I’ve been looking for breakfast or brunch ideas for the weekend that isn’t quite as bad as a typical Full Irish Breakfast. I found a lot of the muffin tin type recipes but I was hoping for something I could just put in the middle of the table & dish up.

So I decided to go with some of the ingredients from many of the muffin tin/ramekin recipes, with a few extras, and put it all in 1 big dish & pop it in the oven. The following recipe is enough for 3-4 people.

First I chopped 8 bacon medallions and put them on the pan with some spray oil (6 would be fine but they needed to be cooked before tomorrow so I decided to throw them all in)

Then I chopped up 6 mushrooms & added them to the pan. I had 3 baby potatoes left over from yesterday’s dinner so I chopped them up and added them in. (They are definitely optional but a great addition if it’s a brunch meal that you want to keep you going until dinner)

I used my spray oil again to spray the bottom of the oven dish and added the bacon, mushrooms & potatoes.

Next, I added a tin of baked beans. I removed a tbsp of the sauce because I thought there might be a little too much but I can’t see that it would make a huge difference.

After the beans, I added a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese (if you’re trying to be good, you could leave this out) but the amount I added wouldn’t even be a tbsp per person.

Last but not least, crack a few eggs on top & season with salt & pepper before putting it into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

It’s a relatively quick and easy brunch idea with a limited amount of cleaning up. Add a pot of tea and everyone is happy.

The only thing I would do differently next time is possibly add some scallion or red onion to the mix.

Nikki
Well I tortured Jennie back in June with some old pictures to celebrate turning 30 & its only fair I do the same to Nikki. 

Nikki
Shots shots shots!
Now, lucky for everyone getting to enjoy these photos (or unlucky for you Nik & those in them!) I don’t have any up to date photos of Nikki as she has been living in Australia for several years now! 

Nikki's 21st
Nikki & I have known each other over 20 years. We first met when she joined my primary school in second class (I hope that’s correct, you’ll tell me if not) We had plenty of great times and got up to plenty of mischievous over the years. Some of these pictures show that.  


We may only get to see each other every couple of years now but when we do, it’s like nothing has changed & no time has passed. That makes us still in our mid-20s right?

Nikki & I
I hope you have a wonderful 30th birthday Nik. Welcome to the club. X

P.s. I’m getting away with that first picture because you’re too far away to kill me! I was originally looking for a nice school pic but I couldn’t pass this up!!

This is me, enjoying the last year of my 20s and drinking a cocktail out of a fake coconut because why not?

So tomorrow I turn 30 & leave my 20s behind. It feels like this is the right time to evaluate my 20s and what I’ve learned. Here are 20 things that I have learned in my 20s:

1. A drama free life is a wonderful thing. There is soooo much unnecessary drama in your early 20s. 

2. You don’t have to and shouldn’t pretend your life is perfect all the time. It’s okay to tell the people close to you about the bad stuff as well as the good.

3. Relationships (of all kinds – friends, boyfriends, family members) are so important. They also take work. It needs to include equal effort (maybe at different times) and making time for each other. Oh and quality > quantity. 

4. It’s okay to mess up. That’s pretty much what your 20s are for. Learn from it.

5. Everyone doesn’t like you and you definitely should not lose sleep over that. 

6. Less is almost always more. Leaving something to the imagination is a good idea. 

7. Stand up for your beliefs. Don’t ever go along with the popular opinion to impress people. 

8. If he cares, you won’t have to chase him. It’s a man’s natural instinct to chase. If you’re the 1 doing all the chasing, he’s not worth it. 

9. Look after your skin! High SPFs and skin care routines are where it’s at. You’ll be glad of it later. 

10. Duck face poses are ridiculous and extremely unattractive. 

11. Taking photos is so important. Your memory will fade and photos serve as great memories. 

12. Wear comfortable heels or put flats in your bag. Don’t walk home in your bare feet. 

13. Your gut instinct is almost always right! 

14. Travelling is a good way to spend your money. Do it your way though, because there are so many travel “know-it-alls”. Whether it’s a week at a time in 5 star hotels or a year at a time in hostels, do what feels right to you. 

15. It’s ok to spend Saturday nights binge watching TV series rather than binge drinking but it’s also okay to go drinking and let your hair down with friends too. 

16. ‘No’ is a full sentence. You don’t always have to have an excuse/reason. 

17. Pick your battles. This is a big 1 for me. Sometimes it’s easier and makes more sense to hold your tongue. 

18. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is on a different journey. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Be happy for your friend’s achievements, wish people who are no longer in your life happiness and be grateful for what you have. The grass is not always greener. 

19. Never point out your flaws to other people. They might not have noticed before you drew their attention to them.

20. This 1 leads on from the last and it’s a bit of a cliche but stop hating things about yourself. You might never be the skinniest or have the prettiest hair. So what. You have plenty of other things going for you. 

Of course, it’s not all plain sailing and if I’m being honest, I’m not 100% there with #19 & #20 but it’s definitely a work in progress. Unfortunately I don’t know everything and I still have a lot to learn so maybe in 10 years time, I’ll be sharing 30 new things I’ve learned.

Here are some things I hope to learn/do in my 30s that I haven’t quite mastered in my 20s:

1. Budgeting my money better and not being afraid to check my bank balance! (Shopping obsession, anyone?)

2. The 6 month mantra. I tend to over worry and I can be a bit of a worse case scenario kind of person. I’ll learn from this in the future, I’m sure. So I need to try & think of the mantra of asking myself if it’s something that will still be a problem in 6 months time before I freak out. 

3. Not to let my emotions or mood dictate my day.

4. Patience. Mine are definitely getting worse rather than better.  That’s enough said about that. 

5. Stop making excuses not to exercise. 

Dave and I were in Dingle in Kerry for a few days with friends last week and on our last night we went to the Blue Zone for dinner. It’s a jazz, wine bar that predominantly serves pizza. The first thing I’ll say is it really doesn’t look like much from the outside but when we googled places for pizza in Dingle, it was the first to pop up. The place itself had a nice relaxed vibe. There was some jazz music playing in the background. I’d love to know if they ever have live jazz playing. That would really add to the atmosphere. We got there around 9.30pm and ordered a drink and some food. The two negative things I have to say about the place were both about the drinks. The first was that the prosecco on sale was really not very nice. That’s not a complaint though, just a matter of taste. The second negative was that the bottle of red wine ordered cost €27 and we had bought it in another pub the day before for €15.

That being said, the pizza was one of the best I’ve ever had. I ordered the Hangover Cure pizza which was pretty much every type of meat imaginable – beef, chicken, pork, ham and Italian sausage. The base was thin but not too thin and it was lovely and crispy. It had a kind of yellow colour to it so they may use polenta to make it. Dave got the Oriental Mood pizza which had duck, lemongrass and red peppers. We also got a side of garlic potato wedges and they were delicious. Molly got the Spicy Chicken Salad and it was huge and the presentation was brilliant. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this place for a relaxing night with some enjoyable food. 

If you read my post about visiting San Francisco, you’ll know that my phone went crazy when I was there and had to be wiped clean. Not only did I lose all of the photos from the first 2 days in San Fran, I also lost any photos I had from May of 2016 because I hadn’t backed my phone up since the end of April. So on to June & our trip to beautiful San Francisco. 



Spread 1:

The picture on the top left is where prisoners used to go to get on the boat to Alcatraz. The multicoloured cross roads are from the Castro District. There’s a picture of me on my pizza blanket watching the sun come up and one of me in the cell at Alcatraz. The bottom right is a picture of the Painted Ladies. 

Project Life Kits: 

  • Dreamy (Core Kit): The Happiness card.
  • Road Trip (Mini Kit): The map card and the where we went/what we did card. 

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The gold alpha stickers used for ‘San Francisco’ are Sentiment Thickers.

Embellishments:

  • The loveheart embellishment is from the Lucky Charm mini kit. 

Pocket Pages:

  • The pocket page I used for this spread is from Photo Freedom.



Spread 2:

The picture on the top left is Emma & I watching the sunrise with our pizza blankets. So is the top 3×4 photo. The bottom 3×4 photo is of me standing in front of a painting of Bob Marley in Haight & Ashbury. The bottom right picture is of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Project Life Kits: 

  • Dreamy (Core Kit): The card with the ticket stubs
  • Road Trip (Mini Kit): The green & white card. 
  • Lucky Charm (Mini Kit): The card with the hearts on it. 

I’m unsure what kit the ‘This Makes Me Happy’ card is from!

Embellishments:

  • The ‘Recorded’ sticker is from MAMBI
  • The ‘Lovely’ sticker is from the Lucky Charms kit. 
  • The ‘This way For Fun’ arrow sticker is from Lucky Starz. 

Pocket Pages:

  • The pocket page I used for this spread was Becky Higgins Project Life Design D


Dave & I are in Kerry for a few days with some friends and yesterday we decided to do the Dingle Distillery tour. Dingle make whiskey, gin & vodka so there was something for everybody. 


The tour costs €15 and probably takes about an hour in full. It starts off with a very detailed description of distilling, where it probably started, how it works in Ireland and how long we’ve been doing it. He also gave us a brief history of Dingle Distillery before bringing us up to see where the magic happens. I learned that in Ireland we triple distill whiskey (or maybe vodka & gin too, I’m not 100% sure on that) and in Scotland, they double distill. We also got to see the alcohol in the large barrels (correct me if anyone knows their official name!) at the different stages. The tour wasn’t very long but it was quite detailed and the tour guide was so good and knowledgeable on the area he was talking about that it almost felt like the guy who owns the place took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to show you around. It was very relaxed and didn’t feel rehearsed at all. 


Now it was on to the fun part. Tasting time!! The guide brought us to a seating area with long benches and there was lots of bottles of tonic water and ginger ale. He gave us each a measure of Dingle Whiskey in a lovely little glass, along with a shot of a paler coloured liquid which is the whiskey before it has matured. First he gets you to smell the liquid and rub it in your hands and smell it again. After that he told us to taste it. I won’t lie, whiskey is not for me at any stage so after trying a tiny bit, I couldn’t bring myself to drink what was in my actual glass. Those who did drink it, really enjoyed it. 


After the whiskey tasting, he asked us if we wanted to try the gin or vodka. 4 of them went with gin, while the other two of us opted for vodka. I had to taste a tiny bit of it straight and I was surprised at how much smoother it was than some of the more commonly drank, but cheaper, vodka brands. I would normally drink my vodka with soda water and a good dash of lime cordial (I’m not a connoisseur by any means!!) so I wasn’t sure if I could manage it with tonic water because I really don’t like it. I gave it a go anyway and squeezed some fresh lime in too. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and I could see where gin drinkers come from when they say how refreshing the tonic water is.

As part of the tour you get to keep the glass, which costs €5 to buy in their shop so all in all, the tour is a bargain and I would definitely recommend it if you happen to visit Dingle in Kerry anytime soon! 

“It’s important to remember, we all have magic inside us” – J.K.Rowling

Being the huge Harry Potter fan that I am, I thought it was only right to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter Potter franchise. 

On 26th June 1997, I was a couple of months away from my 10th birthday, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone was released and I couldn’t have been less interested. Little did I know that day, the absolute fanatic I would become. 

Roughly 4 & a half years later, my cousin and her then boyfriend, now husband, insisted I watch the DVD of the first movie when it was released and from that moment on, I was hooked. I went home and borrowed the first 3 books from my Dad and started reading. After that I bought the books and went to see the movies the minute they were released.

Since then, I’ve bought endless amounts of Harry Potter merchandise, been to The Making of Harry Potter in the Warner Bros. Studios and been to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London. The last thing on my Harry Potter wish list is to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. There’s also some Harry Potter bed & breakfasts and escape rooms in the UK that I would not say no to either. 

So here’s to 20 years of Harry Potter and in the words of two of my favourite wizards:

Dumbledore: “After all this time?”

Snape: “Always!”


Johnnie Fox’s, famed for being the highest pub in Ireland, can be found in the Dublin mountains. It is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, established in 1798. Although it is considered to be a bit of a tourist trap, I always enjoy myself when I go there. They have open fires and entertainment 7 nights a week and during the day on Saturday and Sunday. They serve great food and a lovely pint too, so I hear. 


Dave and I decided to go there for our lunch on Friday as we were both off work. The menu is largely made up of seafood, which I never understand since it’s in the mountains and not near the sea. They are famous for their chowder and mussels and as you might know if you read my review of The Fish Shack, I love mussels so they’re always an easy choice for me. The mussels came in a cider, garlic and onion cream sauce. We ordered a portion of chips with them. We also ordered a seafood pie, which is served with mash but we asked for chips instead. They also brought some lovely homemade brown bread for the table before our meal arrived. It would have worked perfectly for soaking up the sauce from the mussels but we were pretty full and trying to leave space for dessert. The only negative I have, if any, is that we had a bit of a cream overload between the mussels and the pie.


 There was a coconut cheesecake on the specials menu and I loooove coconut so we shared that and Dave had an Irish coffee too.


 Every bit of it was so delicious and we felt fit for nothing but a nap after all of it. If you have the opportunity to go, do it. 


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.