Monday, 18 June 2018

Reputation Stadium Tour // Dublin, 15 June 2018


After I went to Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour in Dublin 3 years ago, I wrote a post detailing my experience. I had such an amazing time then, meeting Taylor's parents and enjoying an incredible show. It is one of my fondest memories, and I smiled for a whole week after it was over. Forget post-concert depression, I was suffering under post-concert elation. 

I'm aware that there are so many mixed opinions on Taylor. She's the type of artist who goes in and out of fame, adoration and scorn all the time. The media tends to be harsh and judgemental when it comes to her, which I think is such a shame. I'm not here to preach or anything, but I feel the need to preface this post by saying that I really really really like Taylor Swift. She is a kind person, treats her fans amazingly well and is also extremely talented. I've only been a fan of hers for about 4 years, but I have had so much fun with her music, videos, tumblr and of course, concerts. I knew I'd enjoy this concert too, but I had no idea just how much I would.


I went with a friend from college, and we had such a great time. It started off with a performance by Charli XCX which was absolutely brilliant. She played about 6 songs and really got the crowd going. She looked beautiful and performed really well. I particularly enjoyed her performances of "Boys" and "Fancy". After a break, Camila Cabello came on stage. Honestly, I didn't enjoy her set quite as much as Charli's, but it was clear to see that she was enjoying herself and had so much energy. Her performance of Havana was extremely fun too. I did not expect to love the support acts as much as I did. Already the kind of expensive tickets seemed so. worth. it.

At this point we decided to take a break from the arena area, and joined the merchandise queue. I really wanted a t-shirt because I'm such a "been there, done that, bought the t-shirt" kind of girl. Unfortunately, just as we were approaching the desk Taylor came on stage. We didn't want to sacrifice the merch, but missed the visuals of her entrance. I danced in the queue as she sang "...Ready for It" and bought a t-shirt as quickly as I could. We got back to our seats as she was midway through her second song. I could hear everything perfectly well from outside, so I didn't miss a lot, just the screens! It was a pity, but I'm still glad I got my merch. 


That was honestly the only negative point of the concert. When we got to our seats, and Ms. Taylor Swift was performing on stage, I beamed so much. She looked so gorgeous, her outfit and makeup and hair were fabulous. She smiled too after finishing songs and hearing the applause. She seemed genuinely delighted to be playing for us. And I was just so happy to see her! It almost felt like a reminder that she's a real person, that she exists in the same realm as I do. And it's so funny for me to hear American accents in real life because they always sound so different to me. Her little speech about being in Ireland was charming and the various segways into different songs were creative and definitely encouraged the crowd.


I may not have met her parents this time, but I honestly think that I enjoyed the show even more. There were aerial elements, there was fire, fireworks, smoke. The lights were enticing. There were huge snakes! There was just an incredible, captivating set of visuals that really made the show so entertaining. The setlist too was just perfect. She has a song on each date the tour that she only plays once, and for us she played "Mean" from Speak Now which is one of my favourite ones of her older songs. I felt so lucky that I got to hear it live. "Love Story", pictured above was so sweet too. I feel like the songs flowed really well into one another and I wouldn't have changed any of the staging or choices in general. Of course there are a few songs that she didn't play that I would love to hear at some point, but I enjoyed songs that I don't even like that much from the album. Basically it was a perfect mixture of old and new.


A high point for me were "Shake It Off" (above) due to colours and the fact that it was her finale song of the 1989 World Tour, so it brought back many memories. Besides, it was the song that really got me into Taylor in the first place, so it's all the more special. She also did a brilliant job of performing "Don't Blame Me" which is easily my favourite song of Reputation. Hearing it live was a whole new level of awe for me. 

Even though we weren't that near to the stage, I really didn't feel we were far either. Taylor had the stage set up so that she would visit different areas of the stadium, and at one point, she was near our side and we had a great view of her. It was amazing to me that she made a stadium which can hold up to 82,000 people feel like an intimate space, and a space so full of happiness and love. Everyone was dancing and having a great time. She really got across the message of loving yourself, and not listening to what others have to say about you, which is the message I really needed when I was 16 and discovering 1989. She had her cool light up bracelets again, which changed colour and lit up at key moments in her performances. That also helped with giving us a greater connection to her. It's so hard to mention everything that was amazing about the night, because there were just so many things that made it special. I actually can't get over how beautiful and radiant she was either. Incredible.

I left feeling so amazing, so happy, just simply in awe. I've been listening to the setlist ever since, I've been rewatching clips I took. I've been looking at others' videos on youtube. Reputation was made to be performed, I think, and it really worked so well on the stage. I have somehow an even greater appreciation for her and her music after this second concert. I'm sorry for how fangirly this is but honestly, high point of my year! I'm not easily blown away, which isn't a positive thing, but still, the fact that my expectations were so far surpassed really blows my mind. 

So, thank you Taylor! I couldn't have had a better time.

Have you been to any concerts lately?

Anna x

all photos taken with the iPhone SE

Monday, 11 June 2018

a letter to him


I didn’t want to love you,
I didn’t need to need you,
Not with your imperfections-
I didn’t need that pain
I didn’t need your hatred
Your moments
Your darkness
But I said yes.

You were nicer in person, which disconcerted me at first. I immediately began to think of all the wrong things you could do to me. Julia’s words echoed around my mind as you smiled me a nervous hello.

“He’s lovely, but he’s a liar”. Why did I say yes? Why didn’t I ask her what made you a liar, what you lied about?

I wasn’t hungry, I was anxious. Everything on the menu sounded bad to me. Maybe it was because I’d been the one to choose the restaurant, my usual favourite vegetarian restaurant. Maybe I was embarrassed that I’d made you come with me- what meat-eating, gym-going young man would not laugh at the concept of a meatless menu? But you looked excited to get your lasagna, genuinely. Was that a lie too? Did you lie all the time, or not even once?

Carlos brought us our food. I’d never called him that, but over the months of me drifting in for cheap student lunches with people I thought I knew and always lost, I’d read his name tag enough times to remember. He smiled at me too. My pizza was good, sure it was, but I didn’t want it. I wanted to leave so badly. I didn’t want to hear about your brother or your trophies. I didn’t want to tell you about all the gaps in my life, why I spent my time doing nothing of note. You didn’t deserve to know, but I told you.

You were so beautiful. The more I tore my gaze from my sad pizza, and caught the rims of your blue eyes, your caramel strands out of place across your forehead, the more I could see that I didn’t want to like you. I wanted you to be the worst date I’d ever have, maybe you could even be the one I could mention at house parties and take a shot to your broken name. But you tried so hard that night to make me like you.

I resisted pretty well. I refused dessert. You paid for our food and wine. You took me out into the darkness of the night and put your jacket around me because you knew that was what you were supposed to do. We walked along the dock, down the marina, right to the end. Maybe you were going to push me off then. Maybe that’s what made you a liar. But you didn’t. You took my hand. You led me down, we sat at the edge. Your legs and mine over the side, dangling above everything and nothing, the water threatening to splash but never doing so.

You told me more things about you, all the times you broke your bones and went to hospital and the times you got in trouble and what you thought of our sky. I couldn’t help it. But I wanted you to talk forever about it. I didn’t want our time to be over, though my mind told me to go.

You swept my hair behind me left ear - he’s right handed

And now he’s going to kiss me

I didn’t want you to kiss me. I didn’t want you to love me. But there you were. And there I was, chin up, eyes closed, your lips on mine. And I felt wonderful. Because you needed me, and I could help you. And you were mine for a few seconds, and I was yours.

I couldn’t help it. I leaned my head into your shoulder and didn’t worry that I was doing something wrong. You felt so good against my weight. You were strong, and I was small and you wanted me right where I wanted to be. We stayed there a while, remember?

Eventually we got up and you looked into my eyes again, and laughed a little at the side of my face, which had gone red in the shape of your collar. I didn’t mind.

You offered me a lift home, I didn’t know you drove. I thought to myself that I really shouldn’t. Maybe your lie would live in the car. How can he be a lovely liar? But I got in. And we listened to music that fit my thoughts perfectly, and you knew all the words. At one point my eyes got teary, but I couldn’t show you that.

I didn’t want to get out of the car when you pulled up outside of my house. I didn’t want to leave your warmth, and go in and tell my family everything about you. I squeezed your hand, and kissed your face whilst we held up traffic.

I think that was the first time I thought I might love you. You were sweet, bright and yet, commanding and stable. Where were your lies? I didn’t want them. I didn’t want to love a liar.

So, tell me, why did she tell me you were a liar? Did she not want me to have you, you to have me? Is that it? Because I think I love you now, and I need your truth.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Vegan Falafel Wraps Recipe


This is such a delicious meal! You can really customize it however you'd like to, easily adjusting amounts or even adding new ingredients if you so desire. Pitta bread works just as well as plain wraps, so don't worry too much about your choice there. What is excellent about this recipe is that it is so. quick. If you prepare the falafels and the two sauces by yourself, it will take a bit more time, but you're able to buy each premade, in which case it's basically just assembling! Still, it's healthy, vegan, filling and delicious.

I bought the falafels due to the fact that my falafel making skills aren't that great, but I made the chilli sauce myself using Jamie Oliver's recipe, which I actually divided by 12 seeing as I only had one chilli pepper (lol). The recipe is really simple and takes less than 35 minutes to make, and it's definitely one you can multitask while doing! I also made the tahini sauce myself, using Tori Avey's recipe, which takes less than ten minutes and is incredibly straightforward. I also only made a single serving seeing as it's just for a drizzle, and added more water and a squeeze of lime juice to make it very runny.


Without further ado, I present to you the recipe for these delicious middle eastern inspired wraps!
Ingredients:
-8 Falafels
-2 Round Pitta Breads or Wraps
-4 Tablespoons Hummus
-1 Large Tomato
-1/2 an Aubergine/Eggplant
-A Fistful of Parsley
-Chilli Sauce to taste
-Tahini Sauce to taste
-1 Pickle, sliced (optional)

Method:
1. Cook falafels for the amount of time on the packet, or prepare your own.
2. Slice your vegetables into slim, bite sized pieces.
3. Fry the aubergine until soft and lightly browned.
4. Lightly toast the wraps so that they're firm but not too crispy, as you won't be able to fold them properly
4. Assemble by spreading 1-2 tablespoons of hummus on the wraps, followed by some sliced tomato, the falafels, aubergines, pickles if desired, parsley and a drizzle of each of the sauces. Then fold.
5. Serve unaccompanied or with chips/fries on the side.

serves 2

I hope you enjoy! Don't hesitate to ask any questions or let me know how they turned out for you in the comments. 

Anna x

Friday, 1 June 2018

June Playlist 2018



I thought I would put together a little playlist for June in celebration of the (approaching) summer!. I'm so so happy that the weather is picking up, the clothes are getting way comfier and also stylish(?) I sense so much ice cream and so many lie-ins in my future, I can hardly wait! I've never shared a playlist before, so I hope you like it. The songs I've chosen are ones I listen to all the time, and really give me that lifted-up summer spirit. They're generally pretty chill too. I like to listen to a lot of older music so that's what this is focused on for the main part.

Any songs you think I should add? Or just listen to in general? I'm always open to suggestions!

Also, I have changed my domain name. I know it's a bit of a crazy step to take, but there are so many blogs with "zu hause" in the tile, I thought it might be easier to identify this way. I may do a separate blog post on this process as I have learned so. much. through this seemingly simple transition!

Love as always,
Anna 


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

My Love For This Dear Land


I love traveling, I really love seeing new places and hearing different accents and languages and seeing how the cuisine differs and how the locals treat each other. I love feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, feeling a greater love for the earth after seeing some more of its beauty. Traveling helps me to feel alive and it gives me goals, it gives me an ever-growing list of places to see and go back to.

But there is one place I've gone back to many, many times. One place that I long for when I'm elsewhere, the one place on the planet that I can truly call home. I have so many second homes on this planet, so many to be discovered, so many yearned for, but only one that I could never leave behind, and that place is Ireland. It's natural, I know, to love your own country and be proud of it. That's part of it, though I'm probably not the most outwardly patriotic person there is. I have never ever done anything on Saint Patrick's Day to mark the occasion. I've never tried Guinness. I can't play any Irish sports and have never really wanted to be able to. The feeling I have is something different to pure patriotism. It's something closer to peace.

The buses, taxis, airports, airplanes, trains back to my country always seem long but always so thrilling. There is nothing like the feeling of coming back home with foreign presents in my suitcase and stories to tell. I'm the person who smiles on the plane, despite being shafted a middle seat on a busy flight, because I think about where I'm headed, and can't wait to be reunited with my land and my people. I'm a homebody, through and through.

My country is not a fairytale land. My country is not a fully happy place or always an energetic place. It can be a depressing place to be sometimes. There are dismal days due to grey skys and bad news. Not everyone you meet there is friendly or good. There is crime. There are crises, money crises, housing crises, homelessness, hunger. There are political divisions and people who spread hate rather than love. There are people who will never understand me, nor I them. We are not one big family. We are people with a spread of values, a spread of experiences and a spread of worries on one small island.

Nevertheless, there are so many people I love who dwell on my island. The vast majority of my family lives in Ireland. While not everyone lives near me and the train and bus connections aren't the best, we can still see each other in less than four hours of travel if we wish to. When I come home, as well as to the land, I come home to them, to tell them things and hear their voices in real life and hug them and feel safe. My friends too, whilst now living in different locations across the globe, have sprung from a connection we made in this country. Many of them are still here. I don't see them enough, and it's something I need to change. Still, my country is the feeling of friendship, the feeling of dear family.

There are other little things about this island that I love and never say. I love how you can open the windows when it's hot in the summer and not worry about mosquitos coming in to disturb you. I love how we all get the same ideas when it's sunny and go to the same places, beaches, canals, parks. You're never alone in your thought. I love the way Irish people use their language. I love that we're not straightforward, I love that we want to make each other laugh. I love that there are so many trees in this country, that there are sheep and cows and hares. I love the many little creatures I get to see, I love the places we get to walk. I love that Irish writers have captured this land for the good and bad. I love that they deserve the recognition they get. The weather is constantly complained about. It does rain an awful lot, and there's no point in buying sandals if you intend to stay home for the summer, but I love that when it's even a little bit warm, everyone is out in shorts and t-shirts and sundresses, when all of the tourists find it too cold. I love this island's quirks. It makes it easier to fit in.

When I go away again, not too long from now, I will go away with a familiar feeling of anxiety. It starts with "will I like it there?" and ends with "will I miss home too much? will I manage that long without my family?" and it's always fine. It's always good, because travel fuels my soul, but it also fills me with an admiration for what I have. It humbles me and makes me grateful for where I live. I've never visited a place I didn't like. I've never left a place without feeling sad that I couldn't bring a piece of it with me, but I've also never once been sorry to come home.

x

photo taken with the iPhone SE
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