5 Things To Love This Week: Agent Carter, house hunting, inDesign and more

It seems a bit odd writing a ‘this past week’ post on a Tuesday but I suppose it’s been a bit of a backwards week anyway. Plus I found out today that money goes into my bank account on Wednesdays and not Mondays like I previously thought. Revelations all round!

Agent Carter 

I first heard about this Marvel spin-off show a few months ago when everyone was convinced that it would be a flop. I heard the same thing about Better Call Saul, which is now one of my favourite shows (take that, cynics!). So I gave Agent Carter a chance and it is fantastic. I binge-watched all of season 1 in a night and spent the next day panda-faced. It’s about Captain America’s love Peggy as she kicks butt (and sexism) in the SSR. A must-watch.

inDesign 

I really enjoyed laying out magazine pages back when I did my BA in college (I feel a little old typing that) and as part of an assignment for college I have to design a dummy magazine. I chose an alternative wedding publication for couples and it’s not too shabby so far if I say so myself.

 

Family 

It was my little brother’s confirmation this week and although I’m no longer a Catholic (unofficially… don’t think the church takes kindly to deserters), it was a proud moment seeing him in his outfit looking so grown up.

Days off 

I shamelessly slept in until 2pm today. I rarely do that and it really brings me back to my lazy teenage days. It was hardly my fault though… it’s the last week of college and classes weren’t on today (at least not the ones I normally go to!) so I put ‘sleep’ as priority number one. I didn’t waste the whole day, though; I went wandering around Kingston Upon Thames and wrote up some articles. Proof that I’m not a complete Snorlax.

 

Apartment hunting 

I like not knowing where I’ll be next year, so from time to time I’ll check through listings to get a good idea of what kind of place I could get for a decent price range. This week, I checked out Dublin. Don’t do this unless you want to feel moody about the prospect of renting a cupboard for 800 a month. The same can be said of London, though.

 

Staying Positive and Getting Somewhere: Last Week of College

With only a week left of college classes, I can’t help but feel a bit numb. I remember when I was finishing up my bachelors degree and I had a fluttery, nervous tummy leading up to the last few classes; it was an uncomfortable yet excited feeling. I was looking towards the future with bright, naive eyes. This time around, the fact that I’ll be done with college (hopefully forever as I do not intend to go back) doesn’t seem to register much with me. 

Maybe I’ll feel different on the day, but for now I’m just steadily doing my work, not really paying attention. I don’t consider it the home stretch, though I suppose it is. Perhaps it’s because I’m faced with an entire summer of work that still needs to be done, like maintaining the online version of Synced and securing an internship (which is looking more and more unlikely with every rejected inquiry). It could be that I haven’t particularly enjoyed my course, with a few exceptions, and I’m not very sad to see it end.

Either way, it’s been an odd week and I expect the coming 7 days will be very similar. Besides the lovely area I’m based in, I’ll definitely miss the friends that I’ve made here. It can be so easy to concentrate on the negative and I’m trying hard not to succumb to my possible fate of being a miserable cow; so yes, the wonderful people I’ve met since I moved have been a major factor in my sanity.

I can’t say that we all have the same goals, rather since starting our course most of us have realised we’re not destined for the path we’ve started down, but we do share some things: passion, determination and creativity. And, lately, an impressive tolerance for fools. We at Synced had our wrap-up party a few days ago, and it was a great night of good food, copious amounts of alcohol and an old school playlist.

It’s a pity we didn’t have the chance to spend more time together, away from the stresses of assignments and deadlines. However, it’s the quality and not the quantity that matters. When I look back at my MA, I’ll remember the stressful but fun times in the mags room designing our print edition; Taylor Swift’s catchy tunes playing on Kevin’s computer; Eric and his funny catchphrases – “Keep it happy, keep it snappy, keep it gay!” – or Mia with her yummy boxes of chocolates; Alessia who has an ongoing battle with the magnetic door; of Anna and her unwaveringly positive attitude, and of all the great times with the rest of my class who are all such talented people.

So the last week of college may be rather uneventful, and I probably won’t burst into tears when I leave, but I certainly will miss my class and what we’ve created with a lot of hard work and steely determination. And that’s all that matters, really.

 

 

5 Things To Love This Week: Synced, being home, Taylor Swift and more

I’ve been trying to be more positive lately because a ‘typical me’ response to something that’s gone slightly wrong is to have a meltdown with a side of panic attack. It’s obviously not doing wonders for my stress levels so I’m going to try and take a bit of a chill pill. I also want to try and maintain this blog as a consistency project for myself so I figure doing weekly segments may help that along.

Hopefully this doesn’t quickly descend into ‘5 Things To Hate This Week That Will Make Me Cry And Re-Evaluate My Life’… it’s more of a mouthful so I’ll give this a go.

Synced

So the second and final issue of Synced has been printed and distributed; I have mixed feelings of both pride and sadness. I would’ve liked to do a third issue (in part due to my love of trios) and even though it’s a lot of hard work and stress, it’s always worth it when I get to hold the physical copy at the end of the month.

Even if that doesn’t end up happening (we’re thinking about doing a summer special), I’m still very proud of what we’ve achieved as a class.

Cover model: Kevin Long | Photographer: Anna Koppenhoefer  IMG_0550

Being home

I make no secret of my love for my country and being back was like breathing again. London is so stifling sometimes and being home with my friends, boyfriend and family just reminded me that it’s where I need to be. It’s actually caused me to take a break in terms of my hectic schedule and what I thought were my goals for the next year.

I may not want exactly what I thought I did; I certainly don’t want to go jetting off to yet another country in a few months. I don’t think I’m ready yet and I think I sometimes forget that I’m only 21. I have time.

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Taylor Swift’s 1989 

A friend of mine in college is the world’s biggest fan of hers and it seems to have rubbed off on me. Now I’m not the most dedicated music fan so I don’t have too much of an ear in terms of what’s good or not; but consider me a Swiftie because I am hooked! I downloaded her album ‘1989’ onto my phone and I’ve been listening non-stop. Judge me if you will but that shit is catchy.

Cookie milkshakes 

The smell wafting from Wafflemeister would test the foundations of anyone practicing a strict ‘no cream of any kind’ rule. Give me a bowl of cream and I will sit until every last drop is gone; it’s a sickness. Cellulite be damned!

Anyway I fell off the wagon and bought a cookie and cream milkshake from the branch 5 minutes down the road. A giant cup of fat it may be, but it certainly cheers you up after a fairly dull day.

Ikea 

We had to walk through a dodgy Dublin neighbourhood to get there and it took a good 10 minutes longer than I expected, but Ikea is so worth it. I love walking around it with whoever will humour me (this time, it was my boyfriend, the poor lamb).

I’ve always had a thing for interior design and I enjoy imagining what kind of stuff I’d buy and how I’d decorate my future house… Side note: It’s only when you type things out that you realise how sad your life has truly become. Ah! No. Positive vibes.

 

Relaxing Sunday? No Such Luck

I always waste my weekend. I write out a long list of things that need doing at the start of the week and I pin it to my notice board above my desk. Can’t possibly ignore it, right? Well, I see it alright, and then I choose to spend the whole day in my pyjamas binge-watching Parks and Recreation and choking down salted peanuts. Does it feel fantastic at the time? Sure, that’s why I do it. But 9pm comes around when I finally roll out of the fort that is my bed and realise that it’s too late to do anything but eat food and go back to sleep.

It’s great when it’s a ‘once in a while’ kind of thing, but when this is every weekend that’s when it just gets depressing. So I made a plan to go to the V&A as I’ve been meaning to go since I moved to London. In fact I’ve been meaning to go to see a lot of places since coming over here, but I’ll whine about that another time. Today, I finally went on a little trip by myself into London, ready to immerse myself in hundreds of years of culture and stunning art.

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And it was really relaxing! I mean, it took almost an hour to get there and I got off at the wrong stop and arrived an hour before closing time, but besides the setbacks it was really enjoyable. There were a surprising amount of artists sketching in the galleries as well which was fascinating to see. What I really liked was the silence; there were no shouting tourists or screaming children or gossiping schoolgirls taking selfies. Everyone was just walking around quietly admiring the beauty around them.

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Anyway I left to go home and it took almost twice the time because the trains in London are apparently organised by a potato and there were lots of delays and re-routes. Once on the train home, after the stimulating art and organisation of getting to the museum, I found the absence of any distraction led to me exploring my own troubled thoughts. I’ve been on/off about London since I moved here; some days I love it and other days I want to get the hell out of here as soon as I can. There are lots of things happening among family and friends back in Ireland too and they were weighing heavily on my mind as well. It was a pretty lousy trip home.

IMG_0495Everyone is familiar with that awful red-hot feeling in your head, as though your brain is too big for your skull and it’s about to burst. I hate it and it scares me because I don’t like when things are out of my control. Stressing is so tedious, especially when you can’t do anything about it and you’re in another country like me. You just have to sit there and stew in your own paranoia. By the time I got home, I went to my local and picked up some dinner, weary from a day that started off so well. I was relieved to see that articles for Synced had already been approved which allowed me to sit back and try to salvage what was ultimately just a bad day. On the bright side, my room smells fantastic thanks to the lilies I picked up that are just now starting to bloom.

Here’s hoping tomorrow brings happier vibes.

 

The Satisfaction of a Job Well Done: Synced Magazine

Months of hard work, stress-induced headaches and panic over imminent deadlines are all worth the pain when the final touches are placed on a project you’ve poured your heart into. For me, that was Synced. It’s easy to flip through the pages of a magazine and be dismissive about the design, the content, the weird font for the headline; but ultimately, most people have no clue just how much work goes into picking every minute detail.

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It’s true of most things, really, but I can’t help but be frustrated at times. So many nights were sacrificed stressing, editing, proofing, re-editing and designing the final product, which is what some may think is a ‘measly’ 32 pages. Regardless of whether or not others think it’s a rag, or a disappointment, or the best thing ever; what matters to me is that myself and my class (of just 10 people in total) produced, wrote for and designed a print magazine and an online counterpart for the past few months while juggling part-time jobs, assignments for other modules and study for exams. That’s something to be proud of.

I don’t generally toot my own horn but it’s been a very long journey from where we started in September as clueless, naive students to where we are now as confident, dedicated individuals with a lot to offer future employers. Though, I must say, I’ll be happy to be far away from flat plans for a while as I had to write and re-write them about a dozen times to accommodate necessary changes in the layout.

We had many late nights in the design room, or the mags room as we call it, in order to meet our deadlines. The art director, or ‘Mussolini’ as she’s been called, is a perfectionist and I couldn’t be happier with the design; she did such a fantastic job with the help of the rest of the art team. And I’m not too sure what we would’ve done without the sharp eyes of our sub-editors.

I think some of my favourite times have been during photoshoots with the art team. There’s never a dull moment when you’re listening to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and watching a half-naked person pose while eating cucumber! Or videoing a remarkable Chewbacca impersonation at 10pm while waiting for another blasted file to export to PDF. Or eating foreign chocolates brought in by our thoughtful deputy editor. Or discussing whether Channing Tatum looks like a thumb or not (he doesn’t Lesley!) – all good times that I’m going to miss when we finish our course at the end of March.

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Although it’s been very stressful and at times resulted in heated irritation between everyone, I’m so grateful for the experience. It’s rare to be randomly teamed up with a group of people who just happen to be talented, committed and wonderful to be around. I’m a very lucky person and I can’t wait to get out into ‘the real world’, as my dad would say, to get a job in magazines and, perhaps one day, become the editor of an established magazine. There’s no point dreaming small!

 

How Time Flies: London Living and Missing Home

The new year has long since started and my procrastinating is beginning to catch up with me. I only have about 4 weeks of classes left until I’m finished my MA degree in Magazine Journalism; very soon I’ll have so much time on my hands I won’t know what to do with myself. One of my resolutions for 2015 was to maintain my blog – so I’m going to try and be more regular with posts.

Now is as good a time as any to try to keep up with it! Perhaps it’ll help focus my thoughts and distract me from my desire to hop on the next plane and jet back to Ireland. Unfortunately, despite its appeal, London can be very lonely sometimes and I’m a shameless home bird.

I love Ireland and I miss it all the time. It’s easy to want to explore other countries and fantasise about settling down in an obscure Parisian village where I’d eat cheese and drink wine until my happy death, but reality is a lot trickier. It would be wonderful if I could pick up my loved ones, pack them in a suitcase and bring them with me, but that’s not the way things work. People have their own lives and dreams and goals and they’re unlikely to match up exactly with mine, which is something I have to come to terms with.

I’ve watched ‘Friends’ so many times I could recite whole episodes by heart, but after the tenth do-over of the series you start to realise that what the friends have is very far from what most people have in real life – I’d have to be very lucky to be living within walking distance from my best friends when I’m older.

I’m sure I’ll come to love London too, but for now I’ll keep dreaming of all my favourite Irish haunts. Like walking down Grafton Street early in the morning before the shops open with a cup of Bewleys tea, on my way to St. Stephen’s Green with a good book. Or walking along the water at Portsalon beach in the evening. Or stumbling along the cobblestones of Temple Bar after a good night out at Workman’s with some of the best people in the world…

 

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