Sunday 16 September 2018

Impromptu and wonderful meetups with great friends

Over the past week I've had a great time catching up with good friends.

First up Dionne Warwick.  Noooo silly, I'm not friends with Dionne Warwick.  But I am friends with some of the guys who play in her band.  So last Monday Enid, Alice and I went to the concert which was completely amazing by the way - I hand on heart think this was her best show yet (and I've been to a few over the years!). 
 And then afterwards we met up backstage with our lovely friends of 15 years or so. 

Here's to many more years of friendship and meetups when the fellas are back in Dublin (You know. Because #tourlife!)

New friends! We met the exquisite singer Cheyenne Elliot who just happens to be Miss Dionne Warwick's grand daughter (and Whitney Houston's cousin).  With that kind of musical blood in her veins no surprise that she is wonderfully talented,  but she also is just a lovely sweet and nice (and FUN!) person too.

Then this weekend I had absolutely nothing planned - in fact I was staying in Ranelagh minding Bones while Enid and Ciaran were in Bristol at the film festival for a showing of the Pigsy film

But some last minute invitations meant that:

I met Cillian, Aidan and Maria in Ruin on Friday night for a small glass of vino
And then I met Ann in McSorleys, Ranelagh on Saturday for two little ones

Saturday 8 September 2018

London baby!

After my recent few days in Canada the planning starts for the next trip!

Myself, Enid and Ciaran are travelling to London where Irish artist Pigsy is exhibiting in The Other Art Fair at the beginning of October.

Pigsy as you may know is the artist alter ego of my twin's husband, and as one of my side hustles I help him out with the sales of his artwork. 

Here's Enid and I at Ciaran's last solo exhibition. 
Signing the guest list is Mike Andrews the documentary maker who made the charming short film about Pigsy. Actually that reminds me, before London Enid and Ciaran already have a different trip planned. They will be going to Bristol where "Pigsy" is showing at the Bristol Film Festival.  Read all about that in Enid's blog here!

I am excited about London! I fly out on Wednesday evening to meet up with Enid & Pigsy, and we will make our way to our digs for the next couple of days. We have rented a cute little trendy flat in the Covent Garden area of London. The next day (Thursday) we will spend setting up the pieces and preparing for the opening reception that evening.  And then Friday, Saturday and Sunday we are working!

I am excited about meeting lots of interesting people and talking with them about Pigsy and his artwork.  Yes, don't worry it won't all be fun and chats, I will be working too!  Although if you are familiar with Pigsy's work you will know that the selling of the paintings tends to look after itself.  There is a buzz in Dublin about his work ever since his last exhibition and I am excited to be part of bringing that to London!

Watch out London! The three Irish amigos are coming!
Complimentary tickets!
If you are in London over the 4-7th of Oct do call in and see me at The Other Art Fair - if you  are interested in attending, click here to see info on Pigsy's blog about complimentary tickets. 

Thursday 6 September 2018

Canada, eh?!

Canada!  A new country for me to cross off the list.  AND a major bucket list cross off! I got to see the incredible Niagara Falls which I have wanted to visit ever since I was a little girl.

Rather than do a sequential blog of the whole holiday I am going to pick out some of the highlights - I'd be here all day if I was to talk about all the highlights.  All in all this was a really fun little trip!

Niagara Falls
Well!  I just don't know if I can capture in words how great it was to see this wonder of the world.  It was just amazing. 

We visited it at three different times and it was different and awesome each time.  When we first arrived we checked into our hotel and headed straight outside to see it up and close.  We hiked a small (not official lol) path down through some woods and WOW there it was.  We spent as long as possible until a storm rolled in soaking us to the bone, so we ran for the cable car back up to the hotel.  This weather didn't hang around thankfully and later after dinner (around sunset) we went out again for another viewing.  This time from a viewing point up above where we had a great view of the horseshoe falls lit up with lights.  We snaffled a good perch and sat in silence pondering this wondrous piece of nature.
And then! I got a last 30 minutes on my own the next day. Quite amusingly, while the weather was much better than the day before (lovely and sunny) the spray coming off the falls was much more, so much that my clothes ended up a little damp.

Town of Niagara
It's a quirky little town!  And it's fun. By fun I also mean a little tacky/cheesy! But it really is what you make of it yourself.   We had fun in the casino and celebrated a big win of €18.25!


We visited the beautiful city of Burlington, right on the shores of Lake Ontario.  A spectacular place.  While there we visited with friends and were thoroughly spoiled by two great Irish folk. Thank you V&P!

Wine Country
While Canada is not famed for its wine it still has a thriving wine region with cute wineries and little farms.  Actually, not entirely true.  The region we visited is actually known for Ice Wine which I had never heard of before. I bought a bottle of it the airport as a gift for my mother.
After a lovely drive all over we stopped at the lovely Puddicombe Farm in Stoney Creek where we sampled a couple of their wines and then sipped a glass outside. Sitting in the warm sun on Muskoko chairs (the Canadian version of an Adirondack) watching the going ons of a real live working farm - as well as wine they also harvest apples to make cider, I thought to myself - it is a good life!

The company
I laughed and I laughed the whole trip long. Even when we took wrong turns and ended up in the middle of nowhere in Wine Country it was just more of a laugh. Yes, Grimsby, I'm looking at you lol!! *shakes fist * Actually that was probably one of most funny parts of the trip. At the end of the day it was either a laugh or cry moment - and a throw the stupid phones and google maps out the car window moment. Aahahahahahaaa!  Good times in Grimsby, Canada!

The hotels
Ended up being a bit of a tour of "Hotels of Ontario". Actually had quite good luck with rooms with a couple of upgrades thrown in for good measures (A living room and fireplace in one hotel! And a large in room Jacuzzi bath in another).
Although saying all that, the hunt for the final hotel may have ended up being part of the grisly Grimsby tale so moving swiftly on....!

Road trip
This trip was organised a little bit last minute.  The original plan was to do a big USA road trip taking in Memphis and Graceland (and Little Rock, Arkansas). Of course that would have been wonderful!  But this was just as, if not even more wonderful! 

This jeep is THE BEST road trip vehicle ever!

Tim Hortons
Forget your Starbucks, give me Tim Hortons any day.  First sip I loved it, and boy did I drink a lot of it on our travels!  We had some fun little "Timmies" pit stops along the way

And of course Toronto!  I spent the day in Toronto before my flight out that evening.  I strolled around - saw the CN Tower - and I did a wonderful hop on, hop off bus tour.  While I got a good feel for the city, I was very much a tourist so I certainly would not say no to a return visit.

What a trip! Just four full days would you believe! Four wonderful days.

If you would like to read more about my travels - and are interested in my review of travelling with Wowair click here!

Wowwed by Wow Air?

Flight report - Wow Air - Dublin to Toronto via Reykjavik

The Good
- The price. You cannot argue with €400 for Dublin to Toronto
NB!  This is without any luggage.  Yep, no checked in baggage, no carry on!! NO CARRY ON! I travelled with just my "personal item" (air line speak) stuffed with clothes. If you want to bring more than this you pay.  Fyi, you pay for everything!
- Reykjavik airport is not as expensive as I thought it would be/heard it would be.  Still,  it's more expensive than Dublin so I would not recommend you rely on it

The Bad
- Everything on the flight costs money.  Food and drink etc.  And it's expensive.  Do not get caught out! Be prepared and bring/buy everything you want on the flight.
- There is no tvs in screens, no big screen etc.  You can hire a tablet for €25.  Again, be prepared: bring your ipad loaded with films or bring books or magazines etc. 

The Ugly
- It's not direct.  This is the major one.  On the way out it was not too bad.  But on the way back when you are in Iceland at 4/5/6am after your 6 hour flight from Toronto waiting on your plane for that last leg home it's not great I can tell you!

Oh I did like the ladies cabin crew uniform!
So in summary, would I fly Wow air again? Meh, maybe if I got the flight cheap enough.
My advice would be if you can get a direct flight, which includes a carry on luggage, for in or near to the Wow air ticket price go for that.

If you would like to read the full trip report on my lovely holiday in Canada click here!