Clean Space, Clean Mind

bedroom of joy

This isn’t MY room, of course. This is a mere pipe dream.

I have this thing.

If any of the main areas in which I spend time are untidy, it puts me a little… off. My mind just ticks over, slightly ill-at-ease. Its as though my mind knows there’s mess somewhere I’ll have to be soon and it just won’t chill the f*ck out. The areas? They are;

My desk at work

My car

My bedroom

My car I clean on a weekly basis. I’m not precious about it – in fact my car is known to smell eternally like McDonalds and I always seem to have at least one sweet and sour sauce loitering in the glove box just in case. My car is also a place many people get in and out of. My various passengers regularly eat pastries, drink wine, flake off nail polish etc. and I never get stressed because I know the weekend is coming and it’ll be clean once again.

The one thing I DO have an issue with is the FAMILY OF MANSIZE BIRDLIKE SKY CREATURES who seem to follow me around, daring me to spend €15 and a lot of upper body strength manually washing and polishing my car only to have a prolonged period of CHRONIC DIARRHOEA on it as soon as I step away from the thing. To those god forsaken birds I say this; I’m buying a pellet gun.

My desk. Well. I would be known for having one of the tidier desks in the company.

On print day, every second Thursday, there tends to be a small build up of stuff on there; press releases, various beauty products, the odd half-empty can of whatever caffeinated drink I binged on that week. It’s not quite Crap Mountain (as another colleague of mine has christened her desk) but it’s untidy. Then comes Friday afternoon, and I take great joy in ploughing through the crap, binning and filing, organizing and tidying, and mentally decluttering the remnants of the fortnight that remain on my desk. Clean work environment = more efficient magazining. (that’s not a word – ever heard of poetic bloggers license?!)

Ah, my bedroom. It’s generally clean (no dust, hoovered etc) it’s tidy sometimes (when it’s not, I’ve always got intentions of tidying soon) but until today it wasn’t decluttered. I have a secret wardrobe shame.

There are three doors on my wardrobe. Behind two, my clothes, shoes, gym gear, handbags and pajamas all live in semi-harmony, squashed but workable. Behind the third door? CRAP. Actual, full-on, not-even-mine-to-get-rid-of CRAP. Books, cassette tapes (I KNOW RIGHT), videos, random cables, bits of fabric, ribbons, picture frames. STUFF in other words. Things that my mad hoarding family deemed keep-worthy, against the odds and all logic.

Today I had enough. To be honest, the only way I could sleep knowing that all that lay just a door’s opening away was to ignore it completely. But then I ran out of space (I think I mean that more in a mental sense than in a physical sense) and so I cleared it.

Honest to goodness, the mental relief you get when decluttering somewhere like that is immense. If it wasn’t for the fact that now I’ve to face the task of sorting through ten years of magazine collecting and select keepers, I’d be looking forward to a lovely night’s sleep…

Someone wise on Twitter told me that, in true Feng Shui style, clearing out old crap makes room for lovely new things in your life. I hope my secret wardrobe of shame now becomes home to some lovely new stuff, and the little space I’ve cleared in my brain gets filled with air (it needs a rest) and then maybe good thoughts.

Until I update you all about the magazine clearing, here are several pictures of SOME of my collection… Good lord.

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The Dream Setlist (cos I’m the boss)

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Right so I’m still not over Beyoncé Weekend 2014 (and I’m going to her concert on Wednesday as well so apologies to my family and friends who have to put up with a further onslaught of Beyoncéness until the end of next week at the earliest) and this morning, I think I became the official Beyoncé ambassador for Ireland – sort of. I was asked to go on two radio morning shows this morning to talk about THE TOWEL INCIDENT, so I think that confirms it. Anyway.

By Wednesday, I’ll have seen Beyoncé live FIFTEEN times. Yes that’s right. And for someone of relatively limited means (unlike the exceptionally loaded gay Philadelphia men from the other night’s concert) I think that’s pretty decent.

So, given that I’ve seen her that many times, I feel as though I’m qualified to create my ‘perfect’ Beyoncé concert. Now, after this post I’m sure Bey will sack Frank Gatson Jr, hire me as her creative director and never look back. In all likelyhood, therefore, this is my last post before I forget ALL of you. So enjoy it, for jaysus sake.

THE PERFECT SETLIST

(this took a LOT of consideration and deliberation, as you can imagine)

Crazy In Love (BEST OPENER EVER. See Glasto for proof)
Medley of Get Me Bodied, Freakum Dress and Deja Vu (how deadly would THAT be?)
Yoncé into Partition (cos I’d leave if she didn’t)
Drunk In Love (Jay Z, I’d love an appearance here, nice one)
Lift Off (sure, while you’re on the stage Jay, you might as well. Get over here Kanye!)
Flawless (can you imagine it, right there next to Drunk In Love???)

– brief interlude to get a drink and maybe some Cheetos, she loves those –

Haunted (this is where she slows sh*t down)
Flaws and All (because it’s heartfelt and gorgeous in my ears)
Woman Like Me (because I feel like Superwoman when I hear it)
Scared of Lonely mixed with Hello (come ON, who doesn’t love those two??)
Superpower (preferably WITH Frank Ocean, thanks)
I Care mixed with Resentment (think about it. You know I’m right)

– things got emotional, it was nice. Kick it back up you say? ALRIGHT –

Love on Top (all ninety octaves please, Bey. Good woman)
Schoolin’ Life (possibly my favourite live one… possibly I said)
Single Ladies (it’s an obvious one, crowd pleaser)

– time to come to an epic finish. Let’s do this –

Irreplaceable (to the left, to the left. Mmmm.)
XO (we’re heading towards the dramatic finish here….)
Halo (because what the hell else would she ever finish with?)
Happy Birthday (directly to me. On February 17th. Annually.)*

*that last one might be a total pipedream. So what.

I realise to complete this concert Beyoncé would have to perform for a solid five hours. But a girl can dream!

(Please, other Beyoncé fans. Get involved. Tell me what YOUR dream setlist would be. I really want to argue about why mine is better.)

Now, as I go off to my Spotify account to turn this setlist into one hell of a playlist, I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, to head on over to Ban Bossy and get involved with the drive to encourage more female leaders. People have always said I’m bossy/controlling/always need to be in charge blah blah blah. Now I can go ahead and do it and feel great and if anyone complains? I tell them what Beyoncé told me to tell them.

I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.

THIS IS A DICTATORSHIP, in other words…

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Beyoncé’s Official Towel Assistant 2014

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SHE GAVE ME HER TOWEL

When searching for a hilariously puntastic title for this post, I kept coming back to this screaming sentence. SHE GAVE ME HER TOWEL. Because of all the amazing things that happened to me last night at Beyoncé’s first Irish date of the updated Mrs Carter Show World Tour, that drew the most blood curdling screams and enough tears to float the whole O2 and its patrons.

Proof?

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How’d that happen, you ask? Well.

I had a Beyhive ticket for her first night in Dublin, last night. Basically that entitled me to turn up, be lead by a concierge to the side of the stage (no queuing, not like last year when I barely had legs left after queuing for so long) and have the best VIP style view in the house. There’s a tiny little stage right in there too that Beyoncé stands on whenever she feels like it. I would be INCHES from her. INCHES.

Anyone who knows me will know my love for Beyoncé. Quite literally. If you’ve met me, you’ll know. So obviously since the moment I booked this ticket in December I’ve been LIVING for it.

I’d already seen the updated tour in London a few days before this one, so I knew what to expect, but nothing could’ve prepared me for the experience I had.

It was mostly gay guys in the Beyhive, so I made friends with two from Philadelphia who travel around following her tour. I also befriended a lovely O2 security person named Jen who was forbidden from singing or any sort of enjoyment. Genuinely my idea of HELL, in life but ESPECIALLY at a Beyoncé concert.

So there I was, dancing, singing and living my dream, when halfway through Why Don’t You Love Me, one of Beyoncé’s ‘people’ taps me on the shoulder. He hands me a towel and says “She will ask you for this, so make sure she sees that you have it.”

I THINK MY HEART ACTUALLY STOPPED WORKING.

I nodded. Then I hugged some strangers, did a little on the spot victory dance and quickly got organised to do the best god damn towel flailing anyone’s ever witnessed. The nearest Philadelphia guy informed me (he’d seen it all before) that because I was in charge of passing her the towel that she would give it back to me to keep.

SWEET JESUS THE BABY LORD I’M ALREADY IN CARDIAC ARREST HOW MUCH MORE PANICKED CAN I GET?!

Beyoncé came towards the Beyhive and walked down the steps. No time to worry about my impending heart failure, Queen Bey needed to wipe her brow and I was her Official Towel Assistant for the night. (So what if I gave myself that title?)

She came towards me, I waved the towel like a MANIAC. She took it, patted herself with it and handed it back to me and mouthed “thank you” very quickly, before taking my hand and singing a few lines while holding. Yes that’s right.

I’m having serious heart palps here just reliving it. I may cry.

Then, eventually, she had to let go of my hand (DEV) and go back to being the world’s greatest living performer – not that she’d stopped for a second, mind you. For me, the highlights were Crazy In Love (just such a classic tune) Drunk In Love (purely because the Jay Z anticipation was intense… Alas he didn’t show on this occasion, but I’m seeing her again so all is not lost) and Get Me Bodied (I lost my sh*t like a sh*t collector with amnesia when that came on).

But really, choosing highlights is impossible when absolutely everything about the night was – just like Beyoncé herself – FLAWLESS.

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You wake up, FLAWLESS

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A view of her adoring fans (none more adoring than me, of course… particularly your wan in the bottom right who looks bored out of her tree)

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VIP swag as part of the Beyhive ticket

I’m off to rewatch the videos I took so many times my iPhone blows up (Psst! I uploaded a video to Youtube, watch it here, ignore my terrible singing). G’bye now.

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Selfie Obsessed

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What’s goin’ on lads?

Here it is. Via the Twitter account of Ellen DeGeneres, the image that is the face of the Academy Awards 2014, the snap that was retweeted over 2.5 million times (last time I went checking), the picture that launched a thousand blog posts. You’ve probably seen it more times than you’d like, so I’m not giving you anything new by showing it to you. But there’s a bigger issue at play here than whether Liza Minelli got in the shot or didn’t, and who EXACTLY that guy with the glasses is (for those of you way ahead of me, no I do NOT mean Meryl Streep.)

But here’s the thing. And can I JUST ask.
When did the word ‘photo’ get replaced with the word ‘selfie’?

Is this not just a photo, taken by Bradley Cooper? What defines a selfie? What defines a photo? SOMEONE HELP ME WITH THIS I’M STRUGGLING.

For serious though. As an avid selfie taker (I don’t mind admitting that I indulge in a spot of light selfie-ing from time to time. I know my reason for taking them is that on those RARE occasions where I put daycent make-up on, brush my hair and/or happen to dress myself in a way that’s deemed acceptable by society, I like to capture it and remind myself that I’m not a total ming bag all the time. And I know the insecure place that need for validation comes from, because I LIVE there), I always thought a selfie was a picture taken of yourself, by yourself, with some kind of reverso camera, featuring MAXIMUM one extra person, preferably making a duckface or some sort of cleverly angled pose. Is this not what it is??

I’d like to go back to a time where every single solitary picture on Instagram wasn’t branded with the (now almost meaningless) hashtag ‘#selfie’. I’d like to see a clear separation between selfies and mere photos once again. I’d like to stop sounding like I’m trying to run for Insta-Office, so I’ll end this post with a question.

What’s a selfie, again?

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Roman Holiday

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I love Paris. I love it so much I didn’t think any city, certainly not any European city, could come close to impressing me like Paris does… And then I went to Rome.

Howaya, history. Literally everywhere you cast your eye there is some piece of ancient awesomeness that makes you shout “look at that!” to your travel buddy. You’re having a casual lemon gelato one minute and you damn near trip over the mahoosive Pantheon the next. Then you go for a walk and almost stroll on past Circus Maximus (the one from Ben Hur. I had to Google Ben Hur, which my dad would be appalled at) because you’ve seen so many enormous wow-inducers that even huge stuff doesn’t seem huge anymore.

Roman builders clearly had size issues, if Il Vittoriano is anything to go by. It’s quite literally the largest building I have ever seen (that’s not a NYC skyscraper – those don’t count, they ain’t historical… YET). Now, I took 60 billion pictures of it, but none of my pictures quite convey the sheer size of the thing, so Google Image it there. You’re honestly better off. 

So listen, because I like lists and dislike boring the eyes off people, here’s a summation of what I’d be telling you if you asked for Rome-y recommendations…

 - Stay in Trastevere. Over near Termini station is hotel city and rammed with tourists all the livelong day. Trastevere is lively with Real Life Romans and lovely restaurants. I stayed in Hip Suites on Via Della Lungaretta and it was perfect in every way.

- There’s seriously good eatin’ to be had, but the pizzerias in places like Piazza Navona and Campo Di Fiori are a bit touristy and reflect that in their prices. Check out Dar Poeta and Margherita in Trastevere for cheap loveliness, white pizzas and suppli. Mmm.

- Make sure you go INSIDE St Peter’s Basilica. Don’t just loiter in the square. Join that long ass queue, it’ll be worth it, I swear. The Basilica is by a mile the most impressive thing in Rome.

- Check out the Trevi fountain at night, it looks gorgeous and even though it’s still manky with the most annoying kind of tourist, it’s not as bad as during the day, I’d imagine.

- The Spanish Steps are a bit of a let down if I’m being honest, but the nearby Borghese gardens are spectacular and so are the views from there. If you want to go into the museum there, book tickets online, they sell out days in advance.

- Get your ticket for the Colosseum at the Palatine Hill entrance. You’ll skip about 500 people when you eventually get to the Colosseum and you’ll feel like Bono. It’s awesome.

- If you’re brave and have the legs of an ox, walking everywhere (if you’re staying at or around the river) is totally doable. You’ll be wrecked and might need to invest in some Voltarol gel for your aching muscles but it’s grand. If you’re too tired, taxis are cheap. Although do heed this HILARIOUS warning I snapped at a taxi rank just of Via Della Lungaretta…

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My favourite part? DON’T BELIEVE HIM

 - Don’t let the creepy men give you a rose no matter how beautiful they declare you to be. Don’t let the fake Roman soldiers take a picture with you. You will be followed and pestered until you hand over money, so best just avoid the whole thing.

 - See the beauty of Rome with your eyes. I took a gazillion pictures, yes, but I also stopped to stare at things with my actual real life eyeballs first.

 - Accept the fact that you’re going to eat at least one pizza a day for the duration of your trip. Let it happen and move on. You and your arse can worry about the carbs when you’re back home.

So those are a few of the little things. Obviously a five day trip to Rome contained a whole lot more than just what’s there, so if there’s anything else… Tweet me, or somethin? @aislingmkeenan.

And having had absolutely not a syllable of Italian before I touched down in Fiumicino Aeroporto, I now know the following; due (doo-ay) means two. Cinque (chin-kway) means five. Grazie (graahhhtsee) means thank you. And finally, prego (pray-go, with the ‘go’ part often being omitted by Real Life Romans) can mean anything from ‘please’ to ‘you’re welcome’, to ‘after you’ and ‘don’t mention it’. Those Italians know how to pack a word with multiple meanings.

N’anyway. ‘Cos I was talking about holidays there I forgot I was back and have to go to work tomorrow. Ah. #SundayFearOnAMonday

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PS. TOTALLY forgot to mention… History is great, blah blah blah. But the most enomous Zara on the planet is on Via Del Corso, the main shopping street. You need to GO THERE. I got me this fine coat here. Wooly, fancy and on sale with a whopper 85% off… €39.99. Sure you couldn’t bate it. 

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