Cruising around: My first time

Ok so people have many different thoughts on cruises. The main one being that it’s full of old people πŸ‘΅πŸ½πŸ‘΄πŸ». Another one is that it can be quite claustrophobic, being stuck in the same place on the sea/ocean. 

I have had a different experience. So much so that I’ve been on three so far. I find it a good way to see more places in a short period of time. 

The first cruise I went on was for my honeymoon so we splashed out on that one. We went with Royal Caribbean and booked a balcony room. 

The ship itself was the Oasis of the Seas which at the time was the biggest cruise ship in the world. It was magnificent however it did have its faults. One being that the sunbeds are so tightly packed together on deck that you are way closer to neighbors than you would like. Due to its size the ship is limited to where it can dock. Also Central Park, whilst pretty, is a bit of a waste of space in fairness. I rarely saw anybody in this part of the ship. 

The food however is amazing on RC. There are endless choices for you to make. The entertainment is fantastic. We got to see Hairspray which was like a broadway show. Many different shows to watch at night. There was also a good nightclub which we loved visiting until the early hours. The decor was lovely throughout the ship and provided many nice photographs for our albums. 

We stopped in a private island RC own off Haiti πŸ‡­πŸ‡Ή which was idyllic. The crew cook on the island for you. All you have to pay for is beds on the beach and optional water sports. The next stop was in Jamaica πŸ‡―πŸ‡² where we booked an excursion to climb River Falls and swim with dolphins 🐬. This was an expensive trip but it was our honeymoon and I really wanted to swim with dolphins. Surprisingly enough I loved climbing the river. I would definitely recommend it. The final stop was Mexico πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ and as we had only just spent ten days there before our cruise we had decided to do another excursion. My brother in law had paid for this as a wedding gift. So we headed off to experience all terrain vehicle driving. My husband drove first and loved it. When we reached a cave with a pond underneath we were told it was filled with bats and we should go for a swim. It wasn’t the best experience I’ve ever had! I was to drive back however my hands were quite slimy and without power steering in the atv I was awful at it. After ten minutes I crashed into a tree, injured my thumb and wrote off the vehicle!! So my husband took over driving back on a quad that the company supplied us with. 

I was trying not to regain the weight I had lost prior to the wedding so I was pretty good regarding not over indulging too much. It is hard as the desserts were delicious and there were so many to choose from. I did however treat myself to a ham & cheese croissant, brownie & a cup of tea from the little cafe they had beside reception every afternoon. The ship also has a running track on one of the decks that I did test out one afternoon! Probably wasn’t best to test out at 4pm whilst docked in Haiti.. There is also a gym which I never visited πŸ™ˆ.

I did however visit the spa for a massage. It was lovely however it is expensive, even on the days when the ship is docked and they have special offers. I also never appreciate when they try force products on you after your treatment. It is called that for a reason. It’s a TREAT!! Not a necessity and I definitely can’t afford products that I will never use once home. 

We chose prepaid tips which you distribute at the end of your stay. You are given vouchers and told how many tokens you are to give each dept. We found this awkward as at dinner we were assigned different waiters when we chose the main dining room. So basically the last waiter who served us got the most!

Overall we loved our time on the Oasis of the Seas. There is something for everyone. It made us want to do it again….


Being hooked on a catfishΒ 

Ok so for those of you who are unaware of what a catfish is, it is someone who pretends online to be a different person than who they really are. The Mtv show has highlighted this over the years and unfortunately it happens a lot to people and sometimes for a long time depending on the situation.

Anyway I seem to attract people who aren’t what they seem. I joined online dating a few months after separating. I forced myself into believing I was ready when I really wasn’t and this lead to me being more gullible than usual and setting me back multiple times in my journey to being ok with my life. 

I have been online dating on/off now for two years and I mainly attract two sorts of men.

 #1 The casual dater who either wants a one night stand or who simply takes pleasure in sending dick pics. They don’t advertise that fact of course, they cleverly put down that they are looking for a relationship or to see where things go…

#2 The catfish who generally either is lonely and wants to be someone else or is actually in a relationship and wants to see if the grass is greener.

People are genuinely flabbergasted when I tell them the amount of times this has happened to me. I feel they direct it towards me as if it is something I have actively done to attract these types. I can tell you this is not the case. My pictures have no cleavage shots and most of my dresses tend to be knee length. Not that attire should contribute to attracting this behaviour but I do get asked what my pics are like. On plenty of fish you get to write a bio to introduce yourself to possible suitors and I am completely honest on this, stating I am separated and how I am honesty is key with me. 

The thing with the catfish sorts is that you are at a risk if you plan on meeting up. I had a date planned with one but it just wasn’t sitting right. I asked for more pics but he refused to send any with his head, saying he was shy. He wasn’t shy sending a pic of him in his boxers though! Being catfished a good bit at this stage I looked at his profile pictures more intently and noticed that in one with sunglasses you could see a reflection of tattoos on his forearms. The boxer pic however didn’t match this as there were no tattoos. When I pushed for more clarification he got very annoyed, so I then asked if he had any tattoos to which he replied “none”. I told him that it was very strange as his profile pictures differed to that answer. His reply was to tell me I was a psycho and paranoid, that he was getting deleting his page because of me and blocked my number! Now some of you may think that I could have been wrong regarding the tattoos and the gut feeling I had however a good friend has an app where you can check if photos are on social media. This guy’s pic lead back to an Englishmans Twitter account so it wasn’t who he portrayed himself to be at all. I was very lucky that I didn’t go on the date as planned. One friend pointed out to me that he could have made it seem like I was stood up so that when I left alone he could follow me and god knows what. Possibly a bit extreme but who knows in this day and age.

The worst was my first catfish. I was single about 6 months and to be honest I was struggling. I knew my marriage couldn’t be saved but I still loved my husband a lot. We were in contact back then every other day. In honesty my self esteem was at all time low and I just wanted someone to be there for me like my husband hadn’t been. One bloke caught my attention as he was the only one who had divorced down on his bio. Physically he was good looking but I actually wasn’t attracted. He had a muscle top on and I generally stay away from men like that as I don’t think I’m on their level. Anyway I messaged him and we got chatting. Over days we swapped numbers and started texting. These texts became constant throughout the day. I would wake up to “good morning beautiful” texts and stay up late not wanting to end the conversation. He would send photos without me asking so I had no reason to doubt him. He was sweet, seemed to get me and gave me hope that I wasn’t alone. However there were a couple of things niggling me that I ignored. (I have a tendency to do that when I want the lies to be true.) After weeks though I pushed for a date, this alone should have been a warning. The day before it was to go ahead the messages stopped. I text of course, watched as the ticks went blue on whatsapp, then went through torture as I was ignored. Eventually a day or two later I watched my whatsapp for forty minutes as I could see the typing sign at the top. What came through was a long confession. Turns out the dream guy had stolen photos from an Australian guy’s Facebook account. He was not divorced, still married in fact. He was unhappy in his marriage and wanted to be single so dipped his foot in the online market to see what it was like. He didn’t expect to find someone he would connect with apparently. To say I was gutted would be an understatement. He still wanted us to be in contact but that was never going to happen! At a time when I didn’t think my esteem could get lower, it did. One of the main reasons I separated was the lies and manipulation I had to deal with. I then got straight into another relationship that turned out the same. I felt so gullible. I also felt guilty towards my husband that I couldn’t be with him for lies yet had accepted them from a stranger. Took me a long time to get over that and he tried contacting me twice after that even though I told him to text his wife instead!

Online dating is so very tricky. Even if they are who they say they are things can go downhill quickly. Then there’s the dates. There can be absolutely no chemistry even if you think there was when texting. The worst actual date I had was with a guy who interrogated me about my ex, his girlfriend, my wedding etc. Definitely not a good impression. There has been good dates too. Guys that are real sweet and who I really wanted to feel a connection to, but unfortunately you can’t force things!

Thing to remember is to trust your gut. If your gut is telling you things aren’t right then it’s not right. If you need further confirmation of that, test then by asking for selfies. If they try to defer from it then something is off! Also don’t go online if you’re vulnerable. It can be tough at times so be strong and believe in yourself xx

Summer of 2016

It is September 4th and in my head I am marking this day as the last day of summer for me. It’s not a bad day either. I am after parking beside killiney beach and walking up the many steps to Killiney hill. I’ve earned a few moments to sit, take in the view and reflect on what has been one of my best summers. 

Killiney Hill

From my resting spot I can see the Sugar loaf, which I climbed with my twelve year old nephew. No money needed, just us climbing and chatting, bonding I suppose you might say. I can also see Bray. I climbed Bray Head with my nephew, my sister and my dad. It took us many stops to get to the top as my dad isn’t the fittest person and to be honest we were worried about his heart. More fool us as when we reached the top he then decided to gloat about his achievement and gleefully jogged down the hill. I also ventured the cliff walk with my friend Kate which is a 6km walk from Bray to Greystones. This would have been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been for the numerous amount of people with the same idea, it felt like we were in a cattle market. 

Bray head with the family

On top of the sugarloaf

Killiney beach of course is below me and my first trip to this beach this summer was with Kate (as were many other trips), who brought a picnic for us to enjoy whilst people watching. Killiney hill itself I have visited many many times throughout the year, not just this summer. Sometimes I bring people with me and enjoy watching their faces as they take in the magnificent views from this hill. 

I have not had one beach holiday this summer which is very unusual for me as I would normally have two. Yet I have had the best tan throughout the summer. Customers in work have asked if I was away, is it from a bottle or a sunbed. They are suprised when I tell them it’s from Dublin. Some feel this wasn’t a great summer weather wise yet I beg to differ. I have been able to get out hiking in the evenings and I have taken a few half days from work to enjoy the rare sun Ireland enjoys. 

Sandymount strand

The hiking has also lead to a few lbs being lost. I had aimed for 14 which I knew was a stretch but I will settle for 6. I did not diet or restrict myself from brunches out, burgers or tapas in the evening. I just drank more water, cut out bread as much as I could and excercised. I am by no means near what I wish to be, but I never will be unless I go to the chicken and broccoli brigade and I’m not ready for that! 

This summer had only one concert for me which was Bruce Springsteen. Whilst it was tainted by a family crisis I still got to enjoy a night out with my dad, who was in flying form. I can’t remember much of Bruce’s performance but I remember the numerous selfies of my dad and my sister in drunken madness. 

Pre drinks before Bruce

I had an evening in Dun Laoghaire that was filled with contentment, so I drank it in as much as I could. I have had so many bad days over the past few years that when a good day comes along you grab it tightly with both hands. I spent that evening listening to a brass band playing, strolling up and down the pier with a playlist that soundtracked my evening perfectly. I spent another day in Dun Laoghaire learning how to paddle board and not fall in. The place used to cause me sadness now helped me find bits of happiness. 

Brass band in Dun Laoghaire

This summer I read a lot, overdosed on Netflix and spent a lot of time with people that matter most to me. I have had not one romance and it has not bothered me at all. Instead I enjoyed the company of friends and the solitude equally. Plus this whole time I have been accompanied by my trusty companion Izzie. She proves her loyalty constantly by traipsing behind me for hours up mountains, even with her little legs. 

Memories of the summer

So that is how this summer is one of my best. I have many happy memories and spent very little as I save for Peru in October. I have learnt over time who I can trust and rely on, so I enjoy their company when I can. Of course it hasn’t all been plain sailing but the good has definitely outweighed the bad! Hopefully winter will treat me the same 😊