Friday, 13 April 2012

The month that I realised I'm old, I'm an awesome bride and that I overdosed on potatoes

What’s going on? It’s April! My birthday has been and gone, St Patty’s Day went by without me having a Guinness and my gorgeous little chubby nephew is already over a month old. As the year continues to fly by, that saying alone has made me realise there are a number of things in life that now officially make me feel old. Yes, I realise to those of you who are older than me that this may result in you rolling your eyes in disgust but bear with me, I’m sure you will agree that the following things do make me old.
You know you’re getting old when...
  1. you enjoy marmalade. In fact, I love it and chose it over jam now because jam is just, ‘too sweet’.
  2. you now use a chiropractic pillow. I even went to complain over the weekend when the pillows at our B&B weren’t up to my usual standard. I didn’t though, I refuse to admit I’m that whingey just yet.
  3. if offered the choice between lemonade or soda water, I am ashamed to admit I'd pick soda water. With fresh lime, none of that overly sweet lime cordial stuff. What?! I feel like it was only yesterday that I had a sip of what I thought was lemonade and swallowed it in disgust realising it was soda water. Who drinks that stuff? Oh yes, that’s right. Old people.
  4. you get excited when buying a woollen blanket. Yep, I couldn’t contain my excitement when in Ireland, we bought a beautiful multi-coloured woollen blanket. I know, how young, hip and cool am I? Oh gosh, I can't believe I just wrote 'hip'.
  5.  And this one really is the clincher. On the weekend, I ordered (and this isn’t the first time it’s happened) mash and vegetables instead of chips and salad with my meal. I remember seeing my Mum and Dad doing this and thinking to myself, “Why would anyone not want chips?! I will never be like that.”

The day I start making my own
is when we really have to start
getting concerned. I'm sure
it isn't too far off.
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Yep. I really did buy a blanket. And
yes, I absolutely adore it. Shut up.
- April 2012

Good old refreshing soda water that
I will drink willingly without any
cordial or vodka.
Image by:

Remember how I said a while back that I liked to think of myself as 'the coolest bride ever'? Well, five and a bit months out and I still reckon I'm being pretty sane and level headed about what really is just one day of my life. Ok, it's a day pretty much all about me (sorry B but really, it is) and where I get to wear a beautiful dress and fabulous shoes but I'm trying to keep it real during all the planning. My original ideas where much more extravagant and I thought I wanted everything to match and everything to be perfect but in reality, B and I aren't perfect. And we aren't matchy-matchy so why should our wedding day be like that?

And so the theme has kind of taken a turn and has ended up being what I like to call country chic. Bridesmaids in different style dresses that they've picked themselves, coffee jars as vases (to all my Moccona coffee drinkers out there, keep going, we need lots more vases!) simple bouquets using flowers that I used to think were in my top three most hated flowers (I still hate you gerbera, don't think you're getting anywhere near my wedding) and just relaxed, casual and fun - exactly how I would describe B and I. No fuss.

Yep. Totally cool bride. Ask again in a few months and it may well be a different story.

Simple but beautiful.
Image from:

I think this sums us up quite nicely
Image from:

I don't think we'll go so
far as to have our cake in a
shed but it's still the style
that I am loving
Image by:


Ah the luck of the Irish. What a brilliant country, I can't believe we haven't been their sooner. And I simply can NOT believe J & L, who have lived in London for seven years, hadn't, until now, visited that little green island called Ireland. So we set off to spend Easter with the Irish. My lovely B, my sister J and my brother-in-law L.

To start, I have to tell this story because I think it's hilarious. I was at the train station in London buying some water and the nice cashier asked me if I was on my way home. No, I said, I'm off to Ireland. "Which island?" he asked. "Just Ireland. The country of Ireland," I said. "What's Ireland?" he questioned. "Um... Ireland. The country right next to the UK. You know... Ireland..." he just stated at me and clearly had no idea about this mystery country so just smiled and nodded and I left with a funny story to tell.

So after a bit of a boozy airport adventure (getting their super-duper early... we thought it would be hectic at Luton being a small airport and flying out the day before a four day long weekend - but it was absolutely dead so we had quite a bit of time to kill) we landed and headed straight out of Dublin to the small seaside town of Bray. We pretty much went straight to bed although B & L decided to take a wander and pick up a greasy burger and two enormous bags of hot chips right before bedtime. First potato of the weekend. There would be many, many more to come. So many in fact that I find it quite painful to talk about them. I'm currently on a no-potato diet.

In Bray we climbed a mountain. Well, maybe not a mountain, just a really big hill and the view was beautiful. Oh look! There's another thing that makes me old. Enjoying lookouts. When I was younger, I used to HATE lookouts and thought walking for ages just to look at a view was stupid, boring and pointless. Now that I enjoy and appreciate them, I think that's another thing to add to my 'I'm old' list.

From Bray we drove to Killkenny, a gorgeous little town with cobblestone streets, stone houses, great cafes and shops and a brewery. A brewery that was closed. Because it was Good Friday and in Ireland, Good Friday means no pubs, no alcohol, nothing. Oh dear... we were spending the night in Cork, a town known for good nights out but seeing as everything was closed, it was... shall we say, a quiet night. 24hours into our Ireland trip and we were not only stone cold sober, but we'd not even had a taste of alcohol. L did choose a Bailey's Irish cream cheesecake for afternoon tea to try and compensate for it but it just wasn't the same.

So Cork was quiet and I think we definitely need to go back there to experience it properly. That's not to say we couldn't have had a drink while we were there because the pub below our B&B opened at 7am on Saturday but we weren't that desperate. From Cork we went to Blarney Castle to kiss the infamous Blarney Stone. Didn't really feel all that much different after I'd kissed it but the castle was beautiful and we wandered around the grounds before we'd all had enough and were ready for that first Irish pint. And it was AWESOME!

From here we visited the gorgeous town of Kilarney and then on to Galway where we all got stuck into the Guinness. I always used to cringe at the thought of stouts but with my more mature palette, it's something I now really like. Look at me! Drinking like a real Irishman! Galway was brilliant, proper Irish bands, great atmosphere and the people were just so nice. From Galway we went up to Sligo, along the coastal route where we met a random dog when we stopped to take photos of the mountains, had a drink in a pub that made us feel like we were taking part in an episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and soaked up the Irish atmosphere.

So that was Ireland. A few more fun things we did included each of us achieving the 'you must drink five pints of Guinness' rule set by J, visiting some brilliant pubs, having potatoes in some shape or form in almost every single meal (even just writing the word 'potato' is making me feel ill) meeting the locals, eating take away pizza in a pub because our final town had absolutely nowhere to eat (the dodgy looking Chinese takeaway does NOT count as an option) having more than a few laughs with some brilliant quotes that we came out with (none of which are appropriate to write on my blog - if you're interested in what they are, let me know!) Ireland was just brilliant. Way too much driving and not enough site seeing but at least now we know where we want to go back to and I simply cannot wait to get back over there as soon as possible.

Oh, I almost forgot my magnet update! Our Ireland magnet is in the shape of an Irish pub. Sounds pretty average but here's the best bit. The pub is called Murphy's - brilliant! It now stands to be one of B's favourite magnets.

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork
- April 2012

View from the top of Blarney Castle
- April 2012

Irish water droplets
Blarney Castle gardens
- April 2012

The beautiful Irish countryside, the
mountains on one side and the sea on the
other. - April 2012

Just your everyday rest stop along the
road. - April 2012


I've been a bit slack lately. After the eating frenzy that was March, I feel like I'm letting the side down a bit with our food adventures for April. I've been so distracted with taking photos of all the amazing spring blossoms that have been popping up everywhere that I have barely been taking any pictures of my foodie delights!

I was amazed at the food in Ireland. Almost every meal I had was delicious. Not just good, but really, really good. Full Irish breakfasts, scones and espresso, homemade cottage pie, Irish stew - all seriously tasty and often better than the pub food back in London. C'mon London, pick up your game!

The two vegetarian meals per week continues although the second vege meal is often cooked when B is away for work so he really only has to endure one a week but we are having a fair few successes. Polenta pancakes with avocado salsa, potato mince pie made with quorn mince (and he couldn't tell it wasn't meat - woo hoo!) spinach and thyme pasties, tomato, beetroot and goats cheese tart, just to name a few. I'm happy to report that the complaints are getting quieter too! I think he secretly likes vegetarian but refuses to admit meat-defeat.

And of course my baking. This time, it was for an American friend who recently left my work after being there for 25 years (I was two when he started working there!) I decided to bake some special cupcakes for him. I called them 'smores cupcakes but it was really just a mish-mash of a few different recipes to come up with this creation. They were chocolate cupcakes with a melted, gooey marshmallow centre with chocolate and marshmallow icing. As always, I ate way too much of the batter and icing as I was making them so didn't actually feel like eating one of the finished products. I felt like I'd well and truly already had my calorie intake. While the end results didn't look quite as pretty as I'd hoped, they still looked alright, all got eaten (B had three) and G from work who gave up chocolate for Lent broke it by two days so she could taste a cupcake so I think they were ok!

My next food post will be better, I promise. I WILL take photos of my food before I get too excited and inhale it, and I will go to some exciting places so I can write back about it all. I've already got a brewery and Brazilian meal lined up with B; I'm making a chocolate Bailey's cheesecake for a dinner party with friends; another visit to my favourite Mexican restaurant, Wahaca; pizza with a friend, her little man and J; my fabulous Canberra friends B & K coming over to visit us which will include a trip to Jamie's Italian AND a trip to Germany to write about.

Hmmm... this wedding dress diet isn't looking so good.

The 'smores cupcake messy but tasty
- April 2012

This was my first ever pint
of a meal in a glass
- April 2012

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