Skerries - Our new favourite place

I have lived in Dublin for coming up on 9 years and even though I have been to Skerries once or twice it is never somewhere we would gravitate to. It always seems far out in the middle of nowhere and I even say that living in Swords. For some reason two weeks ago I had a strange desire to take my parents out there on a visit to Dublin. It was somewhere they had never been to before well my mum visited 50 years ago but thats a long time ago. Like always I tripadvisor'ed the heck out of all the restaurants and finally settled on the Stoop Your Head.

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I had chowder with the parents two weeks ago and the same again today, it is bloody lovely soup. I could eat bowls and bowls of it with a bit of soda bread. It is chock full of fish and crab claws. My parents loved the cod fritte when they were up and today Joanne got the Dublin Bay prawns and crab claws in garlic butter, she loved it! For a massive bowl of chowder, chips, crab claws and prawns with a 7up came to 43 euro. Bit pricy but I'd say thats the seafood for ya especially the crab. 

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Before we headed in to Skerries we popped to Ardgillan Castle which is just outside the town perched on top of the hill on the way to Balbriggan. I had never been to the castle before but Joanne suggested our nephew Luke would love the playground there as it was huge.  The castle grounds are absolutely huge and thankfully it was quiet enough this morning. You can visit the castle and the cafe or go to the playground and explore the massive green areas. They are also pretty cool with you having BBQs up there too, obviously the small tray ones would be ideal. Luke had a great time in the playground and visiting all the fairy houses that are dotted through the forest. It is a great place for some free family fun. 

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While you are in Skerries take a walk along the sea front it is beautiful you can see Rockabill Lighthouse, the Skerries islands and Lambay Island. You have to top it all off with an ice cream from Storm in a Teacup, the best ice cream in North Dublin in my opinion, it rivals Teddy's in Dun Laoghaire for the Southsiders. It was such lovely day out and I am looking forward to going back to see the Skerries Mill because of the Dutchness in me wants to see that windmill.

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Let me know if you go or what is your favorite place to eat in Skerries.

Will

Check out Joanne's Instagram as she is way better at photos than me and most of these are her photos.

https://www.instagram.com/robo_jojo/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/pictures_byjo/?hl=en

How to be happy?

 
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I am not sure how to be happy anymore for long periods of time at least. I am like a rollercoaster getting to the top and back down again. I don't know if that is depression or maybe it is something completely different, I am not a doctor or a therapist and I certainly haven't gone to the latter to analyse my thoughts, yet. I do wonder how Joanne puts up with me sometimes , she really is the ying to my yang. For the past two months at least I have certainly felt more down in the mouth than usual, even though the sun has shone and I have been on my holidays. I guess you need to admit to yourself in these times things are not right and need further self inspection of the mind. Back in February on the podcast we spoke about how I experienced a panic attack for the first time. At the time I put it down to having a really bad flu, we detail it quite well so listen back if you want to, I have linked it below it is 31 minutes in. Needless to say a panic attack is a strange experience. Despite having to have an ambulance out to the house and being talked back down to normality from the paramedics, I thought no more of it. I figured the flu had me in bits but I would get on with it. In May of this year we went on holidays to Spain with Joanne's mum and sister Karen.

Part of the trip was to drive from Alicante to Valencia. Nothing too tasking, I think a 2 hour drive. We arrived in Valencia and it was a little stressful because I got lost and for some reason they had nearly every street closed off. It shouldn't stress a normal person but I am not normal and it got my back up as I hadn't a clue where to go. We finally found our way , got to our hotel and went for food.  

We came back to the hotel around 10.30pm and went for a drink in the hotel before bed time nothing mad. We had an excellent paella and incidentally I must say Valencia was fantastic and we highly recommend going there. Off we went to bed with no trouble going to sleep to get ready for more exploring the next day. Cue 2am I wake with the most almighty cramp in my foot but it was like someone had my toe in a vice grip. I hobbled out of the bed, trying to get the cramp out of my toe. I eventually got it out and went to the toilet before attempting to go back to sleep. By the time I got back to bed however I felt it, I felt the dread descending, I felt the panic setting in. This time though I flagged it immediately to Joanne and said it is happening again, the heart palpitations, the racing breath and the brain overthought. Thankfully Joanne got her mam and Karen, all three talked me down this time. It didn't get to the point of the panic attack from February because I flagged it early to Joanne and through breathing we managed to get me down off the proverbial cliff.

The first thing I did when we got home was check in with my neurologist doctor. The reason being is every single time I feel anyway off I link it back to when I had a stroke. The wait was not too long to see my neurologist but it was the end of June. The wait prior to that was a killer because I had myself convinced it was something to do with my brain. It got me so down having to wait for it all and I must have spent so much time running it over in my head. The day came I met with Mr. Neurology and he was pretty much able to tell me "Will there is nothing I can find wrong with you, I will send you for some tests and bloods but you seem to be ok from my point of view". Naturally this is good but also bad, good because physically there is nothing with me but bad mentally, as no answers means more worry and overthinking. I have just spent the past 4 weeks waiting to get some results back. I wasn't even going to go to my GP to get them as I figured if it was really bad they would call me. I did this because I was burying my head in the sand because of fear.  Joanne however made me see sense, I met with my GP and she confirmed Mr Neurology's diagnosis, no real physical issue whatsoever. 

We chatted at length and it was actually great, she advised me on a couple of things I could do. The main thing would be therapy and CBT, something which I know nothing about just yet. She did say you can look at SSRIs ( prozac like stuff ) but that sort of thing does not interest me as I have heard far too much bad shit about them, however if you take them and want to tell me about their good and bad points please let me know privately. We did come to a conclusion however that didn't even require a full on therapy / counselling session. It is like a form of PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome ), every single time I think there is something wrong with me my mind goes straight back to when I had a stroke 8 years ago. It is something I need to work through over these next few years and I don't think it is the most easiest task I have confronted. I did start at least to try and check my head out by buying a book by Dr. Harry Barry called "Anxiety and Panic". I am hoping it can at least help me understand how and why I think certain ways. At least it is a start to trying to figure out things. Maybe I am a little like my late Grandfather, he would always think he was on his way out of this world only to be told by his wife Molly "Ah snap out of it Bill there is nothing wrong with you". I think Joanne will be fulfilling Molly's role here.

Will

 

Why now?

As the title states Why Now? Well for quite some time I have been meaning to create an actual website that we can call our own. I have had The Cooks Belly for nearly 8 years in November, nearly as long as I have known Joanne. Joanne originally encouraged me to start the blog so we could talk about restaurants and it evolved so much over 8 years. I started out a 26 year old guy living in a brand new city having met my first proper girlfriend in Joanne to where we are now. Restaurant reviews, recipes, the Great Irish Bake off, to talking about fertility and our IVF struggle. It is goodbye to The Cooks Belly, a chapter closes on a period of our life, filled with so much fun, adventure and self discovery. 

We are here now in our new virtual home (because a physical home is still a long way off), Will and Joanne, Dekorte and Constantine, I missed a trick there, the podcast should have been called Dekorte & Constantine or vice versa. I know I have wanted to write more but I didn't feel it suited the old place anymore so I kept putting it off. Now both of us have no excuse anymore to write till our hearts are content. The podcast is our bread and butter, it has been so good for us over this past year and a half. I suggested to Joanne we try it for the fun, I thought it would have lasted maybe a couple of shows but it has been become so much more than that. It was started when we were both very down, I will speak for myself on this but it really helped me take my mind off of our struggles with trying to have kids. It may seem only like 1 hour a week we chat on a podcast but it is much more than that.

It has allowed to talk about what goes on in our heads,  the highs and lows of our lives and life together, stress, depression, grief, and happiness. Most importantly we have had our family join us on the show, if there is anything I love more is hoarding things that mean something to me. The podcast has allowed me to hoard Joanne's and my family's voices and thoughts, it is worth more than anything in this life to have these moments. 

The purpose of the new website is to allow us to hoard all our work in to one place, our thoughts in textual form, podcasts and our photographs. Our thoughts will be in article form and will expand on certain subjects from the podcasts or again may assist the podcast. Joanne will be writing about all her passions and hobbies, I may even chuck in a recipe every now and then. We do the podcast for us, we do all of this for us and we let you look on inside behind the magic door just like on Bosco. 

 

Knock knock, open wide, See what's on the other side...

Will