Saturday 25 February 2017

What I have been up to...

I had Enid and Cousin Kasey over for drinks and chats last night. 

Quick and easy, I made Falling Water cocktails (sprite, vodka, cucumber and ice). 
I wish I took photos of the food - it was all really nice. And quick and easy as well (Ha! For "easy" - read "Marks and Spencers")

I finished a book!
I have been reading lots lately, as I normally do.  But I have been finding it really hard to see the books right through to the end and I've been picking up and putting them down for the last month.  Finally I finished one and it felt good!  Anne Tyler has written quite a few books so I am going to ask Enid to get me some more from the library and hopefully I will finish them too!

The French rugby team are staying in The Merrion hotel beside me. Ireland v France is on in the Aviva stadium today - and Enid just texted me to say she got a ticket for it , the lucky sucker :-)
The Irish team is staying where they always do - around the corner in The Shelbourne - handy location for them for their traditional kick/throwabout in St Stephen's Green on the morning of the match.

Cuba Gooding Junior in Dublin

Posting for posterity! 
I came across these two photos on an old twitter account of mine and as they are from 2011 (before blog!) they would never have been posted here on this old blog of mine.  So I figured I'd post them here - as it is a bit of an interesting story and also it saves them from getting lost forever.
So, 3 September 2011 exactly, Enid and I met Cuba Gooding Junior in Dublin.  I know that this is the exact date because he appeared on the Late Late Show on the night prior to that.  We were on our way to my friend's birthday party in Ballsbridge and popped into the bar in The Shelbourne for a quick pre-party cocktail.  And there was Cuba with his wife having a drink.
He was very nice and polite, and fair play to him, didn't seem to mind us coming over and having a little chat and getting a photo.
And here's the evidence!


Key tips

This is a bit of a lazy (cheat!) blog post but it has some good information and will serve a purpose/help someone in the future I am sure.

A friend of mine asked me for some Key West recommendations so I sent him an email which what was essentially just a bit of a mind dump of a mixed bag of KW things to see and do.  Anyway he seemed happy with it and lol, said I missed my calling as a travel blogger - which gave me the idea of posting it here. 

So here it is.  Things to do and see in the wonderful Key West, Florida (aka paradise):
Little White House is my favourite
Really enjoy Hemingway House also
I’d really recommend doing these…
Plus the lighthouse is nice too
If you want some “good” restaurant recommendations let me know.  Seven Fish comes to mind, & Santiagos Bodega…but if you want more let me know.  Oh! And Flaming Buoy. And Origami for sushi.
Loads and loads of bars along Duval, I am sure you will have no problem finding ones you like!
Sloppy Joes is good for music. Gets very packed at night though (very touristy).  I always thing it’s at its best in the late afternoon if there is music on.  Makes me feel like I am back in the era of Hemingway and that him and the "boys" could literally walk in the door for a drink to celebrate their day of catching big fish.
The Green Parrot is also good for music – off Duval. 
There are some really nice places to eat and drink “along the bight”.  Plus it is nice looking at all the boats. (It’s like a marina)
Half shell raw bar
Turtle Krals

I like this best for eating!!!
Don’t discount Happy Hours!  They are not about mad drinking over there like the way they are in Ireland.
Tends to be 4-6pm and all drinks and appetizers are half prices.
I’d really recommend trying out Alonzo’s during happy hour ….we treat it like tapas and order a load of different appetizers and share etc. 
Get the baked oysters (with parmesan and garlic), or the shrimp in spicy sauce!
(arrive early, it gets quite busy…)
My mother is obsessed with Kelly’s.  Specifically their chicken wings J
Owned by Kelly McGillis and her ex husband
It’s the original building for the Pan Am office in Key West.  They have a bit of a Top Gun museum in the front of it – opposite to the bar.
Happy Hour - If you sit at the bar during happy hour they have a half price menu and specials etc.
Great chicken wings and margaritas!
I’d recommend you buy the local newspaper “The Key West citizen” and read it with your morning coffee – just for the sheer comedy of it.  Mad island. Mad parochial news.
You can buy it from the newspaper vending machine thingies for 50c/$1.
My favourite beach to sunbathe and swim at is the Southernmost Beach.  Nice little bar beside it as well.  Plus has happy hour specials too J
You may have a swimming pool where you are staying but if you like the beach I’d recommend you try that one.
Be like a local J Get a bike!
Bikes are the best way to get around! I’d recommend Eaton Bikes…but do shop around…make sure whoever you get it from supplies lights on the bikes – some do and some don’t. You do need them, it gets quite dark in the evening.
Mallory Square is enjoyable. Bring dollars for tipping all the street entertainers etc. Celebrate the sunset and look forward to what the next day bring.
Wear insect repellent every day but especially in the evenings!!!  You wouldn’t think it, and you don’t see them but you do get bitten.  The locals call the mozzies the “noseums” i.e. the “no see ‘ems” J
If you come across the Dairy Queen (old 1950’s building) on your cycle travels, do stop and have one – very cheap(!!) but nice ice-cream.
If you are into it, think about a fishing trip.  We do a few different types while we are there….  For the length of time you are there I suggest a half day trip and what they call a “party boat” i.e. a group boat.
Wu used to go out in Captain John’s Greyhound boat but he has finished now.  Google party boat etc and you'll find one.  If you are really interested in this let me know and I will try remember the name of the last company we used.
You can bring the fish you catch to a local restaurant and they will cook it for you and provide sides for about $15 per person if I remember correctly… e.g. Dante’s
If you like a table quiz check out Viva on Tuesday night
Sunday brunch!
Will you be there on a Sunday??? 
Check out Margaritaville (the old Westin) for the Sunday brunch at Bistro 245 (unlimited mimosas/champagne)
The food is amazing!
Enjoy!  Enjoy the vibe and enjoy being on “island time”

Sunday 19 February 2017

Dublin land

Another great weekend in Dublin.  I had nothing on - i.e. no college class, no assignments due, no exam study to be done - so I took advantage of it and did a bit of everything: I chilled out and relaxed, I pottered around town on my own, and I caught up with some friends (old and new). 
AND I went to see La La Land  - yes AGAIN!
If you remember my blog post from a couple of weeks ago I saw it and loved it.  And since then I've been saying to Enid that I wanted to see it again. We met early on Sunday morning - and went for a starbucks and a chat.  We then cycled across town to Cineworld on Parnell Street.  And there we watched THE most wonderful film in then world again.  I honestly cannot recommend this film enough. I smiled throughout the whole film.  SPOILER (Kind of!):  I smiled even through the poignant bits. I'm still smiling now thinking of it.
I've been listening to the soundtrack on Spotify all evening.  Next on my list is to get the soundtrack on vinyl! And next on my to do list after that is, that if it wins best Oscar, I am going to go see it again,  Hey even if it doesn't actually win I may go see it again anyway.  Life is not a rehearsal...something that makes you smile so much, sure why wouldn't you watch it again.

Saturday 18 February 2017

Pigsy Art - Christmas decoration

A couple of days ago I came home to find a little parcel in my post.  I wasn't expecting anything so I was pretty excited to find out what it was - there really is nothing like getting a parcel is there?!
When I opened it I found a beautiful Christmas ornament and a letter signed by Pigsy.
I follow Pigsy on twitter and had shared a competition which of course I instantly forgot about once I had done so :-)
This is a very cool Christmas decoration - of a (Pigsy) stylised angel.  I think it's too cool to just use at Christmas and I have it hanging in my window where I like the juxtaposition of its street art look and feel, versus the grandeur of the Irish Government Buildings.

Pigsy is the alter ego of my brother in law, and award winning architect Ciaran McCoy.  I just adore his work and I've been threatening to buy a painting of his for a while now.  I know I will at some point but for the moment I guess this little piece will have to do me. 
Check out Ciaran's website here for more examples of his work.  And also you should check out his twitter as he runs competitions from time to time so you might be lucky enough to get your hands on a piece like me too!



Sunday 5 February 2017

Sunday brunch

It's been a fun weekend - after college on Saturday I met up that evening with some friends for our Book Club night.  "Book Club" - which also could be called Wine Club!
Then on Sunday Enid, Alice and I met up for an impromptu brunch - arranged late on Saturday.  Alice has recently moved house and lives much nearer to Enid and I now so she cycled in to my place.
We have spoke about how in November when we are in Key West we will drink breakfast cocktails every day so I figured we'd have a practice run today.

I made espresso martini's which Enid and Alice found a little too kicky (a little too much vodka?) so to counter this I added a little Baileys which made them more smooth and creamy.
We then went to our usual brunch spot of the M&S restaurant on Grafton Street.  The food is just ok there, but it works for us for sitting and chatting for a few hours - particularly if we get one of the nice booths.

I had the smoked salmon bagel which was nice.  Afterwards I had a craving for something sweet so I got this Red Velvet cupcake which looks divine doesn't it.  I should have read the description of it properly.  It was filled with raspberry jam (bleugh) which I do not like.  And the cream cheese topping was very bitter. So it was not for me!  I'll know better in future.