Tuesday, May 19, 2015

No more sex

Getting everyone out to school in the morning is often stressful. Especially on those days when you have been in bed scrolling through Facebook and didn't notice the time ticking away...

This morning was no different. After a mad dash looking for uniforms, lost shoes and school bags I shoved a piece of toast in somebody's mouth and shouted for the hundreth time to 'Get a move on, we're going to be late'.

The 6 year old continued to stroll around the house looking for 'something' but wouldn't tell me what. The 8 year old gave me the 'Jeez, you're so stressy' line. Which is always helpful. And the 10 year old stood at the front door silently rolling her eyes at us all.

I looked at the clock.

'Ok. That's it! Out, Out, Out!'

They filed passed me grumbling, but just as they got to the car, one of them turned back.

'One sec - I forgot my markers'.

The next one followed

'One sec - I forgot my music folder'.

The last one turned tail

'One sec - I forgot my something'

I stood red faced and exasperated in front of the car, shouting after them like a mad woman -


And then froze, watching the stream of smirking teenagers walking past the house on their way to school.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Things to do in Wicklow - Powerscourt Waterfall

As you may know already we are big fans of Powerscourt Gardens, but there is also the magnificent Powerscourt Waterfall a little further down the track that we visited recently.

This is the heighest waterfall in Ireland - and if you time it right it is absolutely spectacular.

In fact I have been coming here all my life. As kids our parents would pile us all into the old Morris Traveller and we'd head out to roam the wilds and paddle in the streams. At some stage over the years they started charging for entrance to the waterfall - which of course outraged all of us who had been coming for free all those years. However as the charge was per person my parents' cunning plan was to sit in the front smiling innocently at the man at the gate, whilst we all hid giggling under blankets in the boot.

Just the two today so...

The rugged beauty is still the same today as it was all those years ago - but they have added a really great play area for children of all ages that really adds to it.

Pack a picnic, a rug, a ball and a towel to dry off after paddling and you have yourself a fabulous day out.

What are you waiting for?!

More Things to do in Wicklow

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Most Iconic Wedding Rings of all Time

My little sister’s wedding is fast approaching and she’s recently been setting her sights on wedding rings. It’s a piece of the wedding style puzzle that she had almost forgotten about. Though the ring itself may seem simple, there’s a great deal of variation in style and setting. Here are a few of history’s most iconic wedding and engagement rings to swoon over. I'm not sure she's going to be quite so lucky as these ladies though...

Josephine de Beauharnais’ dynamic duo
French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte certainly had money to spare, so when the time came to lavish his bride Josephine de Beauharnais with jewels he did so with a stunning diamond and sapphire wedding ring. The band itself is composed of gold, with two pear-shaped stones (a blue sapphire and diamond) showcased side by side to symbolize their love.

Scarlett Johanssons’ Art Deco style
Known for her unique, classy sense of style, Scarlett Johansson’s engagement ring has helped usher in the hot vintage trend in engagement and wedding rings. When she got engaged to French journalist Romain Dauriac, he exhibited his excellent taste by presenting ScarJo with a beautiful piece of Art Deco style jewellery. This featured three round diamonds set in a vintage rectangular shape. Love the look? You’ll see the geometric shapes of the Art Deco era featured in a number of wedding rings from modern retailers like these at Vashi who collaborated with me on this piece, showing the versatility of this iconic style.

Audrey Hepburn’s stackable rings
Stackable rings are a practical trend in wedding bands – they let you mix and match your everyday jewellery to suit your daily outfit. Mel Ferrer gifted Audrey Hepburn a stackable wedding ring, containing two different bands in rose gold and white gold. Always a trendsetter, she helped make this the popular style that it is today.

Marilyn Monroe’s baguette diamonds
Speaking of style icons, it’s hard to imagine the style of the 50’s without mentioning Marilyn Monroe! Are you in search of a simple wedding band style that still sparkles? You might want to take a look at Monroe’s baguette-cut diamond eternity band. It was given to her during her wedding ceremony to Joe DiMaggio in 1954.

The famous blue sapphire
However, when you imagine blue sapphire rings, you probably don’t immediately think of Josephine de Beauharnais and Napoleon. A more modern blue sapphire ring was the one given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles in February 1981, more recently sported by the Duchess of Cambridge after being given to her by Prince William. This iconic ring has been sparked many imitations, with the original featuring 14 solitaire diamonds encasing a brilliant blue Ceylon sapphire. Crafted by Garrard, it’s set in 18-carat white gold and will remain an icon of wedding ring design for years to come.

Jacqueline Kennedy’s emerald sparkler
Coloured gemstones can enliven the wedding ring, giving it a splash of irresistible colour that’s just right for a more playful look. Jacqueline Kennedy, classy as ever, sported an engagement ring featuring 2.88 carats of diamonds as well as elegant emeralds.

Amal Alamuddin’s ethically sourced bling
Amal Alamuddin specialises in human rights law, so it makes sense that when George Clooney shopped around for an engagement ring he looked for one that was ethically mined. Although it may be responsibly sourced, the 7-carat diamond in a platinum setting is certainly every bit as glamorous as the other rings on this list, proving that you can have it all!

This post was written in collaboration with Vashi.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Boho Boys and Gypsy Girls

I've long loved the boho vibe. For me it brings up images of sunshine, flowers, flowing dresses and hippie hair. I briefly danced my way barefooted down the gypsy trail when I was back packing around Australia a million moons ago - but somehow headbands and glitter don't marry with the rainy school run so well...

And so I will try to relive my youth through my poor suffering children.

I could spend hours trawling through the beautiful offerings on Melijoe - so many brands do the boho trend so well - Pepe, Scotch and Soda and Stella McCartney would be top of my list.

One day...One day...

For the Gypsy Girls:



Scotch and Soda

For the Boho Boys:

Japan rags

Aren't they just gorgeous? Now I just need to buy a VW Combi and a tambourine and we're all set. 

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Melijoe.com. All words and opinions are my own.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Platform Pizza - Things to do in Wicklow

The Irish Times have named it the “Best Pizza in Ireland”. Could it really be that good? With only you lovely readers in mind (and nothing at all to do with our rumbling bellies) we headed in to Platform Pizza in Bray, Co. Wicklow, to find out what all the fuss is about.

The first thing that hits you on entering Platform Pizza is the atmosphere. The industrial decor of the room is warmed by the array of interesting artifacts and features dotted around the place, and of course by the chatter and buzz of the many customers. Be warned – Platform Pizza is rarely quiet.

The lure of the toilets, entered by way of an antique wardrobe was too much for the kids and they spent the first 15 minutes needing the loo. Continuously.

Once we had persuaded them to actually sit in their seats, the excitement reached fever pitch. Not just any old pizza menu for them. Oh no. Starter, a choice of main, dessert, and a selection of drinks (including a very popular strawberry lemonade – made with proper strawberries) was all laid out on the special kids’ menu – which doubled as the rest of the evening’s entertainment (once the toilet glee had finally worn off). At just €8 per child, it is amazing value – a much needed aid when you have three children with you.

The staff at Platform Pizza are truly wonderful. Highly attentive, fun, and very welcoming to children of all ages. They are always on top of things and never far from hand when you need them.

Carlo, (or Carrrrrlo) who works front of house, took time out to tell us about the amazing boneless chicken wings that are one of their specialties. One of our party remarked that they had the taste and texture of chicken breast. I think he may have had a hard time believing they were actually wings (sorry Carlo), and in fact they do, only tastier, but not as tasty as the hot spicy sauce they come with. And did I mention the blue-cheese dip that accompanies them? (Sorry, I may have just salivated over my keyboard…)

The other starters were equally good – antipasti, and garlic bread that was inhaled by all of us almost before it hit the table. Great-quality meats, amazing dips, and fantastic dipping bread. Perfect. The kids, meanwhile, tucked into their dough balls.

The drinks menu was varied and very different from the usual. For review purposes only – of course – we tested out some of the cocktails and craft beers. We would have given a huge thumbs up for them; but we couldn’t risk spilling any.

So what about the pizzas, I hear you ask. Well…they were rubbish.

Only kidding. The quality of the meal continued with the awesome pizzas. The kids tested out the margarita and a ham and pineapple, whilst the grown-ups devoured a pepperoni; anchovies, capers and olives; and goat’s cheese and rocket. The decisions are tough, though – the pizza combinations on the menu are seriously tempting and all are priced between €11 and €14.

Are they the best pizzas in Ireland? Well, I can’t recall having a better one. The bases are crispy and chewy and just the right thickness. The toppings are great quality and generous. The choices are varied and the combinations well thought out.

And if you just don’t like pizza – well there is plenty on the menu for you weirdos too.

So what was the damage? €116 for 4 adults and 3 children – which I would say is pretty bloody amazing value.

Overall? Impossible to fault really.  10/10.

It’s possibly that I now have plans to return and make my way through the entire menu. I could be gone some time

Thursday, April 30, 2015

When all the toys are gone

When all the toys are gone

There will be no Lego-strewn stairs to pick my way through each morning

Or dinosaurs and barbie dolls stretched out across the living room floor

The milk will be neatly sitting in the fridge, not in a puddle at the kitchen table

And the laundry basket will not be overspilling onto the unwashed floor.

My cupboards and drawers will be mine once more

Not filled with pictures and paintings and cards declaring undying love for me, in writing that only I can read.

There will be no odd socks or homemade volcanos looking for a home

No piles of shoes to tidy or lunchboxes to fill

There will be no little white vests or muddy tracksuits thrown on bedroom floors

Nor teddy bears collecting dust on over-stuffed shelves.

There will be no fighting or shouting or cries of 'He hit me!' 'It's not fair!' 'You're so mean!'

When all the toys are gone

I will listen to the silence I sought

And wander through the clean and orderly rooms I craved

And I will miss these days.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Things to do in Wicklow

Bank holiday weekend approaching! Will it be sunny? Will it be rainy? Will it be all seasons in one day as it has been for the past week?

Whatever the weather you'll need to get out and about at some stage over the weekend. If you are lucky enough to live in, or visit, glorious Co. Wicklow - the self-proclaimed 'Garden of Ireland' - here's a few ideas of what you could get up to.

(Links to full posts are in the titles)

1. Powerscourt House and Gardens 

We go here frequently - the photos in the post will show why.  Always a joy. Voted Top 3 Garden in the world by National Geographic.

2. Powerscourt Waterfall

The highest waterfall in Ireland. Picnic areas, kids playgrounds, river paddling and beautiful woodland walks. Post to follow.

3. The Little Sugar Loaf

Great for little (and big) legs that get tired easily. 

4. The Big Sugar Loaf:

A little harder to get to the top of!

So many amazing routes with mountains, lakes and forests to explore. But don't get blown away like we did..

6. The Beach

With over 60km of stunning coastline you won't be disappointed.

7. Bray Head 

A lovely little hike in the sunshine with spectacular views over Bray.

8. Avoca Handweavers

For a much deserved post-walk coffee and cake. Just don't get sucked in like a fool and buy stuff thinking it will make your home perfect *cough*

So much to do, so little sunshine to do it in. What will you be getting up to?
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