June 2020 Update!

Well hello there, and welcome back to the blog — Yes I disappeared for what? 3 weeks, or thereabouts?

To be truthful with you, I ran out of ideas. Running a blog on a regular basis can be difficult, especially when you throw in a full time job into the mix, as well as a global pandemic that makes life a little different than normal!

My last post was of my dresser makeover, and after that the ideas, they just stopped flowing. I had so many ideas for the month of May, and I did most of the things I made on my list, but when it came to making my list for June, I literally sat staring at the page in my notebook designated for blog post ideas. I got two blog post ideas, one was this one you’re reading right now (I know, great right? 🙄), and the. other was something to do with my new iPad, how I’m using it, my favourite apps, etc, but this isn’t a tech blog, and I don’t know if you guys would be interested in something like that— let me know! After that, my ideas ran dry…

June isn’t usually a busy month for me on a normal basis, but throw in a pandemic into the mix, and June is just pure dud. Apart from going to work, I’ve been drawing and practicing on my iPad with Procreate, making art for some friends and family, as well as getting a commission to make a logo for an up and coming local business. I’m very much all about keeping my art stuff separate to this blog, but if you’d like to read about my art stuff here, again, let me know, and maybe I’ll make a blog post every now and again with some updates as to what I’m working on and anything else art related I might be doing!

July is just around the corner, and Ireland is slowly starting to return to some ‘normality’ if it can be called that. July is also the month for “Plastic-Free July” which is where more awareness is made about how much plastic we use, and how we can replace/use less plastic! Last year I made a series of blog posts on the topic and I’d love to revisit it again this year, so if you’ve any ideas let me know, or have any questions about how to use less plastic leave comment with your question.

As usual, you can follow me on social media to keep up with all my antics—my Instagram handle is @dean.kealy and I post there a lot more frequently than I do here, so make sure you are following me there if you want more me! 🙂

Until then, I’ll see you next week soon! 😉

DIY Dresser Makeover! (+VLOG)

Last weekend I set myself a little project. It was my first weekend off since returning to work, so I wanted to make the most of my time even though I’d had the guts of 8 weeks off to do whatever I wanted…

The main reason for this is because I’d actually ordered the items I needed for this makeover on Amazon 2 weeks previous to returning to work, but of course because the way things are in the world, online deliveries are taking a little bit longer than usual.

I got the dresser about a month ago, after trading it with a neighbour for my older dresser (it came up in conversation that I was looking for what they had and vice versa, so we swapped), which was over 5 foot wide with six drawers in it, but it was just too wide for my room. As much as I loved my new dresser, it was preowned, so it had a few blemishes and scratches on it, so it was in need of some TLC. I got the idea when I got message off my cousin suggesting that I should paint it black and put some gold handles on it! I instantly loved the idea and hopped onto Amazon to see what I could find.

V33 110807 Easy Furniture Paint, Carbon Black Satin, 500ml https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KST827G/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tau_A3oYEb9FXF76X

Finding the black paint was no issue— I got a tub of ‘carbon black’ furniture paint in a satin finish which is just what I wanted. My room is very industrial/rustic in style, so this was the perfect choice, as I have plenty of other black coloured items in my room for it to match with. When it came to looking for some gold handles to replace the old ones on the dresser, this wasn’t as easy. The few that I saw on Amazon were either really expensive and/or there wasn’t enough of them. I needed 10 handles in total, and handles seem to either only come in packs of 6, 10 or 12, which made it difficult as it narrowed down my selection. After a bit of looking around on Amazon, the site finally made a suggestion, like they sometimes do if they see you’re looking for particular items, and it suggested these white handles with an abstract floral skull design on it and I fell in love with them straight away. What was even better was it was a 10 pack, and it was super cheap too— £8.99 for 10 handles, with free shipping!

Kaizen Casa Cabinet Knobs Round Skull Skeleton Head Drawer Dresser Handles Kitchen Cabinet Round Pulls Hardware https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07TJJC2CZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tau_z6oYEbH3KS3VH

All that was left to do was wait for the items to arrive, which was last Thursday, if I’m not mistaken, and then I set to work on the dresser on the Saturday. It wasn’t too difficult of a job. The hardest part was sanding it down. I’m not sure what it was coated in previously, but it wasn’t that thick, but it was a bit shiny, so I needed quite a gritty sandpaper to get a good grip of removing it. Once the sanding was done, the drawers and old handles were removed, and the surfaces wiped down, I got to painting.

I think I’m about halfway at the point of this picture >.<

I didn’t have a primer to hand, and it was suggested that maybe I should prime it first, so what I did was first painted a thin enough layer of the paint onto the dresser and let that dry before then going in with the main coats of paint.

And voila, one complete makeover of a dresser! I absolutely love how it turned out, and it was so easy to do—I’m creative, but not the handiest when it comes to things like this—and it wasn’t too expensive either. It all came to a total of €30 give or take a euro or two, once you throw in the sandpaper, brushes, etc, which I either had in my shed, or picked up cheap in a local shop which sells anything and everything at really good prices.

That’s it for this week! Have you done any DIY’s or makeovers recently? Le me know in the comments, and I’ll see you all next week 🙂


The Corona Chronicles: The Final Countdown

Welcome back to the blog! Today I am writing probably one of my last Corona Chronicles posts, because while lockdown might not be over, I am going back to work as of this coming Monday…

Continue reading The Corona Chronicles: The Final Countdown

The Corona Chronicles Part 4: One Month Later…

It’s been the guts of a month since my last blog post, and well I haven’t really been doing much, because y’know… lock down and all that jazz. My intention was to chime in here on a weekly basis, but when the first week came around, I really didn’t have a whole lot to say, then week 2 came around, and week 3… same thing! Now here we are on April 25th and well I do have a few things to say.

In my last post I mentioned the country was in lock down until April 12th. If you’re one of my non-Irish readers, you may not know that we are now in lock down until May 5th. It was a massive gut punch, as we thought we were near the end of this only to find out no, that’s not the case, and to be honest, who knows, this could go further than May 5th.

A lot of concerts and events have either been cancelled or postponed until next year. I myself, have had one concert moved to the same date next year, and I’m still waiting to find out about the other…

My job is still classed as a non-essential service, therefore I am still out of work until told otherwise, as are a lot of other people. But I do have friends and family who are working in essential services, and I salute them for their hard work and for keeping their respective services operational for the country.

So, what have I been up to? Well after my last post, I only went and ordered myself a Nintendo Switch Lite (which are apparently now gold dust, along with the main Switch console due to the factory being shut in Japan), and the new Animal Crossing game. It’s really enjoyable but quite time consuming as it operates on real-time, so there are certain tasks that after you complete, you have to wait until the next day to take affect, etc.

In the last few days I got myself into a bit of a rut, and yesterday evening it all came to a head after I got a massive headache, and felt quite unwell (no, it’s not Corona–just too many take-away’s and junk food). I decided to get myself up early this morning, clean start, no more junk food or alcohol (well, to the amount I had previously been consuming during lock down). I also decided I was going to participate in the 5 km run that my cousin tagged me in for a really good cause. So after a light bit of breakfast and my iced coffee, I took myself out and did my bit. I did remain within the 2 km distance that we’ve been recommended to stay within, and I also ended up doing a fast paced walk for the majority of it, because to be honest, I nearly killed myself trying to jog/run– but I feel so much better now, and I’m going to keep up the clean eating, and try and exercise when I can. Never thought I’d say this, but I miss the gym ha ha…

So that’s basically what I’ve been at for the past month. I’ve also been trying to post quite consistently on my Instagram, so if you’re not already, I recommend you do that, as I’m quite active over there, and I interact a lot!

https://www.instagram.com/dean.kealy/ ( or just search @dean.kealy )

 

The Corona Chronicles: Isolation

The infamous virus seems to have taken over everything in the media these days… it really seems there’s nothing else being spoken about– I haven’t heard a weather forecast in about 2 weeks!

I popped in here on the blog for the first time in about 2 months there on Tuesday to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, even though it was one of the strangest St. Patrick’s Day Ireland has ever had as all the pubs and clubs were shut, so we weren’t able to celebrate it to the usual extent in which we always do.

I read an article from the local paper, The Meath Chronicle earlier, and it really summed up what it’s like in my town at the minute–and will probably sound very similar to what’s going on where you are in the world too…

We’ve all been told to social distance and to self isolate, keep children at home, and for those with underlying issues to stay indoors too. It really is a difficult time, as we all have to basically rewrite who we are as social butterfly’s as become hermits. There are some who will thrive, who’ve been basically doing this their entire lives but there are others who will struggle, myself and my friends included, as we try not gather in large groups, whether it be to watch some sports or meet your local writer’s group, pop down to the local cafe with our pals and have our fortnightly coffee and a catch-up, no going out on a Friday/Saturday night, to help after a stressful work week, which is also no longer an issue for the majority.

In all that gloominess though, there has been a surge in outside activities–going for walks on the beach, the park, hiking–just remember to keep your social distance and for goodness sake keep away from the playgrounds!

I’ve noticed that even though we’ve to keep our distance, this virus has really brought everyone together as a community. The internet and other media is full of people trying to keep each other’s spirits alive amidst the dark days. Hashtags are a plenty, creativity is at an all time high, and our spirits are slowly but surely being lifted.

Some bit of good news before I pop off, pollution would appear to be dropping, which is great. The only good thing to come from this virus, (if you can call it a good thing) is that because so many places have shut, that the production levels have dropped, meaning that pollution has dropped too! Click here to read more about it!

That’s all I have for now. I know a lot of people are bored with this damn virus keeping everyone cooped up, so I’m going to try and pop in here a bit more and keep you guys entertained in some form or other. My fingers have been itching all week since my last post to get typing again, so if there’s any topics or anything you’d like to hear my opinion on, feel free to let me know and I’ll see what I can do! 🙂

 

 

The 100 Happy Days Challenge // Dean Kealy Blog

When I look back at 2019, all I can see is a shitty 12 months. It had some positive moments, and some wins, but overall, it was a terrible year! I want to try and be a bit more positive in 2020.

How? Yesterday I was watching YouTube, like I do most days, and I came across a video from one of the channels I’m subscribed to, Kelsey Impicciche, called “a letter to my past and future self…” . (If I’m honest, I wouldn’t recommend it be one of the first videos by her that you watch because it’s a very personal one, so if you do watch that video I would ask that you watch some of her other content before jumping to conclusions). In this video she mentions the 100 Happy Days Challenge, and this really struck a chord with me. I vaguely remember an old friend of mine participating in it a few years ago, so I had some idea of how it worked, but decided to further investigate to better my knowledge.

logo3
image via 100 Happy Days website

Upon going to the website, the main piece of text that stood out to me was the following:

People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:
– Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
– Be in a better mood every day;
– Start receiving more compliments from other people;
– Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
– Become more optimistic;

It was the “Be in a better mood every day” that solidified it for me. I’ve been trying to have a more positive attitude to things as of the start of the New Year (yes I realise we’re only a few days in) and I really hope this can help me to be at least a little happier in myself everyday.

I’m going to be participating, starting tomorrow Monday January 6th 2020, and I’ll be using Instagram to mark my progress, so make sure you follow me there (@dean.kealy). Don’t be surprised though if I don’t share something everyday as the guidelines say you can keep it private if you so wish, it’s not a competition. I might even do a weekly round-up post to keep those of you who just read the blog up to date, but definitely go follow me on Instagram!

What do you think of the 100 Happy Days Challenge?

Are you going to join in on the challenge?

See you in the next blog post (or tomorrow on Instagram!) 😉

2020 – Happy New Year! // Dean Kealy Blog

Welcome to the 1st 2020 blog post here on Dean Kealy Blog! Its been a few months since I last wrote a blog post, but not for lack of trying.


Life has gotten quite a bit hectic since my Plastic Free July blog posts. I only went and got myself a full time job—which basically has taken over my life. This is the first time I’ve ever had a permanent full time job, so I’ve been trying to figure out a balance between my work life, and my free time. I have been officially working there 4 months now, so I think the New Year is the best time to grab hold of my hobbies once again and not let work take over my life completely.


This is my main New Year’s Resolution, if you will. I have been slacking on doing things that I love like writing blog posts, reading, and making art, and I really want to get back to those things. To fix the blogging aspect, I’m going to try and post at least once a week, even if it’s only a ramble of blog post like this one. Reading should be simple enough as I love to read, so I just need to dedicate a block of time to it in the evenings before bed. Art-wise, I’ve a few art pieces I want to work on, and I’ve also got a new tablet and stylus, so I want to practice some more on my digital art. Again, its just a matter of dedicating a block of time to it in the evenings after work.


That’s basically where I am at going into 2020. I am hoping for a better year this year, as 2019 was absolutely terrible.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you excited for 2020?

How was 2019 for you?

See ya next week! 🙂

#PlasticFreeJuly2019: Reduce Plastic in the Bathroom!

So as we continue on with #PlasticFreeJuly2019, I thought that I’d share another aspect that I am trying to improve on, and that is removing the amount of plastic I use in the bathroom. Believe it or not, the bathroom is one of the biggest culprits for the amount of plastic we use and waste, and when you go looking, there are actually so many easy replacements.

Plastic waste is a problem in the bathroom – from toothpaste tubes to shampoo bottles. … If you’re trying to reduce your own plastic waste, one place you may feel a little stumped is in the bathroom. When it comes to hygiene and beauty products, plastic packaging is often hard to avoid  — from friendsoftheearth.uk

One of the first things I replaced in my bathroom was the soap. I stopped using dispenser soap and went back to the traditional bar of soap. Yes, those old things, remember those? The one I use, and in fact, most of the products I use in the bathroom is by Bull Dog. Along with the bar of soap, I also use their moisturizer, face wash and stubble moisturizer.

The bar of soap, straight away depletes a plastic soap dispenser from our bathroom, and the bar comes in cardboard packaging, making it recyclable. As for the moisturisers and face wash, the ‘plastics’ that Bull Dog use are made from sugarcane.

The tubes that Bulldog’s products come in are different. That’s because Bulldog is the first male skincare brand in the world to use sugarcane as a raw material in our packaging. So instead of using plastic from fossil fuels, Bulldog’s tubes use sugarcane plastic, made from Brazilian sugarcane, a renewable source that needs little more than natural rainfall to grow. — from bulldogskincare.com/sugarcane

Images via bulldogskincare.com

Each year skincare companies use lots of plastic in their packaging. Most of this plastic is made from fossil fuels, which are non-renewable and release carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming. — bulldogskincare.com

Next up Processed with VSCO with n2 presetis my toothbrush. I’ve stopped buying standard plastic toothbrushes, and instead have replaced mine with a biodegradable plastic alternative. I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say, yes its not a plastic free alternative, but it’s still an alternative. I did try the bamboo toothbrush everyone is going mad for, but I can’t stand the texture of it, personally, so I found this biodegradable plastic alternative. Ironically, I now can’t find them on Amazon (maybe the seller removed the listing?) but the packaging did insist it was biodegradable–hopefully I wasn’t deceived.

Approximately a billion brushes are thrown away in the United States annually — that’s 50 million pounds of waste. Roughly 3.5 billion brushes are sold worldwide each year — they all have to go somewhere, and that somewhere is usually landfill. It’s staggering to comprehend. But we can change it. — via Susan Goldberg on medium.com

Along with my toothbrush, I also just recently switched out my toothpaste and mouthwash. In the past couple of months I’ve been following a small little starter company on Instagram called Green Outlook, and I finally placed my first order there last week and picked up a few bits, including toothpaste and mouthwash.

https://www.greenoutlook.ie/product-category/bathroom/

These alternatives are much better than your standard shop bought toothpaste and mouthwash. They don’t contain fluoride, so they’re less abrasive on your teeth and the packaging they come in is completely plastic free. With the toothpaste you simply apply a pea sized amount to your toothbrush with the supplied wooden spatula, and the mouthwash comes in capsules that you dissolve in 20ml of water and rinse and gargle like you normally would with regular mouthwash.

There are so many other replacements too, including using roll-on deodorant instead of aerosols, avoiding plastic packaging by buying alternatives, and basically just being more conscious of how and what you use in the bathroom. I recommend checking out GreenOutlook.ie for all they have to offer in being plastic free–everything on there has zero plastic and even the packaging it’s delivered in is from recycled materials.

I could go on forever, but I feel like that’s enough for now to bombard you guys with. If you’ve any questions, feel free to ask them and I’ll answer to the best of my abilities.

If you’re getting fed up with my #PlasticFreeJuly2019 posts, this may be the last one — no promises though!

😉

Easy Homemade Cold Brew Coffee in 3 Simple Steps!

Last month I shared with you guys how to make yourselves an Easy Homemade Iced Latte in 3 Simple Steps. Today I want to share with you a cold coffee that doesn’t require as much effort, but you might have to wait a little longer for this one.

Before I go any further, I want to clear something up: an iced coffee and cold brew coffee are not the same thing! An iced coffee, is hot coffee poured over ice, whereas a cold brew coffee is coffee that has been made with nothing but cold water.

Generally with cold brew coffee, you make it from coffee beans, or ground coffee beans, if that’s how you buy them. You grind your beans and pour cold water over them and then place it in your fridge overnight and that’s when the magic happens. By letting the coffee sit overnight (8-12 hrs) it takes a lot of the bitterness and acidity that can be associated with coffee away, leaving you with a nice cold coffee beverage. Let’s get on with the how to then, shall we:


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Step 1

So like I said you’re going to need coffee beans, or ground coffee. Anywhere between 50g-80g of the stuff depending on how strong you like your coffee. If your beans are ground already, you’re good to go to the next step, otherwise get your beans, and ground ’em up to the consistency you desire.

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Weigh your coffee!

Step 2

Next you’re going to take those ground coffee beans and pour them into a french press, preferably a larger one as opposed to the one-man french press. The reason for this is you’re now going to pour 400-500ml of cold water in on top of your grounds. Get yourself a spoon or a utensil now and give the grounds a stir, making sure they’re all soaked by the water.

Place the top of the french press on your coffee but do NOT plunge YET and place in your fridge for 8-12 hours. I recommend doing this the night before, before you go to bed.

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My french press with coffee waiting to be chilled in fridge

Step 3

Rise and shine friends, it’s coffee time! After your time is up, remove the french press from the fridge. Now you can plunge that coffee, but make sure you do it slowly. I don’t know why but they always recommend you plunge the coffee slowly.

You’ll want to have a container/vessel of some some sort handy to pour and store the cold brew in. I recommend something that can hold 300-400ml, as that 400-500ml of water you poured in last night has now condensed and been soaked up by the coffee grounds.

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Keep your cold brew chilled in the fridge for upto a week!

Get your glass, a couple of ice cubes (to your liking and depending on how big your ice cubes are, I personally go for anywhere between 4-8) and your cold brew. Pour the cold brew in on top of the ice, but don’t go all the way. You’re going to only want to go halfway, because you’re not done yet. Next you need to pour about an espresso sized cup of water in on top of the cold brew, otherwise it’s going to be like drinking concentrated fruit juice without diluting it with water, if you catch my drift. The water dilutes it enough that it’s drinkable. You’re good to go from there, stick a reusable straw in it and off you go, or if you’re like me you can add a dash of milk and/or whatever way you take your coffee, sweeteners, syrups etc.

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Cheers!


There you have it: you’re own homemade cold brew coffee! The best thing about it is, you should have enough in that batch for 2-3 more beverages, and even better news: it will keep in your fridge for 1-2 weeks! So you only have to do all this once or twice a week, depending on how much you love cold brew–if you’re like me it’ll prob be 3 times a week!

😉