Dinner by the lakeJade and Owen - MarinaJade & IOn the abraOwen and Daneour last dinner

It’s about time for another catch up as Jade and Owen have come and gone. We had a great 9 days and now the apartment feels so empty without them. To sum up their visit; the girls had lots of cocktails, the boys had lots of beer, we had plenty of food and loads of laughs. They saw the sights, the sun, the malls and the cars. They got to witness how the rich live and how the richer live. We now have new inside jokes and nicknames that look like they might stick. Jade lost some money playing cards and Owen still doesn’t know how to do a handstand against a wall. We made new friends and of course insisted they visit Ireland. The girls had a girl day which included the most painful massage I’ve ever experienced, a lovely facial and some shopping. The boys went go-karting for their boy’s day. I was really sad to see them go and greatly appreciated their company while Dane was at work. I was exhausted yesterday, slept in and did nothing all day but watch TV. Now Dane and I have a week to ourselves before his Mam and my Mam arrive. Summer in Dubai (part 3) will include their visit and how we’re getting on learning how to live in a Muslim country during Ramadan.

My hair colours

My hair colour over the last 4 years has gone from black to red to blonde with a few twists thrown in.

I sort of jumped into this blog without any warning, so I have decided to share some information for anyone reading it that might not know me personally. Below are 20 facts about me:

1. I like to change my hair colour regularly and get bored very quickly. I’m the same with my nails. I’m already planning the next set a day after getting them done.

2. I am addicted to diet coke.

3. Dane & I have been together over 4 years. We are so different in almost every way but it works. We have very little in common and even when we do share an interest, we usually differ in our opinion.

4. I worry way too much about things out of my control.

5. I consider myself tech savvy but I’m allergic to shopping online. I’ve done it maybe twice. It’s such an ordeal wondering when it will arrive? Is it what I want? What if I’m not at home & have to go to some collection centre? (Did I mention that I worry unnecessarily?)

6. I have an extremely low pain threshold.

7. I do not enjoy the heat if it’s above 25 degrees celsius (yes I am in Dubai for the summer where it is currently averaging at 40 degrees)

8. I’m slightly obsessed with my dogs. Some people would argue the slightly bit. They make me laugh every day and I think it’s impossible to feel lonely with them around.

9. I work in adult education. I teach basic literacy, computers, photography, communication skills, personal & interpersonal skills & family literacy which includes some arts and crafts. I ONLY work with adults. I could never teach children.

10. I enjoy making things but I get bored easily with longer projects.

11. I love when things are organised but I never manage to be as organised as I would like to be.

12. I have the most unconventional family in the best possible way and I wouldn’t change them for the world.

13. If I get an idea in my head, I want to do it NOW! On more than one occasion I’ve rearranged furniture in a room at 2am or started a scrapbook at 3am.

14. I have a love affair with leopard print. I have a radar for it & spot it every time I’m shopping.

15. I love animals & feel sick at the thought of animal cruelty but I can’t bring myself to give up eating meat.

16. I’ve had the same set of friends most of my life. I really couldn’t imagine it any other way. They’re very different women but they’re all amazing in their own way.

17. I really enjoy cooking and having people over for dinner.

18. I got my first (and only) tattoo at 24 and my ears pierced at 25.

19. I love being from and living in Ireland. It’s not perfect but it’s perfect for me.

20. I am extremely opinionated and can become very passionate if I feel strongly about something. I have, however, learned how to choose my battles. Sometimes it’s okay to have an opinion and not share it. 

Paper LanePaper Lane Paper Lane Paper Lane

I decided it would be a good idea to document my summer in Dubai in a scrapbook so last Thursday I took a trip to Borders. I don’t need an excuse to go to Borders, it’s my favourite book shop. I was very excited on my first visit to Dubai when I spotted the holy grail of book shops in the mall.  They pulled out of Ireland 3 or 4 years ago and left us with very few decent book shops. I think I read recently that they are gone completely from the U.S. now too so you can imagine my delight when I learned that they’re still in business in Dubai. I spent easily an hour choosing the book I wanted to use as a scrapbook (much to Dane’s displeasure) and I also bought a lovely travel journal which will no doubt go to waste because I’m very bad at keeping travel journals. I usually get behind after 2 or 3 days and give up. Anyway, I was happy with my choice so I paid for it and went on my way. Obviously all of my scrap-booking materials are in Ireland so I went online to find places in Dubai to buy some bits and piece for my scrapbook. I found a shop called Paper Lane in a mall about 25 minutes from the apartment so on Saturday we set off to find it. Two taxi journeys and three malls later, we fount it, and it was worth the hassle. I’m not sure if Paper Lane is an American company but I hadn’t heard of it before. As I’d imagined, it was the holy grail of scrap-booking (can you see a holy grail theme going on here?). I think it’ s important to remember at this point that Ireland is a very small country with a very small population (to put the size into perspective for anyone who doesn’t know, Ireland has roughly 4.6 million people, the state of Louisiana has the same) so we don’t have shops entirely dedicated to scrap-booking. It’s not a very popular thing in Ireland and it wouldn’t last in the current economy. Anyway, back to the point. This shop was amazing. I was like a child in a sweet shop and we didn’t get out of there in a hurry either. I wanted to look at each and every thing over and over and I’m still in awe when I think of the amount of card stock available. When we finally left, I was delighted with my purchases and couldn’t wait to get started. I’ll share my new scrapbook materials in a post soon and I look forward to sharing pictures of my scrapbook when it’s finished.


1) Maximising space by putting some of my shoes on the windowsill, it’s really wide so it was going to waste otherwise,   2) Organising my clothes. It was so hard to pack one suitcase for such a long time. Also, I’m loving prints this summer.

So week 1 of 7 and a half weeks in Dubai is over and it went by pretty fast. I won’t lie and say I’ve done all sorts of different, exciting and interesting things. I haven’t. I’ve actually done very little. I arrived just on time for Dane’s weekend (which is Friday and Saturday here) and it was really great to spend two full days together in a row… We haven’t been able to do that since December (Crazy or what?) because up until this visit Dane has only had one day off a week.

During the day when Dane is in work I’ve been sleeping in, washing clothes, rearranging things to make better use of the small wardrobe space and kitchen space, blogging (a bit), reading, catching up on my favourite blogs, going to the gym, catching up on some work ( a very small bit), swimming and relaxing. Then when Dane gets home from work we do really normal stuff, such as, eat dinner, go to the cinema, eat amazing ice-cream, catch up on TV programmes, go shopping, watch films, eat junk food and talk about our day. It’s crazy how much you enjoy doing these everyday normal things together when you only get the chance to do them every once and a while. I could say I won’t take the little things for granted again but I know I will…and that’s life.

This coming week we’re really excited for our friends Jade and Owen to come and stay. They arrive on Sunday so we have this coming weekend together before they arrive. We’re going to take it easy as I’d say we’re in for a busy 10 days. Stay tuned for part 2. Xoxo


Photograph text added using the Beautifull Mess App.

without sun glasseswith sunglasses filter

1) Without sunglasses filter,  2) With sunglasses filter

Sometimes I like to use sunglasses to create a filter when taking photographs. There are times when I like a scene but I think a slight colour change would improve the end product. All you have to do is hold the sunglasses up to your camera lens when taking the photograph. It works really well with my iPhone too. Has anyone tried it?

Dad's Father's Day presentMy boy ChiefCrispy bitsMy girl LadyPrints for DubaiShellac nails

1) Father’s Day present for my Dad,  2) Chief dreaming away,  3) Crispy bits from the nicest fish and chip shop in Ireland – Leo Burdocks – I went there with my Dad for lunch,  4) Lady’s paws,  5) Packing lots of prints for my summer in Dubai,  6) Coral nails for my holiday


Stephen carving the beefIMG_5522(2)Dad and his cocktailIce-cream sundae

I cooked dinner for my family last week so we could sit down for a meal before I left for Dubai.  Everybody is so busy all the time, so it’s nice to spend some time together. We had some nice food and made some cocktails. I’m really excited to be in Dubai with Dane but I’ll miss everyone at home.

My DadWith my Dad and StephenMy Dad and IMy Dad and IMy Grandad and I

1) My Dad looking cool in his leather Jacket in the 1980’s,  2) With my Dad and Stephen on what I think was my first Christmas,  3) Me and my Dad on holiday in the 1990’s  4)In Rome with my Dad in 2011  5) With my Grandad around 7 or 8 months before he died.

I’m a self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl so what else would I blog about today than my Dad? I get a hard time from the rest of my family all of the time for being such a Daddy’s girl but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s pretty amazing (don’t tell him though, his ego couldn’t handle it). Growing up my Dad would do anything for us.When me and Stephen were kids, my Dad worked in a job that he hated and he worked terrible shifts which meant he didn’t get to see us nearly as much as he would have liked. He worked in that job to provide for us and he did it for years. When he wasn’t working he was usually making things to earn some extra money for our family.Maybe when I have kids of my own I’ll understand but I can’t imagine doing the things he’s done for us. I always rely on my Dad, probably a little too much but, I really can’t imagine not having that support there. When I’m in trouble or need help he’s always the first person I go to and I think it will always be that way. I’ve learned so much from my Dad. Let’s face it, they just don’t make them like they used to.

So here’s some information about my Dad:

1. He works in Adult Education, the same as I do and he’s my boss. I’m so glad I took his advice on my career choice when I had no clue what I wanted to do. 

2. He’s the youngest of three children.

3. He’s the hardest worker I know (and that’s not always a good thing).

4. He knows everything, I mean everything. He’ll try to tell you he doesn’t but he’s the most intelligent person I’ve ever met. You want him on your team for trivia games and table quizzes (just not the sport round although he will probably get some of them right too).

5. We’re very alike. I get told all the time I look like my dad. We have the same taste in a lot of things including books and music but rarely films.

6. He’s very stubborn (hey, I told you we’re alike)

7.  He hates sport. I get my love of Football from my Mam.

Anyway that’s enough of that because I wouldn’t want to make him blush. I think it’s only right to mention my Grandad here too. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the decisions he made in his life but that’s a story for another day. He’s no longer with us and I miss him terribly especially on days like today. He was an amazing Grandad and a great pal.


Robbie Fowler

So this photograph is kind of blurry because it was taken in low light on my iPhone  but, in the spirit of Thursday, which is the day of the throwback, I decided to upload it. For those who don’t know, this is Robbie Fowler. I got the chance to meet him in March of this year and it was amazing. He’s a former Liverpool Football Club player and my favourite player of all time. When I started this blog, I mentioned that it was more for me and that someday I hoped my grandchildren would read it. Well this is a picture I want to share for that reason. I got to meet one of my heroes and let’s face it, that doesn’t happen everyday.

Sunny Ireland

(Photo courtesy of my brother Stephen McCann)

We’ve had a couple of weeks of really sunny weather here in Ireland lately. Unfortunately the rain showed itself yesterday evening and continued all through the night. It got me thinking about how the weather can really affect your mood. In my opinion  – and it’s likely that I’m completely biased and it’s definite that I don’t have all that much evidence – there’s no better place to be than Ireland when the sun is shining. It’s a rare thing because we’re lucky if we get a few weeks of sunshine each year. However, you’re almost guaranteed to find sun here the first week of June because the Leaving Cert exams (post primary state exams for anyone who’s not familiar with our system) are happening and the first week of September because the kids are just back in school. This might seem like a ridiculous theory but it proves itself as fact almost every year. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes…the effect the sun has. As a general rule, although a tiny country, Irish people have a pretty good reputation around the world for being friendly. However, I’m absolutely sure that if you visited Ireland in the sun and then again in the rain, you would really see a difference.  The sun brings out the absolute best in Irish people. Everyone is happier and friendlier. I met a woman once who moved to Ireland during a gorgeous Irish summer. She loved it so much and couldn’t wait to tell everyone at home how amazing Ireland and Irish people were. Once the autumn and winter came in she saw a massive change in the attitudes of people in Ireland. They were still nice but not as happy or friendly. So if you’re from outside Ireland and thinking of coming to visit, I’d suggest early June or early September.