Sunday, 28 April 2013

Once a month treat in work

We have a great little "scheme" in work where once a month a masseuse is brought in and you can book in with him.
It costs €20 - the company pay €10 and you pay the other €10 - so it ends up costing yourself just a tenner for a half an hour massage.  Sure that's for nothing.
I find it very humourous that it is all set up in our stationary cabinet :-) 
But once you lie down on that table and close your eyes you are transported far outside of the realms of your work place.

Let's get an Irish woman in space!

Lynx deodorant are currently running a competition/a space academy to send someone to space.  By "someone" I mean a person who is not trained as an astronaut currently.
We have an Irish woman in contention for this prize.
Norah Patten is lecturer from Limerick qualified in aeronautical engineering.
It's really really easy to vote - 2 seconds I swear.

Thrift store bargain!

Yesterday was a nice bright sunny day in Dublin. 
I met Enid for a Starbucks in Harcourt street and from there we strolled along Camden street.  Camden street is a quirky little street - alot of antique furniture shops, hardware shops, burrito bars and Charity shops (what we call Thrift stores here in Ireland).
Enid found me a cute little green and black boucle jacket for work.  It was €7 (approx $9) - there are no "real" bargains left in Ireland any more.  But it is an okay price.


 I am not sure if the green is showing correctly in the pic - it is a nice bright green.  I
t's a very nice fit when on.
I will wear it with a nice pair of Dolce & Gabanna tuxedo trousers which I have had (unworn) in my wardrobe for about two years.
Here is a pic that shows the colour better

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Carrick Cottage Dips

Enid & I went to the Ideal Homes expo in the RDS yesterday. 
One of the best things I saw at it was Carrick Cottage Dips.
The product is an all natural, no preservatives seasoning that you add to natural yoghurt or mayonaise to make a dip. You can also use it as a marinade.

It comes in a nice simple brown paper little packet - see above near the lady's arms.

In front of the packets of the producs were bowls with samples for tasting.
There must have been about 20 different flavours: garlic & herb, smokey bbq, peri peri, italian dressing etc etc
My favourite was the peri peri.

Dillingers again

Enid & I popped into Dillingers again on Saturday. 
It was 4pm so it was after an after lunch, and before dinner little snack for us.
We got a small bowl of chili each and a portion of chips between us.  Enid had a diet coke, I had a vodka and diet coke.
It was as good as ever.  I seriously looooooove this place. 


Smart Car Gathering - ongoing work

I have posted before about a Smart Car gathering that Enid and I are hosting July 13 in the Phoenix Park.
We are doing trojan work trying to get as many cars as possible involved.  We are publicizing on facebook and discussion forums etc.
But most of all we are keeping an eye out for Smart cars around Dublin and leaving a note on their windscreen for them.  Hopefully we will see them on the day!

Do you live in Ireland? 
Please can you print off this flyer and leave it on any Smart cars you see.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Dillingers, Ranelagh

I looooove this place.
It has recently been renovated - it was cool before and it is even cooler now. Staff were extremely friendly extremely efficient. Really good vibe in the place.
And most importantly great food!
Because it was a Tuesday evening Enid and I just ordered a small plate each:
Enid got the chili and cornbread - the chili had a mix of minced beef and shredded beef with a nice kicky flavour. The cornbread was amazing. I've never actually had cornbread outside the States and I would consider Dillingers cornbread even better than the American kind. 
I ordered the mac and cheese. It arrived with a big dollop of brightly coloured pesto. This pesto had to be the best pesto I've ever eaten in my whole life. It had a fantastic fresh and garlic flavour. The mac and cheese was very good - good parmesan flavour and nice consistency to both the pasta and sauce. But full of calories I'd imagine.
I will be back. Hopefully very soon.

Price increase...grrrr!

The Marks and Spencer "dine in for two" has increased in price. It used to be €12.50.
Now admittedly I used always think it was almost too good of a deal at €12.50, but a €1 increase is a little hard to swallow (Pun intended!)
I think €12.95 would have been a better price to go to. They could end up losing customers over a euro.
Okay so from their facebook page I can see comments from other customers and replies from M&S.
  It seems that this is the €1 that was added to bottles of wine by the Government in the last budget (VAT/Tax???) and M&S avoided passing it on at that point.  It has become viably impossible for them to avoid passing it on now.
This is fair enough, but for their own sake, M&S probably would have been best putting a one liner at the bottom of their ad explaining this. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Weirs of Baggot Street

There is a lovely shop on Baggot Street called Weirs.  While technically is a hardware shop it has a very large children's gift section.
It's pricing is funny (but good!).  It has items that are very expensive, but equally has a lot of items that a child could spend their pocket money on.
Here is a section of their stock below.
Painting apron/pinafores.  How sweet.

Seriously, how adorable are those little tea sets.

This is a great idea for saving your child's first shoes.

Ducks! Lipgloss I think :-)

Little small windmills

I think these bike helmets are just fantastic.
If you are around the Baggot Street area I'd reccomend you check this little tresure trove out.
Oh, they cut keys and stock hardware stuff as well of course :-)


While out on a lunchtime walk with the two HR ladies from work we came upon this "construction" on top of a bus stop in Baggot Street.
This was our initial view and we were actually like "what the heck"
We walked around the bus stop to get a better view and it made us laugh and laugh.
Really brightened up our day!
So to Cuisine de France I say Bonjour!
Et MERCI beacoup!


Old Cadbury's ad - what a treasure!

Pearse Street Train Station has been undergoing renovation. 
And in the process it seems that an old Cadbury ad has been uncovered.

How cool is this?
In my opinion it is a fabulous piece of social history.

I love the antithesis of the old sign and the big modern sign.
I really hope Pearse Station/Cadburys decide to leave it on display. 
IF it was my train station I would make this a feature - I'd put a big chunky silver or black box frame all around it with glass on the front protecting the sign.

2 years later, see here what has been done about this sign.

What are your thoughts?!

Boston Marathon

Shocked.  Appalled.  Horrified. Angry.  Sad.

That poor little innocent boy who died.  And the young woman who accompanied her friend to cheer on her friend's boyfriend.  And all the other people who suffered attrocious injuries.  Friends and families of all involved.  My heart goes out them all.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

My dad's first motorbike - funny/cool story

When my dad was about 22 he purchased a motorbike. He would have been involved with motorbikes from a very young age and all his brothers had motorbikes etc.  But this was his first "own" bike so he always counted it as his first bike proper.
Here are some photos of him on the motorbike - a Yamaha 650.  This was taken outside a garage where dad worked.  The story I believe, is that a young photograper from Neil Campbell-Sharp studio (indeed it could have been Neil himself!) asked dad could he take some photographs of him and the bike.
The results are as follows!

Pretty cool photos I think you will agree?
Anyway, obviously that was all about 30/40 years ago and the bike was sold on a long time ago. 
But then about 10 years, ago my dad started to get a hankering for his "first bike" and wondering where it was and was there any chance he could get it back.  He set about tracing it and through the tax records he was able to locate the current owner.  Pretty good detective work I think - this was before facebook and twitter etc :-)
He wrote off a letter to the owner and shortly after he received a letter from the guy.
It was a pretty funny reply!  I wish I had the letter to scan.
The man said - and I am paraphrasing here - "Oh man, I absolutely love that bike.  And I really do not want to part with it.  But I do understand about it being your first bike, so as much as I love this bike I will sell it back to you.  BUT, and I am enclosing a photograph, as you can see I have done extensive work on the bike and remodelled it so it looks different to when you had it.  So I am not sure if you will actually want it when you see the photograph".
He then signed it off: Yours, in Easy Riding xxx xxxx (we all found that pretty funny!)
The photograph the man sent showed that indeed he had done a lot of remodelling to it.  In fact he had turned it into what is known as a Chopper - a bike with very long forks.
So as much as dad knew that this was his own bike he said he just couldn't connect with it as it didn't look like his bike.  So he wrote back to the man telling him to keep the bike (and I am sure he also wished him many years of "easy riding" lol) and then he set about locating purchasing an exact model/replica of his bike. 
He located that about a year later - he had to import it from the States - and here is a photograph of it.
Hope you enjoyed the "story" and to any bikers out there:
Yours, in Easy Riding

Ireland - the perfect country for a hot tub

The more I think about it, the more I am coming to the realisation that while hot tubs are really common in (for example) America and not at all common in Ireland that just doesn't make sense.
Hot tubs are HOT. 
Most of America has hot weather.  They don't need more hot.
Ireland is cold(ish).  Particularly this year - longest bloody Winter ever!!!  We need hot.
Hot tubs are actually nicer in cold weather.  One of the most enjoyable experiences I ever had in a hot tub was about eight years ago in Galway with my twin sister,Enid.  
We were on the roof of the then Great Southern hotel in Eyre's Square (now called Hotel Meyrick) in the rain and the cold while watching the Red Arrows fly over our head - the Salthill Airshow was on!
It was grey, rainy & miserable before we got into the tub and it was grey, rainy & miserable when we got out, but in between it was hot and fabulous, warm and relaxing.  Amazing.
As you may know Enid is lucky enough to have a hot tub in her house.  She and her husband rebuilt an 1840's house from inside out, and one of the things they put in was a hot tub. 
I always tell them "it is a complete and utter folly.  ...But it is the BEST complete and utter folly in the whole world.  Thank you for putting this folly in your house".  Lol.
If you are interested in reading Enid's blog about the rebuild of her house click on the link.  It is an interesting read and a fine record for them and of the house for the future.
The point of this blog is for to me make two announcements.
1. I want a hot tub.
2. I am going to start saving for a hot tub.
It might take me a couple of years.  But watch this space!!!!!

Marks & Spencer - new dessert menu?

Yesterday afternoon I took a trip to Marks & Spencers to get something nice for Saturday night dinner.  I tend to only shop in Marks & Spencers for weekend treats as it is a little bit outside of my budget for my day to day shopping.  Although, as much as I wish I could afford to shop in Marks everyday, it does make the weekend all the more of a treat when I have something particularly nice.
For dinner on Saturday I had rump steak which came with a portion of peppercream sauce and chips.  I cooked my steak rare.
Starting from the bottom:
Shortbread biscuit layer - crunchy & sugary
Caramel - smooth, creamy & flavourful
Cream - balances the caramel & chocolate
Chocolate - not too dark, not too light: a good strong chocolate hit.
So I was going to just get Millionaire's for dessert when I noticed they had a variation on the theme and had a (new?) dessert called Billionaire's dessert!  What sold it for me was the salted caramel.  I adore sweet and salty flavours (case in point - Reeces peanut butte cups!)
Below are my photo's of the dessert and what I thought of it. 
Jeez Louise they are not great photos.  I must remember NOT to use my ipad cover as a little photo booth ever again.  I am embarrassed how bad they are compared to the pic above from the M&S website. 
Starting from the bottom:
Chocolate crumb: this for me was the weak link of the dessert.  I like the crunch of SUGAR that is in the shortbread biscuit base on Millionaires.  This was the right texture but in my opinion needed a slight bit of sweetness.
Salted Caramel: yes Yes YES!!!! All it promised to be .  Sweet and salty, rich and caramely.
Okay so now this is where it gets confusing and I had difficulty (in a good way) separating flavours.
It is advertised as containing the following other layers: burnt caramel, black treacle mousse and chocolate ganache.
I definitely could TASTE these flavours. I just can't tell you which of the above is which!  But that doesn't really matter.  The taste is what counts.
So as to the taste:
The burnt caramel - this was an intense caramel flavour; it had an intensity a bit like the intense flavour of a charred well done steak.  It worked! 
Black treacle mousse: when combined with all the caramel and the chocolate it added a divine intensity to this dessert.
And finally what Marks call "the bling" on top of the dessert.  I like the way my flash caught the light and has made it even blingier!!!! :-)
All in all this dessert for me was a massive success.  I never thought Millionaire's could be beaten but as is the case a Billion really is a lot more than a Million!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Prawns Pil Pil

I adore Prawns Pil Pil so when I saw this recipe in a magazine I was just browsing through in a shop I quickly snapped a pic!
The recipe is by Chef Eric Mooney from Asador on Haddington Road.  Asador is very near my work and I pass it on my daily walk at lunch.  I always think there are fabulous smells coming from it.  This recipe and the lovely photo below makes me want to visit there to EAT!
This recipe looks very simple to make.

Final product (don't know why it is on it's side)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Blooming fabulous!

I called over to my friends apartment in Ballsbridge yestersday afternoon.  Tara is six months pregnant and blooming as you can see!

I bought her a teeny gift of this teeny baby gro.
And not ask me how this happened, it was just one of those nights.....we had fun by me trying on her divine wedding dress!
It made for alot of hilarity and some great photos!

How amazing is this dress!

Posing with a glass of champers :-)

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Smart Car Rally Dublin 2013

My sister Enid has a Smart car. It's a fun little car and people smile at it wherever she drives!
  In 2011 we organised a little event of a meet up for Dublin Smart owners - check out the photos of the event here. It went really well and was a fun day out, so we are now planning another one for this year in Dublin. (In 2012 we attended the Belfast meet up).
We have a facebook page and today we announced the plans for the 2013 rally:
Planning has started for Smart Car Rally Dublin 2013!
Shaping up as follows:
Date - late June or July.
Location - Phoenix Park Dublin.

Agenda - meet in the carpark of Ashtown Castle in the Phoenix Park and park up for an hour or two for a "Tailgate Party"
*chat about our Smarts, eat food (nothing fancy! Tea & Coffee, pastries etc like last time), check out everyone's Smart, take photos etc etc*
Then take a drive "en convoy" around the Phoenix Park for a half an hour so - beeping and waving at the tourists and park go-ers.
Suggestion that you bring a car window flag for your county or some sort of decoration or flag for your car - will look good during our "convoy".

So that's what we are thinking! Hope you can all make it. If you know any other Smart owners please spread the word. We will confirm the date for definite soon and will set up a fb event page. Post below if you are hoping to attend. Enid & Amy
Do you know any Smart owners?!  They might be interested in looking at our facebook page :-)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Urban Fox!

Today I saw a fox in Dublin CITY!  Yes in the city!!
I have always heard rumours about a fox's den in Dublin but I always pictured it being somewhere near O'Connell Street for some reason.
He not so much ran across the road, I would actually describe him as gambolling across the road.  He did not seem scared of the traffic yet he was also neither overly brave in his surroundings.
Unfortunately I was too slow with my phone/camera :-(
So instead, using the magic of Google Streetview, I thought it might be interesting to show you where I saw him.
As you can see this is Mount Street/Merrion Square. 
He came from the side of American College Dublin crossed the road right in front of me and skipped through the railings into Merrion Square. 
Things to note about my encounter with Fantastic Mr Fox
(1) I don't know why I am assuming the fox was a "he"
(2) I still cannot believe we have foxes in Dublin CITY!
Update 05/05/05:
What a co-incidence! 
Today in the Metro I read an article about a project group who are trying to collect data on foxes in Dublin.  I had literally just read the article when my sister Katie of the very funny and clever Binary Pixie blog (follow her!) texted me a pic of the article and asked had I seen it.
They have a facebook page, a twitter account and a facebook so I am going to post a link to this post on their page.
Below are some pictures of the article.
But before that some further musings on my encounter with Mr Fantastic Fox.
(1) The colour that I chose to "paint" his route on the photo above was chosen specifically - it was the closest I can get to show his colour.  He was an an almost bright orangey rusty colour. And he seemed to be an all-over colour, no white.
(2) The more I think about it I think it was not an adult fox.  Now of course I don't really know that much about foxes but this one just didn't seem fully grown to me.  I would describe it as about the size of a big West Highland Terrier.  Anyone out there know what size a fully grown fox is??
(3) You will notice that the route I painted on the photo above is not straight.  In particular it is "squiggley" on the left hand side.  That is done on purpose to show the actual route Foxy took - when he was on the left hand side of the road he looked like a little puppy!


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Tom Cruise is in Dublin!

He is staying in the Merrion Hotel which is only just around the corner from where I work.  I won't lie to you I was tempted to take a trip around at lunchtime!
The Merrion Hotel is very popular with film stars and musicians when they come to Ireland - Bruce Springsteen stayed there when he played in Ireland during the summer.  I'd recommend you click on to the hotel website - switch on your speakers, they seem to have attached music to the website so you can listen to lovely classical music while you browse!

As it happened I had to go Northside to run an errand during my lunchbreak today so I wouldn't actually have been able to go stalk the hotel afterall.  I did however pass the Savoy cinema where Tom will be attending tonight for the premiere of Oblivion.
I passed at 1pm and there were people queuing along the red carpet already!

But no Tom Cruise :-(

I see that he spent 90 minutes greeting his Irish fans.  Fair play to him!
He's a handsome man for 50 I tells ya :-)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Three scissors, two forks and a spoon

I cleaned my bedroom from top to bottom today.  I found 3 scissors, 2 forks and a spoon under the bed.  I had been wondering why I could never find a scissors, there's the answer to that now anyway.

There are articles on the internet giving tips on how to clean your bedroom.  My personal tip is to do it in 30/45 minute stints.  Clean for 30 minutes, watch Oprah for 30 minutes, clean for 30 minutes, watch Oprah for 30.  All done in two hours and you feel like you've been watching Oprah all afternoon! Lol

There is something very satisfying about sitting in bed, watching tv and blogging in a spotlessly clean room.

Vacation Planning Time!

My family and I are planning a big holiday to Key West in June of this year!
When we go to KW (and we go alot!) we normally stay in a beautiful "conchy" cottage called Bahama Breeze.

It is the perfect place for groups of two or four people; good size bedrooms, hot tub (fun!) and margerita mixer - I love a cocktail on the deck in the evenings.
This year because we are a bigger group we are looking to get a bigger house.  We are looking at a two storey house with a small swimming pool which will be great. 
The location of the new house is "okay".  Not quite as good as Bahama Breeze's location which is just off Duval, but good all the same - hey it's Key West, you are never really too far from anything in KW, right?!
Oh my!  That photograph up there is getting me excited already for our vacation!