The Future is Good.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Or so they say. Or something.

I don’t go to college anymore. It’s still hard to wrap my head around.

I still live at home (though not for long). 

I have the same job (though not for long either). 

I have the same boyfriend (thanks be to goodness for that). 


But it’s definitely not the same relationship. When I think of the people we were and the couple we started out as I can’t help but beam with ridiculous self congratulatory pride at who we have become.

(Though I try not to. Nobody likes hanging out with that girl.)

When Rich and I started going out we were babies in every sense of the word. We’d spend hours kissing on the couch due in part to a lack of having anything to actually say to each other. I would huff and puff and sulk when things didn’t go my way, hoping that he would figure out exactly his wrong doing and the perfect way in which to fix it. He rarely expressed an emotion and was mostly mute around my family. I remember at the very, very beginning I wasn’t overly keen on how it was all going. A friend told me I should just break up with him already because I clearly wasn’t into him. Something inside me told me to give us a chance.

I’m so very glad I did. 


We first got together in school. It was cute. Then Rich went to college and it was hard. We were at different stages. The following year I started college. It was hard. I found the transition from school to college tough. Final year was hard for him. Then final year was hard for me. Richard being unable to find a job in his field was hard. And now he has a job that takes him away four days and nights a week which is really hard. 

But the funny thing is that as hard as it gets, the clearer it all becomes. This is it. This is us and it’s not going to change. We don’t want it to. It’s worth it. And it just keeps getting better and better. I know that lots of people will roll their eyes because we’re young and we haven’t travelled or worked abroad or spent time apart or lots of other euphemisms for ‘slept with other people.’ . 

A few months ago we shook on it. We’re sticking together. It’s official. Five was a big year for us. It was the fullest year of my life. I finished college, produced a degree show, wrote a thesis and got a first. My brother and his girlfriend had a baby Lola bear. My cousin died and all of our worlds fell apart. We’re still putting ourselves back together. Some days breathe easier than others. My sister got married. I thought I’d never want a wedding. But things change. We started planning for the future.

And the future looks really good. 


While in Portland we met with David of the Free Portrait Project. It was nice to meet someone who knew the area and with whom we shared a common interest. At the end of our first, rather eventful day, it was kind of nice to be meeting anyone. We wandered through the residential streets of Alberta looking for the perfect place to shoot. You can see some of those photographs on my post about Portland.

In exchange for the portrait David shot of my I also shot one of him. Actually I shot two. David’s project entails ‘One honest portrait, captured on film’ and he literally means, just one portrait. He only pressed the shutter twice, once for me and once for Richard. I took one photograph and then when he thought I was finished I took another. Sometimes this works and the second photo reveals a more honest, relaxed capture…but this time I wish I had followed David’s rules because the first photograph was the photograph.

I haven’t seen my portrait yet but keep an eye out on the project facebook page for our familiar faces :)

*We are now in week 35 and while it is clear that I have somewhat fallen off the portrait bandwagon, I hope to be able to share photos week by week again (if not every single week as I originally planned), and some retrospectively as well. 

Portland, Oregon, USA.

Are you bored of these posts yet? Only one more after this so bear with me ;)

Portland was… interesting. We arrived, stepped outside of the train station and were instantly met by people dealing drugs and hassling police at the tram stop. We then were bothered by a ‘missionary’ at a bus stop because we did not give him any money. By the time we arrived in Woodstock we were weary. It was much, much, much further than we anticipated and it all seemed a little bit inconvenient. Our host, her husband and beautiful children lifted our spirits a little. The above-garage apartment we would call home for five days lifted our spirits further. It was gorgeous, complete with a hob, fridge, bathroom and the comfiest bed. We explored Woodstock a little bit (which didn’t take long as it’s basically a single street), used the wifi in Starbucks, got some snacks and had dinner. We finished the day with Breaking Bad in bed, because that’s what holidays are for right?


A poorly positioned fan meant that I woke up the following morning with the worst crick in my neck. I couldn’t move at all and after a minor panic, hot shower, lots of deep heat and painkillers we left to explore the city. Or, well, not explore. We felt lost and like there was nothing to do or nowhere good to go and wandered aimlessly for, what felt like, hours. Thankfully we had arranged to meet David (of the 

Free Portrait Project

) in Alberta that evening…if it wasn’t for this meeting—which happened to coincide with a big street festival call

Last Thursday

— we would have ended our first day in Portland pretty sad. In fact I may or may not have cried a little bit on our way to meet David, such was the exhaustion, pain and frustration I was feeling.

Last Thursday was basically a huge street party and the further down Alberta we walked the crazier things seemed to get. There were every kind of musician, rappers, dancers, brass bands, string quartets, buskers, artists, tshirt sellers, designers, producers, makers and bakers of all kinds and even a couple of cool kids selling delicious lemonade for a 50¢. I bought some beautiful hand made ceramic cups for drinking wine out of and Richard bought a sticker. There wasn’t much we wanted to purchase but the atmosphere and energy was infectious. We stayed out much later than we expected and quickly our crappy day didn’t feel so crappy anymore. 

We walked back towards our bus stop along a street paralell to Alberta…I find the differences between homes of other countries and homes in Ireland fascinating. It was a nice to stroll along quiet streets after the hustle and bustle of the festival. 

The next day we set off a little bit more prepared, with names and locations of places we wanted to visit. We learned quickly that Portland is a sprawling city and it was a must to get public transport from one place to another, ordinarily this would have been aggravating but an all day pass for the bus and tram is only $5 (which is the same as just two single tickets) and there are no zones or different tariffs. 

When planning our itinerary we made sure to be in Portland for 


, as recommended by our friends in Canada. We were not disappointed and spend a beautiful, hot evening tasting lots of different beers (my personal fave was called 

Hell or High Watermelon

), eating amazing garlic fries and listening to live music. We bussed home in the dark tipsy and happy. In fact I think we went to bed full and happy and a little bit tipsy for the majority of nights this holiday, definite markers of a good time had.

On our second to last day in Portland we spent the day scouring the city for vintage and antiques and…beer. It was a mashup of personal interests maybe? We spent a while in a local vintage shop in Woodstock which surpassed all of our expectations tremendously before heading into the city for beer at a local brewery and plenty more of the right kind of ‘junk’. After a while we took a bus out to the leafy suburb of Sellwood and found plenty of pokey little shops, nice cafes and cool cars. 


We ended the day by splurging on dinner and drinks at the Clyde Common restaurant at the Ace Hotel. I had read so much about the Ace and wanted so badly to try it out that we decided to just go for it, despite our dwindling bank balances. After days of drinking —ie, getting used to the taste of— beer my crisp rosé was exactly what I needed. Dinner was amazing and the company wasn’t half bad either ;)

On our last day we rented a car and drove to Cannon Beach. While our whole time in Portland had been hot when we arrived at the beach it was cold, damp and windy… much to our disappointment. We made the most of it though, walking up and down and around the beach, finding a tree swing, getting stranded beyond a river and having to hike away from the town in order to get back into town and some seriously dodgy pizza slices overall it was a great day. I was most proud that we actually managed to make our way there and back 


 survive the freeway!

(Portland, you were nice…just not as nice as

Beautiful British Columbia


Siobhan Rafter :: Behind The Scenes

Richard took some photos from my shoot with Siobhán. It’s funny to see things behind the camera from another camera. It’s nice, I am rarely actually in any photographs these days! 

I do funny things like…


^ tippy toes ^

^ serious posture ^

^ weird flexy toes ^

I really love taking photos. I want to keep on keeping on with this thing I’ve got going. It makes me happy and nervous and excited (and scared) sometimes…which are all good things and will, I think, lead to even more good things.

Siobhán’s photographs will be up next week…once her degree show hits the ground! 

15/52 (and 14 too!)

A portrait a week, every week, in 2013.

—Fiona & Nicole.

Being sick the second week of the Easter holidays and then Offset last weekend threw me for a loop and I never got a portrait posted last Sunday…but here I am, back on track with two for the price of one! It seems somewhat serendipitous too as I rarely mention Fiona without a quick ‘and Nicole!’ following or vice versa. 

These two lovely ladies sat opposite me for our second year of college and we became fast friends. They are funny, chatty and always upbeat. We still sit beside each other now and I value their advice and opinion about my work highly. In fact Nicole is pretty much my tutor this year. 

Fiona is a last minute kind of girl and she pretty much never sleeps…I have no idea how she survives. Nicole is so chilled out even when we’re coming up towards a deadline, she just knuckles down (eats loads of sweets!) and gets shit done without complaint. I am a steady worker and don’t like to leave things until the final hour so when we worked together on a college project this year I was, understandably, a little nervous. I need not have been worried though as the project couldn’t have gone better. Our different work methods meshed together and we all agreed that the final result was definitely better than anything we could have produced individually. 

These two girls have the sweetest hearts and I am so so glad we are friends. They are going inter-railing around Europe this summer and I am so excited for them, it is going to be such an adventure. 

PS Nicole has a tumblr, you should definitely go and have a peek.