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.

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!!

Perfume For someone who forgets to put perfume on on a daily basis, or just doesn’t because some of my immediate family members have allergies, I still own a heck of a lot of it. Different perfumes for different occasions.

My favourites are:

1. Chanel – Coco Mademoiselle.

This is my absolute favourite perfume. My cousin bought me my very first bottle as a gift for being her bridesmaid when I was 14 years old and I didn’t get another bottle until I could afford to buy it myself at about 19. It don’t come cheap but it’s worth it. I tend to only use it as a special occasion perfume so that it will last longer.

2. Vera Wang – Princess.

I love this perfume. It’s fresh, flowery & feminine. It reminds me of summer & I tend to wear it more in the summer and at weekends.

3. Jean Paul Gaultier – Classique.

Do you ever smell something and it brings up loads of memories or takes you back in time? This perfume does that for me. It reminds me of my teens and my friends. I rarely wear it these days because it actually catches my breath a bit but when I do, it takes me back.

4. Dolce & Gabanna – Light Blue.

Light blue has the same effect. It’s a perfume I’ve been wearing since my teens and I think of it as  a young person’s perfume. I love when I smell it off someone walking down the street. It’s 1 of those perfumes that lasts well so if you need something to your last your whole work day, it’s perfect!

5. Lancôme – Miracle.

To me this is a perfect day to night perfume. It’s fruity & floral. It’s the only perfume I love that I don’t actually have right now. I dropped it in a pub toilet last year and it smashed everywhere and I had a little cry (ok, not a real one!) and then I had a cocktail to numb the pain.

6. Calvin Klein – DownTown.

I never venture out and buy new perfumes so if I ever get a new perfume, it’s a gift. DownTown is relatively new to me. I got it as a Christmas present. It’s floral and woody and makes a great daytime perfume. I keep it in my handbag and wear it to work, when I remember.
What perfumes are your go to?

Always time for a selfie

 A couple of years ago I took a trip up to Northern Ireland with my mam to go to the Giant’s Causeway as I’ve always wanted to see it. There’s a lot to do along the Causeway Coast and I had heard about the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge so we decided to go there after the Giant’s Causeway. I have a fear of heights and I’ve always thought of this as a good way to face that fear. In hindsight, I don’t think the bridge was high enough l, at 100ft, to overcome my fear of heights but it was exhilarating and my heart was beating fast. Walking back across the bridge was a lot more daunting because I knew by then how much the wind rocked the bridge and how unstable it felt. I would recommend the Causeway Coast and the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge for anyone visiting Ireland or Northern Ireland, it’s an absolutely beautiful part of the country.

Find out more about the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge here!


Reading… The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes. I forgot how easy and fun her books are to read. I did not forget how funny she is. Her sense of humour is just brilliant.

Watching… Still hooked on Grey’s Anatomy. I’m almost at the end of season 9 now. What the hell am I going to do with my evenings when I catch up?

Listening to… TED Talks on my Podcast app while I drive. I’m learning all sorts of things in mostly 16-18 minute time slots.

Drinking… more water….finally!

Focussing on… getting back on track with my weight loss. I’ve been seriously slacking since December. Losing & gaining the same few pounds but I’m trying to be a bit more disciplined again.

Enjoying… some May sunshine in Ireland. Hopefully it lasts through the weekend!Although he hates the sun, my partner in crime, Chief, can’t help but sit out there with me when I’m reading.

Pinning… my own blog posts!

Considering… a trip to Bratislava in the summer.

So today is Day 50 of The 100 Day Project. Yes, you read that right. Day FIFTY! Half way point and I’m actually kind of amazed to say I haven’t missed a day. So far I have written and released 16 blog posts (including this 1), edited plenty of photos on my phone, edited photos on my MacBook, started a new notebook for the blog, made lists of post ideas, planned posts, took photos, chose books for The Big Book Challenge, Read books for The Big Book Challenge, explained & promoted my blog, read other blogs for inspiration, created a widget for a photography site I have, printed photos for Project Life, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts to Pinterest. 

I thought it might end up feeling like a bit of a burden but it hasn’t at all. I’m really enjoying the process. I think coming up with a plan that makes it easier to spend literally 10 minutes doing something on my phone on the days that are a little more hectic has made it really do-able for me.

My plan for the next 50 days is to carry on as I have. The challenge, as I’ve said in the previous post, is mainly for me to create a creative habit when it comes to paparali.com but the one thing I hope to do is encourage more people to subscribe to the blog instead of just stopping by and reading once in a while. I’m also going to plan ahead a bit more because I’ve definitely had days when I’ve gone a little blank trying to work out what my next post might be.

Are you taking part in The 100 Day Project?