Coping with the winter months

I find this time of year one of the toughest times; January, February and March. Christmas and New Years are a distant memory. There isn’t much to look forward to or do in the first few months of the year. Spring, let alone summer, feel like an age away. 

You wake up, leave for work in the dark, work all day, and come home to a dark house. It’s a really tough time of year so I thought I’d share some of the ways I trick my brain and comfort myself during these months. It’s all about creating a comforting and cosy environment for yourself. 

Here are my hibernation tricks … 

Here in Ireland, the first few months of the year are incredibly dark and dull. My first step to creating a comforting environment at home these months is to make your own light. Turn on a lamp, a central light, and / or light a few candles. If I were to sit at home without any lights on, I know I’d quickly start to slip and feel terrible. I try to catch myself before it starts by turning on a few lights around the room or wherever I’m working, and visually warm up my environment. 

When I started to work a bit more from home, the first thing I invested in was a radio. A second sense I know I need to trick is my ears. For me, complete silence is not good. I splurged and bought a black revival Roberts radio. I have it on in the background when I’m doing housework, writing and working on my laptop. I’m listening to it right now. Background noise, especially a radio with someone talking, my favourite songs or an interesting debate, helps me feel less alone during the day when I’m working at home. 

Also, the fact that husband’s name is Robert may or may not have influenced why I went with this particular brand. Except he occasionally points at the radio and says it’s his because it says ‘Roberts’ on it. Welp.


Yesterday was a bad day for me. The weather was horrible and the crazy irrational hormones came to visit. The ladies will know what I mean. I was in an awful mood and couldn’t shake it. I felt terrible. I wanted to do something, but without actually doing anything. I hated everything. I eventually thought of something that might cheer me up. After we got all the remedial Sunday stuff out of the way [grocery shopping, yay], I cuddled under my favourite blanket on the couch, drank my weight in chocolate milk out of my favourite tea cup, and cuddled with kitties while watching Jurassic Park [90’s kids FTW!]. 

Sometimes you have to actually cover yourself in things that make you feel better. This could be your favourite ugly / comfy sweater, an exceptionally fluffy duvet, or even a onesie [which I was wearing under said favourite blanket, btw. Represent]. Hell, a couple of months ago husband and I built an actual fort in our living room one night and watched TV in it. It was ridiculously fun. 

For these months, I find it especially important to make plans with family and friends. Book a couple of dates over the next few weeks to look forward to. A bottle of red with your BFF, a living room picnic with your significant other, or a movie night in with your parents / siblings / whoever. These plans don’t necessarily need money thrown at them. Get creative. If you’re feeling isolated, lonely or stuck in a rut, you might not be the only one. Get in contact with a friend or family member and make plans. Mix up your plans or daily routine and try something new. After all, variety is the spice of life.
I know these aren’t groundbreaking pieces of advice, but these are the little tricks I use during the darker months, when I’m having a tough day, or find myself alone for long periods of time [sometimes my work is quite lonely]. I’m learning to look out for myself. When I find myself starting to slip, my first reaction is to look out for things that will pull me up. I’m really just a giant cat, so a soft blanket and a warm light help, even if just a little bit. 

Overheard in Dublin

The creators of Overheard in Dublin messaged me a couple of months ago. “Listen, Alex. This is really tough thing for us to say, so we’re just going to come out and say it. We can’t include your quote on the cover along with a picture of you and your cats like we previously planned. Unfortunately, we also can’t include it in the forward. People will catch on. We’ve had to take special precautions to throw people off, and so we’ve decided to include your feature on page 88. We hope you’re okay with that“, and I was. Because I’m cool like that. I agreed to put my Peppa Pig quote [thanks to an incredibly hungover father in Tesco one morning] on page 88 of their new book so not to make everyone else wildly jealous of my latest feature. It would have been far too obvious otherwise. I’m just down to earth like that. 

Husband read through the new book last night and had a good few chuckles. That is, assuming he was reading my contribution over and over. If you’re related to me, you can expect a signed copy for Christmas. You’re welcome.
xx A

Dublin charity shop tour – part 2

Back in October, Emily of From China Village shared one of my favourite and well worn charity shop routes in the Dublin city centre over on her blog. Since that was way back in October, I thought it was high time I share another one of my favourite routes, but this time on the south side. 

I start by taking any of the buses that go down George’s / Camden Street, and get out at the stop just after Age Action nearish to The Bleeding Horse. Then I get down to business. Starting at Dublin’s Simon Community, I work my way north back towards the city centre …

1Dublin’s Simon Community – a great place to check out for clothes. You won’t find much brick-a-brack here, but the abundance of clothes {both adult and kids} more than makes up for it. 
2. Age Action – if you’re on the lookout for furniture, you have got to check out Age Action. They have serious retro pieces in the windows and throughout the shop. I’ve found many amazing pieces in this place – my vintage vases, the lamp I revamped and my coral to name a few. They also have a serious vintage clothing selection.
3. Enable Ireland – a good selection of everything but they always seem to strike gold when it comes to bed linens. Don’t be afraid to buy second hand linen – you’ve slept in a hotel before, right? Well I’m afraid it’s the same thing. Just wash them before you use them. 
4. Irish Cancer Society – this place is perfect for nick-knacks. However, this charity shop can be overpriced. For example, there was a lovely teapot on display but it was marked €45. It wasn’t a fancy label, so I inquired about the price and the manager wouldn’t budge. I’ve found other items overpriced, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find amazing bargains. I’ve gotten beautiful vases for my mom in here.
5. Debra – a serious gold mine. Not only are the staff incredibly friendly and helpful {they remembered me from years ago buying teapots and cups for our wedding! I didn’t even remember that}, but there are real gems and jewels in here. For instance, I picked up my bar cart here. Winning. 

After Debra charity shop it’s a 10 or 15 minute walk to Vincent’s on Aungier Street so sometimes I hop on the next bus because if I’m not cycling, I use my unlimited bus ticket and I usually milk it for all it’s worth. Otherwise it’s not too long of a walk to the next shop … 

6. Vincent’s – this is a real gem when it comes to odds and ends. It’s a small shop, but what it lacks in size, it makes up in volume of interesting and unusual pieces. Vases, paintings and collectors items fill this place to the top as well as clothes. 
7. All Sorts – I’ve heard this place being referred to as the TK Maxx of charity shops. It has a good mix of odds-and-ends and a good clothes selection. I find it very good for accessories as I’ve picked up a couple of belts and bangles in here now and again. 
If you wanted, again, you can take the bus a couple stops to George’s Street as there’s a bit of a walk between these shops. But it’s not too far. You can do it. 
8. Enable Ireland – all Enable Ireland’s have a really good mix of everything. This one in particular has very posh clothes. Again, as with the Enable Ireland on Camden Street, make sure you check out their window display and take note of when it goes on sale as there are some serious gems in there. 
9. Vincent’s – the newest charity shop on George’s Street and already I’ve scored some hits there. Lots of really swish clothes downstairs, and if collectibles and records are your thing, then head upstairs. 
10. Oxfam – this Oxfam is quite fancy and always has a really good selection of next-to-new clothes, books, handbags and accessories. Especially check out their vintage scarf selection if that’s your kind of thing.

And if that route doesn’t satisfy your charity shop craving in the Dublin city centre, than I srsly don’t know what will.

This is my favourite route because with a whopping 10 shops, you’re guaranteed to find something that makes you scream inside. If you’d like to check out my original charity shop route for the north side, click on over here to my post on Emily’s post!