Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pinterest and body image

Alright, I'll start this slightly rant-y post by telling everyone that:

I love Pinterest.

I really do. It's great for finding interesting craft and food ideas, keeping track of what I want, want, want* and "bookmarking" pictures and inspiring quotes that I love. I even have a whole Pinboard dedicated to the Eiffel Tower.**

What I don't love about Pinterest is this trend I'm noticing. This "thin" trend. It kinda makes me recoil in horror...

This is disgraceful. I was wondering whether I'd want this picture on my blog, this cruel picture that's taunting insecure women to starve themselves. But I couldn't find the true source to link to.*** Or at least I hope that the dead end I found was not the true source.**** So I won't pursue it. I also didn't want to link this from the blogs or Pinterest accounts on which I found it. That would be unfair.

So there it is, stuck on my blog. Probably not forever because it makes me angry.

"And why is this picture so bad anyway? Being healthy and fit is important in every person's life, Fiona."

And of course it is! I'm not the best person to be preaching on either of these topics really. I hardly exercise and I bake some awfully unhealthy sweet treats. I gained weight while in France, probably from eating very tasty and not-at-all-regret-filled bread and cheese every day! I've been a member of a gym and swimming pool since September and could count on two hands the amount of times I've been.

Having said all of this, though, I still believe that a healthy lifestyle is important. I feel great after a swim or yoga class! And making a healthy and tasty meal is so satisfying! I have plans for the summer to eat healthier dishes, cut back on chocolate bars (not baking though, I could never stop baking) and do more yoga and exercise! I will not weigh myself and I will not restrict myself from having that cookie. I love cookies! Just try to keep it away from me.

One person who has a healthy lifestyle sussed is Danielle. Danielle has a five month old baby boy (who is so cute!) and she still finds time to exercise and eat healthy! She should be the sort of inspiration that these women who blog and pin this picture turn to.

But this picture (and many others I've seen floating around Pinterest) is not encouraging women to be healthy, fit and strong. It's encouraging women to be thin. Just thin. Who cares that thin isn't always healthy. Who cares that people are different sizes and shapes. If you're thin, you must be doing it right. Right?

Fuck. That.

On the same day that I found "the picture", I found this:

If you click on the picture, you'll be transported***** to the picture in Pinterest and if you click on THAT picture, to this post on Mollie's blog. Katie sure has good reasons to celebrate! Beating anorexia is a huge achievement and I'm really happy for her! It seemed very fitting, then, that while I'm getting irked at some women's perceptions of the perfect body, I come across a woman who has overcome these ideas and is a happy, healthy person ten years on! And baking cookies!! Sweet, delicious cookies.

So to finish this rant, a healthy lifestyle is a wonderful thing and something that I will strive for this summer. "Thin" can take a back seat while I work to be happy, fit and healthy. And I hope that many other women (and men) can happily say this for themselves.

Rargh! Rant over.


*Surprisingly little so far, yay! But aren't those few things so pretty?

**It's masquerading as a "travel" board, but it's really not fooling anyone!

***So I won't get a chance to send the person who made this a rant-y e-mail, oh boo!

****I'm a nice girl and try not to send people rant-y e-mails, if I can.

*****Magically, of course!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Parc de la Pépinière (& stamp love)

I showed you all in my first post from Nancy the Porte de la Craffe, through which I would walk to work in the mornings. Walking through that big portal was incredible!

When I hired a bike and started cycling to work every morning, my route changed. Mostly due to the amount of one way streets, trams and road-rage-filled car and bus drivers in Nancy.* This led to my cycling through the Parc de la Pépinière every morning. 

The Pépinière is a beautiful, big park in the centre of Nancy and conveniently situated right beside ENSIC, where I worked. Some days, if the weather was nice, I would buy a tasty sandwich** from the local boulangerie and chill out in the park. Normally, I'd sit by les animaux.

Oh yes, did I mention that this park is also a mini zoo??

So cute! I think I liked the deer the most. They're so graceful and lovely. And I really feel like we connected... Ahem... Yeah.

I sent a lot of letters to my friends at home while I was away. I'd say the post office people knew me as the Irish girl who likes to buy international stamps towards the end of my trip. But just look at the pretty international stamp France has!!

I'm not saying that Irish stamps are unpretty, of course. I occasionally buy special stamps from the An Post stamps website for their uniqueness. My favourite was the Gaisce 25th Anniversary stamp. It's not available anymore, but it was so cool, especially considering I had received my own Gold Gaisce award that year. If you've been following this blog since the beginning, you'll know I'm now working towards my Silver Gaisce award... Yeah, I like to do things backwards. Although I did get the first award, Bronze, first.

I was pretty surprised to get these stamps one day:

Go Chemistry!!!***

When Paul arrived, we spent a few days in Nancy before getting the train to Paris. I brought him to the Musée des Beaux-Arts to see a Caravaggio piece. Paul loves Caravaggio. While there, we found the most amazing installation.

Isn't it gorgeous!! We spent ages in this room, very very quiet, looking at all the pretty lights.

Oh, Nancy, you were so nice! Thanks for having me for those awesome two months!! (:


*I have to say, the bus drivers in Nancy are the rudest and most daring I've ever come across.

**A tasty sandwich with really fresh bread, lovely ham, fresh and crispy veg and yummy mayonnaise. Yum!

***For all who don't know, 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paris with Paul!

Ooh, Paris!!

I really love that city. It’s so full of pretty and nice.

I’m going to let lists and photos speak for themselves in this one.*

  • We had breakfast outside, and then strolled through, the Parc Georges-Brassens.

Breakfast 3
  • We perused the book market at Parc Georges-Brassens.

Book Market 3
  • We got very excited over silly things at the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves.
  • We saw the Thinker and had tea in the gardens of the Musée Rodin.

Musee Rodin 6

Musee Rodin 13 Victor Hugo

Musee Rodin 20

Musee Rodin 15
  • We had lunch at the foot of la Tour Eiffel.

Eiffel Tower 1

Eiffel Tower 9
  • I melted at the books and wonders of Shakespeare & Co.

Shakespeare & co. 3
  • We saw Notre Dame.

Notre Dame 6

Notre Dame 7
  • We ate a super tasty, super fancy dinner! I’ve never enjoyed a bloody steak so much!

Around Paris 5
  • We wanted a drink and found ourselves in an Irish bar, of course.
  • The queues for the Musée d’Orsay were ridiculously long so we skipped it and went for breakfast.
  • We strolled romantically** through la Pigalle and Montmartre and saw the Sacré Coeur.

Montmartre 13
  • I bought pretty shoes and a vintage 1930’s ball dress at the Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen.
  • We had the most amazing Italian pizza. In. The. World.
  • We ascended la Tour Eiffel at night. It was pretty. In the elevator on the top, a girl asked “Are you going down?” We giggled.

Eiffel Tower 28

Eiffel Tower 16 

Eiffel Tower 33
  • We saw l’Arc de Triomphe and ate ice-cream on the Champs Elysées.
  • We were dreadfully hungry and ended up with bad machine coffee and overpriced pastries for breakfast. Boo.
  • We visited the Pompidou and I decided, once and for all, that I don’t like modern or abstract art.
  • We walked around the Louvre and soaked up the sun at the Jardin des Tuileries.
  • We walked around the Galeries Lafayette a bit.
  • I died a little with happiness when I bought macarons from Ladurée. They were exquisite!!

Laduree 2

Macaron Collage
  • We walked loads. Like, loads!

It was an amazing trip and a great end to my two months in France!



Eiffel Tower GIF

*And there are no links, extraordinarily.

**As romantically as one can possibly be in a red light district.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hi There!

Long time no see, guys. It’s been a while.

Oh hey, here’s a rabbit!*

NOx Rabbit 2

I’m writing up a post about the trip to Paris Paul and I went on. And I have one more post I want to write about Nancy, to ensure that my whole trip is well documented. For now, though, I just wanted to stop in and say hi. Tell you all the news.

I’m back home in Ireland, yay! I’ve just been at home in Naas hanging out with one of my sisters and my parents. And now I plan to spend at least a month in Galway working away and enjoying the Galway lifestyle. And if this good weather keeps up, it should be a lovely month!

I have a busy summer ahead of me and a lot to do in work, so I have to be super super organised from now! That doesn’t bother me though, I love being busy… Although, I do get stressed very easily and it gives poor Paul quite a headache.** This time it will be different…

Probably. (:

So what do I have on this summer? Two or three weddings***, a trip away with the Chemistry Society in college to organise, a Juggling Convention to organise and two conferences with work. Not to mention the European Juggling Convention… Which I really hope to get to, if I have time off work to take and enough money. Pretty busy then. I am also moving into the middle of town in May!

I won my first ever giveaway last week! I never thought I’d win a giveaway, but there you go. Sometimes everything comes up Fiona! I entered the giveaway on Mollie’s blog, Wild Olive, which is a favourite of mine. I’ve mentioned before that Mollie’s in the middle of an Embroidery Basics Course that should really help me in my embroidery adventures. Her whole blog inspires me so much!

What did I win? Amy T. Schubert’s new eBook Tell Its Story. And it’s awesome! I’ve only read the introduction so far and am pretty interested. Did you know that Amy wrote her Master’s Thesis on Harry Potter?! That’s very cool… If, you know, you’re a HP fiend, like me! I have a lot of stuff and I’m only now, due to this blog and to the fact that I read so many other blogs, beginning to really see the stuff I own and appreciating it. There are sections in this book about photographing your objects and journaling your memories, which should really motivate me. Thanks so much, Mollie and Amy, for the giveaway and the eBook. I love it!

I’ve left Nancy now and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. I’d love to at some stage, but who knows what will happen! I gained so much from my trip. I got so many results in the lab that should make for a good few papers, which is just great! I travelled to two countries other than France and I visited seven different towns and cities. The travelling I did was fantastic! To be so central in Europe and get the opportunity to visit all of those places is something I’m so glad for. My knowledge of the French language improved… Not as much as I had hoped it would, but I now have a good grasp of it and I do plan on carrying on with it in whatever ways I can.

And most of all, I’ve realised how strong a person I am. It was hard at times, of course. But I proved a lot to myself by spending two months away from my country, my home, my family and boyfriend and my friends. If you don’t mind me saying, I’m pretty awesome. (:

So I spent this weekend in Naas, chilling out in my new bedroom.

New Bedroom 2

New Bedroom 4

New Bedroom 15

New Bedroom 20

My Dad painted the walls back in November, which was very nice of him! And from then until about Christmas I painted the wardrobes and made it all super pretty! The photos don’t really show the whole bedroom, only the interesting parts. And the books, of course, cause I like books. Now, I’m no interior designer, not at all. I just don’t have the eye for colours and layout. So I know this isn’t spectacular, but I like it all the same. Mainly because I put work and effort into it. And I think it shows. And that Cath Kidston bedspread… I love it!

I took a walk down town on Sunday morning to meet a friend of mine and we stopped into a new sweet shop for some tasty boiled sweets!

Sweet Shop 1

Then home for a (mostly) homemade salad dinner out in the sun.

Sunny Feast 1

And a bit of big-fat-cat-love.****

Mittens Collage

Oh, I really hope this sun lasts at least a week longer!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. A very disjointed account of my last few weeks and thoughts in general. What have you all been at?

Kisses and stuff!


*NOx belongs to my friend, neighbour and co-worker, Nikki. She bought him recently and he’s just too cute!

**Not to mention the fact that stress cripples me!

***Yay, weddings!!

****Or, well, big-fat-cat-whinging-for-our-food.
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