Spread 1:

The Irish/green theme is continuing in my April spread because it was the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. In April I I went to Dublin Zoo and Eddie Rockets with my friend Emma, her daughter and our other friend’s daughter. I have put a little doodle from the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ app over their faces for the purpose of this post because I haven’t asked their permission to post pictures of their children. There’s also a picture from a night out with the girls and finally a picture of a Dolmen I saw on a trip down to Mizen Head in Cork. It also includes a photo of Chief, just because!

Project Life Kits: 

  • Seafoam (Core Kit): The orange lined card is from the Seafoam kit. 
  • Midnight (Core Kit): The polka dot card is from the Midnight kit.
  • Season (Core Kit): The green 4x6card is from the Seasons kit.

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The black alpha stickers used for ‘April’ are ‘Ali’ Thickers designed for Studio Calico.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The ‘Proud to be Irish’ sticker is actually from an Irish postcard with stickers on it that I bought years ago. 

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design D for this spread.

 

Spread 2:

Spread 2 is made up of a trip to the Aviva Stadium for an Ireland match, A cuddle with Dasha, the Tri-colour with Easter Sunday breakfast, new nails and City Hall in Cork, lit up in green, white and orange to commemorate the 1916 Rising. 

Project Life Kits: 

  • Midnight (Core Kit): The polka dot card is from the Midnight kit.
  • Season (Core Kit): The green 4x6card is from the Seasons kit.

I used the ‘And The Story Continues…’ card to explain the theme staying the same from March to April and a small 3×4 green card from the Seasons kit.

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design A for this spread.

 

Overall, I’m not delighted with this spread but it will do. I kept putting it off and that’s why I decided to just get it finished, post it and move on.

 

Have you tried Project Life? What’s your experience of it?

I’m not sure the colour of these brushes is coming up as nice in this photo as they are in real life. They’re so pretty that I was not leaving without them. They were €8 and they’re from Penneys (Primark if you’re outside Ireland). 

Now I’m not saying much for how good they’ll be as brushes because I haven’t used them yet but I’ll give them a go this weekend and the seem nice and soft so far. 


They even come with this explanation for each brush and how to use them. 

Has anyone else tried them?

“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!”

I had a look back over the things I wanted to Focus on in 2017 and I won’t lie, some of them are going horribly wrong. That being said, some are definitely working, or at the very least, improving. 

Some of the things that are working:

Saving more money:

Ok so I’m not going to be saver of the year anytime soon but I have made a positive change. I used to save the odd bit of whatever money I have left at the end of the month but now, on pay day, I transfer a certain amount into the savings account I set up in February. 

Focussing on my own shit:

I talked about this a little in my last OLW post. Part of focussing on my own shit was thinking about where I was going career-wise. This is kind of a cheat because it’s not something I actively worked on, but I have been offered a new contract in work which will make it easier to plan for the future. There’s still a lot up in the air that I hope is clarified soon so watch this space. 

Spending more time with people & books & less time on devices:

Ok this is a small change. I’m probably not spending much less time on devices but I’m definitely reading more and I’ve also started working on my Project Life albums again which is a nice device free, creative (ish) thing to do. 

Growing my hair & getting it back to a healthy condition:

So these two things have yet to actually kick in but I have been using Olaplex and I’ve started taking Biotin to strengthen my hair. Fingers crossed I see a difference soon. I’ve also made the decision to dye my hair brown after the summer to see if that helps. 
Some of the things that are not working:

Losing more weight:

This is going horribly wrong. I have a great week, then I reward myself with food and have a terrible weak. I read a quote the other day that said “you haven’t come this far, to only come this far” and my friend sent me a picture that popped up on her Facebook Memories from 2 years ago and there’s a huge change so hopefully, they’re the things that will motivate me to push on through. 

Being productive & not just busy:

All I’ll say is I put the PRO in procrastination.

The here & now & letting go of the small things:

I’m the biggest worrier and over thinker so these two are proving really difficult, but I haven’t given up. 
Are you doing One Little Word for 2017? If not, is it something you might consider?
I found this picture on Pinterest. Check out silhouetteonlinestore.com You can keep up to date with my OLW ‘Focus’ over on Pinterest. my name over there is @paparali. You can also check out my other OLW posts here


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!!