Monday 28 November 2016

Weekend fun

 On Friday night I had the two TSB girls over for our annual November get together - our birthdays are all within 4 days of each other and we always meet up for drinks and dinner.

While Louise got the train in from Leixlip, Ann was around the corner in Doheny & Nesbit's and I met up for a quick drink with my friend Cillian in Kehoe's on Grafton Street.

I was in a bit of rush but I quickly got the bar set up (most important!) and I think it looked super!

The girls arrived and we had a bit of craic in the apartment before heading out to eat. Ann as you can see was very taken with my vintage phone :-)

Mam gave me this dress for my birthday and I love it.  So comfortable, and I love the colours.

The obligatory group pic of us.  We have some collection of these pics from over the years!

We finally made it to Xico. 
Eek we were a bit late(!!) but they had held the table for us.

I got the chili as usual!  It's the best in Dublin as far as I am concerned.  Oh and a nice glass of Malbec went perfectly with it.

Xico turns into a late bar and nightclub and it gets pretty crazy.  It was good craic but the crowd were a little young, so we decided we'd head up to Harcourt Street to The Black Door which was much better suited to our age group...and we ended up staying out way too late.  But sure look birthdays only come once a year!
On Saturday morning I wasn't the best but made myself get up and go to the library for a few hours.  It was the best thing for me to be honest - the cycle in particular was good for clearing my head!

Saturday afternoon, I met Tara and Jackie in The Mint Bar for a natter and food and drink.
I had the lamb burger (which was pretty good) and a glass of Malbec.

Chocolate ganache pudding!  My favourite!

The weekend of eating continued...

In Mam's on Sunday I had the most massive dinner ever and then ate 2 of Mam's fab home made cream slices and chocolate cake for dessert.  Seriously!! I was out of control!

That evening I pottered over to Fade Street,  down Grafton Street and around Stephen's Green shopping centre.  I love the decorations in Stephens Geen so much :-)

Sunday 20 November 2016

The weather outside is frightul...

It has gone absolutely freezing in Dublin.  After being so mild for the last while it is quite a shock to the system!  This morning my phone told me it was -2 at about 10am.
So!  What have I been up to over the last while?!  A lot!  This weekend has been very busy - well during the day anyway.  I just chilled in the evenings which has been really really nice.
Yesterday I was in college getting an assignment done. Although it's not due until the weekend coming, I have stuff on next week so yesterday was literally my last opportunity to do it without stress.  I promised myself a glass of wine if I got it done and thankfully I did.
Enid and Ciaran, and a couple of friends were in the Gingerman pub  so I called into them (a nice 2 minute stroll from home to pub for me!) to watch Ireland play New Zealand in the rugby, and to collect on that glass of vino! We lost the match but to be honest I thought the referee was atrocious and some very bad calls were made - in particular about some of the All Blacks play.  Today I see that two NZ players have been cited but that's too late for us now...
This morning I slept in a little later than my usual.  I was glad of that.  I rang Enid and we arranged she'd call to mine for breakfast.

This is my latest obsession.  Fried avocado!!!

It's amazing I promise you!
Enid was apprehensive about it but she agreed yes it's amazing, And as I said to her - so good for you, pure brain food :-)

I eat it with rashers for breakfast.  Or with smoked salmon for lunch/dinner.
Afterwards we headed Northside as we had a few chores to do.  Enid wanted to return something to Debenhams, and I needed to pick up a few things in Debenhams and Argos. Plus I had promised Enid a hot chocolate in the new pop up hot choc café in Arnotts!

It's excellent hot chocolate - valhrona, real (melted) chocolate mixed with great Irish milk.

We sat in the Arnotts Christmas food & drink market and had a good old chat. 
After Enid had headed home I went and met my mother and her friend in Buswell's Hotel.  My mam's friend goes to South Africa for 3 months every year so Mam was catching up with her before Christmas, and before she left for SA.  Buswell's is such a funny place, it's like stepping back into the Dublin of the 1980's I always think!!

Funny story. 
When Enid and I go out together it is common for one, maybe two people to say to us at some point "are you twins??".  Well today literally every single person we interacted with said it to us - approx.6/7 different shop/café assistants.  And of course we ended up having a good old chat with every single one of them about twins and being twins.

Remember at the beginning of this post I mentioned the freezing weather?  The Winter hat is out... 

Thursday 17 November 2016

Go home Irish weather, you're drunk

This morning for my cycle into work at 8am it was absolutely lashing rain.  Bitter cold, biting rain - but thankfully my head to toe rain gear was up to the job.

Then at 10am there was great excitement at the sight of big flurries of snow. It was so wet from the rain there was never a chance of it sticking however.

And then, just one hour later at 11am this was the blue sky/view out my office window!

Tuesday 15 November 2016

A Day in the Life

Ugh!  Technical problems between my phone and stupid laptop means that I can only upload 3 of my photos to this blog, even though I took a good few more than that.  Apologies in advance.

Tonight I went to a lecture/book launch of "I Read The News Today, Oh Boy" which is the newest book from Paul Howard.  Paul is of course also known as Ross O'Carroll Kelly - and has written 17 RO'C books under this pseudonym over the last 10 years.   This book is a little different from the Ross books!

The book's genesis was an article that he wrote a few years back for the now defunct Sunday Tribune which when published he realised (plus people said it to him) that the story of Tara Browne deserved much more than just an article.  And so began his decade of research and interviewing of people who knew Tara, to tell the story of his short but wonderful life and the impact he had within that time.

Paul started by setting the scene of 1967,  The Beatles working in the studio and how John wrote A Day in The Life after flicking though the Daily Mail for inspiration - where he saw a newspaper report on Tara's death at the age of 21, and the subsequent granting of the custody of his two infant boys to his mother (and not his wife/the boys mother...)

We then were treated to the full story of Tara's life from his bohemian upbringing in Wicklow to his moving to France and then London his early teens at a pivotal time in history - the swinging sixties.  It was clear that this book not only captures the spirit of a person (Tara), but also the essence of a time and a place

I love this photo and story of The Rolling Stones, designers, musicians, models and other "celebs" of the day coming from London to Wicklow for Tara's 21st birthday party. 

Paul Howard as most of us know is a talented writer, but he is also a beautiful speaker and storyteller and I really enjoyed the evening.  I am very much looking forward to reading this book now!

I had a lovely chat with him about The Beatles and my recent trip to Liverpool - he then told me about some great Beatles stuff you can do in London which sounded great.  And of course he signed my book. 

Monday 14 November 2016

Celtic Whiskey Shop

On Sunday Enid and I went in to town to see the Christmas lights being turned on in Grafton Street.

On the way back we called into one of our favourite shops on Dawson Street.  They stock tons and tons of  great Irish and Scottish Whiskey (obviously).  But they also do other spirits. Namely vodka which is adult beverage of choice for Enid and I.  They also do great wines.  It's a great little place for a look around, or for advice if you are buying a nice wine for a gift etc.
The great news was they were doing a special on their vodkas.  I bought this Cold River vodka (from Maine) for €15 which was reduced from €65 so I was pretty happy with that.  I'm normally a Grey Goose or Belvedere fan so I will be interested in tasting this to see how it is.

Vintage vinyl

I called over to my sister's house on Sunday.  She has got some work (a big job!) done on her house recently so she had invited me over to see it.  Plus I was overdue a visit with my niece and nephew.

I am on the hunt for a particular album...which I cannot even get on the internet.  It seems to be out of stock on every site when I go press Order.  I have it on order in two shops in Dublin but neither can tell me when it will arrive (or even confirm it will arrive for definite!)
I thought my sister might have had a copy of it at one stage but she assures me not. 

In her garage she did have a  record collection which she said I could have look through and take anything I wanted -it was made up of some of her old stuff, some of my dad's old records, and some dodgy stuff that she is not sure where it came from at all.  I ended up taking about 10 and here are my favourite of them below.

Soundtrack to the film Buster.
The Four Tops singing "Going loco down in Acapulco" makes me happy EVERY SINGLE TIME I HEAR IT!!!!

This is a really good Dolly album with lots of her great songs.

Neil & Roy, two greats.

This is a good album of crazy 1980's stuff.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Sunday 6/11/16

Enid and I had arranged to meet this morning - it's nice having a reason to get up and out and town is always lovely at that time of morning.  She messaged me when she left her house and I walked towards her and we met up on Leeson Street, and from there we walked to St Stephen's Green.

We tried the new fudge hot chocolate from the Starbucks winter menu and it is awesome tasting!!!

Afterwards we pottered around the St Stephen's Green shopping centre.  We are big fans of the Dunnes with all their different ranges.

I had seen this dress in Lennon Courtney and was dying to try it on.  It's so beautiful, but I won't be buying it.  I don't have any events coming up and even if I did I have a couple of formal dresses in my wardrobe already so I really do not need it!!  But *sigh* it really is beautiful isn't it!

Seriously.  How gorgeous is this dress!!!!
It comes in black as well.  But I think this silver/grey is the nicest.

Afterwards I had to cycle to Rathmines to return something to a shop.  On the way back I figured I'd cycle a little further on to Mount Street and check out my old work building which the last time I saw it had hoarding all around it while being rejuvenated.

I'm not overwhelmed to be honest!  It's not much of a transformation.  The windows are different and there is a new entrance way.  That's pretty much it as far as I can see.  But no doubt a google or facebook will snap it up - office space in the D2 area is very scarce.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Saturday 05/11/16

This morning I got up early (for a Saturday!) and cycled into my office where I met up with a small group of colleagues who were all there for the same reason as myself - to see our beloved "Chariot of Life" statue being moved to its new home.
Our campus is undergoing a large regeneration project, and as part of this the statue is being moved forward on our main plaza towards Abbey Street where it will be more accessible by the public and the surrounding community.

Old position

New position

These photos are not great but as a record of the event they serve the purpose.  There was a company photographer on site to take photos too so if I see any on facebook etc I will post here.
It was a pretty big job - that statue weighs 5 tons!  But the engineers had it all under control and it was a pretty seamless job which took about an hour all in - but just approx. 5 minutes for the actual move once it was up out of it's original plinth.  The main bulk of time was spent taking it up, and then placing it down.

After this I went into college for the morning and most of the afternoon.

On the way home I dropped into The Kemp Gallery to see my brother in law Ciaran (aka Pigsy) and Kemp creating some collaborative art.  A good day of painting needs some good beer so they were drinking some craft beer from O'Brother Brewing - who had provided the beer for the opening night. It seemed to be doing the job as they were working on a great piece when I arrived.

That's Ciaran in the red, and Steve on the left of the photo with his hood up

I'm not a big beer drinker but I did enjoy sampling "The Fixer" while watching the art in progress and chatting with the lads and Enid. Oh and also! Ciaran sold two paintings today!!!  Sure it would've been rude not to toast to that! Simcoe

Friday 4 November 2016

Winter is coming

After a very mild last fortnight in October - really gorgeous weather actually - it has finally got very cold.  I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand I abhor the cold weather (I love the sun!), but on the other hand it does mean it is near Christmas which I love.  On that basis I try and embrace it....and just try stay warm!

To try stay warm I intend drinking lots of these!  Purely medicinal you understand.
This is the new drink on the Starbucks Winter menu - Hot Fudge Chocolate.  How great does it look!  They also have a Toffee Nut latte which I think I will have to try also (again, purely medicinal/to stay warm!).

Enid and I were chatting last night and she said she had taken out her Winter/snow boots. I was saying I needed a new pair and this morning she messaged me to say she had seen these and did I want her to pick them up for me.  They look so nice, I am dying to wear them!


I am planning a serious chill out this weekend. I have to go to the library tomorrow, and am meeting my mother on Sunday, but other that that I have nothing major planned - and am looking forward to just doing nothing!

*Actually I shouldn't really call it "doing nothing". I am doing something. 
Something really important at that! 
All of the above - drinking hot chocolate, wearing warm boots, staying in and relaxing this weekend - I am doing Hygge!
(For more info on hygge click here!)

Enjoy your weekend whatever you have planned dear reader!

Thursday 3 November 2016

Liverpool October 2017 - Trip Report

Obligatory pre-trip shot of Enid boarding the plane. Normally it's Ryanair and she has a puss on her face lol.

The view out the window was lovely but further below us it was not.  The weather had turned by the time we arrived to Liverpool from Dublin and there was a bad fog in Liverpool.  We circled the airport for a whole hour, and at that point diverted to Manchester.  We had no real agenda so it didn't bother us too much, but I did feel bad for people who were flying in for specific appointments etc.  Aer Lingus had a coach ready on our arrival and it was not too long of a drive from Manchester to Liverpool - plus it was a nice drive in English countryside.
I thought this photo was funny in Manchester airport.
"Hellooooooo! 1983 called, they want their briefcase back"
Like clearly there is something suspicious about this briefcase - it has time travelled back from the 1980's!
So on to Liverpool!  I am just going to post about the highlights of what we got up to. In no particular order, and I am leaving some stuff out but you will get a feel for our trip no doubt.
One of our main priorities of the trip (aside from doing lots of Beatles stuff!) was to visit The Tate Liverpool to see the Tracy Emin exhibit "My Bed",
I've been intrigued and fascinated by this art installation for the last 20 years and have always hoped that some day I would see it.  And now I have.
And now that I have seen it I actually don't think I have the words to tell you about it!!! It really needs to be seen to be believed.  It impressed me and appalled me in equal measures. And interested me, and repulsed me.  Quite amazing really.

This fella here spoke with Enid for 15 minutes about this picture...
Poor Enid.  She was overwhelmed(!)  Like she likes modern art and all....but!
The other highlight (aside from all the Beatles stuff!) was THIS!
This is Lime Street.  Unfortunately the sign is pretty faded and didn't come out great in then photo.
When Enid and I were in our early teens we used to read (and re-read!) and adore a series of 4 books by Liverpool author Helen Forrester.  The first book was "Twopence to Cross the Mersey", and then the final one in the series was "Lime Street at Two".  They are wonderful (true life) books about her and her family life just after the blitz in Liverpool.  Hers was an interesting story because her father and mother had actually been well off but their father had lost all their money in a business deal so the family were living in poverty in the 50's which while hard for all at that time, considering their background, and their (posh!) accents was even more challenging for them I think. 
When looking at Google maps we had seen that our hotel was near to Lime Street so we said we absolutely had to visit.

By visiting Lime Street this brought us into the Cultural Quarter so that was definitely a trip well worth making as you can see from the two photos above!


These two photos are from down near Albert Dock.  Liverpool was a much nicer city than I was expecting. 
As well as these lovely old buildings, there also were some very nice new modern buildings.  You can really see that Liverpool has been through a large rejuvenation.
The Beatles!!!
As a teenager I devoured books about The Beatles and listened to my dad's old tapes obsessively.
To be honest I had forgotten how great all their music is, and my obsession may be back...!
The entrance at the front of The Beatles Story
The museum is done very well with important aspects of the genesis of The Beatles recreated e.g. The casbah, the Hamburg star club, and the Cavern of course.  This here is the Mersey Beat office who were huge advocates of The Beatles and really quite integral in spreading their fame.

One of my favourite pieces of Beatles history - the band singing Let it Be on the roof of the Apple Offices in 1969.  One of their last appearances together.

Some of the lyrics of Imagine.
John Lennon, what a man.


This was up on the wall of the airport when I was leaving. 
It says a lot to me.
We also visited The Cavern, and it was brilliant!  It's a real live music venue still to this day. We saw two great young fellas playing guitars and singing Beatles and Bob Dylan songs.
Close to The Cavern was the Irish band KeyWest!
It was odd seeing them here as normally I see them on Grafton Street of a Saturday.  

This was the view from our hotel on the morning of the last day! As you know it was foggy and misty when arrived.  And it was like that on Day 2 as well.  So it was nice that it cleared so that we could see this great view at least once before we left.

We were situated near Liverpool One which was a really nice shopping area - so sure it'd be rude not to have checked it out eh!

John Lewis had some fab Christmas stock - as beautiful as their lovely Christmas ads!

Yup.  I went lunatic in Victoria's Secret.  I always do whenever I am in a city with a VS store
...I really wish we had one in Dublin.
We also did some clothes shopping and I got a few nice bits.  In particular a fab skirt which I'll wear at Christmas.  Oh and we bought lots of stuff for Christmas - that Enid, she loves Christmas, she's an awful bad influence on me!
Eek! All that shopping was difficult to pack.  I had packed lightly on the way over (just the backpack) but my TWO bags were stuffed full on the way back.

Today in work my new mouse mat made me smile.

Cheers! In summary, another great trip away with my twin sister :-) A big thank you to her for doing all the organising and booking!