Sunday 31 January 2016

New old Logo

Lately I had noticed that a lot of pubs and big signs on their exterior - similar to the mug of Guinness in this pic.  And last night I noticed they had these signs/logos on the  Guinness taps (in Flannerys in Limerick).
This picture/logo is one I remember from my childhood of late 70's/early 80's and this mug/cup/glass is what I remember my Grand-da drinking Guinness out of at Christmas time.
"If you hold on to something long enough it comes back into fashion"

Freddy's, Limerick

 Last night  I met up with the gang who went to Cancun with in 2015 - The Mexicans as we call ourselves!
We went to a lovely restaurant in Limerick called Freddy's where we had some fabulous food and wine.  Below are a pic of my main and starter.
Madras curry prawns
Pork belly
The Mexicans :-) 

Saturday 30 January 2016

Revlon Star Attraction

I bought fab new nail varnish today.  It's a really nice deep plum colour and will go well with the dress I am wearing tonight.
It's a funny nail varnish - it has a magnet on the top of the lid.  After painting your nails you hold the magnet over the nail and it is supposed to form a star burst pattern on your nails.  It does not work!  But no problem as the colour is so nice. 

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Look away now if you don't like blood!

I warned you!!!
If you don't like blood look away now!
Here is me in work yesterday taking part in a blood drive.
Last time the blood bank came to my work I was just back from what they called "the tropics" and what I saw as "just Cancun" and they couldn't take my blood.  They explained the reason was there are some tropical illnesses and bugs they don't screen for, so they just exclude completely to avoid risk of passing on the disease or illness to the receiver of the blood.  When they explained all this I completely understood why they would not want my blood right at that moment in time.
So when they came back I was very keen that I would be able to donate - particularly as stocks of blood are low at the moment.  I was worried about if they would be able to locate a vein as apparently my veins are very small and buried deep.  Two different nurses had to try get my veins and thankfully one of them was successful.  He gave me some advice about next time - hydration, loads of water in advance and avoid tea or coffee which is a diuretic.
After donating I  had some nice goodies of crisps, pepsi and chocolate - don't you love the way you can eat this stuff guiltfree after giving blood!
After work that evening I continued my "charitable donations" as I went to my local library where I have volunteered to help an older person with computer skills (through Age Action).  I was matched with a lovely lady who needs help learning to get used to her smartphone so I am looking forward to working with/helping her over the next few weeks (5 in total)

Sunday 24 January 2016

What I am....

Dark Places from the writer of Gone Girl - which I heard just last week is going to be made into a film. It's quite good, but not as good as Gone Girl.
I went to see Room yesterday and it is a magical and amazing film. Particularly so considering the subject matter.  Directed by the Dublin born Lenny Abrahamson I thoroughly recommend this Oscar  nominated film.
I also saw Creed in the cinema last week.  It's not a masterpiece but it was great entertainment.  Sylvester Stallone is the best I've seen him for a long time.
...listening to
The late great David Bowie is currently on my playlist on the ipod. RIP legend. 

Brunch - The Great Wood, Blanchardstown (Wetherspoons)

 I met with Enid and Alice this morning for brunch in Wetherspoons (The Great Wood) in Blanchardstown. 
We took a while perusing the menu.  Alice had never been before and was very impressed with all the choice and the price.  Enid and I still can't get over the cost of alcohol - particularly the premium brands like Grey Goose and Belvedere - although it was a bit too early for drinking today!
Enid got the large breakfast - €6.95 including a drink (tea/coffee/soft drink).  It really was Large, and she picked at it and ate half of it (leaving the carbs - the bread & hash browns etc)
I really liked Alice's stack of American pancakes (3) and rashers.  This came with a  drink also - Alice got coffee.  Plus she also ordered a (freshly squeezed) orange juice and it all came to €7.50 approx.
I got a southern fried chicken wrap with chipotle mayonnaise.  I hadn't realised it came with chips and I didn't eat any of them - I am calorie counting at the moment! Mine came to €6.25.
Even better than the food was our topic of conversation.  We are planning a big trip for our (big) birthdays in November 2017 so talk was all about what we were looking for in our trip to Key West in 2017! 

Saturday 23 January 2016

Tiger purchases

 Yesterday after work I went to the towncentre for an opticians appointment - my eyes are perfect btw - and then I took a stroll around the Tiger shop.  I like Tiger and always find something or other.  And it was no exception this time!
I bought myself a set of markers and a colouring book which is apparently a great aid to they say anyway.
I also bought a faux copy of an Eames Hang it All coat rack,  It's not the best copy I've ever seen, but it was only a fiver.  Plus there is no installing needed - it just goes over the door (I've put it in my en-suite for the moment).  So it will do for the moment until I can afford the real thing.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Come Dine With Me - hints & tricks

Yesterday evening I hosted the ski gang for a Come Dine With Me.  After the last ski trip one of the group suggested it as a means of making sure we all met regularly throughout the year.  This was the 4th meet up, and it was successful in it's objective because the next trip away is next month.
On arrival I had a few little nibbles - some crisps and my aunt's famous South African recipe, which is just Sweet Chilli sauce drizzled over Philadelphia served with Melba toast.  Everyone absolutely adored this and said they were going to rob the recipe.
I am not ashamed to say that I used as many tricks and bought as much pre-prepped food as possible.  I bought diced chicken (above) which really helped in the cooking process - I need to lightly fry all the chicken before placing in the slow cooker.  For the salad for the starter (with fish cakes) I brought pre-packaged salad (green leaves and red/beetroot leaves) which just needed to be arranged on the plate.
I was nervous about doing rice for 7 people - my rice cooker is great for 2 but I've never done it for so many people.  In order to get as fluffy as rice as possible I rinsed and washed the rice throughout the day.
These are the cherry tomatoes for the starter.  Have you seen this hack for cutting them in half?
It worked really well.
For dessert I did a trio of mini desserts.  For the lemon mousse I cheated and bought it in Marks and Spencers and piped it in to little glasses for a nice presentation.  I had attempted baking brownies on Friday night but they didn't come out good so I bought some in starbucks on Saturday morning (one starbucks brownie cut into 4 little squares equals a mini dessert!)
Here is how I made the mini (and medium) size strawberry cream puffs
I cut them in half - put strawberry jam, strawberry and cream inside and sieved icing sugar on top.
How cute do the little mini ones look!
I couldn't have done it without these two guys. I felt very industrial with the big portions in both of them.  The General Tso's chicken was the hit of the night and I will make it again no doubt - while labour intensive at the early stages (frying the chicken), once in the slow cooker there is no work at all, plus it is very easy when serving that evening.
We finished off the evening with some darts and snooker games (Killers) in the gamesroom.
All in all a really lovely night with a great group of friends. 

Sunday 10 January 2016

My flights are booked!

I have booked my flights for my big holiday in 2016 to Key West!
Mam and Dad have a house  and myself and my sisters are all going over .  I shall be going for the last two weeks of May and it goes without saying cannot wait!
Although we are going at different times, at one point we will all be there for a couple of days together. So we are planning one of our family traditions for this time - on Sunday 22nd of May we will go for the Mimosa Brunch in the Westin Hotel.
And in celebration of my flights being booked check out this fab workout gear from Marks & Spencers.  Love the tropical print - so Key West! :-)

An oldie but a goodie 1998

 Facebook threw up a "memory" at me this morning of a photo I had uploaded a couple of years ago.  I think it is such a cute photo that I am posting it here.
This is myself Katie and Lydia in the Phoenix Park.  I estimate it was around 1998 which would make the twins around 9 years of age and myself around 19/20.  It is such an innocent fun little pic I think.  We lived very near the Phoenix Park and it is a big part of my childhood memories the time spent there during summer days.

Hartstown Park Run

 Over the last couple of years park runs have become very popular in Ireland.  They are free events held in a local park every  Saturday - where you run 5km in a group and are officially timed
A couple of our neighbours were running on Saturday and I hitched a lift with them - planning on getting the bus when I got there - but then I figured I'd go in and watch them and support.
I met a guy I know at it and he joined their little group also.
I like these photos below a lot.  There was a photographer there taking photos for the Evening Herald. So while he was taking photos of the guys I took a photo of them being papped :-) 
We will be watching the Herald next week to see if their photo makes it.

Come Dine With Me 16th of January 2016

Come Dine With Me
16th January 2016
Cod Fillet Fish Cakes, Green Salad & Sweet Chilli Sauce
General Tso's Chicken
Served with Rice and Broccoli
A zingy refreshing palate cleanser!
A sweet trio of chocolate, strawberry and lemon
Freshly brewed Tea or Coffee
Petit Fours
Looking forward to seeing you on the night!

Saturday 9 January 2016

Shopping Saturday

 We were up nice and early this morning - I went and watched our neighbours doing a 5km park run.  After the run (10am) I got a lift over to the towncentre where I treated myself to a nice breakfast, coffee and a small bit of shopping.
There are some good sales on so I enjoyed the potter.  I was happy to see wrapping paper in Marks & Spencers reduced from €4.75 to €1.75 so I picked up a couple of rolls which I have now thrown into the Christmas tree bag for next year.
I was especially happy with this cute little Bev Ridge (geddit?!) caddy from Debenhams
I saw it last week when it was €10, reduced from €20.  Today I got it for €6
It came with some lovely hand wash, hand cream and nail files.  And while I'll use these products this wasn't the main reason for me buying this caddy.
I  am going to use it as part of my "barphanelia"!
It will be used to store my sugar for making caiproskas.  Doesn't it look well displayed on my drinks cabinet with the cute vintage Britvic pineapple ice bucket! 

Sunday 3 January 2016

Review Marks and Spencers Smoked Salmon and Lemon Mousse-filled pearls

 If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know how much of a fan I am of Marks & Spencers food.  And if you have been following recently you may recall me posting about their new for Christmas Gleaming Salmon Mousse Pearls which I was extremely excited to see in my local M&S.
Enid and I met today and rather than going for lunch out we decided we'd get some M&S food and stay in and chat in her house.  As we were going in to the shop I was telling Enid all about the Salmon Mousse pearls and we decided we'd treat ourselves to them.  They are not cheap at €8.79 if you recall.
Well boy were we happy to find that there was just a few left and that they were reduced to clear at €2.45
They just look so impressive don't they!
I have posted this photograph to give you the sense of their size.
Unfortunately at this point we verge into a horror story,
While the mousse inside was just ok (I was expecting similar to the Lochmuir salmon and salmon mousse terrine, but it was a richer tarter flavour and with no salmon on the outside was a different texture).
The "shell" of the pearl is something that I can only describe as something that was "cooked up in lab".  While we assume it is a food/for consumption we simply could not eat it (as you can see from the photo).  It felt like an odd flesh like substance when cutting through it.  There was no real flavour identifiable from it.  It's possibly made from a mixture of cream cheese and gelatine...but we're not sure, it's a wild guess.  In fact I have tweeted M&S to ask what it is made from. 
All in all very disappointing. 
I'd give these 2/10 - one point for the "ok" mousse, and one point for the cool presentation.  And that is based on paying the reduced at price.
At full price I'd give these 0/10

Saturday 2 January 2016

Christmas tree storage

 In an earlier post this week I wrote about buying a bag to store the Christmas tree
Best €14.99 ever spent! 
All my decorations and tree - in just this bag and one box!
I am very happy with it.  For the past few years we have been storing the tree in the gamesroom because it's been too difficult to get the wretched old box up into the attic.  That, and it being  bit damp in the attic...  But with this new bag we may try the attic again. 

Friday 1 January 2016

New Years Eve 2016

 Happy New Year everyone!
I really enjoy new years eve every year - from the fun party aspect and for what it represents as a fresh new start etc. (And a new diet!!!)
Last night I headed across the road to our neighbours house and met up with some other neighbours.  We had some lovely cheese from the Cork market and prosciutto and crackers.
I brought over a seafood platter with coquille st Jacques and filo and tempura prawns.
I also brought over my aunts South African speciality - sweet chili sauce, cream cheese and melba toast.
At about 10pm we all headed to another neighbours house who were having a party to celebrate New Years Eve and their 25th wedding anniversary.  
At midnight we took our champagne glasses outside and watched some fireworks which someone was setting off from the green behind our houses - which was a really really good display.  It's quite a Dublin thing to open your front door/go outside at 12 on NYE - all the ships in Dublin port/docks blow their horns and depending on the wind you might hear it from your house (well we used to be able to in the Navan Road anyway).
It was all good craic.  At one point I was grabbed up from my chair to lead a mini congo line in the living room and heck I figured it was new years eve so I lead that conga line through the kitchen into the hallway and right out the font door :-) We did a little circle of the garden, the road and then back into the house.
I left around 2.30am which I was glad of this morning.  Today I am not doing much - am just lying on the couch watching the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer which has everyone talking at the moment.  I am engrossed in it (all those twists and turns!) but god I am emotionally drained watching it!!!
In other news spare a thought for my sister Lydia who left to go home to the Middle East 9am Irish time yesterday, and was delayed in Dublin due to snow in Istanbul, eventually arriving at 6am this morning.  She is now stuck in Turkey until 7pm tonight.  She will be glad to finally get home...if she gets out of Istanbul as planned.