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I recently took the tour of the Harry Potter Studios with some family and it was everything I imagined. Sometimes when you do things you’re really excited about, it can be a bit of an anti-climax, but not this. It was just as I’d imagined. We spent hours there and even got some photos on a broom stick and in the weasley’s car. My favourite parts of the tour were Dumbledore’s Office, The Knight Bus & the Butter Beer.

Have you experienced anything that was as amazing as you thought it would be?

Stephen, Chris & Mam Mam, Hepsiba & I Guinness Brewers Taste test Dublin City Dublin Mountains

1) Stephen, Chris & Mam enjoying a pint  & watching the football,  2) Enjoying a drink with Mam & Hepsiba. I was pretty excited that Hepsiba loved Irish Cider,  3) Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease for St. James’ Gate Brewery,  4) I love that they haven’t tried to completely modernise the building on the inside,  5) The mini Guinness you receive for the taste test. I now know how to properly drink Guinness, I still hate how it tastes,  6) Dublin City,  7) The Dublin Mountains

I know I’m not the only one who feels like they could know more about their own city but because it’s so familiar you rarely get to really see it. Every now and then I get to do the tourist thing in Dublin. I must admit it’s mostly when we have family or friends visiting from other countries. Last week my second cousin Chris from Canada came to visit along with his Chilean fiancée Hepsiba. They stayed with us for a few days and mostly found their own way around Dublin while we all worked. On the Saturday we brought them to our local pub to watch the football and sample a few Irish drinks before going into the Guinness Storehouse. As I say, it’s rare I get to do the tourist thing but I’ve done the Guinness tour at least 5 times. It’s always enjoyable and I hadn’t been in a while so It was fun to go and remind myself of the story behind ‘the black stuff’. You get some information on how it’s made as well as the history of Guinness. A new to me section included learning how to properly taste a Guinness or any beer really. Unfortunately it still hasn’t converted me. The grand finale is the Gravity Bar on the top floor with a nice view of Dublin City where you can sample a free pint of Guinness.

It was great to show Chris and Hepsiba a bit of the village we live in as well as a bit of the history of Ireland. After all, the Guinness is the most important reason to visit. 

Nana in the 1940'sNana in 1995 Nana and Grandad during WW2

1) My Nana in the 1940’s. She was in her 20’s when the photo was taken,  2) In 1995, she was in her 70’s. It’s not the best photograph ever but I love the mischievous look in her eye and the start of a smile appearing,  3)  Nana with Grandad during World War 2. I’ve never met two people more in love.

Today is my Nana’s 16th anniversary. I was only 10 years old when she died. Although she was sick for a couple of years before she died, it was a major loss for all of us when she passed. She was absolutely the matriarch of our family. She organised everyone and everything. She was tough and she had strong opinions and morals. She was a strict parent and you couldn’t help but respect her but anyone could see that my Dad and his siblings adored her. My Mam always says she was so respectful and that even when she moved next door to us, she wouldn’t call in without an invitation.  She was a strong woman but she also had a wonderfully soft side. She was the most loving grandmother and she had the softest hands. She was a stereotypical Irish grandmother who was constantly wearing an apron, always had biscuits and plenty of cuddles. I’m glad she passed when she did because she was very unwell in the end but I still miss her dearly and wish she was here to see me as a grown woman. I hope she would be proud. One think I’m absolutely sure of…if she was still around, I would definitely curse less.

Chief

Lady Mam & I Fethard On Sea

1) Chief tired after a long walk,  2) Lady relaxing,  3) My mam & I,  4) Fethard on Sea beach

I can’t believe it’s taken me over a month to write this blog post. This year is going by in a blink. On the 12th of August my mam and I took the dogs on a well deserved holiday. They have a very hard life you see, all that walking, sleeping and eating. We went to Fethard On Sea in Wexford for almost a week. My Aunty Pauline came with us for the first part of the week and we had a really relaxing time. We brought the dogs for long walks, had some drinks, cooked some nice food and even played bingo. When the weekend came around Pauline left and we had some other visitors including Annie the dog and my favourite little human Layla. The dogs had a ball on what was dubbed ‘The Dog Holiday’ and the humans enjoyed themselves too.I had a 99 ice-cream on the last day on the way home which is a must for a Wexford holiday.  I love visiting different parts of the world but there’s a lot to be said for a holiday at home. Ireland really is such a beautiful country.

 

For more photographs from the holiday, check out my album here

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1) two cakes at a time…sure why not?  2) Beautifuuly wrapped presents,  3) Cocktails with my girls,  4) The UH-mazing cake Jade made. It was delicious.

I had a lovely weekend celebrating my birthday with family & friends. It involved a LOT of food, two birthday cakes on Friday night, an amazing cake on Saturday night made by my lovely friend Jade, some cocktails and more beers. I also received some fab presents. What more could a girl want? 

 

Mam and MariaAbra (water taxi) Maria and Dane Mam and IIMG_6596

So my mam and Maria left Dubai to travel home on Wednesday night after 12 days. Dane organised a surprise for them and we dropped them to the airport in a white stretch Hummer limousine. Slightly cheesy, yes! Ridiculously enjoyable watching their faces as we walked towards it with their luggage, hell yes!! It was really great to have them both here for loads of reasons. For me, even though I was only here a little over a month when my mam arrived, I was delighted to see her. I enjoy the fact that I’m close to my family and I miss them when I’m away from them for too long. It was also great for Dane’s mam Maria to spend some time with him. I know it meant a lot to both of them…probably Maria more so but that’s sons for you. We had a lovely time and we got to see and do some things I hadn’t experienced in Dubai yet which was a win all round. It certainly didn’t take long for Irish ‘mammy-ness’ to kick in and within no time they were telling us what to do (“you need to save more” and “that’s not a substantial breakfast”), asking an outrageous amount of unnecessary questions and dying my leopard print blanket blue and my leopard print pyjama shorts pink (I’m obsessed with leopard print, remember). If I didn’t know better I’d say there’s a clause in the Irish ‘Mammy-ness’ contract that you have to be terrible at washing clothes and regularly stretch, shrink and change the colours. They try to justify it by saying “ah sure now it’s like ya have a new t-shirt” when they change the colour from white to blue. Anyway, we had a busy 12 days which included sunbathing, visiting the mosque, swimming, asking questions, afternoon tea, shopping, eating, drinking, asking questions, playing cards, laughing, the Dubai Fountain, asking more questions, the Burj Khalifa, more shopping, visiting the souks and the creek and did I mention asking questions? Like a lot of questions. They’re gone now and as they left, our friends Kiara and Deco arrived for 10 days. Literally. As in they all met at the airport for a few minutes. Needless to say it’s Friday (the weekend in Dubai) and I’m exhausted so while the others go to the market, I’m tidying around the apartment and relaxing with my book. Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment of ‘Summer in Dubai’.