Showing posts with label THEREDDUTCHESS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label THEREDDUTCHESS. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Easter in Amsterdam 2018

I've been to quite a few places in Europe, but I've never been to Amsterdam...until now.

My boyfriend Stephen used to live in Amsterdam, so when he suggested it for our Easter getaway I knew I could get a real insight to the heart of Amsterdam.

Because we're not yet fully immersed into Spring we knew the weather would be hit and miss. So I didn't expect much, weather-wise. Nonetheless, I enjoyed what Amsterdam had to offer in regards to food, architecture and history. 


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On our first day we found a place called 'Vegan Junk Food Bar' that was a delicious restaurant that specialised in well, junk food...but without the meat and dairy. Just look at how incredible it looks because it tasted equally as good.

'Vegan Junk Food Bar'

Flowers

On yer bike...

 Herengracht





Cafe Brecht (As in Bertolt Brecht)


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What I really wanted to visit was the Rijksmuseum that housed the fruit of the world's most renowned artists, Van Gogh and Rembrant.

However, more than anything I wanted to see Petronella Oortman's Doll House because the week prior I had just finished 'The Miniaturist', a piece of fiction that borrows the real life of Petronella and her Doll's house. It was during her very own experience of witnessing this beautiful piece of art that inspired Jessie Burton to write the story. Such houses back in the 17th Century would have cost just as much as a normal house and was a way for the wealthy women in society to show off their collection, style and interior 'tastes'.

Inside the Rijksmuseum


'Self-Portrait' by Vincent Van Gogh




An example of a 17th Century cabinet/ Doll's house

Inside one of the Dolls' Houses

A close up of one of the rooms in Petronella Oortman's Doll's House

Petronella Oortman

Standard Doll's House

Rijksmuseum's photo of Petronella's actual Doll's house 

Where do I go now?


Thursday, 15 February 2018

New York City Part II (Central Park)



Thursday 8th February

The Wednesday beforehand was a complete wash-out; it rained, all day. This held us back as we wanted to see Central Park, but we decided to wait until the following day (Thursday) to explore Central Park before we went to the airport.

In short, Central Park is magnificent, even in sub-zero temperatures. You don't even care, let alone mind, if you lose complete feeling in your hands because you're so distracted by the contrast of the pulsing city behind the uncompromising beauty and nature of its centre, its heart, its eco-haven.
 It's a paradox, but just like 'Sweet & Salt', they're beautiful together.























Bow Bridge












I hope you enjoyed getting a little insight to how we experienced NYC for the first time. 

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Reddutchess22@gmail.com
Snap:@red_dutchess

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Green Sofa


At the age of 8 I moved house. I moved three miles up the road to another estate.
I was leaving my world as I knew it.
I was leaving my best friend and my routine of ‘calling in’ for her so we could go out in our roller blades or go on our bikes.
This was all being diminished because I was moving house. It may not seem very dramatic to an adult, but for me, at 8 years old, it was traumatic.

My casual walking down to school with my best friend was now going to be replaced with having to
sit carefully, on the clankity old Ulster bus seats, in hope that the movement of the bus wouldn’t disrupt my position and cause my legs to shift onto the freezing cold chrome edges of the seats.
This is when I started to feel strange. 


My best friend Carla (Left) and I



"I too, felt like I was covered, wrapped and stitched in complete unfamiliarity."


I remember opening the door into the living room of our new house. The only familiarity that I saw was our green sofa that had made the journey some hours before.
I stood in the doorway, and I stared at the green sofa.
That sofa had been a different colour once, but my mama had got it covered in a new material earlier that year.
I looked at the sofa. What was once a brown, familiar and molded with routine sitting sofa, was now covered in a new fabric.
I too, felt like I was covered, wrapped and stitched in complete unfamiliarity.
At 8 years old, I remember the overwhelming feeling of fear. I was consumed, by what I know now, was acute Anxiety. I was for the first time, experiencing Mental Distress.
Little did I know that this was the start of what would be a very long journey spent in complete mental wilderness.

"I was losing my childhood
 to the ‘bad feeling’ that 
my young innocent 
self labelled it."

I didn’t know how to explain how I felt. I was a child, and my vocabulary was limited.
I began saying that I “didn’t feel well” and when I was asked where I was sore, or how I felt, I just replied, in hopelessness “I don’t know”.
After many a trip to the Doctors I was told “It’s all in your head, stop worrying”, but it was in my head, and it was festering. That was it, I had to deal with this feeling because the Doctor and nobody else  could understand me.  My mum was always trying to distract me from the silent torment of my mind by saying “let’s bake buns” or “let’s go up into town to get new shoes”.

Nothing worked.  

I was losing my childhood to the ‘bad feeling’ that my young innocent self labelled it.
I wasn’t young anymore, I wasn’t carefree anymore, and we all knew it.
I, who was completely in awe of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ and sang every song during every second of every day, had stopped singing. The house was quiet now. My voice was silenced by the turmoil in my young mind. Before I was 10, I wanted to die, I couldn’t cope with it. 
At that age I had believed I wouldn’t live long, because I felt that it was not normal to feel so bad without dying soon.

Let’s fast forward to 2013. I’m still alive. I’m 24 now.
Since becoming mentally unwell from that young age of 8 I’ve been on three different types of anti-depressants not to mention the multitude of anti-anxiety medication and sedatives.

But I’m so happy!
Never did I think that feeling this good was possible for me.
Looking back, I know today that those feelings that I had when I was 8 was the beginning of the Depression and Anxiety, and ultimately a clinical diagnosis of O.C.D.
It has been over two years since I’ve been diagnosed with O.C.D. I was diagnosed due to a crisis, and I couldn’t cope and I had a major breakdown.
The coping strategies that I had developed since I was 8 had crashed and burned in face of this crisis where a family member had become unwell.
It came to a point where I refused to let the Doctor tell me that “exercise would lift your moods”.    

I swallowed my pride and demanded professional help.

My pride, my awareness of the stigma attached to mental health that came from society and even myself didn’t stop me. I didn’t care anymore. I needed help because the other option was Suicide and I refused to let Suicide be an option any more, even though I had Suicidal ideation.
And so, I was given an appointment for a psychiatric assessment. On the day of the assessment I was petrified about what would happen to me once I started to talk about how I was thinking and feeling.
I have no idea what I said that day in that room, but I remember I felt like there was a black cloud that had just burst open with rain and was now relieved.
A couple of days later I graduated with a degree in Drama. I was proud of myself and I was happy to have my photograph mounted on the wall between my brother and sister’s graduation photos.

The day following my graduation I had received a letter from the place where I had gone for my psychiatric assessment. I had sat down on our new black leather sofa and read the letter. The letter described my disorder; the letter deemed my disorder ‘common’ and contained a treatment plan of new medication specific for my disorder and C.B.T.

That letter meant more to me than my degree, because even though my degree proved that I studied drama for 3 years, my letter from the psychiatrist meant that I could now get better after 15 years of mental struggle.
I sat on our new black leather sofa and I cried with relief, liberation and catharsis from the unknown shadow that I could now name, and now control.

Celebrating my birthday in Melbourne, Australia

I wasn’t like the green sofa anymore. I was becoming more like our new black leather sofa, I had aged with struggle, but I was tougher now, I was durable and I was now more resilient, despite who or what impacted on me. 


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Nuremberg Markets

Coming to Nuremberg makes me I feel like part of me is coming home. Whether it's due to the fact that my boyfriend lives here or because the city of Nuremberg is surrounded by historic walls, just like my home city of Derry, I think it's a very rare, but a beautiful thing, to have a sense of familiarity in a city I've only visited a couple of times. Perhaps I lived here in a past life?

I'm currently perched on the edge of the Rudolf red sofa in my boyfriend's apartment, right in the middle of this picturesque city of Bavarian Nuremberg, and I'm so content. I've had the most relaxing long weekend of napping, eating, snuggling and of course, soaking up the atmosphere of the infamous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. So before we head back home to Derry for Christmas I just want to share with you a little insight to our festive weekend.


 
The tiniest tea-sets for a doll's house.



Camel at the Nativity Scene




Enjoying our Glühwein (Mulled Wine)





I hope you've enjoyed this little peek into what it's like in Nuremberg during this time of year.

Thank you for reading.

You can also find me on:

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