My Journey so Far with ULLR

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In this post, I’ll let the photos do most of the talking. This year has been an amazing experience, being my first year of college and also being my first year playing rugby. I couldn’t be happier that I joined the UL ladies rugby team. I have learned so much from the amazing girls and coaches, both on and off the pitch.  From starting out in september not knowing how to play rugby, to winning the All-Ireland division two final.. It’s been a long and rewarding journey. Home games, away games, finals, nights out at the stables and the UL rugby ball.. There’s a few photos from each in the collage.

Rugby has taught me respect, given me confidence, made me fearless, motivated me to push myself and my body to it’s limit, and has given me an amazing group of girls to share this journey with. Rugby has taught me that being 4 feet 11″ cannot hold me back from doing anything that I want to do. It all sounds cringey but it’s all true. I’ve played so many other sports before this, but I am truly passionate about rugby. It is such a disciplined game, that uses both mental and physical strength. I love the adrenaline rush I get while playing games, I love training to improve, I even love waking up the following day with aches, pains and bruises because it’s all worth it.

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The point of this post is mainly to say that playing rugby has taught me so many things, and i’ve met so many great people.

ULLR are a family. #Ohana

 

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Orange is the New Black

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I must admit that throughout my entire teenage years I rarely watched any TV and definitely wasn’t addicted to any series but enrolling in college meant only one thing, I also had to enrol in Netflix! First on my list of recommended series to watch was, of course, the infamous ‘Orange is the New Black’. The series is based on a memoir by Piper Kerman, based on her experience as an upper/middle class woman who found herself in prison. It was interesting to learn that many of the women depicted in the series are actually based on real life characters who Kerman herself encountered on her yearlong journey!

At the start I was sceptical, I didn’t get the humour, found it hard to learn everybody’s names (I had enough of that with college) and how could I ever relate to women in prison. However, I decided to stick with it…

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“Friday night lights”

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So in the recent few months of being new to the college student life, I decided it was about time to make that all important Netflix account. After hearing so much about it I felt I was missing out by not having one and boy was I right!

I must admit, at the start I didn’t know what I was doing, this was all so new and unknown territory. I didn’t know where to start or what to even look for, until I stumbled across “Friday night lights”, a series full of excitement, sport and drama (I mean come on who wouldn’t love it?). I find myself watching one or two episodes, and end up wide awake at 1 o’clock in the morning with four or five episodes watched. I’m starting to think this may become a problem.

This Netflix series is based on an American high school and its…

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Cake Art

I’ve always been really into cooking, especially baking. This all started when I found out I was a coeliac. At the time, there wasn’t a great selection of foods on the market that were coeliac friendly, so my mother and I began to bake our own bread and cakes using wheat-free flour.

I have always been a very creative person. Drawing, painting and doing crafts was always a hobby of mine. A few years ago, a show came on tv called Cake Boss, about a baker named Buddy Valastro who owned a bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey. He made spectacular cakes for all occasions, and I was totally captivated by this! I was fascinated by the level of skill and creativity that his cakes had. It combined elements of sculpture and baking, which blew me away. His cakes were like nothing I had ever seen before. The art of cake decorating at this level had not been in practice in Ireland yet, but I was eager to try!

Sourcing ingredients for these cakes proved to be tougher than I anticipated. Sugar paste and fondant were nearly impossible to buy in shops, therefore, I took to the internet and ordered some online at a very reasonable price!

hapMy first few cakes were underwhelming to say the least! But practice makes perfect. It took a lot of time, patience and practice to get the techniques right. The baking was the easy part, the decorating proved to be quite the challenge! I watched Cake Boss religiously, picking up new tips and tricks every time. There are also lots of great tutorials on Youtube, that really helped me to grasp the basics.

 

ccOnce I had the basics mastered, the fun began. I could use my creativity to create cakes for any occasion like Christmas, Easter, birthdays etc. I got better and better the more I made, and even got requests from people to make cakes for them, which I was honoured to do!  Here’s just a few of the cakes that I’ve done, hopefully you can see the progress I’ve made over the years!

 

 

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That’s just a few of the cakes i’ve made so that you can see the progress I’ve made. Here’s a video about the basics of decorating a fondant cake.

12 Struggles of Being a Waitress

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Waitress (noun) : a woman who waits on tables, as in a restaraunt. This is the vague job description of a waitress that can be found in the dictionary. From years of working in this occupation, I can assure you that this job entails a LOT more than what meets the eye.

I’ve worked in the same restaurant as a waitress since I was 16 years old. Young and naive, bright eyed and bubbly, I started working as a waitress. Little did I know, it would prove to be much harder than I thought.. Let me tell you about just a few things that make us waitresses tick.

  1. Spending ALL day on your feet.

Very few of us go one hour without sitting down for a few minutes. Well try standing up for hours on end, especially when you work an 8 or 9 hour shift. Coming home from work with your feet aching as a waitress is a regular occurrence. Foot massage anyone please???

2. Picky customers.

Picky eaters are a waitresses worst nightmare. “Can I get ‘this’ instead of ‘that’??” Customers who ask to change so much about a dish that it’s possibly the furthest thing from the original recipe. Good luck explaining that one to the chef…

3. One word: Children.

I’m not a crazy person who hates kids or anything, but if you bring your child to a restaurant you’d think it would be to eat, right? Mostly wrong, it’s usually ‘how loud can I scream’ or ‘how much of this food can I throw on the floor’ before my mommy gives out to me. “Sorry about the mess…” *mother smiles sympathetically whilst leaving as quickly as possible*

4. Busy Days. 

Having to physically run around the restaurant to take orders, clean tables, bring drinks, bring food, and deal with awkward customers all at once. Lunch hour rush can be like a 10k marathon for a waitress trying to multitask! Sure, it does make the day go faster, but have your running shoes at the ready!

5. Quiet Days.

Everything’s been cleaned, once, twice, now three times. Bars and fridges are restocked. 10,000 napkins have been folded. Your eyes almost light up at the sight of a potential customer (human interaction, yes!).Quiet days can be a drag.

6. When you’re not ready to order, please don’t say you are.

‘Are you ready to order, sir?’ ‘Yes… I’ll have the… Uhmmmm..’ *awkward pause for 5 minutes whilst I just stand at your table waiting for you to decide*

7. People not grasping the definition of menus.

‘What’s in this dish?’ Its written right there in front of you, down there, on the MENU.

8. When people forget what they ordered.

When you bring the food to the table and announce the dish and everyone stares blankly at you like you’ve just spoken in an alien language. In the meantime, your hand is cramping from holding three hot dishes at once and you’re begging someone to just say ‘here’.

9. ‘That’s not what I ordered’

Yes, it is. It’s written right here. You pointed at it on the menu, said the name of the dish then I wrote it down. It’s exactly what you ordered.

10. Bad Tips.

When you give a table excellent service and you get shit for thanks. ‘Keep the change’ Wow, thanks so much for the 5cents change leftover on your bill.

11. Coming home smelling like food.

‘What’s that smell?’ *looks around hoping that nobody notices it’s you*

12. Customers coming in 10 minutes before closing time.

This one is pretty self explanatory.

This video pretty much sums up life as a waiter.

Being a waitress has it’s good days, and it’s bad days (most of the time mood/hangover depending). So next time you’re in a restaraunt, please be mindful of us. We’re doing our best, so please refrain from taking out all of what’s wrong about the restaurant on us. It’s not our fault! On the other hand, I do like my job. It’s taught me to have tolerance and patience even at the most pressing of times. Waitressing isn’t all bad, I get to meet lots of interesting people, have great laughs and even make some funny memories. And most of all, it pays for the expensive life of a college student!

UL Ladies Rugby

Current status: Battered, bruised but worth it.

As I’m writing this blog post, I am currently lying in bed with every muscle, bone, and limb of my body aching. Today I played my third rugby match with the UL Ladies Rugby team and loved every moment of it. (No pain, no gain, right?)

My family have always been big rugby fans. I grew up going to Munster matches with my father who, in his day, played rugby with Garryowen Rfc. I was always a sporty girl growing up, but stuck to G.A.A mainly. In secondary school, I began playing tag rugby which I grew to love but all I wanted was to have a go at the real game! I stuck with tag rugby for the six years. But a broken wrist and 2 surgeries later, no wonder my mother didn’t want me to play full contact! (Also a month before my Leaving Cert! Great timing, eh?) 

When I came to UL, I decided that life is too short to give up on something you love so I decided to give rugby a go. I had never played full-contact rugby before so it was a whole new ball game to me. I was a newbie to the team with very little experience, only knowledge from watching games. I was so nervous starting out. I felt clueless! But all of the girls and coaches were so welcoming to us newbies, and helped us so much to learn the rules and plays. We are so lucky to have two great coaches to guide us, Fiona Reidy and Niamh Kavanagh. At the beginning, I was on information overload but bit by bit, I grasped, (and still am grasping!) the rules of the game. We’ve been split into Junior and Senior teams, and I am happy to be on the Junior team for the time being while I learn the ropes, but hope to make the Senior team one day.

So far I’ve played in matches against Tallaght IT, Waterford IT and NUI Maynooth, and won every time! I scored my first try for ULLR against Tallaght IT, and again today against NUI Maynooth! (Hopefully many more to come!) I still get funny looks from people when I tell them that I play rugby, but some people forget you don’t have to be big or tall to play in the backs line! I play the position of Inside Centre or Wing.

Therefore, I have no regrets in joining ULLR this year! I would definitely encourage everyone to join a team, club or society because not only is it great craic, you meet so many new people who share your interests. I’m still learning the ropes every week at training but loving every second of it! I’m really excited learn more and see myself improve over time. Today was a great day for ULLR as both Junior and Senior teams won their matches. The Junior team beat NUI Maynooth with a final score of 57-15!

Go Wolves!

Go Wolves!

Wiki Article Assignment

As part of the module Introduction to Digital Media, we were asked to write a Wikipedia-style article. We were each assigned a group and a topic relating to the Year of Irish Design 2015. If I’m honest, I was a little less than excited about working with a group for this project as I’m quite the perfectionist and work better alone. (but these thing’s have to be done, don’t they?) Also I am not the best with computers so when I heard the words ‘Wiki editing’, I was a little scared!

So I headed into the assignment with an open mind, only to get off to a rocky start. Unfortunately, I had trouble contacting my group in the beginning but my tutor was more than helpful and assigned me to another group. My group’s task was to research and write an article about the architecture of Thomond Bridge in Limerick city. With a passion for art and design, this did not scare me as I’ve studied architecture of buildings as part of the Leaving Certificate Art History course. My new group was very welcoming and added me to their group on Facebook where we could easily discuss our idea’s and inputs for the assignment. I found this topic to be quite interesting to research and I was happy to learn more about my city’s architecture.Being from Limerick, I volunteered to research the current issues surrounding the bridge as I have heard much about it in recent years. 

Thomond Bridge

Thomond Bridge

From local news I was already aware that unfortunately, Thomond Bridge is a common location for suicides in Limerick. Suicide has emerged as a growing problem in Limerick and the areas surrounding the River Shannon, a number of measures have been put in place by the local community to combat this. The exact number of suicides on the river is unknown a growing number of people are taking their lives by entering the river via the bridge. From my research on these current issues, I learned that numerous groups have been set up to raise awareness of these suicides and also to prevent further tragedies. These include Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol (CSPP) and the Lisa’s Light Limerick campaign. Both of these organisations do great work in hope to decrease the number of suicide’s via the bridge.

The Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol (CSPP) patrol Limerick’s bridges in order to

CSPP Volunteers at work

CSPP Volunteers at work

prevent suicides and also to provide support to those in distress or who may be contemplating suicide. These volunteered are equipped with the necessary training and patrol the bridges every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night.

Another campaign that is active to combat these tragedies is the Lisa’s Light campaign. Lisa’s Light was started by a local teenager who was personally affected by suicide. The 18 year-old started an online petition to get Limerick City and County Council to light up Limerick’s bridges. The petition received over 5,000 signatures. The aim of the campaign is to give hopeful, life affirming messages to those who may be distressed and contemplating suicide. Lisa’s Light Limerick has placed clear plastic boxes, which are lit up by solar- powered lights, to brighten up the bridges at night. Personally, I think this is a powerful and touching campaign which I believe will help people who are in dark places see that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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I really enjoyed this assignment, despite my anxieties about it at the beginning! I think that it is important that we don’t just take our city for granted and I enjoyed learning more about it from this project. I think that our Wikipedia-style article turned out quite impressive in the end. I enjoyed working as part of a group and learned that I am not as bad with computers as I thought I was. (maybe there’s a little bit of a geek in me after all!) 

Thanks and well done to Group 3! 🙂

You can read our article here.