The Weekly Balance – #56

Welcome to the latest post of The Weekly Balance. Let’s have a look back at the past seven days in my life and what I’ve learnt from it.

What I’m thinking about

Brighter mornings and longer evenings. Have you noticed them? I think I had gotten so used to dark mornings and evenings that it took me until this week to really notice myself! But on Friday this week, I woke up and realised that the light coming through my blinds was something I hadn’t seen in months. On my walks, I’ve seen a couple of sunrises this week, which are happening earlier now too! And yesterday, as I made my weekly trip to the shops for groceries in the evening, I realised that usually it’s dark when I do this… but not yesterday. Yesterday, as I packed the bags into my car, I looked up and saw a sky streaked with baby blue and deep pink – the beginnings of sunset. The extra light in our days is badly needed. In Ireland we often say ‘There’s a grand old stretch in the evenings’ as we move into spring and summer. Well, this week, the grand old stretch is coming back, and bringing hope with it.

What I’m reading

I’ve just finished Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout, and oh did I love it. Many of you will have read my review of Olive Kitteridge a few weeks back, and Olive, Again is the highly anticipated sequel. I’ve listened to a couple of podcast interviews with Elizabeth Strout, and she talks about how she didn’t actually intend on a sequel at all, until one day the character of Olive Kitteridge appeared in her mind, fully formed as an elderly woman, and so the plan for the sequel was born. I’m so glad she wrote it!

Olive, Again is just as good as Olive Kitteridge in my book. It is again set in the small town of Crosby, Maine, and we meet Olive as a now elderly woman, married to her second husband Jack, as she tries to grapple with a progressive loss of independence with age, frailty, and reflections on the ups and downs of her life. There is something both comforting and moving about this book, as there was with Olive Kitteridge. Olive is a headstrong, formidable character – and yet, her heart is in the right place. In essence, she is, like the rest of us, a flawed human being. The sequel follows Olive through the latter decades of her life, with chapters focusing solely on her and chapters on the other characters of Crosby. I savoured every page of this book and really didn’t want it to end. A very special character, and one I won’t forget.

As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! I’m currently reading A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles.

What I’m listening to

This week there were a few podcast episodes I really enjoyed. I’ve listed the top three below for you guys:

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day: Yes, another episode I’m recommending from this podcast! This week Day interviews singer-songwriter Alexandra Burke, about her career to date, her X Factor win a few years back (which I remember so well!), and the highs and lows of her personal life to date. It is a VERY emotional listen, with Burke sobbing on a couple of occasions, particularly when discussing the loss of her mother in 2017. I thought she was so brave to share so much with us, and found it a very moving listen.

The I Weigh Podcast: Hosted by Jameela Jamil, this podcast is a favourite of mine. I listened to a new episode this week titled ‘Ask Jameela Anything with a guest Brittany Floyd-Mayo’ – I took so many mantras from this conversation, particularly around boundaries and the power of the word no.

Wake Up Wind Down: I’ve probably mentioned this podcast before but oh my I love it. It’s a twice daily meditation podcast hosted by Niall Breslin (who also hosts the Where Is My Mind podcast). It’s been a big comfort for me over the last few months, and is well worth checking out.

What I’m watching…

Firefly Lane. This was a very frequent recommendation from you guys, and so of course I had to check it out! Firefly Lane is a Netflix series with Katherine Heigl (who you Grey’s Anatomy fans with remember as Izzy) and Sarah Chalke (who you Scrubs fans will remember as Elliott) starring as best friends. The series follows their lives and friendship from childhood to adulthood, jumping from present to past and back again. It’s actually a great show, and has exceeded the expectations I had for it without a doubt.

And that’s a wrap for this week gang! If you want to get in touch, you can find me @theirishbalance on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I hope you have a lovely week ahead folks – remember, stay informed with the advice from your local health authority regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance and be kind!

Ciara x

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