Thursday, 31 May 2012

One Year


Oh, how time flies. This is me exactly a year ago, the night I graduated secondary school (high school). And right now, I'm sitting on my bed 3000 miles away in Toronto, Canada. If you told the girl in the picture that that's what she'd be doing in a year, she would have laughed in your face. Politely, of course.

+ One year ago, I was spending 85% of my time studying for final exams, and 15% worrying that I wasn't studying enough.

+ One year ago, I was feeling low and defeated. I wasn't a very happy person at all, and I didn't know how to fix that.

+ One year ago, I was miserable at the thought of leaving school, yet oh so desperate to get into University.

+ One year ago, I felt like a caged bird. I needed badly to spread my wings.

+ One year ago I felt lost. I had no idea what the future held for me.

+ One year ago, I thought I knew who I was. Oh, how wrong I was.


+ A year later I have finished a year of my nursing degree, and I have enjoyed every second of it.

+ A year later, I am surrounded by people who love me, and boy is the feeling mutual. :) 

+ A year later, I am working as a nanny in Canada. CANADA! 

+ A year later, I am feeling so much more comfortable in my own skin. I'm not perfect, but I am learning to embrace what I cannot change. 

+ A year later, I have learned a whole lot, and I'm still learning. The most important lesson from this past year? I cannot control everything that happens to me, but I can control my reactions and emotions. And I feel empowered. :) 

+ A year later, I am loving most parts of my life. And it feels incredible. :) Here's to another year of change. I can't wait to see what else is in store for me. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

What's in my bag?

Okay, I'm giving in. I'm doing the 'What's in my Purse' post. I can't resist! I am such a nosey person, I love to read these posts or watch the videos on YouTube, so I'm going to do my own post for you. Here goes. :)


These are the contents of my bag. I have added nothing, and I haven't taken anything away (except a yucky tissue- this post is about the contents of my bag, not my nose). Also my phone isn't in the picture as I used it to take the photo. Let's start with the rubbish, shall we?

1. Empty bottle of lemon iced tea, yum. I normally have a bottle of water or something like this, especially in this heat (it's 33°C in Toronto today, and this Irish girl is wilting). 

2. Some receipts- one for the notebook I posted about earlier, and one for the iced tea. Wow, I seem to keep nothing from you guys. 

3. The plastic off a straw from a juicebox. Said juicebox is not present as one of the children I'm minding threw it out of the stroller. Hmm. 

4. A price tag from a white tank top. I don't know why that's in there...

5. The Canada flag thing. Wow, I am such a tourist. I bought that last week and it hasn't managed to make it's way out of the bag yet. 

6. My video camera. I just like to keep it handy in case I feel like making a YouTube video. :) 

7. My diary. I always have it with me. 

8. Sunglasses. I hate wearing sunglasses, they make me look like a child... But they are a necessity here in the summer. 

9. French vanilla lip balm. The heat is drying out my lips. 

10. Chewing gum. 

11. My little 'Moose' teddy (it's really a wildebeest) that my best friend Kate got me before I left home, I've brought it everywhere since. :) 

12. Pens. Purple, blue, red and orange- I like to keep it colourful! 

13. Hand sanitizer, a must-have in the city. 

14. Keys. 

15. My purse. Though I'm learning that Canadians and American's call this a wallet, and a bag a purse. Confusing...

16. My book. Currently reading 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver, very interesting. :)

17. Three maps of Toronto. Yes, 3. Don't laugh- I haven't gotten lost yet!

18. My inspiration notebook. I don't write in this very often but I always have it when inspiration strikes. Sometimes ideas for songs, lyrics, or blog posts. It's quite random but I love it. Maybe it deserves its own post some time. 

19. iPod. When I don't have it or it's out of battery, it makes me sad for the entire day. 

20. My makeup bag. It just has everyday makeup, a little scissors, hair ties, clips and some painkillers in it. 

21. Body spray. I always have this for emergencies! Oh, and I also normally carry important girly items, but for some reason I don't have any here... Oops. I'll fix that now. 

So that's everything. :) I hope I didn't bore you to death, but I normally enjoy reading these posts. Maybe my readers are as nosey as I am? 

With love, 
Orla 


today is day one

I rarely fall in love with material items (my guitar is not included). But when I saw this little diary on the shelf yesterday, I knew it was meant to be. As I flipped through it's pretty pages, it wooed me with its charm. 

I feel as though it really understands me, it knows what I want and need. It makes an effort with its appearance. It respects me and my busy schedule, and is willing to cater to it. 

It pushes me... 

Inspires me... 

It listens to me...

And it cares about my opinions. 

Yes, I am pretty certain that this diary and I were made for one another. :) 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Go Say Hello

I have 'met' some wonderful people since starting Escape to Vanilla last November (if you are a follower of mine, you are most certainly included!). So I want to take a moment to highlight a few of you. Chosen at random, here are some pretty awesome girls, and I think you should check them out. :)


Gina's words are so carefully planned, so full of thought, that I always come away from her blog with something to think about. She writes in a style that is mellow and sweet, and every idea is accompanied by an equally thought out photo. Her blog is perfection. :) 


Ronida is one of my fellow nurse-bloggers, we are a rare species! She is energetic, sweet and oh so bubbly. Her posts just ooze personality and fun, they are quite addictive. She writes about everything and anything, and it is always interesting and witty. :) 


Suzanne is knowledgeable, sarcastic, funny and creative all at the same time! I enjoy her writing style immensely. She makes me giggle with every post, and she tends to stay away from the 'typical' blogging topics, which I love. One thing I don't like about her blog? She only has 6 followers- it is unacceptable. So go to her page, and follow! ;) 

I think I'll leave it at 3 for this post, I might do this again. :) 

Have a happy Sunday, 
Orla x

Friday, 25 May 2012

Dear Friday

Dear Tea, thank you for being there for me while I'm sick. You make me feel so much better. 


Dear Skin, I'm sorry I let the sun burn you to a crisp. I know I resemble a lobster right now, and I promise you I will try not to let that happen again. 


Dear Jessy, have a super duper 18th birthday today! And I'm so sorry I'm not in the country to give you a birthday hug. 


Dear Facebook, I never did appreciate you til this Summer. Thank you for keeping me in touch with everyone at home. 


Dear Laundry, I know I have neglected you in the last few days. Catch up at the weekend? Promise. 
Love always, 
Orla

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Breathings of Your Heart


Read it once. Then read it again. Let it really sink in, listen to every word. I just think it is so beautiful. It describes perfectly how I feel about writing. It captures the emotion in a way that I never could. 


I have been asked so many times why I keep a diary, and I never really know what to tell them. It makes me feel silly to tell them that 'I just like recording memories'. It's the truth though. I haven't been journaling for very long. I had random entries from about 2008, but I've only been doing it regularly since January 2011. And now I can't imagine not doing it. 

Some people like to write when they feel angry or a little down in the dumps as a way of getting rid of negative feelings. I am the opposite. I have a rule that no negativity whatsoever can enter my journal. I write only happy things (though occasionally if I feel something negative should be recorded, I mention it briefly), and then when I read back on it it puts me in a wonderful mood. 

I like to write in different places, and I always record it in my journal. This year some my favourite writing spots have been Disney Land Paris, a little coffee shop in Galway, sitting in a tree near my house, at the airport and on the airplane to Toronto, and in my bed. :) I record the date and time, sometimes what I'm listening to, I stick in photos, tickets, to do lists, doodles, random lists, everything and anything that would be fun to look back on. I just love my diaries. If you keep a diary, I'd be really interested to hear about it! 

Love always, 
Orla

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Morning Lullabies


I could write about how I love the morning sunshine streaming into my bedroom, and the fresh air through the open window. How I enjoy my breakfast of fresh fruit, and I sit and ponder all of life's precious offerings. I would be lying. And I would never lie to you girls. Truth is, I look a bit like this in the mornings: 


I am not a morning person. At all. In order to avoid the morning blues, I have to come up with ways to wake myself up as pleasantly as possible. So I have come up with a 'Morning Lullabies' system, whereby I set my alarm every night with a happy song to wake me up. Music calms me, and helps me to start the day as best I can. 

Morning Lullabies
Upside Down- Jack Johnson
Bucket- Carly Rae Jepsen 
A Message From Your Heart- Kina Grannis
When I'm Gone- A Rocket To The Moon
Bubbly- Colbie Caillat
Count On Me- Bruno Mars
Ours- Taylor Swift
Breakfast At Tiffany's- Deep Blue Something
Here Comes The Sun- The Beatles
Morning Lullabies- Ingrid Michaelson





Tuesday, 22 May 2012

10 Reasons to Love Toronto

1. We had a birthday party for one of the boys I'm minding, and this was the party menu. So healthy, and all of the kids loved it!


2. Squirrels. They have to be one of the most adorable animals ever!



3. Tim Horton's and Starbuck's are on every corner when you need a pick-me-up.


4. So many beautiful editions of Jane Austen books.

5. Incredible garden's and trails to explore right in the city. I could spend hours there. 

6. Such pretty notebooks! Yes, I bought one.. Maybe two. 


7. This wonderful sun makes everything look so happy and pretty! 

8. They have maple syrup in their dinner. Yep. Have you ever had maple soy salmon before? 

9. City lights at night time.

10. Shutters on the windows. 

Gotta love Canada. :) 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dry Spells


Sometimes I go through dry spells. I think I've written about them before on this blog. It might last a week, maybe two, and my creativity just stops flowing. I stop playing music, I have no interest in reading or writing, I can't craft, and even my conversation seems dull. But I don't really mind when that happens.


I don't mind at all. Because when that dry spell is over, my creative mind goes on overdrive. This week I have rediscovered my love of reading, and I have really enjoyed 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky and 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have written a happy song inspired by my summer in Canada which I will share with you when I'm finished tweaking it. I've written so much in my diary, and now I'm coming back to life on my blog too. Happy days. :) I always know that every dry spell is followed by a wonderful shower of inspiration and creativity.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Canadian Adventure


Canada has given me the warmest welcome since my arrival on May 5th. After 7.5 hours sitting on a stuffy airplane between a very drunk man and a grouchy old lady, I struggled with my bags and guitar alone. I wasn't in the best of moods, but Canada managed to cheer me up. The sun was smiling down, the fresh air was a lovely contrast to the busy airport, and driving through the city of Toronto filled me with hope and excitement for my Summer months. :) 


This magnificent city will be my home for the next 102 days. Wow. Oh I'm sorry, if you missed a post or two about this, I will be working as an au pair (like a nanny) in Toronto this Summer. :) I found a beautiful family of 5 with 3 boys aged 5, 18mths and 4mths. It is the perfect Summer for someone as baby-crazy as I am, and I'm already in love. If anyone lives in the Toronto area or has been here before, feel free to recommend some places for me to check out. :) 

Love always,
Orla



Friday, 4 May 2012

Lessons Learned



+ I have learned to set my alarm early so that I get to press snooze at least once. 

+ I have learned to just let myself be goofy, because no matter how hard I try to hide it, it always creeps out somehow. 

+ I have learned to brush my teeth before I get dressed... Tooth paste stains just don't wipe off. 

+ I have learned that tea can fix almost everything. 

+ I have learned to trust my heart and not my head in making big decisions. It hasn't failed me yet. 

+ I have learned that some friends are only supposed to be in our lives for a short while. And some friends will be around forever. 

+ I have learned that sometimes it really is easier to express how I feel through writing a song. 

+ I have learned that even though some people seem to be more important than others (celebrities, politicians, even teachers and bosses), in the end we're all just people. And no one has the right to make you feel like you're not good enough. 

+ I have learned that if you stick with the things you really love, then you can make your life a really great one. For me? Spending time with people I love, nursing, little kids and babies, playing music, writing, and experiencing as much as I can. I'm going to stick with that. Nothing fancy. But I'll be happy. :) 



So be on your way, and be sure that whatever you do today, make time to do at least one thing that you're really passionate about. Stuck for time? Light a candle, eat some chocolate, or listen to a song that brings back happy memories. :) 

Sending love, 
Orla x