Saturday 30 September 2017

The Winding Stair

Looking for a nice restaurant in a city centre or Northside location?  You absolutely CANNOT go wrong with the Winding Stair.

How picturesque is the Georgian building where its located, overlooking the Liffey.  Right beside the Ha'penny bridge - which you get a lovely view of from inside the restaurant.

Hence its name :-)

I started with the whiskey cured salmon, char-grilled cucumber and cucumber ketchup, sea beet, dill and Goatsbridge Farm trout caviar.  The flavour combination was incredible!

And then this masterpiece!
Cider braised McLoughlin’s pork cheeks, black pudding scotch egg, grilled baby leeks and crushed swede.  The black pudding scotch egg was something special I tell you. 
A glass of malbec rounded it all out.  I'll definitely be back here. And soon I hope! That scotch egg is calling me :-) 

Digital detox

Enid sent me this pic last week of an article from the weekend section of the Sunday Independent. 
I'm way ahead of the pack! I've been switching my phone off and removing it from my bedroom at around 9pm for over a month now.  It is not an overstatement to say that I am enjoying life so much better since I've started doing this. I am back to reading more books and I am sleeping better.  I cannot recommend it enough.
The one question that everyone asks me when I tell them I do this is "but what do you do for your alarm".  Like in the article, I too have bought an alarm clock!

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Oireachtas Committee - 8th Amendment

When asked by a journalist for a few words on the lobby at Dail Eireann today this is what I said:

"As a supporter of the Repeal the 8th campaign I felt that the "Handmaids" made for a powerful visual representation of how a lot of women in Ireland are feeling today - you must remember that many women who are of an age where they are accessing healthcare under the regime of the 8th Amendment have not actually had an opportunity to have their say previously. And equally there are people who have voted previously who will never actually have to make choices related to the amendment. I believe that the results of the recent Citizen's Assembly was a considered and fair reflection of the people of Ireland today. And I thank the citizens for that.

Our stand today, was to say to the Oireachtas Committee that we will not accept any retreat from the recommendations of the Citizen Assembly."
We got a tremendously positive reaction today with many people stopping during their lunch break to take photos and say messages of support to us. I truly believe Ireland is changing for the better (again), and now we just need a referendum (on legislation according to the citizens assembly) to demonstrate that"

Tuesday 19 September 2017

The Irish Handmaid's Tale

I have been intending to do a detailed post about my feelings about the 8th Amendment in the Irish constitution and why I believe it needs to be repealed - that is for another day as it is a complex issue about women's healthcare and rights (which extends so much further than just abortion rights) which deserves some time and attention to explain my thoughts fully.

In the meantime I would like to record details of a protest I shall attend tomorrow at Dail Eireann.  The plan is to dress in the costume of Margaret Attwood's handmaids and the objective is to call attention to the Oireachtas Committee (on the 8th amendment) as they start their deliberations  - that after the clear pro-choice recommendations of the recent Citizen's Assembly we will not accept any retreat.

The Oireachtas Committee is made up of 21 politicians and it is in their hands to decide what legislation we will get/get to vote on.  Our objective is to put them under pressure that they cannot but recommend pro-choice legislation - again along the lines of the Citizens Assembly.

It took me just under two hours to make my handmaid's cape and hat this evening. If Enid wasn't away I would have zipped through it on her machine but unfortunately I had to do it all by hand sewing.

I was only able to buy a sheet in the correct colour in a Single bed size.  I was worried it would not be big enough but actually there was so much material to battle with that I was glad I had not got the double.

I created it with a simple long/high collar which came out really good I think.  Plus I think I will get away without a hood because of this collar - which is a relief because I simply don't think I have the energy or will to make a hood as well.

 Finished! Cloak (or cape) and hat.


Monday 18 September 2017

Esmara by Heidi Klum for Lidl

I may or may not have queued up at 7am this morning outside of Lidl on Parnell Street for the Heidi Klum collection that went on sale today when doors opened at 8.

 I may or may not have gone into the shop and bought the one thing I really wanted - this INCREDIBLE brown suede biker jacket for a crazy €59.99.  The cut and shape on it is amazing.  Not to mention the detail in the stitching.

I may or may not have gone a bit wild and bought a few other items.


3 pairs of skinny jeans in black, blue and navy
€12.99 each.  COME ON!!!!!!

3 pussy cat bow shirts in white, navy (for work) and leopard skin (not for work).  I would have bought the black one but they didn't have it in my size.
Leopard skin is not my usual thing but hey will be nice for a Saturday night out in town am sure.
 Like the jeans these were a bargain €12.99 each too...

And finally, a fabuuuuurlous black lurex tuxedo style jacket.  Seriously at €19.99 I wasn't leaving this behind.  It'll be nice for any formal events - thrown over a cocktail dress.  Or else just a Saturday night in town over a graphic tee for fun, or a plain top if I want to look a bit classier. 
It's fun! I am totally going to get wear out of this :-) 

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Nostalgia's not what it was - a solo exhibition

Busy times for my brother in law Ciaran McCoy aka the Irish artist Pigsy. At the moment he is preparing for his second solo exhibition at the beginning of October.  He is also being filmed and interviewed by filmmaker Mike Andrews for a documentary Mike is making about him.  Oh and on top of that he only had one of the projects that he was lead architect on featured in the Sunday Times this weekend (I like to say he is an architect by day, and an artist by night!).

Anyway, I digress.  His exhibition!
Running over 4 nights in the very cool Fumbally Exchange, opening night is Thursday 5th of October and am sure will have a great buzzy atmosphere just like his last exhibition.  And then on Friday night there will be a street party vibe - the Fumbally Exchange is on Dame Lane which is always good on Friday nights!

Oh and.  Did I mention free beer?
Hope Beer will be showcasing their hand made Irish craft beers at the exhibition too

For more information about Pigsy check his website out here


Tuesday 12 September 2017

Long weekend in Ibiza September 2017

Earlier this year my friend Tara suggested we go somewhere to celebrate her birthday. Of course I was interested and when Ibiza was mentioned I decided I would definitely go.  It is somewhere I had never been before and I had heard great things about it.

Tara came over to me on Wednesday night to stay the night, before our flight out the next morning.  It made sense for her as it saved her husband getting up to drive to the airport (our flight was EARLY) and it made sense for both of us as the holiday felt like it started that night.  We were both excited and had to force ourselves to stop chatting and laughing in bed and go to sleep before our 3am wakeup call.

I must say, as horrific as 3am sounds I really didn't feel too bad at all.  Maybe that was the calypso coffees I made with breakfast - whaaaddd, sure look weren't we on our holliers.

Things were smooth in Dublin airport, and we were off and landed before we knew it.  Although! There was a group behind us on the plane who were intent on starting the Ibiza party early but hey, look what can you do.  The poor crew, but they must be used to it because they were well able to handle them.

Ibiza is a small little island with a cute little airport which reminded me of the Key West airport.  It was quite busy though - flights coming in literally every 10 minutes from all over the world.  It was quite surreal actually - on Friday night we were at a Tinie Timpah show directly under the flightpath - and the planes fly very low - so all throughout the night we had planes coming directly over us.  It was the same on the beach during the day.

Tara and I made our way to our hotel where we checked in - we got a nice room on the ground floor with the most amazing view of the ocean directly at our eye level. 

The view from the higher floors would probably be different, maybe even more impressive, but I liked the way my sight was drawn all the way out to where the sea ended and the sky started.

Then! Then the rain started.  So we decided we would head for lunch and prayed it would clear up for the afternoon. 

We ended up having a long leisurely lunch (due to the rain) with a few drinks - sure what else could we do.  The rain got torrential/monsoon-like, with thunder and lightening, but it did eventually clear up.  And we made it to the beach for whole afternoon.  And it was glorious.  Because we don't get much sun in Ireland I really treasure any time I can get at a beach in the sun and I immediately switched off and relaxed.

After the beach Tara and I headed for a drink in a tiki bar close by.  It's a bit of a tradition of Tara and I - last holiday we were together was in St Augustine, Florida and I used to go out on a boogie board all day, then throw a pair of board shorts on with my bikini top and go across the road to a dodgy old biker bar and meet Tara and friends for drinks.  So we had a big laugh together saying it is just not a holiday unless we are in a bar in bikinis with damp clothes and hair.

I do love a tiki bar - I always feel like I am on holidays with Tom Cruise and Elizabeth Shue :-)

So that evening, after quick showers etc, we went out to the Port/Marina in lovely old town Ibiza. 

The massive yachts were a massive juxtaposition to the old walls and forts of Ibiza. 

We strolled around the lovely little cobbled narrow streets and settled on somewhere to eat where I got swordfish which was fab. The girls got paella between them which was so huge it would have done for the three of us.  That paella was utterly amazing.

I may never eat paella again unless I am in Spain/Ibiza because it simply cannot live up to this. 

We spent the remainder of the evening in a lovely tavern up on the rooftop of an old fort.  It was full of locals (about our age) all casual but smartly (and stylishly!) dressed enjoying after work Thursday drinks.

Steps up to the roof

Friday was another beach day!  A different one from the previous day - a little bigger and more atmosphere.  More beautiful views of mountains and sea - Ibiza really is a beautiful island. 

After a long day at the beach we went for something to eat and a quick drink on the way to the hotel and then we got ready for the night out!

Jackie had booked tickets for us to go see Tinie Tempah in Ushauiai which is an outdoor club - and which was very cool, and atmospheric.  I wouldn't have thought I was going to love it so much.  Tinie Tempah was great but it was all the DJ's before which I really loved.   Again not something I would have thought was for me but I really did have a great time.

Afterwards we headed across the road to Space (one of the big Ibiza superclubs) - it's recently been renamed Hi but everyone still calls it Space.  I really liked this too! And again not something I would have thought I would (lol you're probably wondering why I went to Ibiza at all!).  There was one main room - glitterbox - with a cool dj playing some cool tunes with the crowd pumped and dancing.  And then there were loads of different rooms off of it where there were different things going on - a chilled garden area, techno house music room, 90's dance area, acrobat/dancers/performers etc. It was great! 

The only bad thing was that we all had worn high shoes/wedges out which was a biiiig mistake (but hey they made the outfit lol!). My feet were killing me and I finished the night and went home earlier than I would have wanted.  Seriously! Always always wear flats in Ibiza!

So guess where we went next morning? Yep. The beach. 

We were kind of debating what to do that evening when some guy selling tickets for an event came past and started talking to us (there are club promoters etc selling on the beach constantly).  We ended up buying tickets for The Zoo Project which sounded soooo cool and as it turned out WAS soooo cool. We finished up on the beach around 3pm and went back to the hotel to get ready (a very quick turnaround) and headed to a bar for an open bar, and body painting, which was included in the ticket price. 
Yep the body paint on my arm and face kind of made my night :-)

Note my flat shoes!!!

At 5pm our coach arrived and we travelled about 30 minutes to Zoo - an old abandoned zoo turned into a festival space.  I had a ball! Loads and loads of bars - in old animal cages, lovely food vendors (I had the most amazing tacos), acrobats, performers, yoga (in the old pony ride enclosure lol), a dj/show in the seal pit with the crowd all standing and dancing in the viewing stands.  It all finished at around 12 midnight - we had originally intended going on to a club but we were all pretty wrecked after a great night so we just headed back to the hotel.  And considering our long day the next day I was very glad of that!

For our last day I packed my bag pretty quick and headed to the pool to get a last bit of sunshine (I'm Irish, I need as much Vitamin D as I can get!) before heading to the airport.  Ah the airport...where it all went wrong!  Our flight kept being delayed/pushed back and back until we knew there was no way we were making our connecting flight in Madrid.  We got to Madrid, queued up with a million others and eventually got ourselves sorted and switched to an Aer Lingus flight leaving at 10.50pm that night (groan).  Could have been worse though!  Anyone heading to London couldn't get on a flight until the next morning which would have been an absolute pain. Anyway we eventually arrived home in to Dublin airport at about 1am (compared to our original 7pm eta).  Strangely enough I was absolutely fine - I think the combination of the early previous night and then sleeping on both flights really saved me.

A trip down memory lane...

A post from my facebook page on the 6th of September 2017


Heading away for a few days with Tarusha and Jackie (Ibiza baby!)
Brings to mind the last Spanish adventure some years back with Tara; we were 25 and were travelling around the South of Spain with two great French pals - the four of us squeezed into Bruno's teeny tiny car for a fortnight. It was an amazing trip filled with laughter, chats, beaches, mountains, city sightseeing, midnight dips in village fountains, rioja, fun, music, tapas and sangria.

 We also attended a friend...'s stunning wedding in a beautiful old farmhouse tucked in the base of a cliff - where we ate lobster, drank wine, smoked cigars and danced until dawn when we breakfasted on traditional wedding onion soup.

 If that wasn't enough, it memorably culminated with Tara and I having to make a mad dash from Madrid to Paris to catch 1c Ryanair flights home (yes 1c!). Amongst other looniness this mad dash involved an overnight train trip, dinner with a priest, a lot of vodka and beer, and the chef serenading Tara at 3 in the morning.
But I am sure this trip will just be a nice sedate few days on the beach, with a bit of craic in the evenings. Nothing crazy, no mad dashes, no wild stories. Completely sure of that. Wink.

Sunday 3 September 2017

The Great Gatsby at the Gate Theatre

I had been very excited and looking forward to Saturday night for some time now.  A while back Enid, Kasey and I booked tickets to see "Gatsby" in the Gate.  It was quite funny, for a while there it seemed that everyone in Dublin was talking about it - they'd gone to see it, were going to see it, or were mad that tickets had sold out and they couldn't see it.
So I am just delighted to have seen it!  "Seen" probably being the wrong word - taken part in. is better.  It was an immersive theatre production - the first time I had ever attended something like this, and it was sheer brilliance.  As you can see we dressed in the style of 1922 and we arrived to the theatre where the seats had been removed from the main auditorium and it had been turned into the mansion of Jay Gatsby.  This sounds crazy but it just worked - throughout the evening while the main act was going on in the main auditorium small sections of the audience were being brought (or rushed or ran!) off to other areas and rooms of the theatre where smaller pieces took place.  We took part in Charleston dance class, a blackjack game and Enid was inducted to play a part as a reporter at one point!  It was truly a great experience.
The cast were wonderful, The sets were great.  And special mention to the costume design by the wonderful Peter O'Brien. In homage Iwore my beloved Peter O'Brien coat from his first pret a porter collection for a-wear back in 2006!

New rug


Enid and Ciaran bought a new rug for their home so I got a donation of their old rug.
I am really happy with it - I have it in my hallway, and I really think it ties the room together :-)

Friends of the Grand Canal - once a month meet up and clean up

On Saturday Enid and I joined the clean up group Friends of the Grand Canal and spent two hours picking up litter along the paths and banks of the Grand Canal.
It was a lovely bunch of people and a glorious day as you can see (which was strange because the day before which was the 1 September had been terribly chilly I thought).
We enjoyed some coffee and chats afterwards.  And Dublin being a small place we met a guy who we both had a mutual friend with - coincidentally enough we had previously been part of a clean up of the Royal Canal with the other friend.  If that makes any sense?!  The point is Small World!