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Spending a long weekend in Dublin

Dublin at night

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably would have noticed that I went to Dublin. I'm still working may way through all of the pictures in an attempt to make my Instagram account look gorgeous.

I have made it a bit of a plan to travel more, even little weekends away (taking inspiration from Erica, Charlie and Katy) and when I was stuck for ideas for my boyfriend's birthday present when my original idea fell through, I came across the best deal on Skyscanner and booked immediately.

Dublin has been on my 'I must bloody go there' list for ages, especially since a colleague lived there and raves about it. My greatest literary love is from there and I bloody love a Guinness. Why would I not want to go?

For a city that is quite small (a population of only a million people according to my Irish friend), there really is so much to see and do that we didn't have time to do as much as we wanted. Still really sad that I missed out on the Leprechaun Museum...

Here are a couple of things I did and loved that I thought you would enjoy too.

Trinity Library - The Book of Kells and the Long Room


Trinity College Dublin


This is pretty much the ONE thing on my list that I desperately wanted to do whether Gary liked it or not. I'm a proper book weirdo, I love the smell. I sometimes walk into Waterstones JUST to get a hit. Yup, I am strange.

The Book of Kells is a display of the four Gospels in Latin and is shockingly beautiful but for me, I mostly wanted to go into the Long Room. It's a library of over 200,000 dusty old tomes and is considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The pictures speak for themselves really.



JUST LOOK AT IT

I will never forget that smell. I also wish I had taken my proper camera. iPhone pictures really don't do most things justice.

 You do have to pay to visit the exhibition and go into the Long Room and there can be a pretty hefty queue so I suggest you book in advance online so get to skip right on in.

The Guinness Store House

This one is pretty obvious really and doesn't really require much explanation. As a Guinness fan, it would have been stupid not to go.



Visit the Temple Bar

A friend told me not to go to Temple Bar but I totally did anyway because I am SUCH a massive tourist sometimes and I have no shame. The whole area of Temple Bar is obviously a tourist trap. The prices sky rocket just when you walk into the area and I believe it's the busiest part of Dublin. But it was wonderful.


I said on Twitter that the air itself seems to sing as there really is music everywhere, this is even more true in Temple Bar. Bands and musicians seem to play all day every day. How can you not feel happy there?

Temple Bar Music Dublin


Walking everywhere

As the city is so small you can walk everywhere. The architecture is wonderful and you're bound to stumble across something amazing down one of the tiny streets.

Dublin Ireland
look how adorable and wonky it is

Try the food


This is a bit of a weird one. You might be thinking 'the food in Ireland can't be that different', well it's not really. There are different combinations of things and different ways of cooking things that just make them burst with flavour. All the food I ate, definitely fit into the 'hearty' category and I didn't eat the same thing every day.

explore Dublin


Visit Oscar Wilde

This is something I didn't know about. I knew my hero grew up in Dublin and that he attended Trinity College (one of the reasons I wanted to go), but Gary, bless him, discovered where he was born and the monument to him. I was so happy that he let me go on my own little pilgrimage You can see it all over my face!


Doesn't it all just look wonderful? Bet you want to go yourself, right? Why wouldn't you?

Well, before you book yourself a flight, here are an other extra couple of things you need to know before you go:

It may be cheap to get there, but it's not cheap to stay

It's VERY expensive. Probably on par with London, if not a bit more. Save those pennies first.

Check Tripadvisor before you book your hotel

I did not do this and it ended up panicking on our first day there. Turns out where we were staying wasn't as bad as the Tripadvisor reviews made out to be but we were essentially using it as a bed and nothing more. We spent so much time exploring that we literally needed something to drop into at night.

You can't Instagram everything as much as you may want to

There are building works pretty much everywhere at the moment so half of the stunning architecture or street art will be obscured by scaffolding and fences. Not ideal when you've recently become a bit of an Instagram fiend.

Be prepared to go back

I'm going to. Most definitely. I loved it all so much,


A little change


So, I changed my name. It's not really a big deal but to me it is. The blog pretty much looks the same, but that's because I haven't found the time to make the BIG changes but I'm pretty happy and excited about the name even though I haven't really been around recently.

When I started this blog. The name made sense. I had just graduated from university with a degree in film making and cinematics under my belt. The whole concept of the blog was to document my search for a job in film, what I had worked so hard for for years. Some of my earlier blog posts are still up. About all the jobs I applied for and the odd bit of camera work I managed to get. Eventually I had to deal with the fact that I would never get my absolute dream job and I would have to find something else.

For my Film Marketing Module, we played around with online marketing and using social media platforms as an emerging mechanic (points for marketing douche term). It was just as interesting even though it's not what I wanted at the time.

Turns out I loved it ever since my first internship and I started blogging for enjoyment rather than what felt like failure and desperation. Things I got up to, things that I liked.

Over the years I have been doing this the blog has evolved so many times and I have written about so many things. I finally feel like I have found my 'niche', generally lifestyle, adventure and geekdom. I have what feels like a brand now and am being invited to so many things where I feel like I belong that I wanted to reflect that in my blog and sync everything up.

Plus, Writer's Block and Broken Lenses was a bit of a mouthful especially when it didn't make sense anymore.

I have a lot of work ahead of me for the redesign and to build my stats back up but I think I made the right decision. Welcome to SmashleighJayne and let's see where we go from here.



Making plans and travelling more

purple suitcase


I appear to have been bitten by a bug. A nice bug. I have an itch to get on the move again and see more things.

I haven't exactly turned into a globe trotter like Charlie, Distracted but I find myself constantly on travel blogs, refreshing Skyscanner's 'Everywhere' search and making lists of all the things I want to do. From hiring a villa on the Silver Coast in Portugal with the girls, to saving every penny I can to go to Las Vegas with the boy.

In the past 12 months I have done more little excursions than I have over the past six years. I have been camping with my friends, spent a weekend in the New Forest, taken the boy on a trip to Dublin and am still recovering from my post holiday blues after a a trip to Bucharest.

As we speak, I'm currently flipping through my photos from Dublin and Bucharest working out which ones to use on which blog post... and working out how I could fund this new obsession of mine. Villas with a big group can be really affordable and can also provide the freedom beyond a hotel room so that's definitely a must do at the moment. Especially if you can get one with a pool that's also really close to the beach... (do you see where my thinking is going from here?)... Plus it'll all be SO INSTAGRAM FRIENDLY.

Beach Holidays Europe


I have reached the point now that I understand that travel is good for the soul and there's no point in staying still anymore. Money be damned in a way because new experiences really are priceless. I have spent nearly a year in a vicious of circle of being happy and then not happy.

Back and forth like a really sad boomerang.

I have found something that makes me happy now outside of my normal routine. I need to be happy and relaxed again and it seems that spending time with my favourite people in far away places, even just for a weekend, is the best way to do it.

Time to up my Pinterest game again and send all my new travel ideas to the boyfriend!



My first flight with Ryanair

Yes, I am aware that this isn't a Ryanair plane... I didn't get a window seat... :(

I have heard NOTHING bur horror stories about Ryanair.

Actually, that's a fib.

I have heard nothing but horror stories about Ryanair from very select people on the internet and also from my boyfriend who had flown with them once and swore 'never again'.

Back in October, I booked a surprise visit to Dublin for my boyfriend's birthday. Obviously, being a woman on a budget but with a need for adventure, I used the delightful Skycanner (which is an absolute, god damn revelation) and found the most amazing deal on Ryanair. It really would have been stupid to avoid and I also thought to myself that I wouldn't know unless I tried it. Generally a standard mentality.

Having flown with Easy Jet back in the days before allocated seating, I couldn't imagine anything could be much worse than having to elbow people out of the way to get a seat next to my mum or a friend. Or worse, having that seat next to the toilet...

But, do you know what? There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Gary had lead me to believe that flying with Ryanair was the equivalent of riding pillion with one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Such an anticlimax really.

The only issue I had was on the way back when due to the idiocy of the public, the queue for Stanstead and Gatwick merged together so no one knew where they were going and it was a bit of a shock to the system not having the opportunity to indulge in free booze like we normally would be British Airway (BA for LIFE, yo) but I really don't get why Gary is so Anti-Ryanair. I'm actually looking forward to flying with them again when we go to Bucharest at the end of the month! I mean, how can you say no to £40 return flights?

I'm definitely a Ryanair convert and am already planning my next trip,.




















(Opinion) Let's Discuss Abortion



I try to keep politics away from my blog where possible because I am fully aware that my #Opinions are not the same as others and, to be honest, I don't always have the time or energy to fight with people. BUT, like with what feels like pretty much every woman on the planet, I am pissed.

I am feeling hurt and I am feeling betrayed. If not for me, then for generations to come. For my own daughters who may eventually appear.

We are in the 21st century now and we thought we had made so much progress. Yesterday I was an idiot and fell for the bait of a troll who said that we are now equal (we're not...), and in light of certain recent events *cough* TRUMP *cough*, we can see how far from being equal we really are. We are now having some rights that we fought so hard to have, taken away from us with the stroke of a pen. Obviously, it's not so much of a case here as it is on the other side of the Atlantic but history has shown us how quickly and how far evil can spread.

The main thing I am here to discuss is a woman's right to choose. We are so fortunate here in Britain (except the Isle of Man, as I found out recently but hopefully this will change) that we do have the right to choose. Sadly, it's looking as though steps are being made to take that choice away from our sisters in America, and the very education about Abortion is being prevented in the developing world.

There are many reasons why this is wrong. and I won't go into all of them but the main one, especially regarding the proposed Heartbeat Bill, things like circumstances and state of mind aren't even considered. If a heartbeat in a foetus is detected at 6 weeks, you no longer have a choice regardless of the fact that many women may not even know they're pregnant until at least the second missed period.

With the whole circumstances thing, women who have been victims of rape, incest and so much more are having their voice taken away and are falling under the 'women who have abortions are evil' umbrella, which is so far from the truth it hurts me. With this in mind, I'm going to tell you a little story.

A woman very close to me had an abortion. I'm sure many of us all know someone who has had one.

This woman in particular was in an abusive relationship so I think the abortion was the best choice. I don't know what was going through her mind at the time. It could be that she already had two beautiful children of her own, it could be that she didn't want to raise the child of the man who beat her, it could be that she didn't want there to be a way where she could never escape from that man. I don't know. It was not my place to ask, the choice was her own. All I know is she is MUCH safer as a result. I am PROUD of her.

If this woman was not allowed to make the decision she did, she could still be stuck in that relationship and not the loving one she's in now. Her safety and the child's safety could have been compromised in the hands of that awful, awful man.

But this doesn't matter to the 'Big Men' over in America who think that circumstance doesn't matter.

I have been saying to friends and colleagues where, despite the progress made for equality under the old regime, it's all 'same shit, different century'. We are having our lives dictated by men in their high castles. From all the shouting we have done, our voices are hoarse and we may no longer be heard. I refuse to let this happen. I will not have my daughters brought into a world of oppression because I did not shout loud enough for them.

With this in mind I ask you share your #Opinions on 1. Abortion and 2. What it's like to be a woman in a so called 'progressive' world. Let's stand together hand in hand as one voice and hope these idiotic restrictions on our lives do not come to pass.

I love you all.


Pocket friends


Like possibly everyone on the planet, I'm part of a Whatsapp group that doesn't shut up. I woke up this morning to 60 messages and that was only in the space of an hour or so, Srsly. 

To my boyfriend (who ignores his Whatsapp), it's a strange thing having multiple conversations all happening all at once in the same thread. To me it has become the new normal. One of the girls shared this the other day and now it all makes sense.

I am a pocket friend and I have several of them.

About a year or so a go, maybe longer... I don't even know anymore, I made a bunch of fellow blogger friends. We found a mutual love for the film 'Hook' and thus Bangarang was born. At the time there was a handful of us but we have now become an unrelenting force. 11 girls who are happy to be weird together. A group of friends who have accepted me and made me feel like I belong.

We chat everyday but are still yet to all be in the same room together at the same time. We came close once.

Charlie Distracted is on the phone screen...)
Having these girls around is kind of like a security blanket. I had the worse year of my life last year but they were always there. Individually and as a group.

We're each other's cheerleaders, someone to turn to when things just don't feel right when you can't explain to yourself what it is, people to cry to, people to laugh with. More often than not, they're always on another side of a screen but they are always there. Doesn't matter what time it is, someone will more than likely be awake for you.


When you're an adult with a career (how this happened, I will never know) sometimes you genuinely don't have time to SEE people but this way you are never alone. It feels like you see each other every day, because you talk everyday. Pocket friends can provide moments of sanity in a chaotic day and insanity when you're bored as fuck.

Making friends on the internet seems like a very weird concept when you think of it but it's the best decision I have ever made. I have made some of my best memories with these girls and I am most certainly living my best life with them. It makes me happy to think that I'm constantly carrying them around in my pocket and they make me smile every day.



Thank you Bangarang, the best of pocket friends.