Sunday, 18 March 2018

St Patrick's Day 2018

I had one of the best days ever with Enid yesterday!  She arrived to my house prompt and early and we had a lovely big breakfast of a full Irish.  The big breakfast was two fold - we wanted something substantial to keep us going for the day, and because it was St Patrick's Day it was good to eat Irish rashers, eggs and sausages etc 

We then donned our costumes - from hats to long coats to our lovely sashes made by Enid - and set off to meet with our other 98 suffragettes on our "freedom machines"

And here we are taking part in the St Patrick's Day parade as part of the Dublin Cycling Campaign.
Cycling as suffragettes we were celebrating both 100 years of the vote for Irish women, and the part the bicycle played and how it was used by women in achieving voting rights.
After the match we went to McGrattans pub to watch the Big Match - the six nations final - Ireland versus England.  Which we won!  Which meant Ireland not only won the overall six nations but also the Grand Slam.  It was awesome!
Afterall that excitement we needed something to eat. We cycled out to Enid''s and went to La Bodega in Ranelagh for lovely tapas and wine.  It was very good, and definitely recommend it if you are looking for nice small plates.
And finally, because the cold was in our bones, we finished with a lovely dip in the hot tub.
As every Irish person knows, St Patrick's Day is always freeeeeezing!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

My big fat fabulous seafood weekend

This weekend it was all about the Irish seafood!
On Thursday night we went to Urchin on Stephen's Green (it's part of the Cliff Townhouse) where we had a selection of prawns (pil pil and gambas) and also a portion of beef cheek.

It was so  nice that we actually went back on Friday night (after drinks in Kennedy's bar on Tara Street) and ordered just the prawns gambas to share.

Recognising us from the night before the lovely staff sent us over 2 little shrimp croquettes which while interesting didn't taste of very much.

And then the finale!
A seafood platter for two from the Bloody Stream in Howth,
Which we actually shared between three (Enid came along for the train ride), accompanied by two sides of sweet potato fries and onion rings it worked perfectly.
Can you see everything that is packed on there? Mussels in a lovely hot creamy broth, garlic bread for dipping into said broth, oysters, prawns, crab meat, smoked salmon, and poached salmon. It was excellent! It was my first time in the Bloody Stream and it will not be my last.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Storm Emma meets The Beast from the East

What do you get when a wind and rain storm comes up from the South and hits extreme polar air coming in from the East?

You get very unusual and extreme weather for Ireland - a lot of snow and really cold temperatures of below zero.

Check out the icicles on Oisin Kelly's Chariot of Life outside the Irish Life building!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

This week in pictures and a few small accompanying words!

Gosh I have had a busy week/weekend so shall do a flyover post with some photos of the highlights - of which there are many!

A sampling of some local hostelries.  In particular the hospitality of Baggot Street - last weekend I had a drink in a combination of Toners, Doheny and Nesbitts, O'Donohues, McGrattans and of course my favourite Reilly's.  After 20 months of living on Merrion Street I finally have a local!  We also took a stroll down to the Grand Canal area (near the Grand Canal Theatre/Marker hotel and the Google and Facebook quarter) where we had a drink in Charlotte Quay.

A visit to Mary's pub.
And burgers in Wowburger.  Mary's is a cute little pub off Grafton Street on Wicklow Street.  It's done up in the style of an old Irish grocer/pub/shop.  It actually sells hardware along with the Guinness!  It's cute but I wouldn't be rushing back.  I do like the way they have wowburger downstairs though I must say!  It's quick and handy and the burgers are decent.

Free Vaseline! Well kind of.  I realised I had none on my person while walking down Grafton Street so I nipped into Boots where the girl on the till helpfully pointed out that I had enough points on my boots card to get it with.  It takes ages to build up any kind of points to get something  so I must remember instead just to exchange them for Vaseline in future - if you know me you know I like to carry and use it all the time as my lips can get quite dehydrated. Also if you know me, you know I like free stuff :-)

Rosa Madre, Crowe Street
I simply cannot recommend this lovely Italian seafood eaterie enough.  A shared starter of baked (melt in your mouth) scallops were flavoursome and divine.  Then for my main I was very excited to try the seabass which was completely covered and baked in a crust of rock salt.  Once cooked it was brought from the kitchen in the baking tray, shown for inspection and then taken away to be chipped out of the salt shell, fileted nice and neat, before being returned to the table for eating.  It was a plain white fish - simple and succulent with nice flavour from the salt and lemon oil.

Cottage in Connemara.
I had the BEST little mini break in Galway.  In fact the only criticism was it was too short.  Look at that beautiful lake (right beside the house where I stayed).  How beautiful is it?!! 

Culchie Chinese food in Connemara :-)  A sharing platter of satay chicken, bbq ribs, spring rolls and sesame prawn toast. To be fair it tasted much better than it photographed. And it was a fun evening with lovely company!

DM from a blog reader. 
I received a lovely DM tweet from a reader of my blog telling me they had recently got involved the pro-choice movement and saying how helpful they had found my recent Repeal the 8th blog post.

Paleo soup
Do you remember my recipe for sweet potato and chorizo soup?  I made it again this week and loooooved it.

Little Museum of Dublin.  This morning I nipped to the LMoD to see an exhibition on Irish fashion which is due to close soon.  The 50s and 60's really were the heyday for exports of beautiful Irish design and materials (tweed).  Sybil Connolly as always is my favourite designer of that period.  Classic and elegant.

All in all, I've had an action packed and FABULOUS few days.  Here's to some further fabulous days in the near future!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Campaign to Repeal the 8th. How can you help?

Some practical hints of how you can support the campaign to Repeal the 8th in advance of the upcoming referendum
1. Represent!

Regularly wear your Repeal jumper, Free Safe Legal tshirt or Repeal the 8th badge.  I try wear mine out and about most weekends.  This is me this morning in the hairdresser on Grafton Street.  Last week I wore it to college to my Saturday class.  The college was having an open day so I felt good walking through the hallway and cafeteria that my message was getting good exposure.
2. Support your fellow repealers
It's can be difficult and lonely putting yourself out there.  Whenever I see someone out on the street in a Repeal jumper I say hi and "Nice Sweater!" .  Yes that's a bit of an alien thing to do in Ireland but so far everyone has responded with a big smile and thank you
3. Have those conversations
Ok so this is the important one,  and I KNOW it's the difficult one too.  It's a sensitive issue.  But you need to talk about it, gently and sensitively, with your family and friends. If you are a woman and  want your fundamental human rights to be passed in the referendum you need your people to know how important it is to you and all women as they walk through the doors of the polling station.
There are some very good resources/videos out there of how to have these conversations, I will find the links and post here.
4. Follow and support pro-choice campaigners on social Media. Like their posts, share their posts. Here are few suggestions for you
5. Update your fb profile pic/twitter pic/instagram etc to something Repeal related (there's an important reason for this - see point 6!)
6. Engage on Twitter on Non repeal related items
How great does my Repeal message via my profile pic look via the hashstag #salsurvey18 - which was the twitter handle at a breakfast briefing I attended last week

7. Question
Could you not find a woman to answer that question?

My friend Tony sent me this last night and I think it's an excellent suggestion and something I am going to start doing
8.Healthcare not Airfare
Whenever you are in Dublin airport (or travelling anywhere) post on social media using the hashtag #healthcarenotairfare
Feel free to take my photo of my healthcare luggage tag (available from London Irish ARC) from Instagram and use it on your post.  See my instagram here

9. Support your local campaign groups
In addition to the national groups in point 4 there are also local groups all over Ireland.  The very best thing you can do is get involved and meet with your local group and see how you can support locally

10. Canvass
We will need people pounding the pavements and knocking on people's doors. Just like the marriage equality referendum it's the conversations on the doorsteps that will be crucial to this battle. Again I know this is not an easy thing to do, but link up with your local group - they will support you and talk you through it all.  Good luck!

Any other suggestions?!  If I've missed anything please post in the comments and I will add them to this post.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Hairs a story for ya!

I seem to be blogging about quests lately...e.g. my quest for a keto pancake recipe.  Well please read below about a search that has been ongoing for a while now..
About a year ago (or longer) when I first visited Lydia in Oman I bought this AMAZING leave-in conditioner.  In particular it was really good over there because the desert air was so dry.
Soon after I had an awful hairdresser experience where the guy left the colour on for way too long (which I told him during it btw!!!  "No Amy, it's fine relax, relax" Grrrr!) and did some serious damage to my hair.  So when I went back to visit Lydee again (via Dubai) I bought a couple of bottles of it.
Sadly I am coming to the end of that stash and have been desperately trying to find a replacement for the some time now.  Here is but a few of what I've tried

This is "ok". 
I must say though it has the most beautiful scent and leaves your hair smelling fab all day long so that is nice.

I bought these in the States on my recent visit to Chicago,  They are a definite replacement possibility.  But not available in Ireland!

And then I found this in a drawer while doing some cleaning.  It's a little sample that came free with a a magazine.  And it is amazing!   So now I just need to locate it in a shop so that I can stock up on it.
Hello universe, if anyone sees this in Dublin please let me know!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Quinoa pancakes

The quest for perfect Keto Pancakes continues!
Last week I made almond flour ones, and this week I tried a combination of almond flour, with coconut flour, and Quinoa!  Yes quinoa - it added a nutty grainy taste and texture and it was really nice,
I made 3 small at a time rather than 1 large.  So much easier for flipping over.

How good do these look?!
I shall be making these again for sure.  Here is the recipe if you are interested in trying:
1/3 cup Quinoa (before cooking)
1/3 of almond flour and coconut flour (2 to 1)
1 egg
Teaspoon of raising agent
1/4 teaspoon of stevia
Drop of vanilla essence
1 dessert spoon of cream cheese
Cook the quinoa according to instructions on the packet before mixing with everything else and there you have your pancake batter.