Sunday 29 March 2015

DIY Sunday

With Spring/Summer coming in I've found that my curtains are just not good enough to keep the early morning light out.  And this means I am waking up about 6 or 6.30am every morning...and hence I am tired...and then not sleeping's a bad cycle!

So last week it got so bad that I was driven to put black refuse sacks up on my window.  
Oh dear God it looked awful! As you can see :-) 
Plus also because they are recyclable type bags they are light/thin and didn't really work at blocking the light out.  And yes I have some books blocking some gaps also.

How bad does this look!!!!

I was going to ring a blind company and beg see if someone could come out this weekend. But then someone in work told me that their husband put one up themselves and it was relatively easy - and much cheaper than getting a company in to do it.
This blind cost €29.99 from Harry Corry

It took me about 2 hours in total.  
It was not difficult but there were lots of different elements - measuring, cutting, drilling, screwing etc.  
As I said not difficult, but I wouldn't be rushing to put another one up.

Well this, I think you will agree, is much better than my previous solution!

Chicken dish - 3 ingredients and a slow cooker

You will remember from my last post that I bought a slow cooker. 
Below are the results of my first dish from it!

Because it was 4pm when I got home from the shop the chicken was only cooked at 10.15 (6 hours cooking) last night.  So I had just a little taster before bed last night.  This chicken above is from 2 drumsticks, and it just fell off the bone.

I poured the liquid from the slow cooker into a saucepan and reduced it for about a half hour.  The flavour was very intense, I have may have reduced it a little too much.

Plain chicken and rice waiting for the lovely sauce

Eh voila!
I think it looks very rustic.

In terms of flavour it is quite salty.  But nice!
I will list below the volumes I used below, but I think I will adjust next time.

12 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup of soy sauce - I am going to use 1/4 cup next time
1 cup of coca-cola - I am going to use 1 & 1/4 next time

Saturday 28 March 2015

Slow Cooking!

I've been hankering after some slow cooked meat for ages so today I went out and bought myself a slow cooker (or crock pot as I believe they are known state-side)

They really are not expensive.  This was €20 reduced from €26 in Argos. It has a 3.5l capacity.

What I particularly like about this one is the attractive bowl you cook in which can be brought straight to the table as a serving dish.

So! No time like the present! 
I got straight to cooking!

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1 cup or 8oz of coca-cola (next time I will just buy a can!!)

The soy sauce and coke goes in to the cooker with 12 chicken drumsticks.

Low setting for the next 6 hours.

Check back later (in 6 hours!!) for my next blog post showing how it turned out!!!

Edit.  Here is my my next post which shows you how it all turned out

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Babyliss Big Hair

Over the weekend when I stayed in Enid's I used her Babyliss Big Hair.  I found it fantastic! 

I actually have one myself which I brought about two years ago and used literally once.  The difference I think is the length of my hair now.  It is mid length now compared to the LONG that it used to be.

So when I went home I went on a big search for my Big Hair.  I had intended giving it away when I never used it two years ago, and I was afraid that I had done so and I wouldn't be able to find it.  
Luckily I found it buried at the bottom of  wardrobe.

The secret behind the Babyliss is this big brush head which rotates, while hot hair blows out of it - this is what creates both the big hair/body, plus gives your hair a lovely shine.

I am really happy I have found this.  If I hadn't found it I was going to buy one this weekend which would be a crime considering I had never used this one - they are not cheap at approx. €55.  But worth every penny!

Sunday 22 March 2015

Ireland, 6 nations champions!

Don't you just love Saturdays!

Enid, Lydia and I met up in Starbucks where I had a hazelnut machiatto.  I have a feeling I was given a caramel machiatto lol, but whatever it was it was great :-)

Then we went to Enid's where we had the BEST Irish breakfast ever. Rashers and sausages (Tesco's Finest), Clonakility black pudding and  fried eggs.
An Irish fry is the best thing to eat on rugby weekend. Fact!

It was a really lovely bright day yesterday.  
So bright, that as you can see we needed our sunglasses on our way into the match.

The great news is that Ireland won the Six Nations cup in a thrilling match.

To celebrate we went and did some KARAOKE!!!!

Tuesday 17 March 2015

St Patricks Day parade 2015

Enid and I were lucky enough to get to take part in the St Patrick's day parade in Dublin today.  My very clever sister saw on facebook that the Dublin Cycling Campaign were looking for cyclists so she quickly signed us up.
Here we are before the parade with our bikes decorated and our flower pot headpieces on our head.  The dress code was blue to match the Dublin Bikes.

Some of our group before the parade

How happy do I look to be in the parade?!

There is Enid on the right of the pic.  She had Bones in his "doggyride" attached to the back of her bike.  You would not believe all the attention that little mutt got!
"awwwwww, look at the dog"

Here are some more pictures of our group along the parade route.
I think we looked like the parades of my childhood - where if you had a flag on your person or your float you were all set for the parade.  Very different from the "artiness" on display at the parade today.
I liked our "kitschness" or "old schoolnesss" in this respect :-)

There's Bones in his carrier

Sunday 15 March 2015

Sunday Sunday

This afternoonI prepped my outfit for St Patrick's day. 
Newsflash!  Exciting news - Enid and I are going to be part of the parade in a bike group.

We have to dress "smart" and blue is to be the main colour (there is a lot of other green in the parade and the bikes we will be on are blue so blue will make impact).  We will be provided with quirky headpieces...

Here is my outfit.  I am trying to balance wearing something blue, plus staying warm.

And here is what Enid plans to wear.

Finally, finally I thought you might like to see my sister Katie's starbucks mug collection which she just texted to me.  I bought her the Abu Dhabi one :-)

Friday 13 March 2015

Mother's Day 2015

For mother's day coming this Sunday I bought my mam a little small gift from L'Occitane - luckily she doesn't read my blog so won't see this before I give it to her :-)

When she sees it initially she will likely wrinkle her nose.  
She wouldn't be a fan of creams/perfumes/lotions as a gift....but I think she will like this.

I got her a quirky little leaf shaped soap dish.

And a soap that fits nicely in it and smells divine!

Happy Mother's day Enie!

Thursday 12 March 2015

Blood drive

I attended the blood donation clinic today as part of a work blood drive .
The clinic is conveniently located right in the centre of the city about 5 minutes walk from my office.

It was pretty quiet so it wasn't long before I was sitting on their very comfortable reclining chairs.
As always there was trouble locating a vein in my arm but after a couple of tries the nurse managed to find one.  I was relieved about that as on occasions in the past I have not been able to give blood because of my small and disappearing veins!  

According to their records the last time I gave blood was in 2003!!!  I just could not believe this.  I knew it was a long time but I would have said maybe 6 or 7 years, not 12!!!

Blood donating is always a good excuse to eat junk food! 

As I said at the beginning of the post the clinic is located in the centre of town.  Here is the view from their window of O'Connell Street and The Dublin Spire
Quite a dirty old day in dear old dirty Dublin as you can see.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Trip to Abu Dhabi (and Dubai)

Back in January of this year I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of a project team that would be based in Abu Dhabi for two weeks.
It was an incredible experience from both a work and travel perspective and as you can see below I have lots of great photos which I would like to remember forever, and am long overdue posting/blogging about.

We stayed in the Courtyard by Mariott hotel, a newly opened hotel beside the Trade Centre in Abu Dhabi. Nice new modern decor and I could not say anything bad about the staff, they were excellent.  For a newly opened hotel it is obvious they invested a lot in the training of their staff.

As a work trip, but "reasonably hot", I had to plan a different work wardrobe compared to Ireland in January.  Here are some pics of clothes I wore to work, plus to evenings out.

The United Arab Emirates working week is Sunday to Thursday.
On Thursday, after work myself and a colleague hopped in a taxi and visited the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.  It was BREATHTAKING!  
In order for women to go inside and view it, you had to wear an abaya.  They rented them out to foreigners on production of ID. 

Here are some buildings and views in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (we were in Dubai for one day for meetings).
The building with the pink lights, at the top, is the hotel in Yas Island where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held.  The Grand Prix actually goes through the hotel at one point!!!
The views are taken from inside the buildings.  They were very tall - I think the views look like I took them from an airplane.

We partook in the famous expats tradition of Friday Brunch.  Because of the working week their Friday is equivalent of our Saturday.  A lot of hotels offer an all inclusive (including alcohol) high quality brunch.  
It was amazing!

The amazing buffet aside, I was very happy with all the other food I ate.  I really enjoy Eastern type food and one of the best places we ate in was in the souk beside us - a Lebanese or Turkish type of casual restaurant.  This was recommended to us by my friend Rory who lives in Abu Dhabi, hi Rory if you are reading this!  I met up with Rory twice which was really nice.  I wish I took some photos :-(

Finally here are some photos from the area I stayed in. The bottom left photograph is of the souk which we walked through every day to get to our office.  The two big buildings to the right of that are the World Trade Centre.  And the pic above that is the view from my hotel room at night.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Snowboarding in France

I am just back from a week's snowboarding in Val D'Isere, France.

The mountains of Val D'Isere are incredibly picturesque.

And down in the village it was very quaint.
These cute little guys are in an Estate Agent's window!

For the first time this year I went on a Funicular which is an inclined train for going up and down the mountain.

It went through the mountain at one point (via tunnel) and the view coming out was beatiful.

This was a our group in a restaurant on the last night.  A group of promotion girls came in and made us play a silly game and then gave us prizes of hats and sunglasses.  Silly but fun!

A regular reader of mine commented that they thought Val D'Isere was the nicest of all the locations I have been to snowboard.
So on this basis I thought you all might like to see some more pics of the resort.