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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Wizards Assemble - A Review

Being an avid Harry Potter fan you can only imagine my excitement when I found out  that ‘Wasted Promotions’ were bringing to Dublin a Wizards Assemble, Harry Potter themed Pub Crawl.  I nearly danced around my kitchen imagining all kinds of like-minded weirdos crawling through Dublin armed with wands and robes leaving the passing muggles in a state odd resentment like jealousy. 

The time was 7pm the date was 17th February 2017 and the mood was nervous excitement (well for me) my partner was entertaining my seriously embarrassing excitement because she loves me and knows she’s better off just letting me be a total dork than having to deal with my total geekiness.  Having conned four more of our family members to attend, the six of us pranced gaily up the stairs of Capitol Bar and met our ‘reps’, were told we are in group one, were given a bracelet and ordered our gillyweed cocktails.

After about ten minutes of  admiring each other’s costumes we were told that group one was leaving and to down our drinks and be on our way.  In a rather rapid rush what seems like about 100 of us were escorted down the back stairs and off to Harrys on the Green.  I asked the ‘rep’ how long we had here and she said ‘half an hour’.  I ran to the bar, only to face a wall of wizards trying to order a drink.

After twenty minutes queuing I ordered our group a drink.   We had ten minutes to down it.  We decided to get a plan in place and prepare to be ready to leave in front of the group in order to be able to get a drink and enjoy it at the next bar, so with our second drink downed we legged it to the front of the group and were met by group two on their way in.  We battered our way by them and then trudged up to Wexford Street, into Karma, where we met with a young ‘rep’ who handed us our chop sticks covered in glue, sorry I mean Wands.  Mine was still tacky with spray paint and poor Joes was falling apart but we were still in high spirits and eager for the games and spot prizes that were to be showered upon the group.

By the fourth bar ‘Opium’ on Camden Street we were growing suspicious.  Our ‘reps’ were confused, there were no spot prizes and all wizards and muggles alike were starting to suspect that there was nothing of note in plan for the evening.  I spoke to two lovely Beletrix Le Strange characters who decided they were going to skip the next bar to try and get a drink in time to enjoy it because all they seemed to do was stand in a que and down a drink in five minutes. 

By the time we got to Whelans Bar I manged to track down a rep and ask was anything going to happen bar the constant queuing, her reply was “I’m really sorry, I was just told to turn up at six and make sure you get to the bars by a certain time, I don’t know nothing”.  Having had a few drinks I managed to laugh out loud and slag “Wasted Promotions” management of the event to all the other Wizards who were conned.  Some of the guys and gals we met came up with the plan to change groups so we managed to hang with a group from group 4 for a while who were hilarious.  After a couple of drinks in Whelan’s we headed off, lost our group, our wands were now just wooden chopsticks and I wanted to strangle the “Wasted Promotions” organisers with my Gryfindor tie.

When I fell in the door last night I was intoxicated to say the least.  Downing drinks in order to keep up with a too fast paced pub crawl is not what one would call drinking responsibly but to top it all off, this morning I awoke to a notification from Wizards Assemble Facebook page thanking everyone for a wonderful night.  As I watched the negative comments pouring in, I jumped on board and started in on the discussion.  It was becoming quite enjoyable in a morbid kind of way watching the comments pile up about others disappointment in the event and as they continued to come in they started to be deleted.  Imagine, whoever is controlling their Facebook page is (I'm going to say allegedly)  deleting the negative comments.  Seriously, how pathetic.  (I do realise that I was dressed up to go to a themed night, so I shouldn’t really be calling anyone pathetic except myself, but seriously).


Now, don’t get me wrong, I had a blast, but this had little to do with the event. My merriment had nothing to do with Wasted Promotions and everything to do with the company I was in.  The event was badly managed and a total waste of time.  My advice to anyone thinking of going to any of these events is, don’t, gather your ticket money together and have a Harry Potter themed night at a house party.  At least this way you will get to enjoy your drink. Wasted Promotions, my opinion, aptly named.  PS: I’m not a skin flint, €8 was cheap as chips for a ticket, but I’m not sure what I paid for.



Saturday, 11 June 2016

I Think I Might Have An Impulsive Disorder - Discuss

Lads and Lassies,  I know I promised you lots of blogs after I finished with the Sunday World but the fact of the matter is, I actually don't want to talk about loosing weight any more.  I suddenly realised I was boring myself trying to come up with ways to talk about weightloss and not be boring.  

Now, when you find yourself being bored with yourself, you know you are becoming excruciatingly boring to everyone else.  That said, I am still hanging off the walls at 'Climbing Walls' Dublin and Donie is still my climbing partner and has saved my life, literally, about fifty times.  I am currently sporting two beautiful purple coloured bruises on my right shoulder, a cut on my left shin and several icky looking blisters on all eight of my fingers..... and yes, I do still love it. 

Which brings me to my next topic.  Kayaking.  My good friend Gill got a kayak recently and proceeded to tell me about the wonderful world of kayaking over a stiff gin and tonic (yep, I'm still drinking regularly) and of course I decided it would be a lovely calm hobby to join my good friend in.  Twenty four hours later, minus a heap of money I am the proud owner of a shiny red kayak.

What kind of Kayak I hear you ask...I am not really sure. How long is my paddle?.....Couldn't tell you.  After I spoke to an avid kayaker this afternoon and was bombarded with questions about my little boat I decided that showing a photo of it was the best way to go..I found out that my boat is bullet proof...that's good to know what with all the crime these days.  I could paddle to England in it if my arms would get me there, was another...not sure I am ready for that but also good to know.  

I was told that if I was going to go out on the ocean that I needed a handheld waterproof VHS...I couldn't find one anywhere on the tinternet that didn't look like an old video player, that was until I realized that I should have been looking for a VHF marine radio.  I was asked about life jackets and helmets and wetsuits and cags and boots and dry bags and all these other things that I would need, luckily enough I had some of these from the year before last when I took up diving and soon realised I was terrified of dying under water in a freak accident (which would have been entirely my own fault).

I thought it best that I quit that.  I was terrified to tell my partner that I was giving it up after spending so much money but it turned out she was delighted, as it happens she too thought I would die in a freak underwater diving accident, that I would have caused.  The only difference between her story and mine is that I would probably have taken my diving partner with me.

So I think this is the first time I have sat back in any of my nearly fourty years and asked, do I have an impulsive disorder or am I just a fun loving crazy lady who is afraid of getting old.  As I sit here scratching my head I'm praying that it's the later, I am also thinking, how the hell am I going to get that yolk onto a roof rack (that I had to buy) on my own?



Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Awesome Walls and Climbing

After the great travesty last week regarding the two pound gain I decided that this week I was going to diet, get real active and try something new.  Now I can get a bit scared trying something new alone so I roped my work husband Doney into accompanying me to Awesome Walls in Finglas, the Mrs has a fear of heights so was uncooperative when I tried to get her to overcome her fears and take to the sky, or roof as was the case.  I had read that climbing is a great core sport and is great for the burning of calories so I thought I might get active by doing something fun. 

Now I’m not saying that running or spinning isn’t fun, I’m just saying that they are not fun for me.  I know I’m not pushing myself enough physically, I need to enjoy whatever exercise it is that I am going to partake in otherwise I am just going to plod along doing the same boring routine at the gym and will get so bored I won’t go or will find reasons not to go.

So we booked a mid-day training class and met with our instructors who spent an hour with us showing us all the equipment and how to tie the knots that will keep us from plummeting to our deaths, or becoming the victim of a serious injury.  After we had completed our basic training we were allowed off to our own devices and experimented with some wall climbing.  As the day went on my arms and legs started to burn.  When we eventually stopped for a break, hours had passed and I realised I was starving.

Doney wanted to go out to eat but I decided to cook something healthy for us instead and eat in.  The journey home was agony.  There was a hairy moment on the M50 when I  came to my exit and was worried that the muscles in my arms wouldn’t be able to turn the wheel to make the very hard turn that led to home, but we made it home and I managed to throw together a lovely, healthy steamed salmon dish that filled us and didn’t ruin the hard work we had put into the day.

As we sat on the couch, knackered and sore, watching an old Star Trek film, possibly because our arms were too sore to hold and aim the remote control we made plans to do it again.  Four days later, after the pain had subsided, I was back in a harness again attempting to climb to the top of the building and burning the calories while really enjoying myself.  When I got talking to one of the girls there I was invited to attend a free women’s coaching session on the Wednesday.  I signed up and am currently praying the pain I am enduring now is going to be gone by Wednesday.

While Karen always says that losing weight is 90% about diet and 10% about exercise, I think that exercise gives you that boost to help keep your mind on the diet.  I already am thinking about losing weight so that I don’t have to haul all this weight up the wall.  I want to tone up and get strong and if staying away from the pies is going to help me with that then bring it on.  I’ve a week left with Magazine + and know that this week is a definite turning point for me.  Maybe it’s the smell of Spring in the air but I’m feeling rejuvenated.


Its My Travesty

There I was thinking that the start to this week was going to go fine.  After the skin thing last week and my partners birthday my body went into total crapville.  I got a real bad chest infection.  I was on antibiotics and taking cough bottle to beat the band. I was bed ridden and in no form for anything.  I did no walking, not a lot of talking (I know, hard to believe) and mostly felt totally crap about everything and everyone.  Dieting was the last thing on my mind. 

Now I didn’t do the dog on it at all. I realised that being sick was no reason to lose the run of myself, that and the fact that there was little of badness in the house when it came to food.  I didn’t eat too much at all really.  I was downing the cough mixture, which I later heard is full of sugar and spent the days lying between the dent that I had made for myself in the couch and my bed.  Life really doesn’t give a damn about whether or not you are trying to meet a deadline or lose the remaining pounds before you finish a diet challenge. 

This is probably a really boring column as I don’t really have much of anything to say because I didn’t do much of anything to note.  I was too sick to go see Karen from Transform4Life but she offered me support via the phone and assured me that she was only a call text or tweet away.   We decided I would weigh myself as I was too sick to come in and it nearly tipped me over the edge as I was two pounds up.  I was nearly brought to tears only I think I was so dehydrated there was no moisture in my system to muster up a tear.  My throat was so sore I let my intake of water slip.

I spent hours thinking about how this travesty happened.  I hadn’t eaten anything of note, let’s face it, when you can’t taste or smell what you are eating, what is the point.  I know my water intake was poor, this could have been some trigger, water weight? Who am I kidding.  The steroids the week before probably caught up with me.  But no matter how long I spent beating myself up about it I had to take solace in the fact that once I kick the infection I am just going to have to start back at square one.  I was broken hearted.  Truly. 

I remember when I was in my twenties, I could lose weight much easier.  I started cursing getting older, my metabolism and started reading about how illness and age affects weightloss.  I spent the time totally unproductively and miserable.  Dieting sucks.  Being sick also sucks, this week everything sucked, especially me. I’d say my partner wanted to beat me within an inch of her life but like normal she just nodded, smiled and was being really helpful, even this annoyed me. I could take being up if I had been really bad but I was just ill with a little nibble here or there. 


I then blamed God for a bit, then apologised and asked for forgiveness. As I write this I am still congested and spluttery but can see the light at the end of the sickness tunnel.  Sometimes feeling sorry for yourself feels more important than dieting.  This week I really wanted to give dieting the two fingers but I swear as soon as I kick this thing I am back on the scales.

Wine Tasting and Tid Bits

How did I start this week?  Not well, that’s for sure.  After The Big Bang sit in of Week 14 my body went into a state of shock when I tried to pry it away from the hole in couch I had made for myself and went into complete and utter shut down.  I have a weird skin condition called palmer planter that flares up every so often which leaves me full of steroids and smeared with what can only be described as a witch doctor cream which leaves me smelling of cat pee and cold tar.  Then to top it off I got a chest infection and a dose of the I feel sorry for myself blues’.  Luckily enough it didn’t last too long and I was back to myself in time for my partners birthday.

What do you get the woman who has everything?  While I am always one for pulling out all the stops, this year was a hard one.  She’s not one for tablets, or devices.  She’s no interest in jewellery.  She has the golf clubs, the bike, the gym gear.  Now there is always flowers (no chocolates this year) so what do I do…….I buy a wine tasting and supper experience.  Probably not the best idea for someone trying to lose weight but this wasn’t about me, this was about her.

We had never been on one together before.  I say together because I had been on one years back but I was young and it was more like a wine sculling course and I don’t remember learning much about anything.  Initially it was supposed to be in Ely Wine Bar in Dublin 2 but was changed to Ely in IFSC. I had never been before and when I approached it I was a little apprehensive when I saw all the young hipster type crowd out enjoying themselves but when we went downstairs to what looked like an underground vault I was impressed.

The room that the tasting was in was beautifully laid out and two tables set out for six were on either side of it.  There stood six wine glasses in front of each chair, three red and three white.  I started to get nervous because I started to feel out of my depth.  At the table to my right there was a young Asian lad who looked about 14.  I wondered if he was there as a way to consume alcohol while underage but realised when I saw him swirl the wine around the glass he was probably way more experienced than I was. 

Ian, the guy in charge introduced himself to us and we explained that we were new to this and he put us at ease explaining the process.  You pick up a glass, give it a swirl, stick your nose in and inhale, not too much or you will inhale the wine and choke causing one much embarrassment, trust me.  I wasn’t sure this whole experience was for me when the power couple at our table stated rather loudly “ohhh, the nose on that”.  I was actually looking for someone with a large nose but realised that they were just using a wine phrase.


There was a lovely PE teacher from a very affluent school in the City Centre sitting next to us and we got talking about dieting and being healthy, it seems that I always end up talking about dieting, I must be a pain in the butt.  While I know I am writing every week about dieting I realised that I still just have to be myself and live how I do.  I am going to have to do this long after I finish with Magazine+ and can’t beat myself up every time I want to do something that involves eating or drinking.  I’ll just have to enjoy the experience and be good every other day.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Big Bang and the big sit in!

A couple of years ago I got conned into participating in an event called Hell and Back.  This was a 14k run up and down a mountain in the freezing cold, sometimes carrying a log, or tyres and involved a lot of climbing.  There was a section of the course where I had to climb up two burley men who then flung me over the top of a wall which I was supposed to grab and climb gracefully over.  Needless to say there was nothing graceful about me overshooting the top and falling the ten feet onto a pile of tyres.  Stay with me, this story is going somewhere.  When I hit that pile of tyres and ran to my partner I thought I had reached the end and was delirious with relief. I had not.  I was quickly informed I still had 5k to go.  That is how I feel at the moment about dieting.

Not trying to be melodramatic but I can see the finish line but I’m not even half way there.  I really am being good with regard to food.  I’ve had salads for dinner three times this week.  While I really like salads, I also really like a chipper.  The toughest part of being on a diet is not watching what you eat, its watching what other people eat.  With only a few weeks left I really want to make the two stone.  I know I have miles to go after I finish this challenge but I genuinely think I will continue to do this.  I might not be meeting Karen every week or writing for Magazine + but I have definitely changed how I feel about food.

I obviously have an addictive personality.  This is a problem when you love food so much.  This week I had the opportunity to have a wind down.  This is a rare and exhilarating experience for me.  I’m usually so busy that I don’t have time to scratch myself but this week I had four days to do whatever I felt like doing.  The first day I cleaned my house from top to bottom.  It is now an OCD haven.  My fitbit calculated way over my 10k steps after the scrubfest. 

The second day I did a very stupid thing.  I logged onto Netflix.  First error. There was a recommendation for me to watch a programme called The Big Bang Theory, I clicked in.  Second error.  Two days later, four seasons in I am admitting to myself I have a problem.  While I haven’t eaten anything bad or drank anything that will leave me in a state of inebriation, there is now a Joy shaped dent in the corner of my couch.  I’m also dreaming about being in this show, this is never a good sign.  My fitbit calculated under 10k steps both days.  Don’t worry, I am hanging my head in shame. 


The only solution to this is to place a large full length mirror under the TV and maybe eat dinner naked while looking into the mirror.  I believe this would be a great tool in the war against gaining weight.  I certainly know that if I was to watch myself eating naked in a mirror it would be enough to turn me off my food.  Anyway, when I spoke to Karen this week I explained how I was feeling.  There is no quick fix to losing weight.  She encouraged me and told me I was losing weight the right way, slow and steady and I am on the way to winning this race!

Shebeens, Rap-Offs and Debauchery

So I’m settling back into my routine and am out doing more than my 10,000 steps most days.  I was down the country again, this time it was the lovely Limerick.  Now, I’m not going to lie, I had a ball.  I ended up in a Shebeen called ‘The OutBack’ in the middle of nowhere dancing to the soundtrack of Dirty Dancing and ending up in a Rap off, Dubliner against –not sure what you call a person from Limerick but either way they annihilated me. 

Sometimes, when I am surrounded by people I feel comfortable around I have a tendency to let a little over excited, actually not sometimes, all the time.  I am a very happy lady who loves being around those who love life as much as I do.  That said I should be mature enough to have control over my willpower. I let myself down a bit this week.  I had bread.  I also drank.  Believe me I did hang my head in shame.  I also hung it into a toilet bowl for some time also.  I feel like I got too excited and let go a little too much.  I know we are all entitled to let ourselves go once in a while and in my opinion I had been doing really well, but this week I was bad.   I have a vague recollection of a box of pringles along the way somewhere.

Now I know in the aftermath of the fun and frolics I am probably over thinking all I ate and drink, realistically I probably only had two bad days and five really good days.  But the scales never lie.  While I didn’t gain weight after the debaucherously enjoyable carrying on over the week, I didn’t loose anything either.  That was a kick in the teeth.    I am so used to being down that I was furious that I hadn’t lost a pound.  Not one.  Who’s fault was this.  Mine.

I had been exercising and watching my food and drink for five of seven days and feel like I was entitled to enjoy myself for a little bit.  But when you have a fun filled couple of days your mind pulls you back and you realise the only person you are fooling is yourself.  I knew as I pranced around that little bar with a glass of Moet in my hand I was going to pay the price.  I could hear my inner voice going “Joy, calm down, there’s no need to be going crazy, put down the Pringle”.  My evil inner voice replied “Ah shut up you ye thick, what harm is a few Pringles going to do”….Well I can now tell you the harm.


When you wake up after drinking all night and eating crap you do not feel human.  You feel like a much less evolved version of the species.  I’ve been so good with regard to the drink lately that I had forgotten the effects of overindulgence.  I spent several hours between the bed, the couch, the sink (because I couldn’t make it to the toilet in time) and back to the couch.  I was so hungover I couldn’t even lift my hand to change the channel on the remote control.  Parents, if you ever want to turn your teens off the drink you should send them over to me after a night on the Raz.  Needless to say I have made the decision, again, to never drink again.  At least until after my final week with Karen.