I know I have an about page and you can find out a little bit of information about me there and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll find out plenty but I just wanted to share some things that people probably (or possibly) don’t know about me here….

1. I only learned how to swim in 2011. 

I went to plenty of swimming lessons as a kid and was just so terrified of the water that I never seemed to get the hang of it. I went on a holiday to Cuba in 2011 and I learned the breast stroke. It’s still the only style of swimming I can do and I try to go swimming 3 mornings a week. (Operative word being ‘try’).

2. I’m left handed.

Yep! Part of the 10%. We even get our own day for goodness sake.  Funny story, when I started school, I had such a problem with writing properly. My teacher had to put a little star at the top left of my page because I was in a bad habit of writing right to left instead of left to right.

3. My middle name is Ann.

After my mother and her mother before her. I took the name Margaret for my confirmation which was my Dad’s mother’s name. 

4. I’m obsessed with protecting my skin from the sun.

I rarely ever wear less than SPF 30. I almost always wear SPF 50 on my face when I go abroad and for the last year I’ve worn SPF 30 on my face pretty much every day. I also have a slight obsession with skincare products in general & own waaaay too many!

5. I can watch One Tree Hill over and over. 

It’s my go to TV show when I want to binge watch something familiar or if I’m unwell. I would probably pee my pants if it made a comeback. 

6. I’m messy, yet organised.

I am soooo messy! My bedroom is NEVER totally tidy and I almost always have a chair-drobe or a floor-drobe BUT I have black & white storage boxes lining all my shelves with everything organised in them. I need to know everything has a home. 

7. I am awful at maths.

I mean seriously, hideously awful. I failed it in my Leaving Cert and with absolutely no effort put into getting better at it in the last 10 years, I now can’t do anything but add without a calculator. 

8. I  also have a really bad sense of direction. 

It’s an on-going joke in my family that I have to reset and go home if I want to find my way somewhere. I have to plan routes out in my head before I leave home. Google Maps saves my life regularly. 

9. My dream job is to be a party planner/event organiser.

Even though I get extreme anxiety about actually attending parties. Then I tend to almost always enjoy myself thoroughly. I  love the idea of organising them and not having to worry about attending them. 

10. I have one tattoo on the top of my back.

I got it 5 years ago in Thailand and it says ‘Ancora Imparo’, which means ‘I Am Still Learning’ in Latin. Michelangelo said it just before he died when he was 88 years old. 

Fish Shack Cafe

The sun was out at the weekend so Dave and I went took a trip out to Malahide. First we went to Malahide Castle for a stroll and then we went into the seaside village. We were going to go and have a drink somewhere before heading home but instead came across Fish Shack Cafe. We are both big seafood fans and although there was only beer or wine on the menu, we decided to forgo the drink in favour of some food. I was glad we did. 

Galway Mussels in white wine sauce

We ordered Shrimp Nachos and Steamed Mussels, to share, from the ‘Fish Snacks’ section of the menu. The nachos came with Boston shrimp, chorizo, cheese and tabasco sauce. The mussels were fresh Galway mussels steamed with white wine, shallots and garlic. They came with some bread and we also ordered a side of chips to share. It was a huge bowl of mussels and they were really tasty. The nachos came with lots of shrimp and chorizo and although I’m unsure what the cheese was, it was so good. All of that and a Diet Coke came to less than €25. The entire thing was delicious, we got to enjoy it in the sunshine and we left absolutely nothing on our plates. We’ll definitely be going back. 

Shrimp Nachos

You can check out the Fish Shack Cafe menu here and you can check out their two other locations too.


Name: Chief

Breed: Basset Hound

Gender: Male

Age: 9 years old. He’ll be 10 in October! Getting old now…that’s like a million in dog years.

Size: around 28 or 29kg. In other words overweight. He was up to 34kg so he has lost quite a bit. 

Colouring: tri-colour

Allergies: grass, dust, dust mites & his own dandruff

Nicknames: Chiefy, Chiefy Chops, Cheeky Chops, Fat Dog.

History: we bought him as a puppy from a breeder. It’s something I’d never do again. They were also breeding German Shepards & West Highland Terriers. 

Good with…

Dogs? No & Yes! He tends to be nervous of them mostly. He can play with other dogs but doesn’t necessarily want to. 

Cats? No but before lady came along he was terrified of them. She makes him braver.

Kids? Yes fine. Any human who gives him attention is acceptable. 

Likes: FOOD, treats, food, did I mention food? His red soft bone toy, covering himself in blankets, rubs and attention of any kind! 


Name: Lady
Breed: Jack Russell

Gender: Female

Age: 7 years old. We got her when she was roughly 1 & a half years old. 

Size: around 8 or 9kg. Also overweight but not by too much. 

Colouring: black & white

Allergies: none that we know of. 

Nicknames: Lady Lumps, Lady Girl, Mouse Face.

History: She turned up at the Pitch & Putt club my Mam plays in & when no1 claimed her, my Mam brought her home. We brought her to the vets and she wasn’t microchipped. We had no intention of keeping her but she won us over. 

Good with…

Dogs? No. 

Cats? No, she despises them! 

Kids? Yes fine. She loves women and kids but has to come around to men & sometimes she never does. 

Likes: Treats, licking people’s faces, climbing up on top of Chief for a snooze and long walks. 


Reading… The Shack by Wm Paul Young. I didn’t realise the movie had just come out so it’s a happy coincidence. I look forward to watching it once I’m done reading. This book has been on my list for a very very long time.

Watching… Grey’s, Grey’s and more Grey’s. Almost finished season 11 though so suggestions for TV shows are welcome now for when my Grey’s anatomy journey ends. 

Listening to… Elise Gets Crafty Podcasts again! Season 4 has just begun and I really really enjoyed episode 1.

Drinking… Wine!! I drank two glasses of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc last week and really liked it. This might be the year that I become a wine drinker. That would make life easier on holidays when I’m trying to figure out what the hell to drink. (it’s important that I point out that I mean holidays in the Irish sense – as in vacation to any American or Canadian readers – although if I’m giving off the impression that I only drink a few times a year at like Christmas etc. I’m cool with that too!)

Focussing on… getting all things work tidied up before I finish up for most of July and August. Yay!

Eating… pizza…today anyway…

Scrapping… my 2016 Project Life spreads. I’m getting there slowly but surely. I should have the 2016 year finished in the next couple of weeks.

Purging… clothes and cheap sunglasses. I have an embarrassing amount of them.

Cooking… thai curries with prawns, so many prawns.

Looking forward to… A wedding in two weeks and then a few days in Kerry all going well.

Next up in my ‘Favourite Things’ series is blogs. There are a few I love and check in on regularly so I thought I’d share them here. 

 

Enjoy It

http://www.elisejoy.com

Elise Joy’s Blog ‘Enjoy It’ is my absolute Favourite. Elise lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters. She owns a brand called GET TO WORK BOOK which provides tools for goal setting. You can check that out here. She has also sold many other things through the shop on her website. She used to post on her blog every single day. She doesn’t anymore but checks in with a new post every now and again. I absolutely love her posts and there’s a huge back catalogue of posts covering many things from her family life, to goal planning to DIY and homemade projects. She also has a brilliant podcast about small business and creativity, amongst other things. You can check that out here.

 

The Band Wife Blog:

http://thebandwifeblog.com

Laura Gummerman is a band wife who lives in Nashville. She recently had a baby girl and has two adorable cats. Lately she has been sharing posts about her lovely daughter Lola and her pregnancy but there’s also plenty of posts about her home life, her tour life, her style, her home and cats, cats, cats! Laura is a staff writer and project assistant for the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ blog which I will mention next. She has a really fun casual style of writing and she’s very funny. 

 

A Beautiful Mess

http://abeautifulmess.com

A Beautiful Mess is run by two sisters, Elsie & Emma.It is an entire lifestyle company. They share lots of home decor projects and craft projects as well as recipes and more. They also have a couple of photo editing apps and a couple of books. They sell lots of pretty things and you can check out their shop here. These women work hard and have turned what was once just a blog into a huge and very successful business.

 

Becky Higgins

beckyhiggins.com/blog

Becky Higgins is the creator of the  scrapbooking brand Project Life. I’m a huge fan of this memory keeping method and you can find some of my posts about it here. You can find out all about the concept and shop her products over on her website but you can also read posts about Project Life, digital scrapbooking,  “cultivating a good life and recording it” and lots more!

 

Ali Edwards

https://aliedwards.com/blog

Ali is a designer, blogger, workshop instructor and an author. My interest in her started a few years ago when I first learned of the concept of One Little Word, which I have posted about and you can check those posts out here. Since then I’ve also (kinda) taken part in her ‘A Day in The Life’ project. Ali is an avid memory keeper and her blog has lots of posts about Project Life and other creative projects.

 

My Tiny Mind

http://mytinymind.com

My Tiny Mind is something quite different from the rest of the blogs I’ve mentioned. It is a blog belonging to a middle aged, middle brow (his words, not mine) man who shares his opinion on things from Trump to his generation to local charities. He also discusses life long learning and random topics from what he calls his ‘Man Drawer’. Mostly though, he shares reviews of books and his travels which are definitely worth a read.

 

Some other new blogs, belonging to friends of mine, which are worth keeping an eye out for include:

National Steographic

Small Matters

Building Our Home

All of the pictures above where taken from the relative blogs. 


Today the first of our group of friends turns 30! So I thought the only fair thing to do is to share some really old (and some less than flattering) photos here. 



I thought I’d also share a little background of our friendship. We’ve been friends for half our lives now. I just realised that today. We first met through the boyfriends we had when we were 14 or 15. Back when we used to think that 25 was over the hill & our lives would be over. Those boyfriends didn’t last long & there’s been a few more since that didn’t last either (ha!) but our friendship has. Now that’s the nicest thing I’m going to say because if I say anything too nice, she’ll accuse me of going soft on her. 


Happy 30th birthday Jen! Thanks for getting old a little bit before me. I’ve learned 1 thing from reminiscing over the past 15 years….we might be old AF now but we definitely look better now than we do in some of these throwback pics…

P.s. Let’s not talk about my lack of eyebrows in that photo from Crete 2004. Or the fact that we clearly had a not at all cringe yellow theme going on.

I’m ridiculously far behind on posting (and finishing) spreads for Project Life but I’m on a roll now so I’ll be sharing the rest of 2016 over the next few weeks. 



Spread 1:

My March spread was mostly made up of Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day, some of the male students in one of the classes I teach brought cake and flowers in for me and the female students. It also included a trip to the vet for Chief and Lady to get their teeth cleaned and there’s a pic of some fresh nails for me. 

Project Life Kits: 

  • Plus 1 (Mini Kit)
  • Dreamy (Core Kit)
  • Blush (Core Kit)
  • Midnight (Core Kit)
  • Mom (Mini Kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The pink alpha stickers used for ‘March’ are Eclair Thickers.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The pink girl outline sticker is Snap! Studios by Simple Stories.
  • I’m unsure where the arrow sticker is from.
  • The ‘Girl Time’ sticker is Now & Then by My Mind’s Eye.

Pocket Pages: I used a pocket page from Photo Freedom for the first layout and Becky Higgins Design G for the right.

 


Spread 2:

The left side of spread two is from Catherine from work’s Hen Party which was a brilliant day in Dublin City. It’s simple and pretty. 

Project Life Kit: Blush (Core Kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • Dear Lizzy ‘Fox’ Thickers.

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design G.

The right side of this spread is from Dublin City on St. Patrick’s Day and naturally it has a green theme.

Project Life Kit: I think, but can’t be sure, that they are all from Seasons (Core Kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • I have no idea where the stickers are from. Oops, sorry!

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design D for this 1.

 

 

This past weekend was a bank holiday weekend in Ireland so I thought I’d share my weekend in photos here. I shared a post like this a few years ago and I don’t know why I don’t do it more. There’s endless photos in my camera roll that never end up anywhere so I’m going to take the opportunity to share them here. (not pictured: drinks with friends on Friday, nachos for the Champion’s League Final on Saturday and drinks and dinner with Dave’s family on Sunday!)

Lady & Chief

Going Shopping in New Sandals Rasmopoliton

Dublin CityLadyCooling Down on a Warm Day

Chief

Picnics in the rainCar Picnic
A belly rub for Chief

1) Lady & Chief enjoying a lazy Friday afternoon (not sure there’s any other kind for them!),  2) Going shopping in my new sandals,  3) A razmo before dinner,  4) Dublin – Henry Street with a view of the Spire, 5) Lady looking a little fed up of having her picture taken, 6) nothing cures a hangover like an ice-pop, 7) Chief wishing he could have my ice-pop, 8) I was using my new picnic basket this weekend rain, hail or shine!, 9) picnic in the car, it is!, 10) If Chief rolls over and presents himself for a belly rub, you don’t say no!!

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A book you’ve had a long time and haven’t read:

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

The Woman Who Stole My Life
The Woman Who Stole My Life is about a woman called Stella Sweeney who is back in Dublin with a bang after a year living in New York and travelling the USA promoting her self-help book. There’s lots of twists and turns as the story looks back over Stella’s journey.

I must start off by admitting that some of the characters in this book are slightly unrealistic but that didn’t hinder how much I enjoyed it. I wanted to say that first and get it out of the way because it’s the only real negative I have for this book.

 I absolutely love the way Marian Keyes writes and I often find myself smiling or laughing out loud while I read (much to the annoyance of anyone nearby). I would be really interested to hear what people from other countries think of her writing because her sense of humour, in my opinion, is very Irish.

This book held my attention right to the end and as each chapter closed, I couldn’t wait to hear what would happen to Stella next. Keyes has a wonderful way of jumping from different stages of a story to keep the suspense alive. It’s not my favourite of her books but it still has that feel good factor and I would definitely recommend it as a fun, summer read. 

Rating: 7.5/10

Comme Chez Soi

We went to a restaurant called Comme Chez Soi on the last night in Budapest that really made our trip for us in terms of what we had experienced of the food service. Budapest is a beautiful city and I would recommend anyone go there but the one thing I would say is their service in restaurants could do with some work. It’s not that they aren’t polite or the food wasn’t good, it was. It’s how slow everything is. They come relatively fast to take your order but after that if you want something, you’re waiting a while and make sure you ask for your bill well in advance because that’s going to take a while.

Now when it comes to Comme Chez Soi, forget everything I’ve just said. Their service was absolutely impeccable. We arrived without a reservation and were very lucky to get a table. They accommodated us but told us that regretfully they would need the table in two hours for another reservation. We thought we’d be out in under an hour but we were there for the full two two hours. We saw 8 or 10 couples arrive after us to be told they had absolutely no tables left. So if you go here, I recommend you book in advance.

Caprese Appetiser

We ordered dinner, a glass of red wine and a glass of prosecco. We didn’t order a starter and I’m glad because soon after we ordered our meal a complimentary caprese appetizer arrived. Then when our drinks were almost gone, a complimentary glass of wine arrived for both us.

Comme Chez Soi

We both ordered a pasta dish with a cream sauce and mussels. It was delicious and there was plenty. If I had one tiny negative about the place, it would be that the mussels weren’t the best I’ve ever had but that being said, we’re kind of spoiled for sea food considering the country we live is is an island. We were pretty full so we ordered a chocolate orange mousse dessert to share but while we waited for it, they brought a complimentary dessert of sorbet and chocolates. They also brought us both a shot of limoncello. Then another two and another two! The waiter told us it was his mother’s homemade limoncello, which was a nice touch that added to the personal feel that Comme Chez Soi had.

Sorbet

All in all, the food was great, the service was excellent and I think we got more food for free than we paid for. If you are ever in Budapest, it is well worth a visit.

On a side note, the photos are so bad because I was enjoying myself so much, it wasn’t important enough to take good pics!!