Full Irish Breakfast
 Dane Me Bulmers

1) This is a half portion of a full Irish, I swapped the pudding (I’m not a fan) for an extra sausage. I dread to think how big the full portion is,  2) Dane,  3) Me,  4) a lovely cold pint of Bulmers

 

Boozy lunches are great, am I right? We woke up super late yesterday and decided it was a perfect day for a boozy lunch. Of course we had a few things to do including checking out a party shop for last minute Halloween costume ideas (of course) and so by the time we got to the pub it was half 3 (queue rumbling tummy). I sensibly started with a water to combat the dehydration of going from Ireland in October to 35 degree Celsius Dubai. Dane, however, went straight on the Bulmers. We ordered 2 Irish breakfasts (yes! Only the Irish believe a fried breakfast should be an all-day meal option). Half way through my meal I realised what was missing was an iced cold Bulmers so I order a pint. Our boozy lunch (at 3.30pm) turned into a boozy afternoon and early evening. Ah well, no reason to set the alarm this morning so why not!?

I’m in Dubai now but I haven’t even posted about Dane’s visit home in September so I’ll be doing some retrospective blogging over the next while.

Lady & Chief Storage boxes Dog bed Lantern Re-purposed bathroom racl Storage box labelsPaperCraft room

1) Lady and Chief will be frequent visitors,  2) Storage boxes,  3) A  place for me to relax and a place for the dogs to relax,  4) IKEA lanterns match the storage boxes perfectly,  5)  Scrapbooks, re-purposed bathroom rack & books,  6) I added the labels to the storage boxes to help me keep track when I was organising but I liked them so I decided to keep them,  7) Lots of paper,  8) Craft room, I love having the bureau so it can be folded away when I don’t need the table. It makes good use of the limited space.

 During the summer I ordered a skip and had a massive clear out of work stuff and organised what I needed to keep and bring to work. This left loads of space for the spare room to be used as a craft room (yes, I’m sure we’re thinking the same thing – when in the heck do I get time to craft?). I spent a couple of weeks with a lot of help from my mam organising it so that everything had a place. This meant that the copious boxes of craft materials could come out from under the bed and have an actual home. More space for shoes -bonus! It still needs a few finishing touches but I’m really happy with how the room turned out. 

It wasn’t supposed to be a big job so there was no painting or new furniture with the exception of a new white chair I can fold and put away to save space. It’s so organised and perfect, I’m actually a little afraid to mess it up. Look out for some scrapbooking and craft projects coming soon.

Some of the ingredients Mixing the batter

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

There’s something about this time of year but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who craves baked goods as the weather starts to get colder and the days shorter. Well the past few weeks I’ve been in the mood for two things – banana bread and peanut butter cupcakes. One problem, I am not a natural when it comes to baking. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be one of those people who can whip up a cake for dessert while they cook a big Sunday dinner for 6 people….but I’m not. If it needs to go in the oven, you can be sure it will come out either flat or burnt. I didn’t let that discourage me though. Oh no! So the weekend before last I purchased the ingredients for banana bread and set about following a recipe down to the last tiny detail. Did it rise in the oven? Oh it did alright but it also burnt on the outside and yet was still raw on the inside. Wasted ingredients, wasted time. Big fat fail! But as they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. So the next day I started over. And I must say it was better…edible even. Not perfect but hey, what do you want from a baking novice?

Of course at this stage I’m thinking sure I’m brilliant at this and last weekend I went out and bought all of the ingredients for peanut butter cupcakes. Sunday afternoon I gathered all my ingredients, followed a few hints and tips, put them in the oven and held my breath while I watched them rise. And guess what? They were delicious. Or at least I thought so.

So the moral of the story is…if at banana bread, you don’t succeed, try peanut butter cupcakes….they’re much easier.

I looked through loads of different recipes and I took bits and pieces from different ones and added a few bits of my own. This is what worked for me –

Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

Quantity: Makes 20 normal sized cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 75 grams of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 190 grams of soft light brown sugar
  • 130 grams of smooth peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 120 grams of all purpose, plain flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 40 Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Cupcake  Instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 180 c/gas mark 4
  2. Add baking cases to the cupcake tin
  3. using a hand mixer, mix the butter, peanut butter and sugar until they are well mixed and fluffy
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking between each addition until they are well mixed.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and whisk for an additional minute
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  7. Add a third of the flour mix to the butter mix and gently fold
  8. Add the milk and fold in
  9. Add another third of the flour mix and fold it in and do the same with the final third.
  10. Add a tsp of the mix to the cupcake tins and add a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup
  11. Add more of the mix until each case is 2 thirds full
  12. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes
  13. Leave them to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before icing.

 

Peanut Butter Cream Ingredients:

  • 115 grams of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 3 cups of icing sugar
  • 130 grams of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Peanut Butter Cream Instructions:

  1. Beat the butter until fluffy
  2. Beat in peanut butter, 1/2 a cup of icing sugar and vanilla extract
  3. Gradually at remaining 2.5 cups of sugar, beating after each 1/2 cup until smooth
  4. Fill the piping bag and swirl on top
  5. Finally cut a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup in quarters and add to the top

 

 

Nana in the 1940'sNana in 1995 Nana and Grandad during WW2

1) My Nana in the 1940’s. She was in her 20’s when the photo was taken,  2) In 1995, she was in her 70’s. It’s not the best photograph ever but I love the mischievous look in her eye and the start of a smile appearing,  3)  Nana with Grandad during World War 2. I’ve never met two people more in love.

Today is my Nana’s 16th anniversary. I was only 10 years old when she died. Although she was sick for a couple of years before she died, it was a major loss for all of us when she passed. She was absolutely the matriarch of our family. She organised everyone and everything. She was tough and she had strong opinions and morals. She was a strict parent and you couldn’t help but respect her but anyone could see that my Dad and his siblings adored her. My Mam always says she was so respectful and that even when she moved next door to us, she wouldn’t call in without an invitation.  She was a strong woman but she also had a wonderfully soft side. She was the most loving grandmother and she had the softest hands. She was a stereotypical Irish grandmother who was constantly wearing an apron, always had biscuits and plenty of cuddles. I’m glad she passed when she did because she was very unwell in the end but I still miss her dearly and wish she was here to see me as a grown woman. I hope she would be proud. One think I’m absolutely sure of…if she was still around, I would definitely curse less.

Lorenzo in his chair  Lorenzo & ILorenzo and his mamLorenzoLorenzo & his dadSteph, Shane and Lorenzo

1) Lorenzo in chair, he’s such a good baby,  2) Lorenzo and I,  3) Steph with Lorenzo, there was some lovely natural light so we took advantage and snapped a few pics,  4) Beautiful boy on his changing mat,  5) Shane and Lorenzo,  6) First family picture

I’m way behind on blog posts and I have every intention of catching up over the next few weeks. What better way to start than to share pictures of this amazingly cute little boy.  Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Lorenzo. His mammy and I have been friends since we were 6 years old and she and her boyfriend Shane have asked me to be Lorenzo’s godmother.  I had to wait two months to finally meet him(yes he’s only two months in these pics) as I was in Dubai for the summer when he was born and they live in England. He is absolutely perfect and I can’t wait to visit again. In the meantime I’ll have to settle for looking at these photographs.

With Robbie and JasonSigned copy of Robbie's book With Robbie & Jason in the bar

1) Meeting Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer at a ‘Legend’s Night’, 2) My signed copy of Robbie Fowler’s autobiography,  3) Meeting them again in the bar of the hotel after the show.

Challenge Post 2: Dinner with my hero – the food, topic of conversation and reason you picked this person

Nothing had changed in my routine, except that when I went down the chippy and got me special friend rice, it would be wrapped in a newspaper that had my picture all over it. – Robbie Fowler

You know that moment when you meet your hero and you’re massively disappointed?  Well that didn’t happen to me. It was the exact opposite actually. People always say you should never meet your hero because when you do, you might be left wishing you hadn’t. When I got the chance to meet my hero last March, I completely ignored that advice and jumped at the chance.

I have many different heroes but I have two football heroes. Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler. I’ve been very lucky in that I got the chance to see both of them play their final games in a Liverpool shirt. Now that Robbie has retired from playing football, he’s working as a T.V. pundit and he’s also travelling around taking part in Liverpool Legend shows. As if by complete fate, Robbie was booked, along with a former Liverpool and Ireland player Jason McAteer, to take part in a Legend’s night in a hotel a stone’s throw from where I live. As in a 10 minute walk away. This might seem like it’s not such a big deal but I live on the outskirts of Dublin, not exactly the perfect location for such an event. I jumped at the chance of getting a ticket and when Stephen (my brother and fellow avid Fowler fan) went up to buy them, they only had regular Q&A show tickets. They were completely sold out of meet and greet tickets. Luckily for me, he was smart enough to put his name down for any cancellations and by the time the show came around, Stephen, my mam & I had been bumped up. Success. We arrived early and excited and managed to get seats in the very front row.

And so the story goes, I met my hero and he was exactly what I expected him to be. He signed my jersey and my copy of his autobiography. He was friendly and extremely funny. The show lasted a couple of hours and both Robbie and Jason McAteer answered questions about their careers and shared some great stories. There was a Q& A section at the end and Robbie even made a joke about Stephen, saying he looked like a roll-on deodorant. Hey, if Robbie Fowler makes a joke about you, you go with it. The show was brilliant and the interaction with the crowd throughout the night was great. They even came into the bar afterwards.

For me, the reason I picked this particular person is glaringly obvious. When I met him he lived up to my expectations, He scored 183 goals in 369 games for Liverpool, he’s had major ups, he’s had downs, he has been plagued by controversy, he was probably the only player to ever ask a referee not to award a penalty in his favour, he’s the fifth highest goalscorer in premier league history, he has left Liverpool as a hero TWICE, he scored the fastest  hat-trick in the premier league in just over 4 and a half minutes, he has won various awards both as an individual and as part of a team including the cup treble in 2000-2001. He was a world-class footballer and seems like a genuine down-to-earth fella. Is there any wonder his nick-name is ‘God’? I think this makes it pretty obvious why I chose him and what we would talk about. And as for what we would eat? A pie or fish and chips should do it, with some mushy peas of course.

 

It’s something I have wanted for a long time and I am as happy as anyone to be here. It is great to be back at my first love – Robbie Fowler (on his return to Liverpool)