Wednesday 31 December 2014

Heaven on Earth

The last few days I had the most wonderful time in my friends house.  Below are a few photos and words which might give you a flavour of the great time we had.

On arrival we sat around chatting drinking tea out of beautiful china cups.

We all then went for a walk along the beach (which is at the back of the house).

We then came back to the house where we settled in for the night with some drinks before dinner.
Dinner was incredible - my friends are amazing cooks.  We had a fabulous cooked ham, with mashed and roasted potatoes and honey roast veg with the most beautiful gravy.  

Next morning we got up and had a great big Irish breakfast with a few additions - Tony took some of the leftovers from dinner and made them even better; refried in butter mash potatoes, roast potatoes recooked with tomatoes and mushrooms.

We went out for another walk after breakfast.
I liked looking at all the houses near us - they were all very 1960's style (like the one we stayed in).  I went for a walk and took some photographs.

This one was my favourite

Nice country road and countryside.

We explored some fields and Tony brought us through an old abandoned house which had a caravan park (abandoned) and a disco on its site.  I love seeing things like that but it is also quite sad seeing buildings abandoned and falling apart.  

From there we went back down to the beach.  You can't see it from this photo but it was busy on the beach with a lot of families out walking.

When we got back from our walk we were all quite thirsty after the salty fried breakfast and the walk.
So Tony made some fresh lemonade for us all!!!!!

Heaven on earth!!!!!
Thank you to my wonderful hosts and to my other great friends who were there also, I had a wonderful time.

Monday 22 December 2014

Chocolate log cabin

My sisters and I are having a Christmas competition to see who can make the best "confectionary house"
Here are the instructions of how I made my chocolate log cabin!

I decided I wouldn't go all the way and make my own sponge.  I cheated and bought some madeira cakes.
All the ingredients cost approx €15.

Cut and shaped my house

Further carved the edges to make it bond a little bit better.
I have no photo but essentially I covered it in chocolate icing/frosting.

I covered the house in chocolate fingers - for the windows and doors I used white chocolate and dark chocolate.  Plus made a chimney out of dark chocolate.

I fancied the tree up with a little candy cane fencing on either side. Plus then I cheated by putting a silver decoration from my tree of Santa and Rudolf on the roof :-)

This is my sister Kate's entry.  Wow!

And Lydias.  Wow!

I think we know who will be in third place :-(

Saturday 20 December 2014

The Little Museum of Dublin

My cousin Kasey was given a great gift by her mam of membership to The Little Museum of Dublin.  As part of the membership she received an invitation to their Christmas drinks.

Before the party we went to Yamamori Isakaya for a bite to eat.

Cocktail special - 2 for €15.  I got a Sake Daiquiri and Kasey got an Isakaya Lychee (if I remember correctly!)

We ordered a few little tapas plates to share - tempura prawns, pork belly, prawn dumplings, sweet potato wedges, seaweed salad.  It was all delicious.

Then we headed over to The Little Museum of Dublin where we had a really lovely evening.

Nice glass of wine beside their impressive and pretty Christmas tree.

I loved all the 1980's memorabilia.

Jim Tunney - a Fianna Fail politician, and a neighbour of ours growing up.
The less I say about Bertie Ahern on the left probably best. My blood boils just thinking about him.

I stuck this picture up on facebook and it got a lot of reaction - seeing Santa in Switzers was a big part of a Dubliner's childhood in the 80's and the badge reminded and struck a chord with a lot of my friends.

Just before we were leaving (train to catch!) the director of the museum, Trevor White, introduced himself and we had a nice chat.  A very nice man - see him do a Tedx talk about Civic Pride here.

I'd never been to the museum before, but I certainly liked the flavour I got last week and will be back to do the tour and see the whole museum proper.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Forever Bright Sparkling Aloe Vera toothpaste

My sister Faith has been a proponent of aloe vera for sometime now.  So much so that she has started a business selling aloe vera products.

My first order from her was a toothpaste and a deodorant.  The deodorant appealed to me because it has no alcohol or aluminium salts in.  And while I like the deodorant, it is the toothpaste that has really impressed me!

I've had the toothpaste for weeks and weeks now - it seems to be lasting for ages.
Fluoride free which is great.  I really don't like the way the Irish Government add fluoride to our water, personally I prefer to make my own personal choice about things like that.

It is quite a unique colour for a toothpaste.  I was worried it would taste weird but it has a nice minty flavour to it.

So!  What's good about it?
My teeth feel cleaner than ever before - I think they look whiter (and brighter) and they actually feel much smoother.  Also my mouth feels really fresh after brushing and the fresh feeling lasts much longer than my usual toothpaste.  And all of this from a natural product with no bleaching agents.

I am really happy with this toothpaste and although it is more expensive than your usual toothpaste with my teeth looking and feeling so good I think it is worth it.

The next step for me is to try Aloe Vera proper - and drink it like a juice every day.

Check out Faith's Aloe Vera facebook page here to see all the aloe vera products available plus more details about the toothpaste.

Monday 8 December 2014

A limitless co-incidence???

I was staying over in Enid's house last Thursday as we had our final visit to UCD the next morning for the Twin Study that we recently took part in.  Before we went to her house we popped into the Swan Centre as I needed to pick up something in Dunnes Stores.

The Swan Centre is one of the funniest places ever, Enid and I slag it by calling it a Dead Mall, but saying that, we always have fun there - and tonight was no different.

As we passed Dubray Books we saw they were having a book party/celebration with many authors speaking (Joseph O'Connor amongst them!) to celebrate 20 years in the Swan Centre.

We stood at the back and a nice friendly lady (a) offered us a glass of wine and (b) suggested we go up a side aisle to be nearer the speaker to hear better.

In we went and listened to a very nice man called Alan Glynn.  
I do like Dubray Books and while I was listening I was looking around.  I drew Enid's attention to a shelf beside her which said "local author - John Connolly" and we both gave a little nod and smile - we like things like that, bookshops going out of their way to highlight something interesting etc.
I then pointed to the next shelf which had another "local author" on it, and we both looked at each other in surprise - it was Alan Glynn!!!!

What are the chances that we could end up on the aisle, beside the shelf containing a book written by the person who was speaking????

And then we saw the book on the shelf - Limitless! This was the man who had written the book of the film Limitless, a film with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.  
"I love that film!!!" the two of us mouthed at the same time.

So here it is, the man behind the book - literally :-)

Sunday 16 November 2014

Operation Penneys aka The power of Facebook and Viber

I have been searching for the perfect boots for the last few weeks.  I cannot tell you the amount of boots I have tried on and I was getting really frustrated because none of them were like what I had in my head.

The good news is that although I do not actually have the boots in my possession yet, the search is over.
And all thanks to the power of facebook and viber!

Firstly I saw the fabulous Alison Canavan wearing my dream boots in a pic on her facebook page.
I posted on the picture and asked her where they were from.
"Penneys", she said!
"How long ago", I wondered, "I am heading to the Towncentre in the morning and hopefully they will be there".  Alison replied again and said she got them about 8 weeks ago.

In Blanchardstown (towncentre) there was good news and bad news.  The bad news was there were none in my size (5) :-(
Just rows and rows of size 3's and a few straggler size 8's.

The good news was the price - €24!

This afternoon I went in to town to check O'Connell Street and Mary Street branches.  
Again just size 3's everywhere.

Operation Penneys!
I sent a viber message to some friends to see if they had any in their local Penneys..

As it happened my friend was in Cork city anyway and said she'd go to Penneys.  There were only three pairs of them left (all size 3 of course!) and while the girl was checking the stock room she looked around and tucked in with different shoes she found, literally it seems, the last size 5 in Ireland!

We have a visual!
Stand down all agents.  Operation Penneys a success :-)

Just need to figure how to get them from Cork to Dublin now...!

Saturday 25 October 2014

Clerys Heritage Gallery

By pure chance Enid and I found this wonderful little gem hidden in the Clerys department store.

What is it you ask?
It's a whole exhibition of the Clery's history and heritage.
Tucked up the back, on the 2nd floor - barely signposted and definitely not advertised - in a little room which looks like a shop, if you turn a corner there unfolds an exhibition of 5/6 rooms, and also a little screening room showing a 6 minute film.

It is FANTASTIC!  I cannot believe I have never seen or heard about it before.  I actually was in the little "shop" part of it about two weeks ago with mam and did not see that there were further rooms attached which contained the exhibition.
They really really need to sort out their signposting/advertising!
If I was Mrs (or Mr) Clerys, I would be advertising it as "the littlest museum inside a department store" or "the only department store with a museum" or "the only museum inside a department store" etc etc

You should check it out next time you are in Dublin.  It's small, but informative and interesting.  And it's free!

Charity shop / Thrift store

Today I did a big bedroom clean and wardrobe clearout.  Completed with my mother's assistance - she is brilliant at looking at something for one second and declaring "out!"  "Throw it out"

I dropped 4 black sacks of clothes off in my local charity shop.
Plus I dropped 4 coats off for dry-cleaning and some shirts off for ironing.

Feels great to have this job done. It was way overdue.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Vintage Kitchen Poolbeg Street

Enid rang me yesterday to say she had just got a cancellation at The Vintage Kitchen in Poolbeg Street.  I suggested she ring them and see if they could fit two additional people in would which mean our cousin and her weekend guest could come as well.

I am very tired so this is going to be a lazy post but let me assure you that everything about it is as good as the word on the street.
The chowder: "omg this is the best chowder I've ever tasted"
The risotto: "omg this is the best risotto I've ever tasted"
The fish cake: "omg this is the best fish cake I've ever tasted"
You get the picture!

Anyway a picture tells a thousand words so have a look at photos of all the food loveliness below.

Ps.  Vintage Kitcken is BYO - thank you to Kasey for bringing the lovely wine

Donegal smoked haddock, wild samphire & chorizo chowder

Wild pink prawn, chili & soft herb risotto

Roasted wild Irish Sea ling wrapped in Parma ham, crispy cod fish cake, caper sauce

Wicklow Duck liver creme, lime jelly, pistachio, toast & raisin, apple & star anise jam

Slaney river Slow roasted lamb shank,  treacle gravy, roasted parsnips,  sweet potato and beans

Roasted poussin,  caprese salad, horseraddish sauce, sauteed potatoes

Monday 13 October 2014


Yesterday was an adventurous Sunday to say the least.

Enid and I had arranged to meet at our mothers house to give it a good clean - Mam was in hospital for the last two weeks (hip replacement) and is due out soon.

On her drive over Enid had an "experience" which I can only sum up as "All's well that ends well, but it really really makes you think of being more security conscious".
It is a story that applies no matter where you live in the world so worth a read I think  - click on the link to her blog post here.

After the cleaning our cousin Kasey had invited us around to her apartment for some brunch.
Superquinn sausages!  Yum!!
All fun and games until we turned away for a second and Kasey found Bones up on the table finishing off the leftover sausages.  Bold dog!  
But seeing as he had been such a hero with Enid earlier on (read her blog post!) we decided to forgive him.

It was such a nice day, nothing like October at all, and we decided to go for a walk along the river Tolka which is near Kasey's house - she has the Royal Canal on one side and the Tolka on the other side.

Here are some pics taken along the way.  Yes Enid and I look pretty "rough" in the pictures. I remind you we were doing house cleaning that morning.  Kasey said I looked liked something out of  Love/Hate and that I was dressed for disposing of dead bodies!!!!

Acts of kindness - Pay it forward via facebook

A couple of weeks ago my cousin put the following up on facebook:
This world needs as much kindness as it can get. I'm participating in this Pay it Forward initiative: the first five people who comment on this status with "I'm in" will receive a surprise from me at some point during this calendar year - anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown, homemade, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented "I'm in" I will forward this message to put on your status (Dont share it!!!) so we can form a web of connection of kindness. Let's do more nice and loving things in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other. Here's to a more enjoyable and friendly, and love filled year.... Also, when I PM to you, I will need you to PM your address back to me.

I thought this was a lovely idea so I immediately clicked yes and then posted it on to my facebook page.
And three people clicked yes on my page!
So the story is that I need to do something nice for them.  I have been thinking about it for the last few weeks about what would be a nice thing to receive in the post and today I went out and purchased two little gifts.

This silver and Tipperary crystal Christmas star decoration will be winging its way to South Carolina very soon!

And these cute little ear-rings will be going to a girl  who I think will be getting into the Halloween spirit with her three children and will get a kick out of wearing these!

Just one last gift to choose for a special Galway Girl

Are you on facebook? Why don't you take part and "pay it forward"?!

Saturday 27 September 2014

Very sick Harry

Last weekend Harry was a bit out of sorts.
On Monday the vet diagnosed him with a bladder/urinary tract infection and put him on all kinds of antibiotics and medication.

After Cilla night I got home pretty late (about 10.45pm) and when I got in it was apparent that Harry had got worse rather than better.  He had vomited (on the stairs carpet!) and he was lying on my bed motionless like a rag doll.  Normally if you pick up his paw he will go to scratch or slap your hand away, whereas he allowed me pick up his paw, no claws at all, and then when I let go it just dropped listlessly down.

I was pretty worried and in fact I thought "I'd be worried he won't see the night through".
I rang the vet and while she said he didn't sound well she also said that she could not say over the phone if he needed to come in or not - that it was my call.

Aoife the vet from Hillcrest vets was 30 minutes away so I met her outside the clinic at about 11.30pm.

As soon as she examined Harry she knew what the problem was.  The bladder infection had got worst and he was now blocked - and there were crystals forming in his urine and if he did not have emergency straightaway his bladder would rupture.  She also explained that there was risk with the surgery with putting him under anaesthetic as with the urine issue it meant his electrolytes could start going crazy.  

 Aoife performed surgery until 2am when she sent a text to say everything went fine and he had woke up okay after the anaesthetic.

He came home on Tuesday morning all brand new.  Only visible effects are the two little areas on his fore legs where he was shaved.

He is doing great now.  But he will have to go on a special diet/food to prevent the crystalysing happening again.  Plus he needs to lose weight.  Difficult - Harry loves his food.

He is due back for checkup on Tuesday so I have a little gift prepared for the surgery:
Box of chocolates.
Cute card with kitty on it.
This sign: Warning Premises Guarded by Attack Cat (click on link to view)

Cilla night

My mother, aunts and cousin and I have been following a three part tv series about the singer Cilla Black.  The first episode we were in my Aunt Mary's house.  We were all dressed up in 60's clothes and Mary put on a spread of kitsch 1960's food (cheese hedgehog etc!) for the screening.  Yes my family are crazy like that.  It was a great night.

Episode 2 we went to my cousin Kasey's to watch it.

Again we dressed in funny clothes :-)

I made the starter.
Orange juice!!!!
Yes, you read that right.  Orange juice.
This stems from a funny story about my mam's wedding.  
When I was in my teens I was looking at my mother's wedding photos when I spotted something.
Me: "oh look at you, you goodie goodie drinking orange juice on your wedding day"
Mam: *embarrassed face* "that was the starter"

The year was 1973.  
How funny is that!!!!

Kasey made a fab chilli using her fab South African spices.

Another great night and I am looking forward to the final episode which will be held in my Aunt Anne's house.  And yes we will probably dress up again.