Monday, December 22, 2008

Thanking a Stranger

I just wanted to share a wonderful thing that happened to me yesterday. Mollie, Ben, Madeline (Mollie's friend) and myself decided to go ice skating and headed off to the RDS. As we arrived at the pay kiosks a man approached me and asked if I had pre booked my tickets, when I replied that I hadn't he smiled and gave me a ticket. I offered to pay for it but he refused and wished me a merry Christmas. So thanks to that stranger I saved myself €18. I really do believe that what goes around comes around as back in July Ben, mum and myself went to Legoland. I had purchased the tickets earlier and had also bought one for my dad. Unfortunately dad was ill and unable to come so I offered my ticket to a man in the queue who was thrilled to be saving £35.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

For a special Friend

I had it all planned, a walk on the beach and plenty of photos, albeit a pebbly beach in the depths of winter with lots of ice and not a lot of sun but then wham we were hit with the lurgy (well sore throats and colds) so no long walks for me but I still wanted to write this post.

I first met Barbara when she started commenting on mum's blog. Barbara always left the most delightful comments so I had to go and check her out and boy was I glad I did. Barbara posts the most delicious recipes. I have made more of Barbara's dishes than of anyone else's and each one has been delightful. So when I heard about Bron's idea of Barbara's friends sending her virtual hugs via blogging I didn't think twice about signing up even though I seem to be on an extended break from blogging. Barbara's blog posts are positive and sunny, a touch of Oz with beautiful photography and sometimes I forget the battle she is currently fighting. Because Barbara knows mum, Sam and myself and has followed us through our highs and lows she truly feels like a family member and I want to share a big hug with her.

If I was out in Australia I would bring her a pavlova, I mean who can resist all those berries, double cream and crispy on the outside, slightly gooey on the inside meringue. We'd sit watching the sunset over the sea and sip the finest champagne.

Of course if Barbara was to roll up here she'd probably end up being offered some novelty birthday cake ( which is always chocolate).

So Barbara, consider youself the recipient of lots of hugs from us here in Ireland, xxx.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hypothermia Hell

So I'm back, I sneaked back in through the back door and some of you found me, thank you.

Too much has happened to fill you in and I know some of you were hearing my news from mum but I will say that I really needed that break from blogging and I won't be back blogging manically like before but will post as and when I feel like it and when I've something decent to post how I nearly died of hypothermia. Now that got you interested.

It's August and where I was brought up that means summer, long, hot days, playing on the beach, swimming in the sea, ice cream, strawberries, sunburn and barbecues. Wrong, now it means rain and summer flooding and not even snow in the winter. Last week I was playing in an open tennis tournament, one I have played in several times, my memories are of sun cream, sun glasses and drinking lots of water. Last week I was lucky if I came off court dry but despite the rain we succeeded in getting to a final. I awoke on finals day to the sound of sleeting rain and groaned. The forecast was for rain all weekend so I dragged myself off with my wet weather gear and plenty of warm clothes for after. Yes, it's official, the Irish are mad and play in the lashing rain. We were sent out on court, with apologies from the referee but there was no sign of a let up all weekend and what could they do? Before the game started I was soaked and had to remove my non waterproof waterproof leggings and coat. By game six I was sloshing around in pools of water and soaked through to my knickers (not a comfortable feeling), by the end of the set (which we won) I was shivering and shaking and could only focus on how cold I was. I don't know how but my body continued to hit the ball, it seemed to know what to do, all I could think about was how cold I was. A few games later when all I could say was 'I'm so cold' over and over my partner asked me to concede as she was worried about me. I ran for the shower. After a long shower and some hot food I felt human again but it really took me about 24 hours for my body temperature to get back to normal. It was a horrible experience and I will not be playing tennis in those conditions ever again.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Experience List

So I've been plurking and lurking lately, saw this on Aoj's blog and wanted to play along.

The experiences in bold are the ones I’ve done. Feel free to tag yourself!

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink -at least it felt like everyone!
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree-in my hippy phase
10. Bungee jumped-never
11. Visited Paris-three times, including my honeymoon
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea-don't watch anything at sea, just lie there until the agony of sea travel is over!
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights-hope to some day
15. Gone to a huge sports game-Wimbledon semi and finals day 2006
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa (now closed to the public)-very scary on the leaning side as no rails to stop you from falling
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables-if lettuce and herbs count
18. Touched an iceberg-lettuce that is
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s nappy
21. Taken a trip on a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Got drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment-whilst reading a prayer when a girl didn't go down too well and I was nearly thrown out
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse-never bet on anything ever.
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight-back when it used to snow here
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run-if rounders counts!
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking -still do
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer -you what?
40. Visited all 50 states-only two
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends-and still have amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country-was invited to a wedding in Greece, had a ball dancing the night away.
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing- including once without equipment at the age of seven...I had a lucky escape
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland-hell I live here!
52. Been heartbroken for longer than when you were in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds-well it was better than studying and it didn't last long!
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke-very badly
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain -tennis the other day and nearly got hypothermia
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight-what's D&D
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest-the children were in the costumes but as I dressed them I'll count it as me winning as well!
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason-not often enough
84. Performed on stage-ballet, tap and modern dance
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror-danced in audience at Rocky Horror...
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived-the aforementioned rock climbing incident
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds-cash or fat? Had 60 pounds stolen from our tent when asleep once
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours-I wasn't well
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states-not difficult, I've only visited the US twice
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read-The French Leuitenants Woman (I didn't enjoy it)
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language-does fluttering one's eyelids count?
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream-one of them anyway (and not the one where I'm married to Johnny Depp)
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone’s life

Monday, April 21, 2008

Introducing Rascal...

We recently had the pleasure of minding Rascal for a week. When I told Joules we were minding a rat for a week he thought I had finally lost my marbles, Dillon said he was going nowhere near the rat and Ben was a little bit afraid. By the end of the week Rascal had five new fans...can anyone guess what Mollie would like for her birthday?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Knocksink Woods

When mum was over recently we went for a walk in Knocksink Woods. Knocksink Woods is a nature reserve in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and is very close to Dublin. It is a lovely place to visit with children as there is a river with bridges, woods, trees to climb, slopes to climb up and slide down as well as some small winding paths through the woods. If you venture off the main path you come to a small shingle beach where my children have been known to paddle in the icy waters. After a walk here it's only a short hop to the beautiful gardens at Powerscourt where you can enjoy a scrumptious lunch or a nice hot cuppa with a slice of tasty lemon tart.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How to stop your daughter becoming a vegetarian in 10 easy steps.

1) Do not argue with her, even though she offers no argument, rational or otherwise, for this decision.

2) Do not allow other family members to argue with her (it may make her more stubborn).

3) Plan a weeks menu which is made up of all her favourite meaty meals.

4) Buy a pack of tofu.

5) Add tofu to a tomato and vegetable sauce and pour over pasta. Include plenty of said daughters least favourite vegetables.

6) Inform daughter that as you will not be cooking separate meals every day she will be eating this meal for the next five days as that is how many meals the pack of tofu made.

7) Smile sweetly and order a cheeseburger and chips when hubby offers to buy everyone else takeaway for dinner.

8) Talk about forthcoming meal out in TGI Fridays and remind daughter that she can have a veggie burger or salad but that you'll have to check out what the chips are fried in.

9) Encourage daughter every step of the way.

10) When daughter comes to her senses realises that she no longer wants to be a vegetarian smile sweetly and impress on her that you don't want to hear her utter those words for at least another six years!

N.B. No daughters were hurt in this experiment.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Calling all Brownies

No not the edible ones but the ones that come in and clean your house when you're asleep. I have a very important visitor arriving in two days and have just spent the morning cleaning Mollie's bedroom, although according to Mollie she cleaned it yesterday so I'm wondering how she'll account for the two bags of rubbish and two loads of washing I found up there.

I still have the rest of the house to tackle so if there are any volunteers come on over...and yes I have the edible brownies here for all helpers.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Thank you for all your well wishes and I'm feeling a lot better although apparently I sound like a pneumatic drill when I'm asleep but I've only woken myself up a few times with the noise (Joules on the other hand has been having trouble sleeping)!

Last Friday when I felt cold, shivering and had a headache which wouldn't shift I spent the morning in A&E. Of course with Mollie. On Wednesday Mollie came home from school complaining that her toe was sore but she hadn't knocked or hurt it in any way. I had a look and it seemed fine, no swelling, no broken skin. An hour later Mollie couldn't walk, her toe was red and swollen and she couldn't walk on it. By Friday it was very sore and she had resorted to using her crutches (luckily the hospital had refused to take them back because it costs too much to sterilize them). An x-ray confirmed no fracture so the doctors decided to take blood to check for arthritis which if I say worried me slightly that would be a huge understatement, worse still, it would take a week to get the results. It was a long weekend in which I felt rotten and worried far too much. On Monday I managed to get hold of my GP who chased up the results and was able to tell us that Mollie doesn't have arthritis or any form of infection and to continue to rest the toe. We were very relieved to hear this and Mollie had named her condition Mollieitus. Today there is some improvement, Mollie is still on crutches but the swelling has receded and it is not as sore.

After that stress it was great to receive this joke from John.

Sainsbury condoms - making life taste better
Tesco Condoms - every little helps
Nike Condoms - Just do it Peugeot Condoms - The ride of your life
KFC Condoms - Finger Licking good
Minstrels Condoms - melt in your mouth, not in your hand
Abbey National Condoms - because life is complicated enough
Coca Cola Condoms - The real thing
Pringles Condoms - once you pop, you can't stop
Burger King Condoms - Home of the Whopper
Goodyear Condoms - For a longer ride, go wide
Muller light condoms - So much pleasure, but where's the pain?
Flash Condoms - Just sit back, relax and let flash do all the hard work
Halford Condoms - We go the extra mile
Royal Mail Condoms - I saw this and thought of you
Andrex Condoms - Soft, strong and very very long
Domestos Condoms - Gets right in the rim
Heineken Condoms - Reaches parts that other condoms just cannot reach
Carlsberg Condoms - Probably the best condom in the world
Pepperami Condoms - It's a bit of an animal Polo Condoms - The condom with the hole!! (VERY poor seller !!)
McDonalds Condoms - I'm Lovin' it!
American Express Condoms - Don't Leave Home Without it, or: That'll Do Nicely!
Microsoft Condoms - Where Do You Want To Go Today?
Radio Times Condoms - If it's on it's in
Pedigree Chum dog food condoms - Top breeders recommend it!
Daily Express condoms - Express Delivery
Martini Condoms - Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere
Churchill Condoms - OH,YES
Kellogg's Fruit and Fibre Condoms - They're tasty, tasty, very, very tasty
Veet Condoms - Take the bull by the horns
XXXX Condoms - Australians wouldn't give a XXXX with anything else
TV Times Condoms - I never knew there was so much in it
Boddington's Condoms - The cream of Manchester
Cadburys Condoms - a Glass and Half in every one
Mars Condoms - Help You Work, Rest & Play
Special K Condoms - If You Can Pinch More Than An Inch
Bisto Condoms - Ahhhhhhhhh.!
Fruit Pastilles Condoms - Bet you can't put one in your mouth without chewing it
DFS Condoms - Open every bank holiday
Kwik Fit condoms - you can't get quicker than a Kwik Fit fitter!
Nintendo DS condoms - touching is good
Maxwell House condoms - good to the last drop
Rice Krispies Condoms - Snap, Crackle, Pop
EA Sports Condoms - It's in the game
Ebay Condoms - Buy it. Sell it. Love it.
Capital One Comdoms - What's In Your Wallet?
Morgan Stanley Condoms - One Client At A Time
Heinz Condoms - 57 Varieties
Creme Egg Condoms - How do you eat yours?
Nokia Condoms - Connecting People
Frosties Condoms - They're Grrrrreat!!
RAF Condoms - Rise above the rest
HM Revenue & Customs Condoms - It doesn't have to be taxing
Windows Vista Condoms - The Wow Starts Now
Mac Mini Condoms - Small is Beautiful
Philadelphia Condoms - A little taste of heaven
FedEx Condoms - When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight
Burger King Condoms - Have It Your Way
Yellow Pages Condoms = Let your fingers do the walking
T-Mobile Condoms - Simply Closer
Ikea Condoms - Screw yourself!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Wintry Supper

A few weeks I bought myself a new cookbook. Now I rarely use cookbooks as I tend to get most of my recipes from the internet (blogging or recipe searches) and magazines but the title caught my eye 101 One Pot Dishes by the Good Food magazine. With a busy family life this was just what I needed, the fact that the book is small and cheap (€7.50) had me sold. I have made a number of dishes from this book and all have been really tasty and received the thumbs up. Because I like to cook food from scratch I haven't followed all the recipes in their entirety and have therefore used more than one pan but the end results have been great. This recipe has been adjusted from the book.
Chicken with Creamy Bacon Penne
1tbsp olive oil
4 skinned, boneless chicken breasts, cut up
5 bacon rashers (slices) chopped up
6 tbsp dry white wine
6-8oz frozen peas
8 tbsp cream
450g cooked penne
Heat the oil in the pan, gently fry chicken and bacon on high heat fro about four minutes.
When chicken has browned add the wine and let it bubble over a high heat until most of the wine has evaporated.
Add the peas, cream, penne and season. Stir then cover with a lid and simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Making my day...

Unfortunately this is currently my best friend.

Feeling cold and miserable yesterday I was delighted to recieve my Valentine's swap gift from Briggie. I got a lovely parcel full of peppermint pattie hearts, mint chocolate, soap (mint and gingerbread flavour which I though was pretty canny), an angel and a book. Thank you so much Briggie for making my day and thank you to Kailani who organised the swap.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gingerbread Men

Apparently gingerbread men are a traditional Luxembourgian dish as well so Mollie baked a batch on Tuesday. She plans to take some in for her teacher so we'll see if a bit of bribrey works! You'll find the recipe here.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ham in Hay

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Many of you who follow my blog will be aware that Mollie is currently working on a project about Luxembourg. The information from the Embassy arrived within a week and Yvonne has been so helpful with loads of information and kindly answering a few questions about life in Luxembourg. Last week we decided to try out a Luxembourgian dish, ham in hay. It really is what it says it is, ham cooked on a bed of hay. Our vedict: unfortunately the ham was a bit fatty and we found it too salty but I did like the earthy, straw like taste it got from being steamed in the hay.

Monday, February 18, 2008


We were all set to be wiped off the tennis court. The team we were playing were very strong and hadn't dropped a point over the five weeks of the league but I was looking forward to the challenge.

It all started so well.

I served well, my volleys were working and I was well able to rally with the girls. We won that first game.

The second game started off well with us winning the first couple of points.

Then came the lob...not a problem I thought as I raced back to get it. Unfortunately it was a great lob and landed on the back of the line so I stretched that bit more....that's when I felt it...yep I tore a muscle in my bum.

I continued to play but I was in agony and couldn't put my weight onto that leg.

Of course we lost.

I'm sitting here in a great deal of pain as it's far worse today but at least I have a good excuse to blog all day and I've just booked a spa treatment at this hotel where I'm going for a girls weekend with the tennis girls.