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.


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.

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!!

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!!