are very few people in the world who truly know where they’re going in life, it takes years of introspection, deep thinking, and list making before you start to understand what it is you really want from life. There are some people who are lucky from an early age, they find their ‘calling’ and they pursue it with a vigour and passion that is impressive. For the rest of us, it is trial and error, it is circumstance and happenstance, along with a vague idea of what you think you might like, and continuous questioning.

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So we hold on to what we do like, we avoid and change what we don’t, and we live. But my question would be, are we actively living? Are we aware of the days that pass? How often does it happen you let weeks and months and even years just drift by and the things you wanted to do, that course you meant to sign up for, that hobby you wanted to take up again or that place you really wanted to visit, just didn’t happen? I know I’ve done this, and once you take a minute to stop and think, it’s like emerging from far under water, you take a deep breath, look around at where you are and think, what happened? How did I get here? How did so much time pass and nothing has changed, despite having the desire for it?

The year of bettering Ridley, we’re taking control and actively living! It can mean anything, for anyone! So for me, it’s continuing some things I already have in place and it’s starting others:

  • Taking control of the direction of my career, so I began a masters October 2014, it finishes this year, which i can’t believe, that time has gone so quickly. It was something I’ve always wanted to do though, and education is never, never a waste, and I do like learning, and also i love all the new stationary, pens, highlighters and beautiful clean A4 pads that I get to buy (I know I have a problem….help me…. 😀 )download (1)
  • It’s continuing to write more, publish more books, to build upon the foundation Latimer and I already have in place. Do what you love, right?4863_9387c327726cfdaa62521c68712ec5ad
  • It’s to give back to my community, using my professional skills and my time, and to reconnect with charity organisations I was once part of when I was younger or becoming involved in new ones. While I’m trying to better my own life, it’s important to me that I do the same for someone else.images
  • It’s making more time and going to greater effort to better include the people I love in my life. It isn’t about what you have, where you are or what you do, life means nothing if you don’t have people in it who you care about and who care about you.images (2)
  • It’s finally mastering some sort of skill on the guitar after years of haphazard practice. I’ve been taking lessons!images (6)
  • It’s becoming fluent in a second language to a level that I understand the idioms and nuisances of a different culture, which many one day open doors to a new way of thinking. (Not to mention I’m always in awe of people who are able to flit effortlessly from one language to another, I find it so impressive.) This I have decided can wait towards the end of the year….or maybe 2017….but I will do this!! I need to decide on a particular language first!2073435727eb8d3f2f21e8192a3238a1
  • It’s about taking my health more seriously, taking time out to exercise regularly, relax, get proper sleep and meditate. Live the good life, not the fast life.Live-your-life-inspirational-quotes
  • It’s seeing more of the world, to do what I love to do and travel, experience different ways of living, expand my horizons and in doing so my views and beliefs.images (4)

 

All I’ll say is a big thank you to Latimer for her idea, for sharing it with me and letting me take part too! I look forward to trying to become a better person, and sure I’ve always worked well with targets, and with inspirational sayings (obviously I hear you say! Yeah yeah, you know you like them too 😀 )

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So….

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Feels like Christmas

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Ridley: I absolutely adore this time of year! I’m generally a big kid at the best of times, but I am a hundred times worse come the month of December! I love how happy people are during the weeks leading up to the 25th, how so much nicer they are to their fellow man, how more generous they tend to be, more caring, everything seems brighter and nicer bathed in sparkly fairy lights. This time of year, we all tend to look outside ourselves more at those around us, and really stop for a moment to realise just how lucky we are. 

So…in order to get more into the Christmas spirit I’ve lined up my favourite Christmas ads. Now, hear me out, I know Christmas ads are now big business here, and I shouldn’t be using them to get me into the Christmas spirit, as this holiday is not all about presents and what you’re going to get from Santa. I know different companies spend millions developing these ads, recording them, and then they have big Christmas ad reveals, which get shared by thousands on social media sites (if they’re any good, and some of them really are). But I’m not afraid to admit (don’t judge me!) that I’ve gotten choked up watching a few of them!

Somehow, even though the ads are obviously trying to sell you something or encourage you to shop somewhere in particular (overlook this), they still, in strange way, capture the meaning of Christmas too, where it’s not about what you get or buy, but who you’re with. It’s about surrounding yourself with the people you care about, it’s about trying to bring a big smile to their faces, being the reason for them to laugh and just generally spreading the love!

So this Christmas, stop for a minute, and just remember what it’s all really about:

 

John Lewis, their ads just get me every time, I adored last years one with the bear and the rabbit, but this one with Monty the Penguin kinda chokes me up at the end, so so sweet. This is what I’m taking about, make others happy, it’s the secret to your own happiness too! (Also who wouldn’t want a best friend like Monty I ask you?):

 

The Sainsbury ad is just beautiful, heartbreaking, heart warming and just plain fantastic all at the same time! That this really happened (though possibly without the addition of the chocolate bar obviously) just makes it all the more special:

 

All I’ll say is…she really is worth it, don’t you think? Show others how important they are to you!

 

Make someone happy, the song says it al!! Coca Cola ads are always Christmas to me anyway.

 

And this is not an ad, but it’s still my favourite songs to sing this time of year! Muppets Christmas Carol is on repeat in our house!

 

So, if I haven’t hammered the point home enough, Happy Christmas to all our friends and family, have an absolutely fantastic one, and we’ll see you in the New Year!!

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Holi One Colour Festival


IMG_20140816_145754_1Ridley: Latimer and I went to the Holi festival that was held yesterday in Kilmainham in Dublin!IMG_20140816_145745_1 We had a fantastic time chucking around our coloured powder, more often than not you’d have heard one of us shout, “Close your eyes!” before there’d be a face full of powder and you’d become a large puff ball of pink or blue.

We loved mixing the colours in the one bag, it was just so pretty! Like those old bottles filled with coloured sand in different layers, I remember I used to have one as a child!IMG_20140816_145314
IMG_20140816_145924IMG_20140816_144750 Of course, we also shared our powder with others, both by throwing it up in the air during the count down from the musicians on stage, and then one guy who had been watching us mess fight with the powder for ages, eventually plucked up the courage to ask if he could ‘have some too’, so as I happily said ‘of course’, Latimer was already lining up a handful of orange powder toss to onto his head, he even bent down so she could do it properly!IMG_20140816_145515

He wandered away well chuffed with himself. We later saw him arm in arm with a new girlfriend, though it was possibly one of those ‘just for the day relationships’ 🙂  but we both nodded in satisfaction that the oranging of his head had done wonders for our powdered friend! 😀 After all, the whole point of the festival was to promote ideas of togetherness and to have fun and bring colour to your every day life! IMG_20140816_152624

The festival itself, while not religious in any sense, was originally inspired by the Indian Holi festival, which is a Hindu festival of colours. It is a celebration of love, of triumph of good over bad. People hug and wish everyone a ‘Happy Holi’.pb-130322-india-holi-nj-03.photoblog900Everyone runs around tossing coloured powder and water at each other and into the air. Really it’s a free for all. I love the idea that there’s a specific festival in India that is as colourful as this and celebrates togetherness of friends and family. It makes me want to visit there one day and take part! As it was Latimer and I had a fantastic time at our own smaller version!

“If wishes come in rainbow colours then, I would send the brightest one to say Happy Holi!”

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The Riptide Movement and Amy Huberman

new3_1Ridley: Found another band that I really like the sound of, yes, I’ll keep sharing these posts until you demand I stop! And even then…. 🙂

The Riptide Movement are an Irish band, so I’m pretty impressed some more fantastic music is once again coming from our own.

They really seem to be out in force this year, they played a free gig at the Bray Summerfest last weekend, and they’ve supported both the Coronas and Neil Young and Crazy Horse this summer, and I’m sure there were others, but they’re the only two concerts I know of personally, as I was at one gig and had relatives at the other (who came back raving about how great The Riptide Movement were too I might add).

I actually tweeted about how much I liked their song, “All Works Out” and they favourited the tweet, so I was well chuffed with myself for the rest of the day, and I really liked that they took the time to acknowledge a fan too! They get major brownie points for that in my book!

I also love that there’s this video of them from about four years ago busking on Grafton Street in town.

 

So here’s hoping this band continue on their upward spiral to success!

So far I like a lot of their stuff, but my favourite really is ‘All Works Out’, and another reason for it is because of Amy Huberman’s acting in it.

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As an aside, for those who don’t know who Amy is, she’s an Irish actress, who has been in many shows, but in particular she’s in the hilarious Irish film, The Stag.

She is also married to former rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll. I don’t think I’ve met anyone, man or woman, who hasn’t had a nice word to say about her, I think she’s probably a bit of a national darling to be honest. But actually I’m only after recently going on to her twitter feed after seeing her in their music video, and I found out she’s hilarious too. Some of my favourites….

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I get a similar look with Bio-oil to be fair, though it doesn’t end up smelling any way near as good, I think I’ll jump ship to coconut glazing instead.

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Confucius was a wise, wise man. Actually, I love that Toblerone ad, you know the one with the song? And yes…I know the words by heart….

 

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Sometimes I think some seagulls sound like old banger cars with bad batteries trying to start.

If you get a chance, check out their brilliant music, and her fantastic acting, I’m pretty certain neither will disappoint you!

I’ll stop now…. 😀

Latimer watches… Beauty and the Beast

Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!

Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!

Latimer: I’ve found myself watching lots of Disney movie’s lately. This is mainly due to the fact that my niece loves to watch Disney movies, since she’s finally old enough to sit still long enough to watch an actual movie! So, I ended up watching Beauty and the Beast for the first time in years, and I had some random thoughts as I watched!

When Belle sings her first song and heads into town to return her book, I just love the part where she enters the bookshop and chats to the owner and rolls around on the ladder looking for books. It’s always been a moment I’ve loved!

Gaston has shot something at the start of the movie, and LeFou is carrying it, and fecked if I know what on earth it’s supposed to be – it has no head, horns, fur and feathers… what the hell is it?! Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps.com-484 When Belle sings her ‘I want adventure in the great wide somewhere’ line I bob my head in agreement! I can often be found randomly singing that line in a passion when I’m gearing myself up for an adventure! Ha!

This has always bothered me – how come no one knows about this beast and the castle in the woods? I mean come on! It isn’t that far from their town and the beast was cursed when he was a young man and he’s only got until his 21st birthday to find someone to love him… which means he could have only been cursed for a few years – therefore everyone in town, including Belle, must remember the prince in the forest?! Surely!

It breaks my heart when Belle’s Daddy goes to the tavern to ask for help to save Belle and everyone laughs at him and ridicules him for talking crazy about a beast (which, again, they should all know about anyway!), and they throw him out into the snow. He is left there saying; ‘will no one help me!’ (that line has always stuck with me, even the way he says it!). Damn, so sad. 500px-Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps_com-3472 How does the Beast have a woman’s bedroom with woman’s clothes that fit Belle like a glove? They could have just jigged that a bit, like the clothes needed to be tailored a bit by the castle tailor, who has been transformed into a measuring tape with his needle and thread assistants! They could have fought at the end of the movie with the rest of the cursed inhabitants – they could have had a scene where they stitch-up a townsman – the measuring tape could have tripped up another person! Ah Disney you missed an opportunity there – ha!

Some of the cursed castle inhabitants don’t have mouths or eyes… what does that mean? Did the witch/enchantress think the Beast would need to have enchanted cutlery as well as servants enchanted to be cutlery? I don’t get that. be-our-guest-beauty-and-the-beast I guess it’s pretty interesting to consider that Beast is always the one that judges based on looks. He assumes that Belle doesn’t like him because he’s a beast, because of the way he looks, but actually the reason she doesn’t like him is because he has a terrible temper and is verbally abusive to her!

It still annoys me that Belle doesn’t really eat anything at the dinner song! I love all that food! (I love food, I really, really do)

Lumiere sings that ‘10 years we’ve been rusting’ – 10 years?! That would have made the Prince 11 years old when he was cursed! The enchantress cursed an 11 year old for being a superficial person? What a crazy woman she was! And wouldn’t that mean then that Chip, the cup, was probably born a cup? Because he looks like he’s probably 6 years old when he’s a human! Ah, apparently there was a flashback scene in the Enchanted Christmas special, that kind of explains things (but also doesn’t!).

The Prince was a boy when he was cursed – and Chip was a child when he turned into a cup. But the Prince is a man when he turns back into Prince – because he’s 21 years old now – but Chip, alas, for some reason, is still a child?

Okay, while I seem to have been picking a lot at the movie, I actually really love this movie. It’s not my favourite Disney movie, but I definitely rate it highly on my Disney movie list!

May the Obsession be with You!

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Latimer: We’ve both mentioned before that we are fan-girls.

We get obsessed about certain things very quickly and have done for years. Because of that we have a waste land in our hearts of broken down, forgotten obsessions – the ones that got away, or atrophied due to lack of obsessive energy. But sometimes… sometimes you aren’t as free from an obsession as you think you are! They can come back.

I used to be a massive Star Wars fan.

Back when I was, there was only the original trilogy; the prequels hadn’t come out yet. I would obsessively watch Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (my favourite) over and over again (on cassette). And if I could have back then, I would have bought lots of Star Wars junk, but it wasn’t really an option – cos, no internet buying and no money!

Reminiscing MLR style

Reminiscing MLR style

When news of the prequels came out, I bought the script book/story boards for the first movie before it came out (I don’t know why they released it!).

I read it and was really looking forward to seeing the movie (still a fan!) then I saw it and… yeah, it’s really bad. Although I still went to see Attack of the Clones and the last one (which wasn’t bad, actually). But by that point the obsession had run its course with me and I haven’t seen Star Wars in years.

Now we’re all getting news of forthcoming new Star Wars movies, which are going to be about Luke, Leia and Han. I don’t think my broken down obsession is going to suddenly revive, but I am looking forward to seeing JJ Abrahams take on Star Wars, he did such a good job with Star Trek!

Check out the fan-made posters for the new movies HERE!!

It’s going to be an interesting cinematic few years!

Are you excited about seeing new Star Wars? Or have you been recalling any old obsessions lately 🙂

A Chinese St Patrick’s Day

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Latimer: I know Saint Patrick’s day is long over, but this year was the first I’d spent ‘off world’ and it was a little out of the ordinary!

I didn’t really expect to see any Paddy’s Day stuff in China and just as well because I didn’t. I had to explain Paddy’s Day to my Chinese guide. In primary school we all learned about Patrick from An Bhreatain Bheag (Wales, that’s what we were told anyway), and how he was kidnapped by the Irish slaver Niall of the Nine Hostages and taken to Ireland.

I got a bit of a way into this story and paused.

‘Well, Saint Patrick’s day itself is more about celebrating your Irishness’; the guide looked confused, so I carried on, feeling the weight of the whole of Ireland bearing down on me. ‘It’s for the people that went away’, I smiled, ‘you know like in China when people leave and then they want to feel connected to home?’

He nodded. I’m not sure I explained it well enough in the end!

It’s just an Irish holiday to celebrating your culture and where you come from, or just having fun (or craic – Irish for fun)!

I spent the day in a monastery! I had fun letting everyone back home know I was in a monastery on Paddy’s Day!

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During the day I climbed the Giant Stone Buddha at Leshan, looking for any ‘signs’ of Paddy’s Day –  haha, which I didn’t find!

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There were no signs – no green, no shamrocks, nothing… BUT! When we got to the monastery to check-in we were introduced to our local guide.

Aside here: in China, people take Western names (like Tom, John, Seamus, Charles) so it’s easier for Western’s to say their names (their parents don’t actually call them John etc). These names are usually given to the Chinese people by their English teachers.

The local guide introduced himself; “Hello, my name is Patrick!” And I just started laughing. Brilliant.

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 So that was my Paddy’s Day in China – a simple name had me smiling all day!

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My Bailey’s Irish Cream drink 🙂

Never-ending Reading List

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Latimer: I remember a while back I did a post about how I was struggling through a long read list – well, not struggling, because I like having a lot of books to read, but sometimes when you find yourself buying more than you’re reading you do feel like giving yourself a kick in the brain!

Back then, I had been reading (on and off) Bill Bryson’s At Home; I am so happy to say I finished reading it before 2013 ran out! Yes, the never-ending reading list is getting just a little bit shorter!

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It really sickens me how long it took me to read such a great book. Bill Bryson has to be one of the best authors; I’ve only read two of his books, but they have both been so amazing (and they both took me forever to read). There’s just so much information in his books and so many funny, strange and sad stories, that you find yourself stopping to digest what you just read and staring into space shaking your head!

This is a small example; in At Home, I read about roof rats. Yup. Now every time I hear something skittering across the attic floor, I no longer think ‘birds’, I think… ‘roof rats’. No one else is buying what I’m selling, but in Bryson I trust, so yup… roof rats.

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Apparently the modern home is a great environment for the roof rat. And the behaviour of the modern rat – wooh, it’s scary. They show no fear, ‘and will even deliberately approach and make contact with motionless persons. They are particularly emboldened in the presence of infants and the elderly’ (neither of which I am, so I’m fist punching the air, shouting “do you hear that roof rats! Fear me!”)

‘Rats have very sharp teeth and can become aggressive if cornered’ (won’t be doing that so!) ‘biting savagely and blindly, in the manner of mad dogs’ (holy moly!) ‘A motivated rat can leap as high as three feet’. Then they are also very, very smart; there was an incident where rats were stealing eggs from a farmer without breaking them (which even now as I type sounds like a cartoon); the rats worked together, where one rat would embrace an egg on all fours and roll over onto its back, and a second rat would then drag it by its tail to their burrow.

This image has stayed with me since I read the book. And there’s so much more in the book, that I kind of feel like I will have to re-read it a lot to remember most of it. But it’s such a good book.

I don’t have much of a feel for ‘special interest’ books. I just read what I’d like to know about; there are a few people though who seem to have a gift for reading really interesting sounding books.

I’m addicted to Smodcast, and Kevin Smith’s friend, Scott Mosier, reads some really interesting books! He’s always reading something and he mentions books so often that someone put together a list.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary (maybe!); check out the list of books he’s mentioned! There’s some really interesting ones! http://smodbooks.wordpress.com/page/3/

I think my reading list is always going to be never-ending… 🙂

The Walking Detective

It's all so scary!!

It’s all so scary!!

Latimer: I recently started watching True Detective, a new series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. I was intrigued because they were in it, and it’s supposed to be a new ‘must watch show’.

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They play two detectives investigating a murder – which appears to be satanic. The episodes swing back and forth between the present day and when the murder happened in 1995 (or 1992?), and it’s about what happened in the investigation and what happened to McConaughey and Harrelson’s relationship as partners.

Some of the weird, extensional monologues Matthew McConaughey gets in True Detective are incredible.  They are pretty dark though, because his character is a dark person with no optimism about the world in general, or himself.

The series moves at, what I can only imagine is the pace of an actual investigation – really slow. I watched the first two episodes at night time (in the dark) and wow, did I ever freak myself out! I realised what a total wimp I am!

The murder is just the tip of the iceberg, and every time Matthew McConaughey finds another ‘satanic’ symbol linked to the murder (these homemade small wicker cages), I keep expecting that a monster is going to jump out – and I’m way more freaked out that the monster will be an actual person, not a boogieman! Yup!

Like in the recent episodes of the Walking Dead, while the zombies are still something to be scared of, it seems like rogue bands of vicious survivors looking for your share of supplies, or your weapons, are the ones you should be seriously afraid of!

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Basically, I think I should now watch a Disney movie, to restore my faith in humanity!

Catbug for President

keep-calm-and-love-catbug-11Ridley: In our most recent and important news (well for MLR anyway), book 2 has been shipped off to our editor and hopefully with lots of long nights and hard work, it’ll be battered into shape between us all! Huzzah!

So, what have I been up to? Well I’ve become addicted to television again. Well, more like box sets, and it’s not like there aren’t a hundred and one different other, far more important things, I could and should be doing. But I figure, I’m keeping up with the masses, my finger’s on the pulse of what’s rad and hip…or something. I’m not even fooling myself with that one!! Anywho, I’ve been rewatching some of Everest:Beyond the Limit (such a good series!), Archer (addictive television) and House of Cards season two is starting back tomorrow on Netflix (can we get another huzzah for that! No? Fine…*sigh*)

Some of this new watching addiction is Latimer’s fault, she turned me on to Bravest Warriors on youtube, which I adore, it has to be the most random and strange show I’ve ever watched. Of all the characters in it, Catbug is my favourite, so much so I renamed the show in my head, Catbug.

He’s voiced by a six year old child, who seems absolutely adorable. Some of the things he comes out with as Catbug would have me snorting my tea all over myself.

I’ve also found as much merchandise as I could online, I want to buy it all (well most of it, somehow I don’t think i’d be able to pull off the Catbug school bag).catbug-plush-630x630

However, I’ve stopped myself from shouting, ‘take my money’ at the online shops, though how I don’t quite know! Look at them all…download images (1) images

And there’s also a t-shirt you can get with an image that is a crossover of Gir from Invader Zim and Catbug.

Never were there two crazier or more similar characters as these! You can get this from Redbubble (best place ever for great t-shirts!).

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So all I can say, “Take ma monay!”