Thursday 31 March 2016

Passport drama

 A couple of nights ago Enid rang me with the news that there may be an issue with my passport - as there was with hers.  The issue is that we both got our last passport in August 2006.   In October 2006 Ireland started issuing "electronic" passports which meant we are part of the last batch of "non-electronic" passports in Ireland.
So what's the problem sez you. 
Well!  Enid spotted a notification on her facebook feed from the American Embassy stating that from the 2 April you can no longer get an ESTA (visa waiver) if you have a non electronic passport. Instead you must make an appointment with the embassy for an interview for a full Visa.  Eek! We didn't want to have to do that.  So we decided we'd just get new passports - they were up in August 2016 anyway - and once we have the new passport we will apply for the ESTA.
Enid sent hers off via Passport Express on Tuesday and using their tracking can see it is in the Passport office now.  I was going to send mine this weekend but we figure the passport office will be busy with this issue  (in addition there have been 2 bank holidays lately which am sure is not helping their turnarounds) I decided I should get mine in as soon as possible. 
So on my lunch today I got photos taken, went to the garda station for my form to be stamped and then to the GPO where I sent it off by passport express. Phew! 
Hopefully things will go smooth from here and we will have the passports back soon.

Monday 28 March 2016

Reflecting the Rising

 It's been a lovely weekend here in Dublin, with all that was going on to celebrate the Easter Rising of 1916.

On Saturday I was in town around O'Connell Street and Moore Street (key locations in the Rising) to feel the atmosphere and see the setting up for the State Commemorations on Sunday.

The GPO and the seating areas for the dignatories.

I considered going into town on Sunday morning but then I figured I'd have a better view from my tv, so I enjoyed the great parade from the comfort of my couch.  Well done to all who took part and the organisers, it was wonderfully done.

Today, Easter Monday, I decided to go into town to take part in the scheduled  #ReflectingTheRising events

I got off the train at Connolly Station and walked up Talbot Street with The Spire in our view.  When I arrived I walked slap bang into a Republican Movement parade on O'Connell Street - complete with marchers in their "uniforms" of sunglasses and black berets, and with informally uniformed gardai (jackets & baseball hats) spectating.  So, um that was, um interesting.

I then headed across the Liffey as my plan was to go to Merrion Square where I wanted to see the vintage car display.

I stopped at Bank of Ireland where there was a group of young folk performing some street theatre.

Followed by a lone piper in 1916 garb

I then continued onwards up to Grafton Street and walked through St Stephen's Green - where there was a lovely atmosphere I must say.

Music in the bandstand (ceiliesque type band) and deckchairs to sit on in St Stephen's Green

 From there on to Merrion Square which was busy with a  lot of families and children! 

There I am in the centre of this pic beside a lovely old Dublin lamp-post with vintage Bus Eireann buses in the background.

I do love vintage cars.  Sigh, remember my baby which I no longer have :-(

A lovely "wedding party" from the period in front of a doorway in Merrion Square. 

At this point town was getting very busy with a lot of people (mainly families) so I decided I would go for something to eat (Pitt Bros) and head home.  I got a 2pm train so it was good to get back nice and early - still allowing some time for relaxing before getting ready for back to work tomorrow.

I hope you had a lovely Easter!

Saturday 26 March 2016

Changing Times, Changing Tastes

 As you know I have acquired some quirky new crockery recently, read about it here. On that basis, this weekend I am getting rid of the last dregs of my old (and now discontinued) Denby blue reflex set
This is all that remains of the set I bought approx. 15/16 years ago.  I cannot describe how much I adored this pattern back then.  And I cannot describe how much I abhor it now!
Ok so "abhor" is a strong word.  There is nothing wrong with it, I guess my taste has just changed...and that's ok!
This is my new crockery.  
It's hickey and fussy and a little ironic because of that :-)
If I get 15/16 years out of these too I will be happy I tell you! 
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Update. I put the Denby up on facebook and a friend of mine who bought her set around the same time as me is going to take them.  I am glad to see that they will be reused. She has bought new crockery since then but has a few of the Denby left - and her husband apparently loves them. 

Suncream haul

 In preparation for my Summer holidays in May I have bought my suncream. 
Generally I keep an eye on Boots and buy when it is on special. I buy for Mam and myself  - because it is the only way to get Mam to wear suncream, she is of that 70's generation who loves to fry in the sun, grrrrr. I must admit I like to fry a little myself, as compared to my twin sister who is so careful and meticulous in the sun, so I tend to buy Piz Buin or Hawaiian Tropic - there is something about the oil and the brown packaging I find reassures me I will get a deep dark tan while still protecting myself.
Enid has bought her creams from Dealz in the past and has good reports on them.  As the ones I like are expensive - even after the reduction in Boots - I decided to check out the Dealz ones.  I was really surprised they had oils rather than just cream so I decided I'd get them.
These are for Mam.  The white box (Miracle Tan) on the left is a tan moisturiser/accelerating cream for use before and after sun exposure.  Mam does not like starting higher than 15/20 but she makes exception for factor 30's when they are oil.
These are mine - I am hoping there will be some factor 30 left over from Mam and Enid when I arrive to Key West (they are there for 2 weeks ahead of me).  I got the Miracle Tan for myself also.  Plus I got a sun prep moisturiser which I will start using now.
Next up is where the trouble starts!
I thought long and hard and decided I'd go mad and get a factor 8 oil that Mam and I can use in the last few days of our hol. 
When I got it home I realised I had picked up the wrong bottle and this is a zero sunscreen oil. Eeek!!!
I will go back and get a bottle of the factor 8. 
Not sure what to do with this bad boy though! 

Friday 25 March 2016

Great Friday

 In my earlier post today I explained how Enid was staying in my house yesterday eve and today.
We had such a super day and did loads!
After breakfast we went for an hour long walk around my area - and where Enid used to live.  In fact we walked past her old house which was interesting to see. 
When we came back after our walk it was so nice and sunny, and as we were thirsty we sat outside the back listening to records and drinking oj.  As you can see in the bottom right of the pic we had the record player outside, but evey time the wind blew the record blew right off!  So we had to sit it just inside the back door, but we could still hear it.
Afterwards we watched a film which I had specifically invited Enid over to watch: Mary, the making of a Princess.  A fabulous (made for tv!!!!) true story film about the romance of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.  Theirs is a lovely story *sigh*
Afterwards we went over to the Towncentre where Enid got some great bargains in GAP which she was delighted with.
The towncentre had some "lovely" decorations up for the 1916 celebrations.


 Enid stayed over with me last night as she was in Wetherspoons in Blanchardstown meeting friends, and as we both had the day off work we had decided we would meet and watch a film.  Normally I go to Enid's house so it was a nice treat to have her staying in mine.
 For breakfast we had nice streaky rashers served on my new plates which I am so happy with.  We used my "good" cutlery too which looked great with the plates.
Later that day we had smoked salmon and a perfectly poached egg.
Did I mention how perfect the poached egg was?! 

Tuesday 22 March 2016

What is happening in the world?

Today on the train into work I saw the horrific news that there had been explosions in Brussels airport and metro station with multiple fatalities. 
Since January 2016 there has been 5 bombings in Turkey. 5 dead, 2 Irish injured in the recent Istanbul attack. 37 killed in Ankara.
All coming on the heels of the Paris attacks in November 2015 where there were 130 people killed - 89 in the Bataclan theatre alone.

I just don't understand the people who do these things?  How do they have so much hate in their heart? How can they justify what they have done? *sigh*

I finish by quoting a tweet from Caitlin Moran
"Always good, on days like this, to remind everyone that the guys blowing up Brussels are THE PEOPLE THE REFUGEES ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM"

New crockery!

 On my lunch break today I spotted an absolute bargain of some fabulous Spode on sale in a cheapy little shop (Michael Guineys!) on the very dodgy Talbot Street.

Large plates were €2.99 and the small side plates were €1.99.  At this price it is clear they are "seconds" - and while they were not marked as such I can see (very) slight variations in colour and shape confirming this to me.  This evening I have looked online and see that normally the large plates are priced at between €30-40 each (eek!) so I am over the moon with my find.

I absolutely adore them!

Love it!

How adorable is this guy?!

Sunday 20 March 2016

Cleaning chores

 You may have read about my friend Laura's visit yesterday. This morning we got up early and drank nespresso.  Laura wanted to visit the National Botanic Gardens so she got a 10am train to Drumcondra and walked to the gardens from there.
She sent me this pic to show she had arrived!
In the meantime I cleaned my bedroom from top to bottom which felt good to get done.
I sorted through some clothes and sorted them into bags for the charity shop and bags for the charity clothes bin.  These shoes unfortunately are headed to the bin.  They were from my wedding party in 2007 (Lydia wore them with a  gold dress as a bridesmaid) but the strappy material has now dried out so hard that they would cut your feet if you wore them eek!

Easter Egg time!

I received a gift of this most beautiful egg ever! 
There is always something exciting (eggciting!) about a giant Easter egg :-)
With it came some luscious chocolates 

Dublin day out

 Yesterday I had a friend of mine from Galways staying with me.  Laura has been my friend for almost 20 years (God I'm old) and during that time she hasn't changed a bit.  Meeting with her is always a breath of fresh air.
Laura got the train up from Galway and we met in Dublin city centre.  Our first port of call was Temple Bar where there was a nice food market on. 
We got take away coffees and made them adult beverages with the addition of a little bambino of Baileys.  Heck it was cold and Laura was on a mini holiday :-)
We pottered around town, strolled up Grafton Street - where at the top there were these two wonderful guys (Lords of Strut) performing super comedy gymnastics in crazy 80's lycra gear.  They were hilarious!
We then strolled on a little further and visited The Little Museum of Dublin.
I have been many times before but this was Laura's first
This guy was our tour guide and he was excellent
Laura and Bono in the U2 room :-)
Myself in the U2 room. This chair was so comfortable!
Afterwards we went for a bit to eat, then got the train out to Donabate where we met Enid.  We went back to her house where we had lovely tapas and wine, and we got into the hot tub.  It was a great evening. 
Later that night Laura and I got the luas and train back home to my house.  We were pretty tired and went straight to bed when we got in - we had packed in a lot in a long day.

Friday 18 March 2016

St Patrick's Day celebration in Dublin city

 I was in work yesterday but I did take a trip up to O'Connell Street to catch some of the atmosphere of the parade during my lunchbreak.
The crowd was very deep so it was impossible to see the parade aside from via the big screens!
I think we can safely assume that Dublin is sold out of those silly hats!
So that was yesterday. 
Today on my lunch break I drank espresso and read a Key West and Ernest Hemingway book 

Monday 14 March 2016

Spring is springing

 On Saturday for the first time this year the sun shone and it almost felt warm. It feels like Spring is officially here, and it also points to Summer which is even better!
Another sign of Spring is the daffodils have come up.  I love daffodils at this time of the year as they always remind me Easter - which is always a nice time with family and time off from work.
Enjoy these photos of the lovely daffodils from my walk home today (I got off the train a station early to get a 30 minute walk in).

Sunday 13 March 2016

Rock of Ages!

Road Trip!!
It was a really lovely sunny day yesterday in Dublin - just perfect for a road trip for Cousin Kasey, myself and Enid
When we arrived to Athlone we checked into our lodgings and then went for a stroll along the river.  The weather was not as bright as it was in Dublin but still nice and mild and it is beginning to feel like Spring.
Athlone was much more picturesque than I ever imagined - you can see the castle and a large church (cathedral even?) in the background.
While on our walk I got a call from mam who said that she was with Dad and Faith in Sean's Bar, so we headed down to see them.
We had one drink in Sean's Bar and as time was getting on (the show was on at 8pm) we said we'd head back to Murphy's Law where we were staying for some food and to get ready.
'twas just pub grub but surprisingly good.  Nice presentation too!
From there we headed to the theatre which conveniently was just 2 minutes walk
The set - exactly like the London and Dublin productions
The show itself was PHENOMENAL!  Athlone Musical Society can be very very proud of themselves.  As you may know Enid and I have seen the London production and the Dublin production and the Athlone version stands up very well to them.  Of course Katie was incredible (I am not biased at all!!!!!!!) and we were all very proud of her.
Here is the little superstar herself after the show. 
I posted this photo on facebook and a few people are saying we look like triplets??? I don't see it to be honest.
Next morning we had coffees and fries in Murphy's Law and got on the road back to Dublin. 

DIY Sunday

 One of my favourite hobbies is doing DIY around the house

Today after coming home from Athlone (after an incredible evening - see my other blog post) I got my tools out and started working.

This is the door to what I call the "utility room".  It's not really a room - it's just a tiny little space where the washing machine is.

My diy plan was to replace the 3 coathooks on the door with something a little nicer.  It took about a half hour in all - measuring, marking drill holes, drilling, installing rawl plugs and then finally screwing in place.

And here is the finished product a cool mid century inspired/Eames reproduction coat hanger.