Sunday, 28 December 2014

High Street Picks #3: Best of the Sales

After Christmas comes the Boxing Day sales...although they aren't really Boxing Day sales anymore are they?! Starting on Christmas Eve or sometimes even a good week before Christmas, they really need a new name. I'm a traditionalist though, and wouldn't even dream of looking at the sales before Christmas Day! Anyway, enough babble. Here is my pick of the sales from my top four online stores...enjoy!

Topshop

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
ASOS
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Missguided

1, 2, 34, 5, 6

That's it for today...quite a short post but I hope it helps you spend your Christmas money wisely. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas Day and are looking forward to 2015! Speak Soon x

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

Sheepskin Coat - Vintage (/pass me down from Mum), Scarf - ASOS, T-Shirt - Topman, Jeans - ASOS, Boots - Topshop old (similar here

Not done an outfit post in what seems like forever, but decided I would take this quiet Christmas Eve at home to take a couple of photos. This is literally just a dog walking outfit so nothing very exciting, but I realised I had never shown you these boots. I've had them for a few years now, and to be honest don't wear them all that often, but whenever I do I fall back in love with them. They are from Topshop, but I think they are a copy of the classic Acne style. They're also very wearable in the summer, with a pair of shorts or a girly dress. 

I also just wanted to take this chance to say a big, fat Happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate it - and Happy Holidays to those of you who don't! I hope you all have a great day tomorrow and get to spend it with those that you love. I'd also like to say thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read not only this post but also any of those before it. This blog started off as a bit of an experiment, something I thought I would enjoy doing, and I really have and I hope to continue it after Christmas and into next year! 

Go on and have yourself a Merry Little Christmas! Speak soon x

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dublin #3

Final part of my Dublin three-parter and it is jam-packed. We planned our day the night before, so after breakfast we set out with a spring in our step towards Dublin Castle


We once again decided to go on a guided tour - this way we got to see everything, whereas if you just opted for a self guided tour you could only see the state rooms. Our tour guide was a lovely little fella. I can't remember his name but he was very similar to what I imagine a leprechaun would be like.


We made our way through the beautiful grounds towards the ruins. En route we noted how odd it was that there was a 60s style office block literally encroaching on the old castle...bad town planning on Dublin's part if you ask me. Unless of course it was one of those 'interesting contrast' things.


We entered a building, descended some steps and this is what we were greeted with. These are the foundations of the right hand tower. These remains originate from when the castle was first built (which to my slightly questionable memory was around 1200 BC) and were excavated in the 80s (I think?!). They are in great condition and it's really easy to envisage how it would have been back then. 


This rather eery looking building is the old chapel. We were actually the VERY FIRST TOUR GROUP to be allowed into this building. Whether this is completely true or not I'm unsure but if it is I am extremely happy that that was the case!


The interior of this chapel was magnificent. Apparently, when it was built, it went over budget by a vast amount but I would say it was worth it! These pillars (shown above) are actually made of wood and not stone dontcha know!


After the chapel, the tour group headed back to the main building. Very impressive building that is still used for state functions to this very day. On our way over we were told a funny story about this 'Justice' statue, but I won't ruin that for you just incase you do ever decide to visit!


The state rooms looked even more impressive when they were all Christmassy-ed up.


After our castle trip we trotted over to Bewley's Oriental Cafe. This was certainly a lunch with a difference - we went upstairs to their old theatre, bought some soup and sat down at a table to enjoy a lunch time play. I have never heard of this kind of concept before and I have to say it really worked. The play that we saw (I think they have a different one every month) was called Harry's, christmas - it was performed (really well, may I add) by a lone actor and was all about (as the title suggests) a man called Harry's christmas. It was quite a dark comedy, and definitely didn't really enhance my Christmas spirit, but I really would recommend going to mix-up your lunch time routine a little bit. 


Hehe, we hopped back on the tour bus after the Cafe and passed this shop. Immature?


Next on our itinerary was the Little Museum of Dublin. We got a free ticket for here with our bus tickets and with its good ratings on TripAdvisor we decided to pay it a visit. 


Downstairs, there was a little photography gallery. Mainly photos of celebrities, I can't remember the photographers name, but as a lover of photography myself, I have to say even this little section is well worth a visit. 


On ascending the stairs we were greeted by walls absolutely full to the brim of old photographs, ancient newspaper cuttings and past documents. They were laid out decade by decade, and there was just so much to comprehend. This is where the tour guide (surprise, surprise) came in handy. This museum claims to give you a 29 minute guide into Dublin's 20th century history, and I have to  say they succeeded. The staff are all dressed a little bit quirkily (our guy was in a bow tie and waist coat), but it really went with the theme of the whole place and the tour was given with such enthusiasm. If you have a spare 29 minutes in Dublin - go here!


Finally, our last dinner in Dublin :( but boy was it a good'n! We headed over to the Fade Street Social, another restaurant owned by Dylan McGrath (who also owned the Rustic Stone from my first Dublin post) which served Tapas style food. 


My lovely dinner date pointing at something on her phone I think!


The food was phenomenal! Unlike traditional tapas, the food wasn't necessarily spanish. Instead, it was a mix of many different cuisines, all of it absolutely packed with flavour! We shared a selection of: 

- crispy salt cod brandade and squid with pickled red peppers, chickpeas and chorizos
- chickpea chips fried in semolina with warm garlic and pernod custard
- pumpkin macaroni with spring onion and parmesan 
- crispy airbags stuffed with truffle cheese wrapped in dried ham 
- chinese pork belly, slow cooked with asian spices and crispy peanut brittle


Just me having a muncheroo on one of the 'airbags'. This was definitely my favourite meal out of all of them in Dublin and if there is one place you have to eat, it is here! The atmosphere is amazing, the staff were great and the food is beyond delicious. 

Anyway, that marks the end of my trio of Dublin posts and I have to say my first trip to Ireland was thoroughly enjoyable! I learnt so much about their history, and obviously I couldn't have asked for a better travel buddy. My mum actually organised the whole trip - so, thanks mum! Anybody thinking of visiting Dublin, please do, and I hope these few posts have helped you decide on a few things to do, a couple of places to eat and several things to see! 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dublin #2

Having just finished editing and exporting my photos for today's post, I can say without a doubt that my promise of a longer post has certainly been fulfilled. This post is all about our second day in the lovely city of Dublin...enjoy!


After a great nights sleep in our comfy hotel beds, we woke up to a lovely blue sky and after gobbling down a bit of brekkie (eggs and soldiers for me, scrambled eggs on toast for mum), we wandered down to St Stephen's green. The main reason for this was to catch the ol' hop-on-hop-off bus. We blimmin' love those things - whichever new city I go to, I tend to take a trip on one of these. I find they cover the best attractions, and are good for getting your bearings, as well as the history of the city.

To get to the bus stop we walked through the Christmas market, everything was closed but it still looked pretty. We did take another trip to the markets the day after, but you will be hearing about that in the next post!


The first attraction we wanted to visit was the Guinness Storehouse. A trip to Dublin would definitely be incomplete without visiting here, and it surpassed every expectation I had. Housed in the old St. James brewery, the style of the place is all very industrial but it has been done up so well into a great interactive museum. 

The first area you arrive at is the gift shop (I bought myself a t-shirt after the tour) which was heaving with everything Guinness! Everything was really good quality too - definitely one of the better gift shops I have ever been to. After a quick introduction from a member of staff at the bottom of the pint glass building (the museum is built out of glass in the shape of a pint glass dontcha know) we were free to head through the big 'START' sign and start our tour. 


As I said before, the interior was all really cool. Lots of bare brick walls, metal piping and painted on messages. The first section was mainly about how the beer was made, what the ingredients were and the history of the brewers. It was all very interesting, and really well laid out.


Guinness, unlike popular belief, is not made from the water of the River Liffey but is actually made using water from the mountains. This cool water feature made sure you wouldn't forget that fact!


Our next stop on our tour was the 'Tasting Experience'. Here, we walked through a very noisy and dark corridor into a bright white tasting room. It seriously looked like something from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, with a bar to the left (only serving Guinness of course) and four large white cylinders dotted through out where the aromas of the four main ingredients were expelled in a cloud of white mist.


After having a sniff of each individual component (none of which smelled particularly nice in my opinion) we were poured a mini glass of guinness each and moved through into a different room where we were taught how to taste it. 


Now, unfortunately for me, this was where I realised that perhaps I didn't like the taste of Guinness that much...but that I didn't let that spoil the rest of the tour for me! 


The advertising exhibition was next up, followed by a trip to the Guinness Academy where you were taught how to pull the perfect pint (you even got a certificate!).



As you can see, I most certainly did pull a perfect pint and I also created a beautiful little Guinness moustache. After our little masterclass, we launched ourselves into the glass lift (yet more Roald Dahl similarities) and up into the Gravity Bar with our pints. Here, we cheekily asked for a bit of blackcurrant cordial to be put in, which immensely improved the taste in my opinion.


A little panorama from the glass walled, roof top bar. 

Then, after a spot of lunch in the Brewer's Dining Hall complete with Guinness bread, we hopped back onto the bus and headed over to Kilmainham Gaol


This is one of the oldest gaols (jails) in Ireland and was absolutely fascinating. Access to the jail is by guided tour only, but at €2 for a student and €4 for an adult it is an absolute steal. Our tour guide was called David and was really friendly and kept everybody interested throughout. I won't give you any spoilers about the guided tour, but if you do ever get a chance to go I would highly advise asking about attempted escapes. 


With the hour-long tour complete, and a quick look around the adjoined museum we climbed back onto the double decker and made our way back into the centre. 


We were actually really tired by this point, and with the sky turning dark we decided to head back to the hotel. However, before this we made time for a quick wander around the beautiful grounds of Trinity College. We didn't have time to look at their library, but I hear it is well worth a visit. 


After a quick chill out at the hotel, we headed back out for a few drinks before dinner. Drury Buildings was our cocktail bar of choice, and situated just next door to our hotel it was in a perfect location. I chose a Bramble while mum had her favourite - Aperol Spritz. 


Last but not least for our second day in Dublin, we headed to Toscana for a wonderful italian meal. The food was delicious, but if I had one criticism it would be that the staff weren't the most attentive - but I suppose that is just me being picky!!

If you stuck with this post all the way to the end, well done! I know it was a long one, but I just had so much I wanted to show you and couldn't decide which bits to cut out (and believe me, many photos didn't get featured!). I should have one more Dublin post coming up, and if anybody has any particular questions they want to ask about my trip then I would love it if you left a comment below!