Preparing for Festivities

This is one of my favourite times of year.
When there is a big rush of work and life, getting in the way of relaxing, the winds get colder and you need a warm scarf to wrap yourself in before heading outside.
But then, all of a sudden, everything turns sparkly and wintry and one by one, the pressures of autumn begin to come under control and the looming festivities of Christmas are becoming reachable!
My MA applications are well under way, my first essay is done and dusted, I'm planned and beginning my second and my dissertation plans are in a good place right now.
I have four days to really get cracking on this final essay and then we'll be heading home to London to spend a few lovely days with my family. I really can't wait.

Last night I made some Christmas cards to send to our families & some friends too, and it has made me more ready than ever to embrace the coming weeks!
This year, I'm celebrating in with Phillip's family and I'm really looking forward to experiencing Christmas German-style!
How are you all spending the holiday season this year?
I'm planning on eating a lot of yummy food, filling my tummy with orange juice (such a luxury these days, I appreciate going back to my parent's house and a fridge full of it!)


Chilly Days & Free Coffee

It's getting a lot chillier around these parts lately, it seems as though autumn came for a day or two, and then overnight winter appeared, this orange is about the last of autumn we're seeing these days.
I'm not complaining though, it just draws Christmas in that little bit sooner.
Today is my first day 'off' for a few weeks, this final year malarky is taking up a lot of time, which is  simultaneously rewarding and exhausting.
I took this photo yesterday on campus, it's round the back of our library and the little bench you see peeking through the tree? That's the spot where I like to sit with a cup of coffee for a break from the stuffy reading rooms. Just behind it there's a cafe which serves the best coffee on campus and it's always quite quiet. + to make things better, yesterday I got my coffee for free, makes for a nice Friday eh?
I'll be back soon enough, take care all. Ailish :)


On Choices

William Earnest Henley Invictus, via
We are always making choices, from the mundane decisions such as whether or not to take that blow of fresh air and walk, to deciding how to carve a future for ourselves.
The latter-kind of choices are the ones which can take all your precious mental & emotional energy and gobble it up until you're zapped (in a good way).

I am currently going through a somewhat transitional stage where I am trying to decide what to do once I graduate. I am indecisive enough to know that whatever choice I do make for the next year will no doubt not be what defines my future, but it will be one big choice in a series of bigger decisions which I will have to make during my life...
At the end of the day though, I believe it's all about making the right choices for the present moment. I also think  -and not to get (any more) deep and cheesy on you here- your future will be whatever you make of it, regardless of your choices right now. As long as you have made and continue to make decisions which result in your own happiness then you have no reason to have regrets.
Finally, I also know that not every person in this world has the privilege of being able to make free choices, whether that be due to discrimination of sex, gender, race, class, political viewpoints or simply from an over-powering influence of others. Thus,  I want to ensure that I utilise all choices I have and not throw opportunities to the wind because of not being able to make a choice...

Here's to decisions chin chin!


From the Other Side of Summer

What a long time it has been since I sat here and typed something into this box, and what a lot has happened in the last two months.
Phillip and I spent about 6 weeks in Berlin, celebrating both of our birthdays, seeing friends and both doing internships (I had a brilliant time working for an interior architecture company) and we fell in love with the city. I don't really know where to begin explaining how much fun we had, perhaps I can do a little guide to the Berlin we experienced?

We flew head first, quite literally back into York just a week ago, and are now embarking on final year madness. We're not yet fully unpacked into our new house, but we're getting there slowly.
Decisions are being made about the very near future once we've (finger's crossed) graduated, and there are lots of exciting and big changes coming up which I hope to be able to document somehow on this little space of the internet here.
I am no longer 'abroad/in transit' so, Ailish Goes seems like a slightly less fitting name, but it's still appropriate, that's what's sticking.
I seem to have developed a couple of readers despite my absence! So, do tell, what have you been up to? Listening to, doing, making, watching?

I've been listening to a lot of this,
and I've been watching a lot of this,
as well as making this (twice!)
I've developed a penchant for accessories like this, specifically in that colour, working out how to wear them all together... ha
I'm looking forward to seeing these guys play live in November
Love this website for ogling amazing architecture around the world,
have been enjoying scrolling through this pretty much every other day. So many interesting art & design projects

and in Berlin I was drinking a lot of this ^^^ Godshot - a great coffee place around the corner of our flat in Prenzlauer Berg. Beautiful creamy, rich coffee and piping hot croissants.

...Tomorrow I'm having my haircut, if you follow my Pinterest account you might be able to gage by my mass-pinning that I was contemplating a short bob/pixie, but I've decided to wait until next summer, unless I'm feeling a bit spontaneous that is...

Back to the books first, got a few to gnaw through this week.


Catch Up

At the moment I'm back in York getting things organised for my final year (kinda... haven't yet unpacked) and spending some time with Katrin. Tomorrow I'll be off to Edinburgh for some family time then back to London for just a couple of days before heading off to Berlin! There are lots of exciting things coming up and I hope to be able to blog about them, but for now I thought I'd leave some photos and snapshots of my last few weeks, Italy, Germany, York, it's been a nice summer.
I hope everyone reading has had a great few weeks and are enjoying the last dregs of summer! (Right now it's raining so hard here in York that I can hear and almost feel it pounding on the windows, hi Autumn!)

July/August 2014

We went on a day trip to Fattoria La Vialla which was a bit of a dream of ours and it didn't disappoint, we ate some amazing food and spent a good two hours learning all about biodynamic farming and wine tasting, something I think neither of us will forget quickly!

Phillip enjoying an Umbrian speciality: 'La Porchetta' on a fresh bread roll (though it was more of a brötchen!) essentially it is pork, which has been beautifully spiced and marinated then tied together with the bone removed, then cooked on a large spit and served up in slices for lunches/dinners or snacks in rolls like we had, everyone was buying it!

Some really beautiful bottle-containers we found at a market, they came up to my knee and I'd love to have bought some if I had space... I was envisaging giant candle holders, flower stands, water jugs, the possibilities were endless, even just alone in a bathroom or a restaurant they would look amazing, they were so striking.

Ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers, look at those colours - and the little drizzles of olive oil, mmm, unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of ricotta cheese so I had to do with a little nibble and a huge appreciation for the aesthetics and let Phillip enjoy the taste!

We celebrated four years of our relationship on the 4th August, we went on a trip to the beautiful city of Assisi and ate some amazing pizzas, it was a scorcher of a day so we ended up crashing home earlier than we had hoped, but we spent the evening relaxing with some wine and good chats on the terrace so not bad at all!

Phillip and I enjoying an Aperol Spritz with all our luggage in Perugia, from here we had a view all across the valley and felt truly relaxed!

We're back in Germany here now, and this is some baklava that I made to celebrate nothing too special but for a family dinner. They were fun to make (and not too tricky) and tasted yummy. The sugar strands added to the look only, but were fun for people to pick at and munch on afterwards.

A breakast picnic in the living room, a simple thing but felt like a bit of a treat... plus, yummy plum tea! 

A nice note for when we got back, and I had a nosy at this lovely book, it has so many interesting designs and spaces.

Katrin's string birdy flying high in the car on the autobahn... weeeeeee!

A really incredible sky one evening in Germany, it was very stormy but beautiful, I also found it interesting how split the sky seemed.

Making gnocchi with Phillip's mum. We ate it with some sea bass and lentils. We simply cooked the gnocchi in some salted water, then lightly fried them in a little butter and sage... funny combination but absolutely delicious.

A nice welcome back to York from Katrin, Sarah and La Vialla (as well as some very boring bills)!

Spending time with Katrin, the crazy cat in York, learning how to do proper fish faces, moving too quickly, belly laughing, eating too much and sleeping not enough, it has been so much fun already.

Some new shoes with Pineapples on them... a little odd/childish? Probably, but I think they are kind of cute.

Also, we are eating/drinking a lot of this... Bison Coffee and their bagels with warm cheese, pastrami, gherkins and mustard... nom!


Tschüss Saarbrücken

It has been exactly a week since I moved out of my flat in Saarbrücken and finished my final semester.
My 'year abroad' is now technically over (even though I am not yet back in the UK!) 
This year I've met people who I know and hope will be in my life for a long time (MacNeil, I'm looking at you), travelled a lot and had tons of amazing experiences, but I have also dealt with some challenging and difficult moments which I know will stick with me.
The final fortnight was hard both emotionally and physically, there were some negative things which I wish could have been avoided, however you just have to learn to deal with them and move on, and remember the positives, which is what I'm trying to do.
The real goodbyes were hard to do and the easy goodbyes were in the end, not so easy.
Saarbrücken has given me a lot; however cheesy it sounds, independence, culture, trust in myself, friendships, language and sunshine, not to mention the all-important washing machine technics and sink unblocking skills.

I hope to write a more detailed post soon, whether privately or publicly, reflecting on the year, but for now, whilst it still hasn't sunk in that I've really left and it's actually all over, I'm going to enjoy some Italian (sunshine??) thunderstorms and eat lots of pasta...
Happy summer!


Less thinking, more saying, next time.

I've been up and down and over and across the last few weeks (speaking physically). I'm back in Germany again now though, planning my dissertation and just organising life admin.
There have also been lots of things playing about on my mind lately, so many things in the news which sadden me or just make me think about how life goes on around us all in such different ways, and I wonder about how I can process or think about them, usually so distinctly separated, and then where I stand on writing about certain topics on this blog.
I really believe there are times in life where it feels like everything bad in the world is happening all at once, as well as times where you want to think about all the issues, where your head seems it might pop with the questions that don't have answers, and where you want to do something, to make an acknowledgement and to confront them, in whatever small way that might be, but what can you do really?
Sign a petition here, post a controversial comment on twitter there, send some brazen letters, read a controversial book, sprout statistics to everyone around you, write a blog post?
Does that make a difference though?

I think it can, but today here is where I'm going to finish, and leave some links of interest:

An exhibition I saw last year at the Folkwang Museum in Essen, it showed a lot about the power of social media in contemporary conflict.

'Artefact' by Cyprien Gaillard, this is a clip of a longer video installation which was filmed in Iraq, and set to 'Babylon' which was also one of the songs used as a form of sound torture in Abu Ghraib. I saw the full feature at the ZKM in Karlsruhe and is worth watching in person if you can find it.

Susan Crile is an artist who creates moving and delicate images of prisoners and torturers in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib (amongst dealing also with other issues).

This TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is worth watching.

Speaking of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I finished this collection of short stories yesterday, and I really recommend them.