Saturday 29 March 2014

Saturday chores



Only in Dublin - walking a swan back to it's home

On Thursday evening Enid and I passed a little group of people (3) with a swan - walking along on a not too busy Dublin road.

So we decided to get out to see what was the story and if we could help (and to get some photographs also!!).

We walked along with the group - it was so funny, it was a bit like the film Forest Gump - where Forest is running and there are different people joining and running with him for a while and then leaving and being replaced by other people joining.

And seeing a swan in the middle of an old Georgian Dublin street was just so cute and funny!!!

The swan himself was "okay". He was not distressed and did not seem phased by all the attention or the traffic.  He was a little tired it seemed and sat down for a rest every now again.  He was a young swan because he still had some of his grey feathers mixed in with his white feathers.  Sometimes he seemed unsure of walking e.g. getting up on the kerb but I think was just because he was tired.  He also didn't walk in a straight line(!) and was walking on the path and then in the middle of the road at times(!)

He was very docile and placid which was helpful...sometimes you hear of swans being very aggressive.

How did he get on the road?

The guy in the hi-viz jacket was  leading the "escort".  Apparently two of his friends found the swan on Pembroke street during the day so they took him into the guy's basement.  He rang the guards/police (Gardai Siochana) but they didn't want anything to do with it.  He then rang some bird/animal rescue places etc but they earliest they would be able to help was the next day.  So he figured he would wait for the evening and try escort him back to the canal.  Which is where we all came in the story.  Fair play to him, plus the hi-viz jacket was great but really I don't think he could have done it without other people's support - alerting traffic/standing behind/beside the swan pointing him in the right direction.

Anyhoo final outcome was we got the swan to the Grand Canal!  But he decided he just wanted to sit on the waters edge and eat grass instead of getting into the water.  We all kind of wanted to see him in the water but after 10 minutes with him at the canal we agreed there was nothing more we could do so we left him there.

It was a really nice "community"type of adhoc thing to be part of :-)

Saturday 22 March 2014


Have you heard about the #nomakeupselfie trend which is currently viral on facebook?

It seems to be in reaction to (in my opinion, the very silly) online drinking game neknominate.  The concept is that you upload a selfie of yourself with no makeup in order to increase Breast Cancer awareness.

Well! At least that was the original concept.  It subsequently has turned into a trend of uploading a "no makeup selfie" PLUS making a donation to a cancer charity.  
This I think is brilliant!  Being completely honest when I saw the first few selfies going around (with no donation) I didn't see the point of this trend at all.  I really don't see how a picture of your friend on facebook is "raising Breast Cancer awareness".....

So how much money has been raised?!
Well currently this viral trend has raised nearly €500k and it is still rising!

So! Here is my selfie:

Plus here is a copy of my donation:

And finally here is my tip for making sure you carry out regular breast checks/for increasing awareness of Breast Cancer:
Most hair conditioners work better if you leave them in for 2/3 minutes before rinsing.
Why not use this time to carry out your breast check?

I got this idea from a really cool funky hair condition that had instuctions to leave in for 4/5 minutes and they suggested "shave your legs in that time".  
Well I think all hair conditioners should carry the suggestion to do a breast check in that time :-)

Are you on facebook?

Why not start this viral trend in your country?!

Book - Ben by Kerry Needham

Ben is the true (heartbreakingly true) story about the disappearance of 21 month old Ben Needham on the island of Kos.

Although a tough subject it is a quick and easy read.  Throughout the book the pain of Ben's mother, grandparents and uncles is palpable and brought tears to my eyes - in particular the incidences when a child has been spotted who may be Ben and they travel to see him and find out it is not.  The disappointment and sadness they feel is heartbreaking.

It is frustrating to read about the investigations and what was done (and not done) to find Ben - at the time of initial disappearance and over the years.  The Greek police seem to be reluctant to acknowledge that something bad may have happened to the child and that it occurred on their island of Kos.

Location, time and technology also went against the Needham family.  Nowadays with facebook and twitter it is very easy to mobilise a campaign to find a missing child.  Even before facebok and twitter the newspapers and tv would be great for raising awareness.  The Needham family were living in Kos in 1991 and these things did just not apply to them.

In the book Kerry Needham does explore the case of another missing child Madeleine McCann and how the McCann family got so much exposure so quickly, and raised (a huge amount of) money to fund their campaign, so quickly.  She does acknowledge that it is a different time and the technology certainly helped but she also feels that the media got behind a perceived "upper class family/two doctors", whereas they were a family who had moved to Kos and were living in a caravan.

I wasn't sure about that when I read it first but the more I think about it I think she might be kind of right.  I didn't think so because I had read all about how her mother and father were hard workers and how they had moved to Kos for a better life.  Yes, they were living in a caravan (what is wrong with that anyway!) but they had already got jobs and were working away.
But! I guess if you did not know this background...I guess it just "didn't look great".

So ultimately there is no good ending to this book.  Ben Needham is still missing.  And this is the important message from the book:
This is what Ben Needham might look like today (picture is from book published May 2013). 

If you ever see someone who looks like him (blonde blue eyed) in amongst a country or group of people who all look different (i.e. dark olive skinned) then report it on the Help Find Ben website or to Yorkshire Police (phone numbers and emails for reporting are on the Help find Ben website)

Photo credits:
All photos are from the book Ben by Kerry Needham

Monday 17 March 2014

Western Union

My sister sent me money from the Middle East where she is based (cabin crew) via Western Union.  I had awful problems finding a WU where I could collect.  There are a couple of branches near me in work but all had only sending facilities, but no receiving money facilities.

But then I located a Western Union near my house.  I rang them and they confirmed I could collect and send.

So down I went this evening.  It is a funny little shop...full of food from different countries, internet access, photocopier, fax services etc and Western Union!

It was quick and easy.  Filled in a form, gave a copy of my id to the shop assistant, and after he keyed the details into the computer we were all done!

Happy St Patrick's day!

I had a lovely St Patrick's day today with my family around for dinner.

I spent the morning prepping veg!  I did roast carrots, parsnips, peppers, red onion, garlic and cherry tomatoes.

Enid & Ciaran brought Bones over with them and we had fun dressing him up in an Irish wig.

He also modelled his stylish green hoodie :-)

How smart does our President Michael D Higgins look with his traditional shamrock in his lapel. Our first lady Sabina Higgins looks even more smart with her stylish hat and shamrock festooned scarf.

A really lovely day!  And now just 4 days left in work until the weekend.

Time to put my green jacket away until next year!

You might see the "green" in my jacket better in this pic.  It doesn't photograph well for some reason.

Yes, I have chopped my head off on purpose.  I was having a bad hair day and also did not have any time to put a scrap of makeup.

Celebrity spotting in Meribel!

Look who was in Meribel.  

Yes it is none other than famous actor and human rights activist Sean Penn!*

*This is not actually the real Sean Penn and is a looky-likey :-)  
Do you see any similarity?

Sunday 16 March 2014

Signed up to netflix...and watched two "vintage" films today

1976 - when shorts were short and men were moustachioed (is that the correct word!)

Lifeguard tells the story of Rick, a 30 something year old lifeguard and the old adage (and his personal battle) between happiness in your job versus making more money.

I really really enjoyed this film!  
And personally, I think this movie poster is misleading about the type of film it is and the themes explored throughout.

I was disappointed by this film.  I've always wanted to see it and I while I threw my eye over the storyline in wikipedia before it started it did not live up to my expectations.

It certainly looked beautiful.  
The sets were pure mid-century glamour and the three main females are of course stunning.  

But overall I found the characters underdeveloped (aside from Neely O'Hara) and the script turgid.

Not one I'd recommend I am afraid!

Clever (and cute!) signs in Dublin Airport

Aww I think these 3D signs are really cute.
And clever!  
A lot of suitcases do look the same and in the excitement of arrival it is very easy to take someone else's suitcase home.  And what a pain to fix that problem!

Snowboarding in Meribel, France

A few pics!

Lodge du Village, Meribel Village

We were based in Meribel village which is a short ski bus ride to Meribel Centre. 
I was surprised with how small the village was!  Literally one bakery, one bar, and two restaurants.

The Lodge Bar & Restaurant was the big "apre-ski place"...well I guess there is no other bar anyway!

The restaurant served good "rustic" food.  I liked it a lot :-)

They also served the local drink speciality - toffee vodka!  Mmmm!  If you are ever in Meribal you must try.

O'Sullivan's Bar aka The Den, Meribel Centre

Food was lovely but I did think that the menu could do with a little more choice

I loved the way the ice-cream was served in an Old-Fashioned tumbler!

Here is the bill for 8 people.  There is no service charge or tip included on this total.

Saturday 15 March 2014

St Patrick's Day 2014 #IrelandInspires (We do damn good rugby!)

Ireland won the Six Nations today!  
On St Patrick's Day weekend, plus on the retirement of Brian O'Driscoll.
Makes me feel very proud to be Irish :-)

Check this video out...lots of other stuff that makes me feel proud to be Irish.

Happy St Patrick's day to all my friends near and far!


I am just back from a week in Meribel, France where we had a wonderful week of snow, snowboarding, sun (yes sun!), sauna, spa and steamroom.

I will post more in the next few days - with pics - but in the meantime enjoy this video of me: particularly around the 30 second mark!!!!!!

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Have a look at some fabulous photographs :-) Support is needed! Your vote counts!

My sister's house is in the final/down to the last 5 for an Architizer award. It is an international/global architecture competition and they are up against houses in Norway, Japan and Germany! 

Please can you give them a vote. There is a public choice award and a jury award. So while it is a long shot that they will win, wouldn't it be great to think that a small practice (ODKM Architects - facebook) in Ireland could every vote counts! 

Hover over "Ranelagh House" and click vote - you can vote via facebook or with gmail. I think the fb option is easier... Thanks in advance all!

So in my post title I promised you some fabulous photographs!

Sunday 2 March 2014

Irish homes featured in Ikea magazine

If you have been following my blog you may have seen that I was recently featured in the Ikea Live magazine.  If you have not seen the feature yet then check out the article on the Ikea Live Magazine website.

You might also be interested in seeing another Irish house which was recently featured - I follow a lovely blog by Ashling from Cavan and her house was featured last year.

Ashling's house feature in the Ikea magazine is here.
And if you like her style in the magazine you will love her All things nice 4 life blog which as the name suggests contains all kinds of niceness!

Happy Sunday all!

Seafood starter

I had neighbours over for dinner last night which was really lovely.
For mains I made steak and chips with green beans and baton carrots.  For starters I intended buying some party food from M&S and just throwing it in the oven.

But strangely enough they only do their party food at Christmas :-(
So I had to make my starter :-(

First I got all my glassware arranged.  The mini glasses are actually schnaps glasses from Ikea.  I have always wanted mini martini glasses but they are so expensive, so these are a great compromise.
In the middle of the tray I have two little mini kiln jars which I think are so cute!  I filled these up with hummus from M&S.
The mini little tea spoons were given to me by a school friend - via facebook - I asked on fb did anyone know where I could buy mini spoons and she said she would post some to me (her husband is Turkish and they use these spoons with their tea/coffee which they serve in mini cups).  Wasn't that nice of her!  I love social media for things like this :-)

Mini Prawn Cocktail
Crackers & Peri Peri Hummus
Prawns & dip
Deconstructed Brown Bread & Salmon 
(If you'd like step by step instructions to make the salmon click here)

So that was the starter!  I wish I took a picture of the main because I had it laid out much nicer then the way I normally serve steak and chips - I had the chips laid out criss cross 3 on top of 3 etc.  Plus the beans and carrots were stacked nicely as well.

My neighbour Dee brought dessert.  Homemade from scratch!  
A pecan and redcurrant bakewell.  FABULOUS!
We also nibbled on some 60% dark chocolate which tasted very nice with the wine.

It was a lovely evening.  And bonus my head is okay this morning.