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. 


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! 

Around this time last year, myself and my friend Emma were living it up in San Francisco. I had wanted to go and see San Fran and Alcatraz for years. We went for 5 nights and we packed a lot in. Unfortunately, my camera lens started to die while I was there so I took most of my photos on my iPhone. Then to top that off, during the night on the  second night, my phone had some sort of meltdown and I had to bring it to the Apple store the next day where they had no choice but to completely reset it, so I lost all of the photos from the first two days, including Alcatraz. Oh and did I mention that our suitcases never made the flight? Mine turned up within about 15 hours but Emma’s didn’t show for about 48 hours. Sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it?!

To be honest, I forgot about all of those crappy things until I sat down to write this post. They are definitely not the take aways from the trip. The only downer about it is that I don’t have many photos of Alcatraz and I have absolutely none from the food trucks at Presidio Park. 

We fit in so much into such a short trip. We were up at about 6am every day and fell asleep about 10 or 11pm at the latest every night. The day we arrived we went to The Castro District. The Castro was one of the first gay neighbourhoods in the United States. Some of the pedestrian walkways are made up of the rainbow flag colours that represent the LGBT community. When we were in San Francisco, the Orlando nightclub shooting had only recently happened and there was a very touching tribute to the victims of the shooting at The Castro.

The Castro District

After visiting The Castro, we got a taxi up to the top of Twin Peaks. We took some pictures and got some great views of the city of San Francisco. By the time we finished there, we went back to the hotel (hoping our luggage had arrived – it hadn’t!) and then went for some food. 

Twin Peaks

We woke at about 5am and decided this was the best morning to head to the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the sun come up. This was by far the highlight of my trip. We got soooo lucky because it was a really great sunrise. We got pizza blankets (I know, amazing!!) and went back a few mornings later but the sunrise wasn’t nearly as nice. After watching the sun come up, we waked back across the bridge. It was a lovely walk. I’ve read and heard plenty of people saying that they wouldn’t suggest walking all the way across. I disagree completely. I loved the walk so much, we did it twice. 


Pizza blankets

After the walk back, we went to get some breakfast and then went to see Lombard Street which was really busy but the houses along the road are really nice with some gorgeous flowers too. 

How beautiful? (Emma may kill me because she’s in this photo!)

 After Lombard Street we went to Presidio Park. We went to see the Walt Disney museum, which really isn’t worth a trip in my opinion. Then we went out to the food trucks in the park, which was another highlight of my trip. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no pictures of it, but if you go to San Fran, I would definitely recommend it. We sat out in the sun, enjoying a cocktail and trying some delicious food. 

After Presidio Park, we went to Alcatraz. I was so excited for this and took a million photos and lost them all so I only have this one below that was saved to my Snapchat of me in one of the cells. The tour was brilliant and there’s something so creepy about the place. 

An Alcatraz cell

We were exhausted after it and went straight home to bed. Then my phone died so we spent a couple of hours the next morning in the Apple store before jumping on the hop on/hop off bus. This way we got to see a lot more without getting off the bus. 

We got off the bus at Pier 39. I was a bit disapointed because there wasn’t many sea lions out. The whole area had a real holiday vibe to it with restaurants and amusements and shops. Then we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, it reminded me of that Irish seaside town vibe, but a bit warmer and prettier. (Did I mention San Francisco had a heat wave while we were there and my scalp and shoulders burnt to a crisp?).


We got an In-N-Out Burger, which we had been looking forward to and it was so worth the wait. Delicious. I’ll never look at a Big Mac the same way again. Since we were so close, it would have been rude not to pop into Ghirardelli’s. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a chocolate company and it’s famous for it’s ice-cream sundaes. 

We paid for two days on the bus tour and we got to see China Town, The Oakland Bridge and Coit Tower. We also went to Haight & Ashbury which amazingly still felt like it had the hippie vibe that would have been there in the 1967 Summer of Love. We went from there to see the Painted Ladies which were absolutely beautiful. It was busy but not so busy that you couldn’t get a photo of them. I will say, as pretty as they are, I definitely saw some nicer houses scattered around San Francisco. We also went to see the Mrs Doubtfire house which was awesome, even if the taxi driver had never seen the movie and thought we were crazy.

Painted Ladies

We also managed plenty of shopping (hello Sephora!), lots of eating and a little drinking. We even fit in a visit to an Irish bar to watch Ireland beat Italy 1-0 in the 2016 Euros. So all in all, we had an amazing trip to San Francisco. It absolutely rivalled New York as my favourite place that I’ve been to in the United States. Now I have a favourite on each coast and I will definitely go back.

Is there anything I missed on my trip that you could recommend for next time?

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.

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!!


On our recent trip to Fethard on Sea in Wexford, we went to Loftus Hall to take the tour. I’ve been going down to Fethard at least once a years for the past 4 years and had never done the tour. 

Loftus Hall is a mansion on the Hook Peninsula in Co. Wexford. It is said to be the most haunted house in Ireland.

Dave is really interested in all things haunted so he wanted to see it. I was looking forward to it & love an interactive tour. He really doesn’t so I wasn’t holding out much hope, but we both really enjoyed it. It was interactive in a great way, not a cheesy way, and the tour guide we had was pretty funny. 


The tour lasts a little less than an hour and the guide shares the history of the house and shows you several rooms in the downstairs as well as a beautiful stair case, which is apparently one of only three of it’s kind. One of the other two sits at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on the Titanic and the other is in The Vatican.

For €10 for an adult, I would definitely recommend this tour if you find yourself in this tiny part of the world…

So in my post back in April, I shared all of the things we did in Budapest. This post is going to talk all about the food. Let’s be real…that’s what people really want to hear about?! No? Just me then!

One of the first things we noticed was just how many Italian restaurants there are in Budapest. We’re both pizza fans so naturally the first meal we had was pizza for lunch (when in Rome…I mean Budapest!) we went to a place called Ez Az Bistro. It was one of the more expensive meals we had and by more expensive I mean not really expensive, at all. I had the Maialona and I think Dave had the Diavola. I didn’t take a picture of it, which is really annoying, but usually means I was either really hungry or really enjoyed it, or both! If you’re a pizza fan, I’d definitely try a pizza in Budapest. Check out their menu here.

If you’re looking for lunch, that won’t take too much time, or drunk food (confession: we had it twice & for both these reasons) then you must go to Hot Dog, Cold Beer. As far as I’m aware there’s two of them in Budapest but the one we went to was only a few minutes away from where we were staying. Ireland doesn’t leave much to the imagination when it comes to hot dogs but this one was delicious. There are lots of options but I got the New York both times & Dave got the German & the Mexican. It comes as a meal if you want & that includes crisps (or chips in America) on a stick called Tornado Fries as well as a beer or a soft drink. Definitely worth a visit. Check them out on Facebook 

Hot Dog, Cold Beer

We went to New York Cafe as one of the main sites to see in Budapest and unfortunately the day we went, there was filming going on so there was just a small section of the cafe sectioned off for passing trade. It’s known as ‘the most beautiful cafe in the world’. It is very grand and beautifully decorated with very professional staff. However that being said, I felt the atmosphere was a little uncomfortable. I had a hot chocolate, which was out of this world, but I was glad we only stopped long enough for this and didn’t stay for a meal. If you happen to pass by, it’s worth popping in for a coffee but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get there. 

New York Cafe

There’s a place called Gozsdu Udvar, which is a kind of strip of restaurants, near where we were staying in the Jeweish District and we went to a place called Spíler Shanghai for lunch one of the days. We ordered two meals to share. We had a sweet & spicy pork belly burger and spicy prawn noodles. The noodles were lovely but the pork belly burger was unreal. Better than any pulled pork burger I’ve had. Check Spíler Shanghai out here.

Spíler Shanghai - Sweet & Spicy Pork Belly BurgerSpíler Shanghai - Spicy Prawn Noodles 

Another restaurant we visited in Gozsdu Udvar was RED. We went there for dinner one of the evenings and there wasn’t a lot jumping out off the menu for me. I decided to play it safe & went for a burger. It was huge & pretty tasty but the stand out thing in this meal was the slaw! Yum! I definitely wouldn’t rush to this place but it was decent. 

Red Bistro

We had read that there was a Jamie’s Italian in Budapest but completely forgot to go back & check out where it was. Luckily, we stumbled across it, which was a complete fluke, because it’s on the Buda side and up the street from Mathias Church. The only reason we even walked up that way was because we thought it was a bar & we were looking for somewhere to pass a half an hour while we waited for the sunset. Unlucky for us, we had had a pretty big lunch that day so weren’t hungry enough for dinner. We did however try this AMAZING garlic bread from the bar food menu, as well as a cocktail. The price was very very reasonable and I wish we had been hungry enough for dinner. Check it out here.

Jamie's Italian

The absolute best experience we had in a restaurant, in Budapest, was in a place called Comme Chez Soi. It was so great that it deserves a post of it’s own, so look out for that, as well as the places we went for drinks soon! 

JFK Arboretum
Dave & I are in Fethard on Sea in Co.Wexford for a long weekend and decided to spend as much time as possible outside on Friday because the rest of the weekend is supposed to be pretty rainy & windy. 

JFK Arboretum
We decided to go to the John F. Kennedy Arboretum. This park filled with a collection of international plants and trees is dedicated to the memory of JFK. 

For anyone unfamiliar with President Kennedy’s connection to Co.Wexford, his grandfather lived there before emigrating to Boston in 1847. In June 1963, John F. Kennedy visited Ireland. He, along with his sisters, visited their Irish homestead in Dunganstown, Co. Wexford. He also visited Co. Galway where he received the freedom of the city. A life sized bronze statue of JFK can be found in New Ross, Co. Wexford.

If you ever visit the New Ross area of Wexford, I would definitely recommend a trip to the arboretum. I wouldn’t be a gardener, by any means, as in I have killed several cacti, but I would definitely recommend it for a walk. We brought our lunch with us and had that before heading off for a stroll with an ice-cream. I think we walked for almost 4km and we didn’t even see it all. The arboretum also includes a cafe, picnic area, playground, a miniature railway (open in July & August only) and a lake. I really enjoyed taking pictures of all of the different flowers and think it was definitely worth the €5 entrance fee per adult. To find out more about the JFK Arboretum, click here

JFK Arboretum
If anyone can identify these beautiful plants, please do so in the comments. 

Last September I went to FriendsFest in the UK with my friend Emma and her daughter and I decided to do a quick review and share a couple of photos here because it’s on again, this year between July and September around the UK. 

Obviously because we were coming from Ireland, we got a flight from Dublin to Luton early in the morning and travelled by Taxi to the venue. We arrived pretty early which gave us a good few hours at the venue. 

We were so lucky to get really good weather. We started the day by watching some best bits of each Friends character on a big screen while eating some chips (yes, it was the AM, don’t judge me!!).

FriendsFest
After relaxing in the sun for a while, we got in the queue to get our photos taken in the opening scene. It was well organised and pretty quick but I’m not going to post a picture because I don’t want to post pictures of someone else’s child without their say so! 

This leads into Monica & Rachel’s apartment which is pretty impressive. They have the entire thing set out & you can get pictures taken in the living room, kitchen & on the inside of their front door. With the exception of some very small furniture changes, it was perfect and really brought me back to years and years of watching Friends (who am I kidding? I still watch it on Comedy Central at least once a week)

FriendsFest

FriendsFest

Next up was Joey & Chandeler’s apartment. If I’m being honest, this 1 was a bit of a let down. They had Joey’s entertainment unit, the Laurel & Hardy poster & lazy boys. It wasn’t in a room of it’s own, however, so that kind ruined it a little. 


As well as the apartments, there was also a recreated set of Central Perk. You could have your picture taken outside and then inside behind the counter, on that iconic sofa and on the stage. 


They also had Ross & Rachel’s Wedding Chapel, Monica’s Moodance Diner, a silent disco which was based on the New Years Eve party when Ross & Monica did their “routine”, Phoebe’s taxi, a souvenir shop and some great food & drink options. 

Considering we were only there for about 5 hours, it’s ridiculous how much we ate. After the chips I mentioned earlier, we also had this hot chocolate (yum!), a waffle with Mokolate on it (remember that episode?) and some mac n cheese.


Overall we had a great day but in all honesty, I think there is a lot more they could do with it. Overall I would say if you live nearby one of the places FriendsFest will be on this year, I definitely recommend going. You’d have to be a really big fan before I’d recommend you to travel by plane. We had a great day with great weather and any day I get to sit in a beach chair watching Friends, is a good day! 

If you want more information on FriendsFest, you can check it out here

Hello Hungary

In early March I went on a long weekend with my boyfriend to Budapest. We booked it in January and it came around fast. It was our first weekend away, outside of Ireland, together so I was pretty excited. The only Eastern European city I had been to before was Prague in Czech Republic so Budapest had a lot to live up to. I was surprised by how many people had been there when I mentioned it and plenty of people had said what a lovely city it was. This Hungarian metropolis is made up of 2 cities -Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube river. The two sides of the river are completely different. Buda has plenty of hills and beautiful buildings and is quite laid back and quiet, while Pest is flatter but booming with business and culture. Both sides are definitely worth a visit. We stayed on the Pest side, as I think most tourists do. We stayed in the Ambra Hotel which was probably about 15 minutes walk from the Danube, in the Jewish Quarter (District 7).

The hotel was relatively small but the room was spacious with a comfortable bed and large windows for natural life. There was no bar, which is very unusual coming from Ireland but the breakfast was very nice and included champagne so I indulged in a mimosa with my breakfast (I said Irish, didn’t I?!). I would definitely recommend the Ambra because it’s clean and in a good location.

The currency in Budapest is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) and the value for money is unbelievable. You can eat and drink for very little and we were not counting the pennies at all. We spent €530 between us over the 3 days and when I tell you, we were thinking of ways to spend it by the last day, I’m not lying. €11 cocktails that probably would have cost €20 easily, in Dublin. The only thing I would say was not good value for money was taxi fares. Other than the taxis to and from the airport, we only got 1 and it was not cheap, so I would avoid them if at all possible.

On our first day, we arrived around 11am, checked in, dropped our bags and went straight out exploring. We wandered as far as the Danube to try and get our bearings, walked across the chain bridge and back and had some lunch (an amazing pizza) on the Pest side before heading back to do a tour of the Opera House. It was close to our hotel and quite cheap to visit. It cost roughly €13 including a photo ticket so I could take my own pictures. It is definitely worth a trip and the guided tour is well timed and very informative.

Budapest Opera House Bar

Budapest Opera House Bar


Budapest Opera House

Budapest Opera House

After the tour, we went back to the hotel to rest for a little while before going for drinks in an Irish pub called Publin and having some food in a place called Hot Dog, Cold Beer, that came recommended on Pinterest. I’ll share more about the food and drink in the next post.

Day 2 started with a bit of a lie in, but we had breakfast and were out by 11am. We walked out to the Danube again (there’s a theme here!) and got Tram 2 along the river. I had read it was a great way to see the city and for a couple of Euro, I wasn’t disapointed. We went both ways and it brought us right down to the back of the Parliament building and I wasn’t expecting much, but it blew me away. It was absolutely beautiful.

Tram 2


Parliament Building

Parliament Building

We went to New York Cafe next, which comes highly recommended but only part of it was open to the public and the hot chocolate was amazing but the place wasn’t for me.

Later that afternoon we crossed over to the Buda side & took the second oldest funicular up to the top of Buda Hill and wandered towards Fisherman’s Bastian & Matthias Church which are both beautiful and absolutely worth a visit. You get great views of the Pest side, in particular the Parliament Building and I would highly recommend getting there for the sunset.

Matthias Church

Matthias Church


Budapest Parliament Building

Budapest Parliament Building

Finally, on day 3 we went to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths and in my opinion they are a must for Budapest. It’s over 100 years old and has 18 pools including 3 outdoor pools. The weather was 13 degrees celsius but felt like more. I wasn’t crazy about the indoor baths but the outdoor ones were amazing. We even managed to sit out in our swimwear & have a couple of drinks afterwards.
We went to the Central Market Hall and I don’t think I even have any photographs because I really wasn’t impressed with it. I expected it to have an old market vibe and it really didn’t at all. Some people love it, to me it was a place selling spices and tacky souvenirs.

We left on a flight around midday on the 4th day. We got almost everything we wanted into 3 days but I think a 4th day would have been great. If you are on the fence about a trip to Budapest, climb right down off that fence and book some flights.

Look out for my next post on everything we ate & drank in Hungary’s capital city!

Check out more photos from the trip here