Off balance



I’m a Libra, but it’s very rare that I’m balanced, I’m either slightly high or feeling low. I’ve self confidence issues and anxieties that hold me back from everyday things. In January, fed up with myself, how I looked and felt I joined a local gym- Synergy – in Cavan.  I completed four weeks of a six week programme early the previous year, didn’t finish it out and of course I was furious with myself for not going back. I started a new 6 week block in January- in these programmes, everything is laid out for you, a clean eating plan and lots of help and support. They weigh and do your measurements at the beginning of each block. When I finished the first block, I was disappointed, I had only lost three pounds, I did lose inches but I couldn’t get over the mind set that the number on the scales means everything. I felt deflated, I know in my heart that I’m overweight, and that I need to lose weight and I tried really hard for teh first time in my life- actually committed to a programme tailored to me to lose weight and I failed. I started another block at the end March with a I have two personal training sessions per week as well as two classes. I chose  Piloxing, which is a cardio workout, pilates-boxing and dance. I was really enjoying myself this time round- got into the health kick, bought a blender, was making smoothies, was eating healthily and all of a sudden when my energy levels should have been at their highest they plummeted. Last week I was tired, this week I’m exhausted. I had my last piloxing class last Thursday evening and I could barely get through it.  Last Friday night/morning I was akwoken by an intense pain in my jaw, I couldn’t believe it woke me up. It came from nowhere. I found ibuprofen in the press knocked back two and thankfully drifted back to sleep. But it was there when I woke up again and has been there ever since. I’ve been freaking out thinking it’s an abscess (I got a deep filling on a tooth before- It chipped since and food always gets trapped there– even though I floss) So I was worried it was an abscess, but my teeth aren’t sore it’s my jaw bone really so then I’m thinking it’s wisdom teeth coming through. Anyway, mum gave me antibiotics for the suspected abscess and I’ve been on nurofen plus tablets for the pain since Sunday. So I haven’t been at the gym or at classes since last week and I feel so shit. I feel guilty and I feel like I’m sabotaging all the good work I’ve done since I joined. I’ve slipped back to eating my ‘vice’ foods of bread and crisps. It’s a vicious circle and I’m spiraling out of control and to make matters worse I think my trainers are disappointed in me or at the very least pissed off, an that makes me feel worse.


I always do this to myself, sabotage, I’m my own worst enemy.

Anyone have any suggestions?





Brink Magazine

This is my final year project in Dublin Institute of Technology, we created a magazine aimed at young professionals. I wrote five feature articles on various different topics including emigration, entrepreneurship and language learning. I enjoyed the process, I felt I did a lot of the work for the magazine content wise and my grade didn’t reflect that which was annoying!!

Have a browse and tell me what you think!!

Here’s the link:



Gotta Catch Them All!

“It’s like I’ve collected three types of Pokémon exclaimed my boyfriend upon seeing my “new” hair.

What a lovely nerdy compliment!!

I have grown bored of my brunette locks….I dyed them at home using a Garnier Fructis dye in Frosted Chestnut….the last dye job left me really dark….too dark.

People may recall my first dilemma on hair…being blonde for the best part of ten years and yearning for a change…. read all about it here

So i was browsing hair stripping techniques to start taking some of the last dye job out of my locks and I stumbled across ColourB4.

It sounded too good to be true. It uses no ammonia or bleach yet strips your hair of artificial colour! I watched several Youtube videos by people who had tried the product. All the results seemed pretty positive.

I tweeted my friend Christine who I knew had tried to strip her hair of henna before. Turns out she did use Colour B4 and she hated it! (It does say it won’t remove henna though).

I decided to go for it! At the very least I thought it would take out most of the colour I have put into it and therefore it’d be easier for my hairdresser to start over again with highlights.

The only thing i was apprehensive about was the smell…which everyone said was like rotten eggs…

I was slightly concerned that I may turn out like a tiger with strips of different coloured hair…owing to my previous highlights.. My mother has red hair and there does be glints of red in my hair so I knew that turning out ginger was also a possibility.. but I was willing to take that risk!

So yesterday I went into Boots and found Colour B4 priced at €14.99. (Subsequently I visited another chemist and found it at €10.95 but alas!)

My lovely mother fretted over the instructions….(you are advised to read them twice-and follow them to a T) She was worried that she’d miss pieces and it’d be a disaster (and I wonder where my anxiety comes from)

So she began….and it doesn’t smell that bad at all..It reminded me of being in my grannies house years ago, (they must have been having perms applied It didn’t smell like eggs to me, it was unpleasant…but then again hair dyes usually are just as bad.

So after applying it, mother dear wrapped my hair in clingfilm, I gave it a blast with a hairdryer, put on a wooly hat and sat beside the fire for an hour.

* You are advised to do it in a room with no draughts….I was being extra careful!

* 60 mins because I used the Xtra version of Colour B4

The hour was spent joyfully watching the new episode of The Walking Dead, (Which is thankfully returning to it’s former glory) and then I had to start the rinsing process.

The instructions are very detailed on the rinsing and buffering process… it requires rinsing in hot water for at least 10 minutes…then putting the buffer shampoo on your hair…waiting a minute…then rinsing again for at least 5 minutes. Needless to say my father who roars when anyone is in the shower for more than 6 minutes was having a canary.

The strangest thing about Colour B4 is that the water runs clear from your hair, the instructions tell you the formula has broken up the artificial hair molecules and all this rinsing is flushing them out of your hair. It’s unbelievable, crazy but it works.

Here’s my results, I’m really happy with it! Could this be my natural hair colour? It’s been so long since I’ve been natural I’m not sure.

What do you guys think??!

IMG_3801[1] IMG_3807[1] IMG_3824[1] IMG_3825[1]

Day Eight- Here We Go

Am so far behind on these that I would usually give up! But I shall persevere…..


One thing you should know about me is that I am dreadful at lighting fires. Simply dreadful. I act as an extinguisher to the flames, it will just not happen for me. So at work last week my boss asked me to light the huge big open fire. When i said i couldn’t she told me in no uncertain terms to do it.

After lugging loads of big sticks and little sticks through the bar I began the task.


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I did it! Perhaps it was my boss peering constantly at me, perhaps it was because I’ve suddenly found my inner Charmander.

Very satisfying…. I have since tried to light a fire at home to no avail.

This was all probably a FLUke…..




Jenny’s tip of the day

IMG_3255[1]I shit you not.

This is a photograph of the tips I received today.

Yes that is a 5 cent coin.

I worked in a restaurant for nine hours straight today. I served 40+ people today. I polished cutlery, made drinks, reset an entire restaurant…oh and I also took down the Christmas decorations.

Christening party of 36 people …. left no tip….

Various tables of four-five people left no tip….nada…zilch

I had to wait around until 7pm for a party of three people that the owner simply couldn’t handle on her own…(or with the help of her adult son who constantly lurks there). I smiled and served them and tended to their every need. Those lovely people “apparently” left me 5 cent.


Now I say apparently because….

There was one glorious day during the summer that I had the restaurant to myself. When I say “to myself” I mean the boss was not there alternating between sitting on her stool barking orders…or sitting at the customer’s table barking at them. I had control of the restaurant, I took people’s orders, I brought people their food, I politely asked if they needed anything else….I played lovely easy listening music — something jazzy and non offensive.  (The Boss likes to blare….I MEAN BLARE country music shite from The Three Amigos and Nathan Carter…I have come so close to deleting the albums off the iPod—but of course that would mean that I’d have to put them back on again for her because she is so technically challenged that she can’t even text EVEN THOUGH SHE HAS AN iPHONE 5 and an iPad 3!!!)


Yes easy listening music, a lovely ambiance, happy customers, happy Jenny…I also got to do up the bills for the tables, which nobody can ever do…

That day I made €55 in tips. Each table left me at least €5. I couldn’t believe it.

So you can understand my scepticism  that when the boss is around i’m lucky to get €5….

You can also understand why I tipped myself with a triple vodka at the end of today’s hell.

Rant over.


The Devil’s Ceili

The Devil's Ceili

The Devil’s Ceili


So I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned my crippling stage fright/nerves/anxiousness….. but yes i do suffer from a nervous disposition. I get stomach cramps watching somebody i know perform in front of people. I worry for them and all the things that could go wrong.

During the summer Darren was involved in an amazing play called The Devil’s Ceili- written by Philip Doherty and Kevin McGahern. In true Phil Doherty style it’s hilarious, strange and highly entertaining.

The play is set in a Ceili House in Ireland in the 1960s,  it centers around three characters, a cocky arrogant footballer( Darren), a womanizer and a power mad priest who are central respectable figures in the local community until a stranger  (American hippie ) turns up, spikes their drinks with LSD and we see the characters true nature. The Devil himself also makes an appearance. The addition of a live band, multimedia projections and clever lighting made this play a talking point of the summer. It ran during the Fleadh and was a huge success- sold out every night!

Here is a link to the original promo video….
Yes it turned out almost as crazy.

I was helping out during the Fleadh, doing tickets, cleaning, general bits and bobs….meaning that I was there every night. I watched all of the rehearsals, saw people struggling and then shining. I knew the play inside out, I could have been a prompter if anyone had forgotten their lines……that thankfully didn’t happen. As I watched nervously from backstage every night, laughed with the audience and paced the floor when i sensed things weren’t going as planned I wished that I could be a part of it. I saw how elated everyone was after each performance, how the audience loved the show and I cursed my nerves and stage fright from holding me back.

Due to it’s success the play was to be held again over the Christmas break……….Eight nights!

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And this time I was to be a part of it……reluctantly.

When Phil said he had a small part for me I said…..”Really? Ah cool” no excitement, I didn’t think much of it I thought he’d forget. Then lovely Paula messaged me to see if i’d be at rehearsals….

Rehearsals? Sure that must mean i have an actual part….which i needed to rehearse.

Panic struck….. I immediately leapt to my own defence…

*Internal Monologue*

“No, no, I simply cannot do this.

Yes sure you’re in college until the 13th December, you have two presentations to prepare and essays to do… there will be no time to rehearse.

Exactly….if you miss the rehearsals then you won’t feel at ease you won’t be able to do the show without rehearsing.

Great I’ll just explain that I won’t be around and it would be better off to get someone more dependable.”


So i told Phil I couldn’t do it….. but he answered me with

“It’s a small part you already know it and you will be able to make the dress rehearsal and we’ll go through it then. You’ll be brilliant.”

So that’s how I was roped in.

I turned up to rehearsals the day before the dress rehearsal. Here I was told that I would be playing the part of the “sexy nun”.

This involves donning a “sexy outfit” consisting of black shorts, suspender tights, a tight t-shirt, stilettos and of course a nuns habit.

Panic reared it’s ugly head.

I am not sexy….I can’t wear shorts, I can’t walk in high heels never mind stilettos- I don’t wear tight clothes. I actually felt physically sick at the thought of it.  Noelle Slacke who is an absolute angel helped me by telling me to wear what I felt comfortable in…..alas boots tights and a dress are not the style of a sexy nun. So we compromised with a black skirt-faux suspender tights , high-ish heels…and a black t shirt.

I knew what I had to do- walk across the stage carrying a sign….help the Virgin Mary castrate someone. Easy peasy compared to what everyone else had to do. I had no lines, why should I be worried?

On a high after a show

On a high after a show

Well a major, major factor in my worry is that I felt like i looked stupid. I am not sexy, I am overweight and I hated having to act sexy and slinky- i felt as though people were looking at me wondering “why the hell is she playing the sexy nun-surely they could have got someone sexier?”

Another factor was during the castration scene, which involved me bringing several items onstage to aid the Virgin Mary  in cutting the womanizers balls off… timing had to be perfect, and I was hyperventilating trying to make sure I came on at the right times. The castration itself involved me slicing into a huge bag of fake blood and bursting it into a bucket.This had to be performed in sync with the Virgin Mary’s moves. Now…. I wasn’t allowed to look at the bucket, I had to stare straight ahead…and let me tell you….it is scary slicing a sharp knife through the air into a bag of blood which bursts EVERYWHERE.

Following the blood bursting everywhere I then had to clean the floor to ensure that the dancers wouldn’t slip and kill themselves…..I had about a minute and a half to clean this blood  as best I could….(impossible to dry the lino floor) pick up the bucket, a table, a crucifix, a bottle and Holy Mary’s robes and exit the stage… high heels….whilst an audience stared….

So that was pretty stressful.

Here is me demonstrating that in fact the lino cannot be made unslippable

Here is me demonstrating that in fact the lino cannot be made unslippable

I always felt bad for worrying about my part…because it’s so small compared to the other cast members. Some nights I didn’t burst the bag right….it didn’t gush properly, or I left the crucifix onstage or the floor was slippery.  I felt like I let everyone down. There was one day I left the bottle on stage and it had to be kicked out of the way… that night I went home and bawled my eyes out. I was so annoyed and disgusted with myself. I hated how I looked, I hated that I couldn’t get this simple part right, I hated the fact that people probably thought that I thought I was sexy enough to be the sexy nun. I was convinced people thought I was awful and only got the part because I’m Darren’s girlfriend… It was a bad night…lots of tears, but Darren comforted me and I think it really helped because the show became more enjoyable after that, i suppose i just got over myself…. I wanted people to know that I wasn’t under any illusion that I was a good actress, or sexy or confident… but i suppose i acted as though i was and perhaps that was my best achievement in this play.

For the past three years or so I’ve watched my friends in the Gonzo from the audience and more recently from the sidelines, I’ve watched and wanted to be a part of the community not just a supporter. Being in The Devil’s Ceili allowed me to become an insider, with every  day spent in a freezing cold warehouse rehearsing, sipping mulled wine and every night drinking at gigs with the cast and crew you couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy.

I had to take two Xanax’s on opening night to stop myself from bolting out the door and by the time the final curtain came down on December 30th I was smiling and clapping with  the other cast.

Take a bow

Take a bow…….Note the “Sexy Nun” on the far right

Darren said to me before the play began

“I know you’re nervous now, but you will be so proud of yourself when it’s over. You can do this and we’re going to have great fun.”

He was right. With each reassuring pat on the back from Kevin,a “good job jenny” from Phil and a squeeze from Darren at the end of every show I began to feel like I deserved to be there and that is something that I will treasure and remember every time I start to feel like I’m not able to do something. What a great way to end 2012.

Ceili Couple

Ceili Couple


Surf and Turf

This is an article I wrote for a photojournalism class. It had to be a photo essay and an accompanying article on a certain aspect in a person’s life. I chose my boyfriend Darren and his love for Surfing.

Surf’s up…on the hay bales

Emerald Surfwear, Ireland’s premier Surf clothing company has a new motto.

Cold, Wet, Windy, Perfect.”  It epitomises the spirit of Irish surfers, the ever changing Irish weather, be it windy, stormy, rainy or fair delivers all sorts of different swells to our coastline. On a day where the rain is lashing the wind is howling and any normal person is cosy inside it is a common sight to see die hard Irish surfers wet suited and booted plunging into the waves.

In terms of variety Ireland has the best waves in Europe, the colder climate helps keep surfers at manageable levels. Enduring the bitter cold water helps breed a certain resilience in the hearts of Irish surfers. Who needs the crystal clear waters of Hawaii when you can look up from surfing in the Atlantic ocean and see the majestic Cliffs of Moher.

In this issue of Tonnta we profile a day in the life of a young surfer from the midlands.


Name: Darren Lynch

Age: 24

Occupation: Teacher/Farmer

Surf Spots:   Rossknowlagh and Lahinch


It’s 8pm and Darren is pouring over Magic Seaweed (Popular surfing website). He is checking the swell charts for Lahinch, Co.Clare for the following day. “It’s looking good for tomorrow, there’s a swell coming in and it’s going to hit Lahinch at around 11am. We’re leaving here at 7am so we’ll make it to Lahinch by 10am.”

That was his plan, however shortly after checking the reports he was handed a list of “jobs” that needed to be done the following morning.

  1. Make up a pen for the new calves.
  2. Feed cattle in the yard, Mullahorn and Kelly’s field.
  3. Power wash small shed.

For Darren, the surf will have to wait, such is the life of a surfer who also happens to be a farmer’s only son.

The Swell Season

The next morning at 7am Darren rises, bleary eyed he pours himself a coffee, butters a slice of homemade brown bread, moves aside a copy of The Farmers Journal and re-checks the surf reports to see how the swell is looking. “It seems to be tapering off at after 12,” he looks apprehensive “hopefully we get down in time to catch some waves.”

He slips into his wellies and trudges up to the yard to begin his work. Between filling up buckets of meal for the hungry cattle and setting up the power washer Darren removes his new surfboard from its bag. It’s a dazzling orange Cortez board.

Wellies On, Surf’s Up

“I had my eye on this board for the last year, but I didn’t want to buy it until I had more experience surfing…see that fish tail fin? It’s perfect for catching waves” he looks at the board lovingly….”I can’t wait to get to the beach.”He then props the board facing the morning sunlight on top of a hay bale. “The warmth of the sun will melt the old surf wax, so it’ll be easy to remove and I can put on new wax.”

Finishing the jobs in record time, Darren then begins to prepare for the surf trip. From his storage area in the hayshed he removes his wetsuit (which has been hanging from the beams all night) He takes out the bags of meal that are in the boot of his car and replaces them with his wetsuit and towels that are in a waterproof bag.  Using extra strength straps that he bought in the local co op he secures his boards to the roof of his green Volkswagen Vento. “I prefer these straps to the one’s that came with the board- there’s no way the board will loosen with these straps, they’re designed to secure cattle pens!”

Cowabunga dude

One last glance at the online surf report and Darren is ready to go, it’s 10am when he sets off for Lahinch, It is clear to see his excitement as the car pulls onto the M4 motorway, it’s a straight stretch to Lahinch. Chattering excitedly he tells of his plans to meet up and surf with a friend who has just flown back from London. I ask him how he first got into surfing;


“I’ve always loved the water, I live beside a lake, and I’m a qualified Irish Water Safety Swimming Instructor, I just love being in the water. Five years ago I moved to Galway to attend NUIG. When I saw the advertisement to join NUIG Surf Club I jumped at the chance, I’ve always loved the idea of surfing, it just wasn’t feasible for me to do it while I was living in Cavan..(or so I thought). I bought my first board off a friend (A Magic Carpet-short Longboard) got myself a wetsuit and booties and went on my first surf trip to the Aran Islands- from that day, I was hooked.”

How does his move back to Cavan affect his surfing opportunities?

“Gravely..” he says with a grimace. “When I’m living at home in Cavan, there’s no spontaneous surf trip for me, there is always….and I mean always some job that needs doing. Whether it is fencing, moving cattle, power washing sheds or dosing cattle it has to be done. I have to plan for the trip in advance and let dad know that I’m heading away. I usually try to get a couple of long work days put in before I go on a surf trip. So I can enjoy the surf guilt free. If I’m lucky I can head up to Donegal for a quick surf, it’s only an hour and a half drive. But I love getting to Lahinch, there’s such a great buzz down here.”

It’s just after 1pm. Darren has just pulled into the car park at Lahinch beach. There are no waves, it’s flat. The tide is coming in, disappointment is etched on his face.



Suit up!

“It’s just one of those things” he shrugs. “ I didn’t drive for three hours to stand and look, I’m getting in regardless.” He changes into his surf attire at speed unhooks his board from the roof, applies a new coat of surf wax and jogs down the slope towards to the water’s edge.


He wades in, paddles out and spots a friend and they high five. The smile returns to his face as they both head towards the reef. They are waiting for the waves, but even if they don’t appear the happiness on their faces shows that this trip was not just about the waves it was about freedom and friendship and the journey for both was worthwhile.


Happy Campers….Now to the PUB!!