The diet of a college kid #2

So on the menu for this week is…

Homemade burgers with homemade potato wedges

The ingredients are:

·   1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
·   1 onion, finely chopped
·   500g lean minced beef
·   1 egg
·   12 cream crackers, bashed to fine crumbs
·   2 tsp. chili paste
·   2 tsp. garlic paste
·   1 tsp. each, tomato ketchup and brown sauce
·   2 tbsp. plain flour
·   6 hamburger rolls
·   4 potatoes, cut into wedges
·   2 tbsp. olive oil
·   1 tsp. paprika

What you need to do is:
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Leave to cool slightly. When cool, put the onion in a large bowl with the mince, egg, bashed crackers, chili, garlic, ketchup and brown sauce, and mix well to combine. Divide the mince into 6, roll into balls and flatten each into a nice fat burger.
  2. Put the flour on a plate, dab each burger to the flour on both sides. Wrap with cling film and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  3. Heat oven to 200C. To make the wedges, put the potato on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, season, and then give them a good shake with your hands to make sure they’re well coated. Roast for 30-40 mins.
  4. When the wedges have been cooking for 10 mins, drizzle the burgers with a little olive oil and put them in the oven to cook with the wedges for the remaining 20-30 mins.

Depending on your own personal likes and dislikes you may choose to leave out some of the above ingredients. I don't like chili so I left that out.

Recipe source-

It's ok to let the cat out of the bag!

Once again I am very sorry for the lack of updates on my blog recently, I have been so busy with everything I just haven’t had a chance to sit down and write but that is all going to change! Ok so this post is going to be a bit different and I related to something with is very important to me.

 When a person is suffering from self-harm they try to keep it a secret, they keep it hidden, an internal secret that they cannot trust anybody with. I know this because I was like that when I was self-harming. I would do everything and anything to hide my cuts, I would not tell a soul and I would avoid any awkward questions about why I wanted to wear long sleeves all the time especially in good weather. I went through all of the thoughts about what my family and friends would think, how people in society would judge me and what would happen to me if people found out that I was self-harming.

 People think that often people who are self-harming are looking for attention but that is not the case, they are keeping it a secret, keeping it hidden and carrying the burden themselves for fear of hurting others around them, being judged and looked down on by society. For many years when I was self-harming on a regular basis that is exactly how I felt. One day though when my secret came out the reaction I got was something I was not expecting. People were supportive, carking and kind. Yeah for a few close family members it was a shock and it took them some getting used to and they struggled to understand why I would do such a thing to myself but after a while they slowly began to try and understand. Once my family found out it spread like wildfire. My school, my clubs and my friends all found out and while I thought this was a bad thing and I hated the fact that people knew it was actually a good thing, if it wasn’t for people knowing I wouldn’t be here today because it was them that prevented me doing something that would have guaranteed my life would have ended because I was in such a bad place that my self-harm was leading me to have suicidal thought.

People knowing about this was a good thing, a good thing because they challenged my thoughts around self-harm, I had people to turn to when I was in a crisis and most of all it opened up conversations about mental health and self-harm that would never have happened otherwise. Their support allowed me to become more confident, to develop ways of coping and most of all it helped me to realize that I didn’t need to take my thoughts, emotions, frustration and anger out of myself, it showed me that there are more positive ways such as talking.

 If my secret didn’t spread like wildfire I would still be caught in a viscous cycle of self-harm that was getting worse leading to needing treatment in A&E. So for anybody out there who is self-harming and your secret is out do not think of it as a bad thing, your secret being out is the first step, which is needed to help you overcome your self-harm. If I can gain control over my self-harm then so can anybody!

2 month milestone

Today I was thinking about writing about the budget that came out yesterday but then I remembered something important about this month, something positive and something, which I really want to share with you guys.

On the 14th of this month marked a very important day for me. The 14th of this month marked 2 whole months without self-harm. The day before I got my leaving cert I was feeling low, anxious, lost and confused and I didn’t know what to do and as a result of all of these mixed feelings I took them out of myself to get some form of relief. It wasn’t a bad incident of self-harm but nevertheless it was still an incident of self-harm, which shouldn’t have happened, but it did and I regretted it.

To be honest I hadn’t really thought about this important date until today and I am extremely proud of myself. I guess I am more proud of this 2 month milestone because for the past four/five months I haven’t had support from the adult services as there is a whole range of stupid reasons why I haven’t been added to their case load yet. So with very limited support I am proud I managed to get 2 whole months without self-harm as over the past week or two I have been having a rough time, I have been struggling with urges but I have made it through those hard times.

At the moment while I don’t have support from adult services I am receiving professional support from my college who have been absolutely amazing and have done everything in their power to get to know me and work with me to ensure I am safe and I can keep myself safe.

So while I am struggling a bit at times I am doing ok, right not while I feel physically sick I feel good mentally which is a huge improvement from how I was feeling mentally yesterday. So a huge thank you has to go out to my college for the supports, which they have out in place for me and also to my college tutor who took the time yesterday to sit and talk with me to make sure I was doing ok. And finally a huge thank you must go to you guys, my readers, your lovely comments and support is what has been helping me to stay strong and fight the urges of self-harm!

Why am I doing this?

Today as part of my college course myself and a group of my peers were required to visit two youth work projects in Dublin’s inner city. This visit was a real eye opener for me, as I have never really worker with young people who are from disadvantaged backgrounds or in a youth club setting.  On the bus home after todays visits I found myself asking many questions about what does youth work really mean to me and what does working with young people give me.

Well first of working with young people to me is encouraging and motivating them to engage in things they enjoy. It means working with them rather than for them to help improve their lives in some shape, way or form. It means I have to respect them in order for them to respect me and finally working with young people means helping bring about social change in a positive way to help young people learn the necessary skills to improve their lives, reach their full potential and help those around them too.

Youth work gives me more than you can imagine. It gives me experience, a sense of achievement and all the other common things, which working with young people gives you but it gives me more. Working with young people gives me inspiration, it gives me the motivation to go out into the world, go to college and live my life. Working with young people gives me a purpose in life; it allows me to explore my own values and beliefs whilst it also opens me up to new experiences, cultures and ways of life. Working with young people allows me to be myself and allows me to help those who need or want it, working with young people is what I want to do with my life. I want to work with young people because the young people in scouts and athletics, which I work with, give me a reason to get out of the bed in the mornings and they give me a reason to live!

While I have been thinking about whether college is right for me and if I will be able to keep up the work without myself becoming run down and down within myself today has really helped me put things into perspective. Today allowed me time to reflect but it also allowed me to see some of the opportunities, which are waiting for me. It allowed me to gain an insight into some of the work that is done with young people from disadvantaged areas but most of all it reignited a flame within me telling me that this is what I want to do and this is right for me and most of all this is what I need to do with my life, community and youth work is what I have been put on this earth to do!

The diet of a college kid #1

So after thinking about my blog and my target audience I realized that I don’t really have a set target audience and that I may not be reaching as many readers as possible so I have decided on a few new things to write about on a weekly or daily basis one of them being "The diet of a college kid"

So I guess the main reason I have decided that this is to be a new feature on my blog is not just because I want to try something new but because there is a perception that college students live off noodles and don’t eat well. Yes some college students may in fact be living off instant noodles but I don’t understand why you have to. People say money is a big influence on the food they eat and I understand that but nobody ever said you have to go out and spend loads of money on healthy food. Go and shop in places like Aldi and Lidi, you get the same nutrious food as you would in any other shop only at a cheaper price, a more affordable price!

So I was thinking for this feature of my blog I would upload a recipe every couple of days or every week, which is health, nutritious and affordable even for a college student. Diet is one of the single most important things in life and when you need to attend college, school or work it is important you have a good health diet in order to ensure sufficient energy for the day and it also helps to improve your concentration. Now I can be a fussy eater and I can also be someone who will snack and skip meals and I have recognized that this is not good for me so part of this new feature on my blog is encouraging me to eat better in order to be healthier.

So this week my meal is going to be…. Chicken and Pasta Bake. This is a quick and easy meal to make and is also affordable. The best part about this is you can cook it and then freeze what you don’t eat so you have dinners for another day!

So the ingredients are:
  1. Chicken
  2. Pasta
  3. Cheese
  4. One jar of dolimo creamy tomato pasta bake
What you need to do is:

  1. Place the pasta into a pot of boiling water and cook until soft, not really sure how long it takes but you can judge it yourself really. Once pasta is cooked remove the water using a sieve and place over the bottom of and ovenproof dish.
  2. Cut the chicken into small pieces, cubed if you like or strips either its really up to you and your personal preference. Brown the chicken in a small about of oil before placing it over the pasta. 
  3. Next pour the pasta bake sauce over the chicken and past and mix thoroughly.
  4. Grate some cheese and sprinkle over the top.
  5. Place in the oven for 15 minutes @200 degrees covered with tin foil. After 15 minutes remove the foil and cook for a further 5 minutes until cheese is golden brown.

Goes great with some garlic bread!
This meal is quick and easy to prepare and is full of carbohydrates and protein, which will ensure a slow release of energy from your food. Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions for other meals I can prepare and write about!

Young people and ill mental health

Having a mental illness is a confusing thing, you find yourself asking many question like why me?, is this real? and how do I make it go away. From experience I believe that it is ok to ask yourself and others these questions, it is important to work to try and understand your mental illness and to help yourself work through things.  At any age a mental illness is a hard and confusing thing but when you are already experiencing a confusing time it is even harder. This already confusing time which I am talking about is adolescents.

During adolescents it is a time of experiments, finding yourself and learning new things. All of these things can be hard to manage and create many different questions but add a mental illness into that as your worlds is pretty much turned upside down, well thats how things were for me!

While I was going through a tough time with my depression and spent time in hospital there was something which helped me to work through things and put things into perspective. This thing was and still is a simple four letter word- Hope. Having hope made me realise that the hard times do not last forever and with every negative comes a positive. Hope allowed me to remain somewhat positive during that difficult time and work to ensure I got back on track and on my journey to recovery.

So for any young person reading this post thinking thats exactly how I feel just have hope. Despite being a small four letter word hope is something powerful and can mean the difference between life and death is some cases, for me hope prevented me from taking my own life in a particular terrifying and difficult time in my life. If hope can have such an impact on me and change my life to allow me to reach my full potential, share my story, reduce mental heath stigma and help others then there is no reason why it cannon do the same for you!

So while I know it can be hard dealing with a mental illness, especially when you are young I want people to take a positive away from this post and just remember that the hard times do not last and things can and do get better. While I am in no way qualified to suggest you may have a mental illness I do recommend you seek professional help if you feel you may have a mental illness or if you do have a mental illness. If you are looking for information about mental health two websites with some great information which is easy to understand and are jam packed with information can be a great help and are the places to go.

Catch up!

Im going to start off this post by saying sorry for not blogging lately. I have been so busy between scouts, athletes and college and as well as that I have been having a problem with my stomach and haven't been well lately so I am completely exhausted! Thats no excuse though and I really need to work on getting back into a routine of blogging again. Everything in relation to my preparing for the cycle against suicide next year has been put on hold at the moment and not because I am sick, tired or busy but because I managed to make my bike pump explode while trying to pump up my tires so until I get a chance to get a new pump my cycling will be on hold! So between blogging and cycling this weekend is going to be busy trying to get back into a routine.

I have a few ideas for some more posts about mental health especially relating to young people while straying away from my own personal experiences. On that note I am delighted to announce that I have made it to the final of the blog awards again this year and am extremely grateful that people are reading my blog and think that it is worth being in the final of the national blog awards. So I'm looking forward to a fun and exciting night which is going to be all the more fun as I will be spending it with a close friend :)

So as Im falling asleep here I am getting confused with what I am writing so Im going to leave you guys now with this photo and leave it up to you guys to figure it out because Im not sure whats going on in the picture.

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