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Im Moving

Hi Guys just a quick post to let you know I’m in the process of moving from WordPress over to my self hosted site and I’m bringing my subscribers with me. So if you follow me through the WordPress reader be sure to check out my webpage and subscribe through there.

See you all on the other side

Peace out


A Trip To Thailand

A Trip To Thailand

Have you ever heard a song and it instantly brings you to another place from your memories? I get this quiet a lot- I’m weird because I can’t tell you something from memory, well I can actually, I’m pretty good with memories but I’m talking about information, something educational. I couldn’t tell you what I did two weeks ago but give me a piece of music and it transports me back in time. This unusual skill of mine goes all the way back to my first ever single. My dad bought my sister and I our first ever CDs. My sister chose a Westlife song, “swear it again” if I remember correctly and I chose Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ la Vida Loca”. This makes me laugh every time, I guess it just shows our personality differences and the strange music choices I had when I was ten. Although Ricky Martin was a guilty pleasure for many, maybe I was ahead of my time. As I was saying, music transports me to a certain place or time. One early morning at work this week there was an instrumental version of a familiar song playing over the sound system. I walked around the hotel smiling to myself and humming along as my memories brought me back to Thailand two years ago. Which brings me to this blog post.

It was hot, a different kind of hot to Australia, and very loud. We visited two places in Thailand, Phuket and Bangkok. Phuket was like the calm before the storm. We stayed in a lavish holiday resort where we lived like a king and queen. After living in hostels for months on end having to share a bedroom with six or more other people we were overwhelmed by the privacy of our hotel room. Its funny how excited you can get about the little things, to have a working tv, silent aircon and your very own bathroom. It was luxurious. There was a large granite bath tub in our bedroom which we both grinned at knowing exactly what we would do. We filled the tub with hot water and soap and chucked the contents of our rucksacks into the tub. The satisfaction of knowing we would have clean underwear and sweat free t-shirts was immense. As I said, it’s the little things.

Bangkok was a completely different ball game. When we arrived at our hostel via google maps it wasn’t there, or at least we couldn’t find it. Silly us for expecting to see some sort of hostel window display or a sign above the establishment. After calling google maps every name under the sun we looked a little closer and sure enough right there wedged between two large buildings was a small door and a small window. Alas we found our home for the next few days. Inside it was very narrow, so much so that if there were 4 people gathered in the lobby the place seemed jammed. Everything we wanted was there though and it was very clean, so I can’t complain. Well maybe I can, we had a fan in our room which sounded like a propeller of an aircraft before taking off so if we wanted to talk or sleep it had to be switched off which resulted in us almost drowning in our own perspiration at night time- good thing we were drunk for most of our stay. As I previously mentioned it was hot, the type of hot where my foundation was melting off my face as I was applying it. Literally beads of sweat dripping down my forehead, the sweat mixed with foundation was not a good salty chemical mix and almost left me blind from running into my eyes so that quickly became a “no no”.  Number 1 thing to do in Bangkok- visit the famous Khao San Road. It was crazy, a street lined with bars, clothing stalls, food stalls and tattoo shops buzzing with locals trying to sell something and crowds of tourists. We found a small little sports bar where Gavin could watch the football. Manchester Utd were playing and it was important he saw it, so he could do game analysis with the other men in the bar at half time. Locals selling jewellery and other nick nacks would come to the bar trying to sell to us, but we insisted we weren’t interested – until we had a few more beers. By the end of the night I had bought a whole new collection of jewellery that I would never wear again but it seemed like a great idea at the time. After some encouragement from Gavin I decided to eat a scorpion off a stick which seemed like a brilliant idea. I woke the next day with small fragments of black shell still stuck in my teeth. (It didn’t taste like a dry crisp as Gavin had insisted).

During the day we roamed the streets and visited some of the temples in the area. We went to the MBK centre which is a shopaholic’s dream at eight stories high and we found a cinema where we bizarrely had to stand for the King’s anthem before the movie. We dabbled with the local cuisine and had dodgy stomachs after, I soaked my feet in one of those insanely tickly fish baths, we haggled with the locals for some very snazzy Thai shirts and we jumped into tuk-tuks for a taxi ride, mostly to act as aircon so we could breathe with ease for a few moments, before venturing back to Khao San road to experience the madness all over again.

Hungover, sunburnt, exhausted and skint we headed to the airport to embark on the long journey home.

I will definitely be visiting this mad city again.

Breakfast at Ballyfin

Breakfast at Ballyfin

The long drive across the countryside was quiet. The majority spent staring out the window at the green hills upon hills. I hated saying goodbye to my family, I always do, and it never seems to get easier, especially now the kids are getting older and get upset to say goodbye. I was quiet for a long time and Gavin respected that. He understands what it means to me to leave my family and he allows me my time to process it. Almost as if he could feel my mind easing he gave me a slight tap on my thigh as he drove along and started singing to the music. We were on the last part of our holiday and we were saving the best for last. One of the perks of my job is having opportunities to stay in a collection of elite hotels around the world for a fraction of the price. So, we chose to visit Ballyfin Demesne in county Laoise.

We pulled up to the iron gates beside the speaker and awaited the voice from the little box. Soon after the magic words were spoken the gates opened and we drove along the driveway for what seemed like a mile, every second that passed I could feel the butterflies flutter in my stomach to when we would reach the house. We came over a slight brow of a hill and there it was. A magnificent mansion with staff standing out the front awaiting our arrival. I’m sure Gavin had taken his foot off the accelerator by this point and the car was just rolling forward as we sat their mouths gaping and then smiling at each other. Truth be told I can’t remember much from when we entered the building. We had a quick tour around the house before being welcomed into our room. I walked around after the General Manager Damien listening to what he was saying but mostly staring in awe at the whole experience. The great welcome we received, the lavish interior, antique paintings and décor, the sheer size of every room, the architectural detail in every column and ceiling, the furnishings, the enormous luxurious sofas, the grandee library, the bright and beautiful conservatory and then to our bedroom. I can honestly say I’ve never stayed anywhere this exquisite before. We ran around our room like excited children, checking out every detail, taking videos, calling both our mums to show them around on video chat and hugging one another at the excitement of staying in such a beautiful place together.

Gavin’s wonderful cousin Leanne, who also works there organised a beautiful picnic for us in a cabin that rests on a higher point of the land, looking out over several counties. This was a great time for Gavin to catch up with his cousin who he doesn’t get to see so often, and I always enjoy watching the two of them being in one another’s company. They remind me of the closeness I have with my cousins. After our bellies were full we made our way back to our room to rest before dinner in the evening – making a detour along the way so we could be in awe of the entire country house again.  I have to say its probably one of the best nights sleep I’ve ever had, it was almost as if the bed had swallowed me up. We may as well have been in separate rooms for the sheer size of the bed itself. In the morning Gavin had to get out of the bed and walk around to wake me. (Im surprised he didn’t ring me to be honest). Breakfast was served, and I rein acted Elisabeth from “keeping up appearances” as I fumbled around with the china cup. Later that morning we decided to hop in a golf buggy and go explore the grounds. I was the driver for a change and Gavin was little miss Daisey- literally he sat on the back of the buggy instead of beside me, a quick escape to jump off if my driving got too erratic. We whirled around the lake and up through the forests and up to the tower at the top of the land. The whole grounds are just such a magical beautiful setting. The bees buzzing in the trees overhead as we looked onto the lake and up to the mansion. We were surrounded by beautiful beds of wild bluebells all through the forests and then we parked the buggy at the tower, jumped out and ran into the tower and up the stairs like children. While Gavin took some beautiful photos from the top I spent the time bent over in two huffing and puffing after over exerting myself coming up the stairs- all the cakes and scones and big meals out during the week had taken their toll on me. Like a bold child Gavin took off running down the steps and I had to chase after him because I knew if he got to the buggy first I would have been left standing there in the dust. (Thankfully) his groin started acting up and I was able to pass him out. We made our way back down to the house where we enjoyed lunch in probably one of the most beautiful conservatories I have ever seen. As all good things come to end, soon it was time to drive back to Dublin airport.

Ballyfin Demesne is the most beautiful and exceptional country house hotel I have ever stayed in. it really is in a league of its own. As I already mentioned I was lucky enough to have a discount due to the perks of where I work but if you ever want to have a real treat and luxurious getaway (and have lots of money in your account), then I cannot recommend this place enough. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. We certainly weren’t.

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The Groin

The Groin

Let me set the scene, it’s Saturday May 12th at 10:45pm. Thousands of people are on a high making their way out of the stadium. There is a sea of people filling the footpaths and roads. Nature called about 10 minutes previous but there was a diversion from the port-a-loos due to the crowds swarming the area. We made the decision to risk it and jump the wall that lay ahead of us. It seemed more “respectable of us” to pee behind the big wall instead of in the residents’ front lawns which is what a lot of other concert-goers seemed to be doing. After jumping the wall, we realised there was a much bigger drop on the other side so after our little moment with nature, Gavin hoisted me up over the wall and he ran and jumped onto it. By this point we had realised we had separated from the rest of my family but decided to stick together. The three of us Gavin, Adrian & I carried along the road flowing with the crowds around us. Only a minute or two had passed before Gavin started to complain about a tightness in his leg. As he carried on walking trying to keep up with the pace of the crowd, the tightness soon became severe pain and he had to make several pitstops until we reached a local bar, where he lay on the benches to rest up while I battled my way to the bar for some water. We set off again after a few minutes, but it wasn’t long before he was struggling again.

Now please bear in mind, quite a bit of alcohol was consumed by all three of us at the concert so as expected a few ridiculous suggestions were made. First, I insisted on Gavin putting his arm over my shoulders and I would aid him like a crutch. He refused but I kept insisting and so he gave in and put his weight on me. This would have been ideal, and I could have helped him walk all the way back across the city to the where the car was parked. Like I said this “would” have been ideal if I wasn’t several inches shorter than Gavin. It made no sense whatsoever and we looked ridiculous so that was short-lived. Then Adrian made the outrageous suggestion that he give Gavin a piggy back. This would have been fine except for the body differences between the two men. Without offending either of them it would have been like a cat carrying a dog (and a very big dog at that) sorry guys but its true. As Adrian was very insistent on it nonetheless, Gavin jumped on his back and they steadied themselves to walk on. By this point I was worried about Gavin’s injury, trying not to laugh at the sight of the two men before me and a little stressed as to when the two would inevitably hit the floor. It was hilarious. Adrian was slightly bent forward being forced down by the weight and with every slow and stiff step forward he took, he was becoming more bent over and getting much closer to the ground. I had visions of the two of them splitting their heads open with the fall, so I was very pleased when they came to a halt and Gavin got off. The entire walk across the city was a struggle. Numerous pitstops, more of Adrian suggesting he carry him over his shoulder like a fireman but that idea was shot down immediately. Thankfully over an hour and 20 minutes later we had made it back, we were now close enough to the car where my brother who is taller and stronger than both myself and Adrian aided Gavin the rest of the trek.

When we arrived back to my parents’ house Gavin was unable to put his leg under him. Almost as if it had seized in the 50 minutes he had been sitting still in the car. Hopping along on one leg he made it inside and threw himself down on a chair. There was quite the gathering in the kitchen at this point as we were all very concerned for his health. I’ve now realised I’m probably not the best person in panicked situations. I took Gavin’s shoe off and started squeezing his foot and tickling his toes to see if he had a reaction. He didn’t, now what I thought was said in a very calming way my sister later informed me that it wasn’t, and I was freaking him out. All I said was “Gavin you have no feeling in your foot, were going to have to cut your jeans off.” (I can now see how that may have panicked him). Gavin just stared at me with a very white face. While I was being a very dramatic nurse in the kitchen my mother was almost pacing in and out of the kitchen and living room, she was going through the scenarios in her head- cancelling our flights, rebooking new ones for a later date when his leg was recovered and making a trip to the emergency room in the hospital. While also shouting at my eldest brother that “this is no time to be eating a sandwich”. My poor brother was starving and had been the designated driver for the night, having to listen to us and watch all our drunken antics I think he deserved his sandwich.

I really wish someone had recorded the entire thing, because even writing this now 2 weeks later I’m still in hysterics laughing at the antics of the entire evening. This one will be one of those stories we will always tell at family gatherings for years to come.

P.S In case anyone was worried Gavin is ok and no jeans were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

I was always a home bird, I remember as a little girl I never used to like staying away for sleepovers because I hated staying away from my parents and waking up to unfamiliar surroundings. It got easier as I got older because my sister would stay with me if ever we had to stay at our cousins or great aunts house. She is my older sister therefore she was my protector. Obviously, I outgrew this fear of staying away which you should all know if you’ve been following my blogs- I think I’ve mentioned Australia about a million times by now. Anyway, back to what I was saying- although I’m living in the UK now I still really love going home. Anytime I get a chance I book flights home to see the family. This is great for me, but I do feel bad for making Gavin use all his holiday time from work going to Ireland, even though he insists he enjoys it just as much as I do. So, for this trip we decided to treat it like a real holiday and planned some extra day trips/ overnight stays around Ireland. Here’s a little snippet from the trip.

We were up and on the road for 5am headed to Bristol airport. Our bag was overweight because someone decided to pack their entire wardrobe – ahem (all I’ll say is it wasn’t me). A standard argument and stressful five minutes later, we had re-jigged the suitcases and checked in. I think it was a smooth flight, although I can’t be sure because both of us were asleep before take-off. We arrived in Dublin and had another misunderstanding over who had the rental car email. I thought he had it and vice versa- turns out neither of us did but it was all sorted quickly, and we were on the road. In a typical fashion as Gavin and I do whist travelling- we took the wrong exit and ended up taking the Galway route, it worked out better for us though as there was less traffic and we got down faster than expected. Tip- sometimes the sat nav isn’t always correct. Well that’s what we think anyway. Maybe were just wrong all the time, that’s quite possible too.

Shortly after we arrived at my parents’ house, my mother had whipped the place into shape and there was the makings of a great party ahead for the evening. The sun sort of came out -it is Ireland after all and I only put on/off my cardigan about 7 times. Dad fired up the barbeque and burnt all before him, but my mother been the woman she is had back up ready to go. (Dad in case you read this, I really liked the sausages, they actually tasted good under the crispy bit.) We all sat around the table chatting, catching up and watching the kids playing. I love times like this, when all the family is together. I love to sit back and just watch. Watch my sister telling stories and bits of news, to see my brothers looking at some sort of gadget or watching videos on their phone. To see my mam pottering around making sure everyone is fed and has a drink, to see the kids running around and playing in the garden and to see my dad- doing exactly what I was doing and watching all the family.

A few days later we took to the road again to do the ring of Kerry. Initially we had intended on doing the full ring in 1 day but changed our minds after we realised the whole trip would probably have taken 10/11 hours. So instead we decided to do part of the route from Killarney to Kenmare and it was a good thing we did, it had been misty all day and visibility wasn’t the best so 10 hours of seeing nothing would have been quite annoying. We decided to make the trip old school and used a road map to navigate around the countryside and much to our own amazement we didn’t get lost- hurray. (it’s a first for us). We stopped off in Killarney for some breakfast and a standard trip to Primark where Gavin decided to buy 30 euros worth of socks, as you do. While we were shopping the heavens opened, and the rain was hammering it down. Oh, how I regretted wearing white jeans in that moment.

Along the journey we met wild goats, what we think was an Irish version of the Sons of Anarchy and I did an Irish jig in the middle of the road once we crossed over into Cork (it’s my favourite part of Ireland). Not bad for a Wednesday morning eh? After we arrived at our B&B in Skibbereen we ventured into one of the 3 pubs in the village. It was a typical country Irish bar, still set back in the early 1940’s would be my guess. It was dark and smoky but had great character. Not something a city boy would have been used to, which makes me realise there are still so many old places I need to show him around my hometown.

The next day we headed for Blarney castle, I had been there once before (I climbed to the top in high heeled boots- I’m quite proud of that) but I never kissed the blarney stone and so I figured why not try it out with Gavin. Unfortunately, 2 coaches full of tourists had the same idea and there was a queue way longer than my patience, so we skipped the castle and enjoyed a walk around the grounds instead. I was disappointed we didn’t get to kiss the blarney stone so instead I had a great idea to kiss the wall of the castle and hope for the best. Yes, we looked like absolute weirdos and yes, we kissed a building that wasn’t actually part of the main castle, but we had great craic doing it. What’s a little holiday adventure without making a complete fool of yourself, right?

There’s still so much more I have to tell you, but I don’t want to cram it all in so make sure to watch this space.

Stay tuned…

That stupid thing I did..

That stupid thing I did..

As an ex drinker of coffee, I feel a little jealous. I was never one to need the fix of caffeine first thing in the morning or when you hit that 3pm wall and need the little pick me up. I never needed it but did it because it seemed like the adult thing to do. I gave up a few years ago because I was quitting smoking- coffee and a cigarette were my thing, so it made sense to give up one with the other. Then I started drinking it again sometime last year. Coffee is so much more exciting than tea. Lattes, espressos, macchiatos, mochachinos the list goes on, and the artwork that goes into making that sweet cup of life is admirable. Tea is just so boring. Now don’t get me wrong I’m a big tea lover, I love to sit down with a hot cup and a biscuit in the evenings but there’s nothing exciting about it. It sounds so much better when you say, “I’ve a coffee date” instead of “I’ve a tea date”. I guess the fancy afternoon tea is quiet exciting if you get it in an old china cup perhaps but its mostly focussed on the cakes.

I gave up coffee again on Christmas week. It was busy at work and between working, shopping and wrapping I was exhausted- a hard life I know. I was at work one day and I started having palpitations and I was in a cold sweat. I had to go and sit down for a while and I really got a fright. I was right on that edge of about to lose consciousness and faint. Thankfully I didn’t, and I was able to make it home. My body didn’t stop shaking and twitching for a couple of hours after that. I put it down to having consumed too much coffee, maybe that extra cup I’d had at lunch was too strong and tipped me over the edge. This may have added to it, but it wasn’t the full reason. I had done something incredibly stupid and dangerous without even realising it. I had been suffering from a headache for two days before this incident and so I had gone to the chemist and bought Anadin. I’d never taken it before, but it said something about relieving headaches on the packaging. I cracked it open and took 2.

Now the very stupid thing I had done was not reading the recommended dose. I had taken more in 12 hours than I should have in 24. I was pretty much topping up every 2-3 hours, the palpitations and shakes were the result of an overdose of the anadin. When I realised later in the night what I had done, I felt so stupid and annoyed at myself because of what could have happened. Ever since then I haven’t drunk coffee. I think I have a slight fear of a caffeine overload since the incident. So, I can’t help but be jealous of the coffee drinkers, purely for how exotic the drink can look and taste, but I think it’s best to stick with my tea.

Word of advice guys- always read the label and recommended dose before taking tablets. Don’t make the same mistake I did and frighten yourself with your own stupidity.

Coffee/tea date with my parents.