Swings And Roundabouts – A Night Of Fun And Community Spirit!

As we all know I’m such a drama queen anyway, so it’s no surprise that I’ve been having so much fun recently rehearsing for the show Swings and Roundabouts. I wanted to write this post to ask anyone near or far with a special place in their heart for the Ardfinnan community to spread the word, come along, support, sing and laugh the night away with us! This show will be taking place in my home village of Ardfinnan, in the Community Hall on the 3rd and 4th of June at 8pm. Not only will this be a lovely event to see a community come together for a night of fun and entertainment, but the money raised is going towards a playground in Ardfinnan. Ardfinnan is an absolutely beautiful village and I know I would have loved a playground here when I was young. What a difference it will make, sometimes we all just need that pop of colour, a bit of company, and the sound of laughter and chatting in the air for a good pick me up! It’s great to see all the hardwork and dedication that is going into the show to make a difference in our community.

As well as the importance of this fundraiser, I am really enjoying making lots of new friends and memories. On the first night there were some familiar and some not-so familiar faces to me, but as time has gone on I always look forward to going down for chats and a good giggle. So much love for our show family! As much as I am looking forward to the actual show, I know I will miss it when it’s all over! There are so many different characters of all different ages and there is just a lovely, welcoming atmosphere there which will no doubt shine through in the performances on both nights.

I’m not going to give too much away because you can all see on the night, but let’s just say a bit of my part is a step outside of my comfort zone so I’m also facing fears! haha There is so much to look forward to and you’ll definitely leave in a great mood and probably still be laughing, I know I will be!

I honestly can’t believe how close the show is now, but I know my nerves should be okay since I’m already very familiar with that stage from Primary School shows. Although, I must say, it looks a lot smaller now that I’m (slightly) taller!

So much dedication and positivity has gone into the show so please purchase your tickets now from Burkes or Flynn’s shop! 🙂 Adult tickets are €8, child tickets are €5 and family tickets are €20. The support would be hugely appreciated, and I may be no Kate Winslet, but a lovely, humorous, family night out and a place for our village children to play safely with their friends will definitely be worth it. We’ll be starting the bank holiday weekend with a bang guys, let’s all come together to get the ball rolling on the Playground! Keep up to date with us on Facebook here and we’ll see you all there for a night of fun and entertainment! 

Mayoral Reception For The Fox Files

I usually write my Rant Of The Week on a Sunday, but since I’ve had such a lovely few days I honestly have nothing to rant about this week.

On Friday evening I was given a Mayoral Reception in Clonmel Town Hall on a very kind request from Councillor and family friend Micheal Anglim. The Mayor Pat English hosted it for me and he was joined by Councillors Richie Molloy, Siobhan Ambrose, Martin Lonergan, Micheal Anglim, and Andy Moloney.
The reception was given to me on behalf of the people of the district of Clonmel and Cahir to recognise my achievement of winning Silver in the Best Entertainment Blog (Personal) category at the Blog Awards Ireland 2015, which you may remember I attended in Dublin back in October. You can read all about my night at the Blog Awards here.
Everybody was so lovely at the reception and I was overwhelmed by all the kind things they had to say about myself and my blog. I was sitting up at the top of the room with them and listened to all the things each of them said individually and I was delighted that I was being recognised in my local area for the hardwork and dedication that I put into my passion. It is great to know I have the support from home backing me all the way on my journey, which as a young woman of only 20 years of age can sometimes be quite daunting, but very exciting all the same and I am loving every minute of it. They kindly presented me with a lovely framed certificate and a beautiful crystal bowl which I will cherish forever. 

Afterwards, we had a selection of delicious tea, cakes, sandwiches, and of course I couldn’t resist a glass of wine to celebrate! I also got to sit in the Mayors chair and now I think I need one of those for my own sitting room and that chain to add a bit of life to any outfit! Actually, I was surprised with how beautiful the Town Hall was inside, such a beautiful staircase and ceiling, and it was just steeped in history!

I had never been to anything like this before and couldn’t get over how much it meant to me. When I was saying my speech I found it hard to find the words to express how happy I was because I was so overwhelmed, but since I am now sitting down and expressing myself the best way I know how to I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who attended and made the Mayoral Reception possible – The Mayor and Councillors who recognised my achievement, had nothing but lovely words to say, and took the time out on a very sunny Friday evening to celebrate with me. I would also like to thank my best friend Claire, my siblings Melodie and Cavan, my nan Maureen, family friends Cathy and PJ, and last but not least, my parents for always believing in me even on days when I don’t believe in myself and for allowing and encouraging me to achieve and follow my own dreams. My mum got a little emotional when she said something at the reception and it nearly set me off, you can’t take her anywhere! Haha And of course my blog would be nothing without you guys, my wonderful readers so thank you so so much for accompanying me on this exciting journey! I realise this sounds like an Oscars speech or something, but I now understand how easy it is to start one of those speeches and get carried away thanking people! 

The night was absolutely amazing overall and it honestly meant to world to me, to be honest I still can’t believe it. I’m well impressed with myself! It was such a special occasion for a girl who is such a home bird anyway. Onwards and upwards from here, I can’t wait to see what other exciting things lie ahead for my writing!

Oh and of course I have to tell you all about what I wore. I wanted something elegant so chose a black and grey pencil dress which I’ve had for years but think is absolutely timeless. It has lace on top and a bow around the middle. Isn’t it stunning? I teamed it with a little black handbag, delicate silver dangly earrings, and a pair of shiny black Penneys heels because I love the elegance of a pointed toe. Some outfits just don’t age no matter how long you’ve had them! 

I hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m a very happy girl! There’s no place like home 🙂 xx

Rant Of The Week: So Like, What Are You Doing With Your Life?

To be honest, in life, there are two things I avoid on a daily basis – 1: Joining the gym and 2: Older people who like to ask ‘So what are you up to these days?’ Seriously Barbara, are we really going here again? My bedroom, hair and love life are all reflections of the messiness of my life right now, so to be honest, I honestly don’t have a clue what I’m up to these days. When does it get to the stage where you’re completely comfortable career, love and friendship wise? When does everything sort of just fall into place? Will that happen by itself or do we need to give it a good old nudge? When can we start to say ‘be grand’ without checking your purse to realise you spent a completely unnecessary €60 you didn’t really have anyway on jagerbombs, kebabs and jeans in a size too small because you’ve obviously set completely unrealistic diet goals? Anyone have any answers, nah?

Sometimes it may just seem like we’re floating in and out of situations, but I’m just presuming that’s what your twenties are all about. I spend my weekends out and about and my weekdays asking myself  ‘Why did I do that? What was I thinking?’ I also tend to do things repeatedly even though I already knew better. Again, I’m hoping (really hoping) that’s what my twenties are for – living, loving and learning. Surely I can’t be the only person who gets in a total over the top sweat when someone asks me questions about my life? I usually just say ‘Yeah it’s great, you know yourself’ because it sounds a bit better than ‘I have no idea what I’m doing, the fear is still lurking since last Sunday morning, I spend all my money on make-up and clothes, I keep going back to toxic relationships and I’m still hoping this is just baby fat and not here to stay.’ You feel me?

I’m starting to struggle to tell whether this slightly unforch lifestyle is normal for every 20-year-old female or just happening to me because all of my characteristics resemble Bridget Jones? If anything unfortunate and embarrassing could happen to a girl, I can guarantee you it’s happened to me. There have been many occasions where I’ve wanted the ground to swallow me up and wondered okay can I just go back and start this year all over again please? I have people to edit out and decisions to change and rethink. Sometimes my life just needs a ‘pause’, ‘rewind’ and (bloody huge and noticeable) ‘cancel’ button. Don’t get me wrong, my life may be all over the place but at least I’m not in it alone… right girls? RIGHT? The real world most definitely isn’t easy and Katy Perry’s question of ‘Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?’ has never been more relatable. Well yes Katy, I do. Now please send several of those multi-millions my way. Thanks hun.

I’ve noticed lately that things really happen when you’re least expecting them and not waiting for them. So maybe our lives will eventually fall into place as they’re meant to and we don’t need to have it all planned out, but knowing me it still won’t be boring and I’m sure there are still many more Miss Jones moments yet to come…

Rant Of The Week: The Ghost Of Market Place

I don’t usually write posts of this nature, but since it is taking place in my local town I feel like it has a special place in my heart and I couldn’t push back the overwhelming sense of sadness that came over me while walking down this street. As a 20-year-old young woman, I would consider myself to be a girl about town. I’m a complete social butterfly, I love shopping and browsing and going out for cups of tea and just generally not feeling trapped at home. For me, as a girl who chose not to go to college, this town I’m about is Clonmel. I live in Ardfinnan, a village outside of Clonmel, but I try to get into town any chance I get. I moved to Ireland when I was five and always have fond memories of this town, which is why it sends shockwaves through my body every time I walk down the now eerie street of Market Place.

All of the pictures in this post were taken on a Tuesday afternoon at 12.30 and funnily enough I’m wearing a coat I bought years ago in Jean Junction! While photographing the area, the lack of people around was frightening and I even spoke with a woman who was staring in a window shocked about yet another closure and expressed her sadness to me about how much the street has changed.

What was once a busy, buzzing location where you were sure to bump into at least one person you know, is now a very lonely ghost town. There are no longer people flying up and down the street holding coffee cups, there is no window left flaunting clothes to catch my eye as I walk past, you are no longer hit by the lovely smell of the bakery food when you walk into Supervalu, simply because you cannot go in there, it is no longer open. The saddest part about it is that as well as shop shelves and employees, laughter and life has also gone from the street and I no longer enjoy walking down it on a busy day when I am running errands.

Many a time had my own laughter and that of my friends filled the street as we met for catch ups and hugged before walking into what was then known as Chapmans. We still meet up, but standing outside waiting for your friends to arrive is no longer a case of saying hello to a huge amount of passers by and hiding behind your shopping bag as the boy you like walks past. It is lonesome and a harsh reality, the silence is anything but calming and peaceful.

Over Christmas time I walked through the area with my friend late one evening and the lights were the only festive thing about it. Market Place was not celebrating Christmas as usual, it’s loyal shoppers had come and gone leaving the street to celebrate the festivities alone. To be honest, it’s hard to know where to go in town anymore, what’s there today could quite easily be gone tomorrow. I now usually only run into a few shops. Are people constantly being pulled to the outskirts and bargain shops to do their shopping? Perhaps the contents of whole streets are now being pushed into single shops which results in the closure of so many businesses. I’m not too sure. 

How do we lift the dark cloud that has fallen over many parts of Clonmel? The street is full of colour and clearly craving the revival of life again, so we can only hope that revival happens soon so in the future my own kids can have memories of the street like I do. I bought my favourite coat there, I’ve drank many cups of tea there, I bought my gorgeous dolls house there, half of my jewellery collection and make-up bag contents come from there, I bought my school books there, I’ve bought endless amounts of cinema munchies there and I will continue to support the businesses that are still there. Market Place isn’t dead, simply waiting once again for the kiss of life. Even if businesses don’t open here again, something as simple as a market or craft fair would bring life and love back to the area instead of leaving the space isolated and full of distant memories. It’s surprising how much transforming some music and a bake sale can do. I do hope Clonmel will eventually bring back the large amounts of people, bring back the interest and bring back the good times. It is not just Market Place that is suffering, it is an entire town and a lovely community.

Never lose hope. You never know what tomorrow may bring.
* The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am not sure who currently owns Market Place or what the future plans are for it. I am also not sure of the reasons why each business has closed. I am just expressing my own thoughts as a girl who loves shopping and is sad that we seem to have lost a great street.