Tuesday 29 December 2020

Jameson 2020



Gave this little gift to my boss as a thank you/merry christmas/happy new year etc etc
Ribbon and bauble added by moi...I think it looks soooo adorable :)

Monday 28 December 2020

Christmas 2020

I am doing the Irish thing so Christmas is not over until January 2nd 2021 at the earliest.

Today we got up early, I drank a baileys coffee and then we went out on the baby boat to check the crab traps.  We struck out on the traps and caught nothing.  A little disappointing and we were a little dispirited on the return until we caught sight of some dolphins! We stopped the boat and just took the time to enjoy watching the dolphins as they frolicked around us.  What a joy.

Came home. I drank another baileys coffee (it's Christmas) and then headed downtown to do some banking and to pop my head into the hotel to say hi. I then went wild and did something I never do and went and treated myself to a few luxury items that I did not necessarily need... Got myself a pack of three masks in Lilly Pulitzer because I adore Lilly, and had lost my original mask and you can only buy them in threes in the store.  Popped into Coach "just for a look" and ended up with a water buffalo leather (feels like silk) wallet (aka pocket book) and an adorable new hand bag (aka purse).  

Home. Little bit of lunch (brie and serrano ham on rye bread) and spent the afternoon in the pool.

Just before heading to Half Shell Raw Bar for dinner checked the mail and was delighted to get some great news, I was waiting for, in the post.

After dinner, spent a little more time in pool (perfect temperature) and in bed now all set for work tomorrow.

Good night all!

Sunday 27 December 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas Eve: Wine and Cheese (manchego, gruyere, fontina and brie) dinner (and italian ham, scottish smoked salmon and spanish sausage) while watching "The Family Stone

Christmas Day: Whats app call with my sisters and then a zoom call with Patrick's family.  A lovely breakfast of home made sausage rolls, english muffin with brie and prosciutto.  And a little Bailey's coffee :) Work for Amy in the  PM.

Stephen's Day (Ireland)/Boxing Day (Canada): Work for Amy in the AM.  Dinner of crab claws caught by ourselves!  With dipping sauce and sides by Amy - key lime mustard and mac and cheese (from scratch - gruyere)

December 27th: Baileys Coffee.  Went and checked the crab traps (very cold and quite windy, but fun and adventurous!).  Hot shower.  More baileys coffee.  Plus brunch of smoked salmon, scrambled egg and rye bread toast.  Ordered a new cell phone because mine is dying a slow death.  It was 2 years old when I came over here so it has lasted 4 years which is a bit of a miracle for me tbh.  Phones live a fast and hard life with me and generally die young,

Does this blog post look messed up (the photos in particular)?  Yeah, no idea what happened there.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Miami to Key West

We were in Miami for a night and yesterday on our way home we made quite the day of it I must say!

Lunch was on the agenda first! Last year when we were in Key Largo for a mini vacation we had lunch in a lovely sushi place so we decided to stop there en route.  It was helpful because we were on a bit of a schedule with the rental car - we wanted to get it back by 3pm so that it was just rental for one 24 hour period - meaning that we knew where it was/where to park and that it was very nice so we didn't need to ponder over the menu too long.

Must have been the quickest decision what to order ever.  We opened the menus and Patrick said to me "are you thinking what I am".  "Yup", said I "lunch special for two $32".

Check this out!!!

A boat of sushi!!!! I've always wanted to eat from one of those!! (Crying laughing emoji face). And guess what, it was just fabulous!

From there we headed back down South, looking forward to getting back home and back "on the rock".  It's quite weird how just two years in Key West makes you quite the home bird. I never used to be like that...

We returned the car to the rental company - the 24 hour turnaround a success - and hopped on the bikes and cycled home.  

A little bit of relaxing at home, including a quick dip in the pool, and we were back on the road headed downtown.  Our destination was Vino's where we were planning on getting a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and a cheese and charcuterie sharing plate. But tragedy :( they had ran out of bottles.  

All was not lost. We had a couple of glasses of wine (prosecco, and shared a malbec and burgundy) and the lovely cheese plate (spanish), sausage and bread.

Aaaaaaaand then.  I hit on the brainwave of trying out somewhere we had never been before.  Patrick needed a tiny bit of persuasion.  He is a creature of habit sometimes :)

Berlins! Ssshhh. It's a speakeasy.  And in no time at all there we were, speaking easy, eating oysters rockefella and drinking fancy cocktails. In Key West pretending we were in 1940's Chicago.  Yeah we're silly, I know.

Sunday 20 December 2020

Twin life

 My twin and I go through phases...sometimes we look very much alike, and sometimes not so much. Well I think we must be going through a "look alike" phase at the moment...

So there I was, all dressed in my Christmas jumper and getting ready to go for our Christmas Lobster roll and train trip. 

Aimlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed while waiting on Patrick, when BOOM...

I got the shock of my life.  There is ME, wearing my sweater, in a photo I don't remember taking.

Spoiler. It wasn't me.  It was Enid

Enid. Wearing the exact same sweater as me at that exact moment in time, in a different country to me.

How crazy is that?!

Christmas festivities

 I love this time of the year.  Not quite as mad as Ireland (side story: where "silly season" started on November 17th, as designated by my best friend in work because that is the date that brokers started bringing us out for Christmas parties - this was during the Celtic Tiger years when there were so many brokers and so many parties that it all had to start that early in order to get them all in before Christmas), but probably more straight forward "wholesome" than Ireland.  More festive gatherings versus mad drinking parties I guess.  That was the Celtic Tiger for you I guess.... Insert "eek emoji" here.

Soooooo.  Here is some "wholesome" for ya! Ok, ok, with a few little sneaky spiked drinkies snuck in there too :)

Patrick came up with great idea of Christmas Lobster rolls.  The absolutely best place on the island, like literally the best, do not go anywhere else, is DJ's crab shack.  

Maine Lobster with a local Islamorada beer

Afterwards we headed to meet our friends in the Truman park car lot where we had some festive drinks, eggnog and the like. Yes that is bucket of fireball.  In the cup is hot chocolate with double chocolate vodka in it.

And then! Then we boarded the conch train for a tour of the island and all the houses lit up for the holiday.  Christmas songs blaring and lots of holiday cheer.  It was a wonderful evening!

Sunday 13 December 2020

Irish artist Pigsy in Social and Personal (Ireland's ruling fashion magazine Est. 1934)

 Dublin's DesignYard has a very exciting online exhibition of artist Pigsy's latest work, featuring more than 20 vibrant pieces ranging in price from eur1,300 to eur24,000.  The show titled "Seven Spanish Angels", runs from November 28 - December 12, and each piece will ship directly from Pigsy's Malaga studio free of charge worldwide.  

Born on the north side of Dublin, Ciaran McCoy, is an award winning architect of (ODKM Architects) who borrows from his architectural knowledge to create his diverse expressionist artwork as his alter ego "Pigsy".  Featured in this new collection, the painting here is called "I Went to Mass" (eur4,800).  
See the show at Designyard.com

Elvis: That's The Way It Is - Special Edition

 Just before covid19 hit and the cinemas closed one of the last films we saw in The Tropic cinema here in Key West was the Robbie Robertson documentary about The Band "Once Were Brothers".

The Tropic is (softly) reopened, and when I saw an ad on facebook for the re-release of "Elvis: That's the way it is", and that it was playing in the Tropic.....well I just hopped on it and bought two tickets.

It felt incredibly safe in the theatre....well there was only us and two other couples there! Great for us, but I do worry how the cinema will survive with that kind of attendance.

What was really cool is that the major of the film is clips of (full songs) of his Las Vegas concerts so, as Patrick said afterwards, in a bizarre pandemic kind of way it felt like we were at a live show. It is as near to a live concert you will get right now so we will take it I suppose!

Sorry :(
I can't rotate this pic

We both really enjoyed the gospel songs part of the show so went online and ordered a CD of them.  Best deal was to also get his number 1's also.  And then, I went the whole hog and ordered a cd of The Band also. Spent the afternoon today listening to them while swimming in the pool. Pretty good afternoon me thinks!


 Great day out on the water this morning!

First, caught a ginormous parrot fish.  This feeds on the coral and cleans it, so after a quick photo and swift removal of hook (me and my trusty pliers) we got it back in the sea and on its way.

Then we went and checked the crab traps and caught this ginormous stone crab!  Same as the fish: swift removal of ONE claw and back in the ocean asap.

Sugarloaf Lodge

 We got off the rock for a little getaway, which I admit does pose the question do you really need to take a vacation from an island where people go to vacation?  Probably not I say, and in fact we were dying to get home the next day, but that doesn't mean we had anything but a wonderful time.

We stayed at a quirky little hotel that I had my eye on.  Sugarloaf Lodge is located on Sugarloaf Key which is about 20 miles away from us.  Our room had a lovely view of the ocean and was warm...but yes, quirky, read old and dodgy lol. Just the way I like 'em lol! Clean though! MUST be clean!!

We ate that night in Mangrove Mamas and it was really really good. Great atmosphere - although we stayed in a dining room separate to the bar, that was just us within it, to stay safe - we could hear the vibe though and it felt good.  And wonderful food! I had Shrimp Coquille St Jacques and I just loved it.  Patrick got paella with a Cuban vibe which he too loved.

The next morning we drove home, stopping at Baby's Coffee on the way. 


"Me and my Tree" The Christmas 2020 portrait series

 I've always loved old photos from the 1960's.  I love looking at the fashion, "the what people wore", the furniture and imagining "how people lived" based on their photos.  I particularly love Christmas ones.  People dressed up for parties, such glamour! And their cocktails!  The craft cocktails of our day can't hold a candle to the old classics of a Saturday night, in my opinion.

My friend Feliz came up with a great facebook idea for this Christmas:

"We need a little glamour in our lives right now.  This Christmas season 2020, let's put on our fanciest dresses, pour ourselves a martin, and pose in front of a tree.  Post those pictures! Extra credit if you have a silver tree, or those silver tinsel thingies".

So taking Feliz's idea I put this challenge out to my friends on facebook and the photos are coming in!  Photo of my album so far, plus of my pics.  I'm really loving this fun little project and I think it will be a nice little memory of this crazy coronavirus pandemic year.

If you're reading this blog and you want to be part of it that would be great! Just send me your pic :)

Manai (A man cave in Key West, Florida)

I love our little outdoor space aka "the lanai".   

We recently got it wired up properly by an electrician so it means we have the option of watching tv outside. Patrick particularly likes it for watching sports and having an evening drink so I guess it is a bit of a man cave.  Hence the name "the manai".

We scored the white wicker chairs at a yard sale.  They are REALLY good quality.  Proper old wicker, and heavy and solid.   Whereas the brown yokes are just Home Depot plastic wicker...

...BUT! When the brown are sprayed up white, they sure look better don't they?  

Before and After pics below!

Monday 16 November 2020

Shed cleaning (again)

 Sigh. I cleaned the shed. Again.  

It had got full. Again.

This has to stop!  I did make some good progress today though - I got rid of 4 chairs that I had stored in the shed because I just could not bring myself to throw them out.  They were vintage 1950 garden table chairs. Very cute! You can imagine why I didn't want to throw them out. But we simply have too many chairs already in our garden.  So I knocked into our new neighbour next door and offered them to her.  Success! She loved them. 

I've made a pact with myself that if the shed gets full again, same as above, I need to throw some items out while cleaning again.

Pics below

More DIY!

Following on from my busy day of DIY yesterday, I did a little more today!


Project 1

The sign on top of the shed had fallen off.  Seems like it was just attached with cement glue or something.  So I got out my trusty new Milwaukee drill and screwdriver and I screwed it down

Project 2
I painted the wood that I had screwed to cover up a hole in the shed - see yesterday's blog for pics

Project 3
We got new back doors - hurricane proof ones.  The paint around the frame got damaged during the install so today I touched that up and it looks good I think!

Sunday 15 November 2020

Say hello to my little friend

 I got some great little DIY projects around the house done today...

...with the help of my awesome birthday gift from Patrick.  A cordless drill and screwdriver. How awesome are these?! I gasped when I opened the wrapping.  I am just delighted with them!

Project 1
I didn't need my new tools for this job but am delighted to have got this job done:
I rehung my large Pigsy piece using the old nail hangings I already had in place, plus today applying Command velcro strips which hold the frame in much better place against the wall.  
Doesn't it look just great?

Project 2
I installed two new bolts on our shed door.  You can see the old one in the middle of the door which doesn't work any more because the doors or the door frame is out of whack.  Because the door works fine I figured easier to just put on a new bolt, rather then try balance out doors and the frame etc.  I installed two - we will use just one on a day to day basis, but the two will be used for storms and hurricanes etc (ugh).

Project 3
I re-fixed a little door knob back on to our laundry room doors.  It's been sitting on the kitchen counter for ages, feels great to have this done!

Project 4
This is the one I am most happy about! 
Ok, so a bit of background, our shed is as old as the house i.e. 1953.  The shed is feeling it's age I think, but I do love it so!  Around the bottom of it there is some rotting of the metal (oh, did I mention it's a cool old metal shed!) and a bit of a hole was developing.  I had a plan to cover this up in some way, so today when I saw our neighbour was throwing out some wood I snaffled a piece that fitted nicely.  Yep, I know it doesn't look "perfect", that is the way I like it.  We describe our house as "cottagey" and this captures the feel as far as I am concerned.

And here I am, happy as Larry and delighted with life!

Monday 9 November 2020

Phoenix Rising!

Saturday!  What an utterly glorious day.

On Saturday night I toasted President Elect Biden and Vice President Elect Harris with some bubbly in my Pigsy "Phoenix Rising" mug. This artwork is a piece that represents hope and positivity for the future so it felt very appropriate for the day that was in it.

To celebrate the win of Joe and Kamala, Pigsy has made a special release of the "Phoenix Rising" artwork mug.  It is now available in a limited edition run of just 46! You can order today and once they are gone, they are gone!

Storm Eta

Storm or Hurricane Eta was forecast to hit this morning - potentially a Category 1 hurricane. We prepared, for the first time ever, by putting up (on??) our storm shutters.

The good old low tech 70 year old clam shell shutters folded in perfectly, and were easily secured.  And the other ones were not too difficult in the end either - with some assistance from our good friend and neighbor Bill.  We will be able to do them ourselves in the future but was great to have his help for the first time.

Long story short we went to bed at the normal time, slept soundly through the night and woke up to NOTHING this morning.  A good complaint. Seems the storm bypassed Key West and headed up further North.  Yes, we have to rewind all the prep work we did yesterday.  But at least we don't have that and storm damage and clean up etc to deal with.

Pics of the little blue house all shuttered up below!

Sunday 25 October 2020

New (to us) cooler

 Kind of a funny story I think... 

So the house next door is up for sale/just been sold.  The people who are leaving it have been renting it for 25 years!  Not an easy move am sure.  

They have been putting a lot of their stuff they want to get rid of out on the curb for people to take away.  We saw this huge cooler that we were kind of interested in...we were on our way to Shanna Key for dinner (on that basis I can tell you it was a Monday night lol) when we saw it, so we said we would look at it on the way back if it was still there and figure out if we definitely wanted it or not.

On the way back, it was still there and we figured it looked great condition - just needed a good clean.  AND! On the back of it we saw a name stuck on it.  The name of the previous owners of our house!  We said that it must be a sign, we simply had to "bring this guy back home".  

Today we gave it a good clean with the pressure washer and I am going to store it at car bar - and use it as a sitting bench when having a drink at the bar.

I really like the yellow on it.  I wonder what year it is from??? I think it is late 1980's/early 1980's maybe?! Hmm, although based on the shape maybe more 1990's/2000's.

Halloween is coming...

 I wrote previously about the excitement of buying a pumpkin.  Well the halloween preparations continue, and we are set for trick or treaters to call to the house.  We have candy and a cool witchy bowl to shove out to the kids lol.

Did you know that in Ireland, when I was growing up, you never said "trick or treat", instead we use to say: "Help the Halloween Party"  I think that is cute :)

Something else I think is cute:

My new necklace from Coach!

Monday 19 October 2020

October fun

On Sunday, we took care of some very important business.  We went pumpkin shopping!! There is a cool little garden centre very near us, which while well stocked with plants and flowers, also provides employment and services to adult with development needs.  So I was pleased we could support by buying our BIG pumpkin from them.

The plan is that a week before Halloween we are going to carve it, stick a candle inside and place it out our front yard on an old tree stump to show all the trick or treaters that we are Open for Business!!  I wonder will there even be any kids out trick or treating this year with covid??  We will take whatever precautions are needed, but if any kids do call, we are ready!  Fun!

Sunday 18 October 2020

Bit of workplace fun...

 I got a message from a guest looking for shampoo, conditioner, shower cap etc...and a framed photo of Hall and Oates. I replied to them using song titles e.g Thank you for your request, I do hope we can "make your dreams come true" etc


Wednesday 14 October 2020

Now you can WEAR Pigsy art

 Exciting news! Irish artist Pigsy has launched his own line of wearable art - tshirts, trucker caps, tote bags and more.  And you can even drink art now - I think the enamel mugs are my favourites!

Two pics below, but for all his gear, check out his merch page on the Pigsy website.

Cute!!!  I love this print

My favourite!
I have heard on good authority these cups are good for your coffee in the morning AND your wine in the evening! Check out his website - there is another cool mug with the awesome cyberpunk print.

Ps. I am thinking the tshirts and enamel mugs would make perfect Christmas presents for the art lover in your life!

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Crab traps are in the water!!

Following on from my last post about the crab traps, I can now confirm we have five in the water!  

It was not without a lot of effort to get them to this point.  Assembling the traps together, was nothing compared to making the concrete bases for them.  You can kind of see the concrete in this photo?  Fair play to Garret and Patrick getting this done while Katrina and I were at work!

Then, they brought these, now very HEAVY, traps out to the mooring spot via jeep and out little 12 ft Carolina skiff.  They were dropped down with rope and a buoy for identification attached.  I etched our licence number into the buoys and spray painted them (again for easy identification). Oh! And not forgetting the bait of pigs feet and hot dogs.  Crabs like pork apparently??

By law the traps must now stay down for two weeks before you can pull them up and check them.  Hopefully there will be some crabs in there at this point - and you can remove one claw and throw the crab back in the ocean.  The crab will regrow it's claw.  How crazy is that???! You must however leave one claw on it - even thought it would regenerate the two in time - it needs one for protection and survival in the ocean.

Small purchases - bed linen and kitchenware

I got new bedclothes for our bedroom and am delighted with them!  While I always like plain white, I think the simplicity of it was getting a tad boring.  I am sure I will be back to the white again but for now I like this! 

Patrick's favourite ceramic knife gave up the ghost, and he was devastated, so I immediately went on to amazon to get him another one. It was free shipping once I went over $25, so by ordering two I achieved that (by 22 cents lol!).  They arrived and boy they are great!