Thursday, 8 December 2016

L & B Christmas Gift Guide: For Him

The lads can be quite hard to buy for after a while...I have exhausted the jerseys, trainers and jocks bandwagon. And so here is my gift guide for him...be it your dad, husband or male acquaintance- one of these under the stocking will guarantee you some brownie points...

Still looking for a gift for a female- did you catch my last post?

Happy Shopping! x

Gift Guide for Him 2017



Adidas NMD XR1 (JD Sports) This colour way is unreal. And I am pretty obsessed with NMD's at the minute.


Mr Jenks Pocket Square- Dublin skyline (Mr Jenks) I actually bought this for Ev prior to Mr McGregor wearing it- it's 100% silk and has Dublin's iconic and historic sites on it. And I also love Mr Jenks vision- a trendy accessories company for men and it's Irish!

Polo Ralph Lauren tartan/leather gloves (Mr Porter)- Thinsulate lined but also super stylish. Perfect for Ireland so...

Matt & Nat holdall (ASOS)- currently has 30% off and is perfect for when he brings you on that getaway you now deserve....lol!

Tom Ford Tobacco & Vanilla beard oil (Mr Porter)- have you smelt the Eau de Parfum? Well they now have a beard oil for all those hairy beasts- mother divine it smells beautiful...

Ugg Scuff slippers (Brown Thomas) He will live in these...promise!

GoPro Hero 5 (Argos) It's the latest one and will forever be useful especially for mini breaks away...

Parrot BeBop 2 drone + controller (Argos) currently has over €350 off and will bring endless hours of fun for the inner child...

Diamond Supply Camp beanie (Size) Love me some camo...

Charbonnel Et Walker truffles (Brown Thomas)- sharing is caring right...

Alice Made This Edwin bracelet (Alice Made This)- how pretty is this piece, yet masculine at the same time...

The Mixer's Manual (Brown Thomas)- so he can channel pre sofa jumping Tom Cruise.

Ray-Ban rubber round frame (Selfridges)








Saturday, 26 November 2016

L & B CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: FOR HER

I can't believe it's that time of the year again...


Leopard and Brut Gift Guide 2016: Gifts for Her
L & B CHRISTMAS: Gifts for Her


Adidas Original NMD XR1- (JD SPORTS)- I have always been a Nike girl, but the last few season's, Adidas have upped their game. These are dope!

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle- (Debenhams)- Will always be my favourite and there is 15% off still!

Givenchy Antigona mini pink tote (Harvey Nichols)- Sooo cute and Barbie-esque. I would pop a fluffy pom pom key chain on the end and voila.

Victoria Secret Varsity crew jumper (Victoria's Secret) and these yoga tights I swear by- January sofa sloth's outfit sorted.

Shonda Rhimes 'Year of Yes' (Amazon)- This women is amazing and I have been dying to read this book.

Miasma essential oils (Holland and Barretts)- They are currently half price and I swear by them. I put oils in my diffuser at night time and totally chill out.

MAC Eye shadow Amber times Nine (Brown Thomas)- must have neutrals.

Helen Moore leopard faux fur scarf (My Shining Armour)- obligatory leopard.

Lace Triangle bra (Topshop)- every day I am loving more wireless bras. It's like letting them breathe.

Gucci Blooms pouch (Gucci)- to fit your phone and your debit card and off you go to brunch...

Olympus E-PL8 (Camera.ie)- the Pen's have a good reputation of taking decent still shots while also filming.

This Works Sleep Plus spray (Look Fantastic)- I've used this product before and it's amazing! Highly recommended.

Terrys Orange (Tesco)- Because it's Christmas right?!



Friday, 25 November 2016

Visit Iceland


This was a trip of a lifetime. Ev turned 30 in May and I booked an action packed five night adventure into the land for fire and ice for his present. Much planning was done online, researching different tour companies and trying to negotiate our time frame as best as we could.

I highly recommend Iceland and it should belong on everyone's travel bucket list. It's truly a holiday like no other. This post will show you who we booked with and why, recommendations of places to eat and stay and give you an idea of what to pack and costs involved. 

In all honestly, this post is going to be a little bias and super positive simply because we got engaged on this trip lol- I spent most of the holiday beaming ...so really, I will always hold a soft spot for this tiny country. 

Ev actually did a two part vlog of our trip away which includes our engagement, us eating fermented shark + even our crash on our snowmobile lol! So, if your more into a visual element, please see our latest vlog;

Part 1- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EnokGli8pU

Part 2-  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOH_lyj7Ed4







Where we stayed?

Hotel Borg. An art deco 1920's established hotel is in a perfect location if visiting Reykjavik. It's located downtown of the city, overlooks the Austurvöllur square and is a stone's throw to restaurants, bars and the harbour. Accommodation is very expensive in Iceland. In fact the running theme in this post will be that Iceland is very costly in general (especially for food!) so one of the reasons I actually chose this hotel was based on the decent breakfast reviews and the heated bathroom floors lol! Our room was a corner room which was reasonably large, a decent bathroom and really good heating (Iceland is cold and wet!). Our breakfast was plentiful- think buffet but with a good quality choice of everything you could want, and we took advantage, filling ourselves up each morning meaning we only had to get a small lunch during the day. We were gifted with access to the spa also, and a sauna and jacuzzi were a welcome site after a day of outdoor activities. Room service was decent- and dinner prices on the menu were actually cheaper then some of the places we went to eat in within the city. You can book a room here. Five nights for a superior room with breakfast was €1316.








Travel?

We flew with Wow Air. The Ryanair of Iceland. Flight time is less then two and a half hours. And they are probably a little bit stricter then Ryanair. Price wise- definitely not as cheap, but like I said previously nothing is low priced in Iceland. We booked a shared 20kg suitcase (you need bulky items for this trip- no holidays cover ups in this suitcase!)and had two carry ons. Travel from Keflavik airport was a coach bus- unless you rent a car or have arranged a private transfer, you have no other option. We bought a return ticket on our flight and it cost €70 each. The journey from the airport was just under 1 hour, and includes a transfer from the bus terminal in a smaller bus to our hotel. All the trips/excursions we booked had pick-ups included in the price. And we walked around the whole of Reykjavik. So we had no other experience with travel within Iceland. Should we ever go back (we so want to explore the south of Iceland!)- we would probably rent a 4x4 car during a warmer time of the year and venture into the rural roads.


Booking activities?

I spent a lot of time researching what I wanted to do in Iceland. Exploring for Northern lights and visiting a glacier was on the list. This is where you have an opportunity to play around with your budget. You can book tours for a variety of prices, it just depends on what your looking for. There are super cheap tours on Greyline.com, but this was a special trip and I wanted some of the more private options that were available. I booked;

- Northern Lights of the beaten track (Iceland Expeditions). A semi private expedition, pick up is in a spacious, rural road worthy Land Rover Discovery and we hunted for a few hours for lights outside Reykjavik. Our guide was actually the owner of the company- Dofri and he was fantastic. He was so knowledgeable and has a brilliant sense of humour. Our jeep also hosted a couple from HK and a lovely lady from the UK, who told us that she had previously taken a coach trip to see the Northern Lights but that it pulled into a parking lot and they waited their for a few hours. Dofri went in the search the best he could and to areas that would never have been possible in a large bus. It wasn't clearest of nights- but we did get glimpse and a lovely blurry photo that we will treasure! We had actually booked the Sunday  night, however the weather was poor and the trip was cancelled, so we booked for Monday night instead which was perfect anyway as Ev asked me to marry him on Sunday night and would have probably spent the night sobbing with happiness and staring at my ring lol! Wrap up, be prepared with a very good camera and be welcomed by some yummy hot chocolate and a drop of rum for the rebels.




-  Lava tube caving (Iceland Expeditions). We went with the same company for the Lava tube caving which covered the Leiðarendi cave- a 2000 year old cave that showed incredible rock formations. It was somewhat an active trip in that you need to bend and lunge to get through tight areas of the cave but when you deal with the idea that hot lava flowed right through that cave- the feeling is so exhilarating. Our leader- Erik was super engaging and a great teacher. I've never been into Geography, but this was an educational trip done really well. Waterproof gear is needed- droplets happen throughout the cave and you need to be covered. Our walk from our jeep to the caves was also drench inducing- so just be prepared.





- Blue Lagoon (Blue Lagoon.com). It's one the best experiences we have ever experienced. A geothermal public bath that has sulphur based water between 37-39 degrees. The lagoon is huge and you can swim all around. We chose the premium option at €70 each which included a robe, slippers and the first drink for free (they actually limit the amount you can drink which maybe was a good thing as you could probably stay in the water and swim up to the bar the whole day!). Though there are cheaper options too and even more expensive option which included a private section. What an experience. Book your bus tickets through the site too- they are cheaper to do so! And pack your hair with the conditioner they provide as the sulphur will dry out your hair. You have to pre-book and we went for 12pm opening and stayed for hours floating in the bliss. I only wish we had a volcano in Ireland as I could do this every week!






- Snowmobiling on the  Langjökull glacier and the Golden Circle Tour (Snowmobiling.is). I wanted to book snowmobiling but also wanted to book the Golden Circle tour and this tour company operated a two in one. We got picked up in the Monster Truck- but happened to be the only passengers for the tour which was fantastic as it mean't we got a one to one trip. Our leader Mardis was amazing- knowledgeable and friendly, and so much fun. She brought us around the Golden Circle loop- we stopped at the Gullfoss waterfall and viewed the tetonic plates at Thingvellir National Park. We visited the Geysir and all the mini ones around it and went climbing up the mountain next to it. We later took the super truck out to the  snowmobiling base and then went on an hour snowmobile ride on the Langjökull glacier. This is probably the most adventurous I have ever been and was definitely the highlight of our trip- the snowmobiling was so much fun (including the mini crash which you can see in our vlog lol!). Being on a glacier is surreal and if it's in your budget I would totally go for it! When do you ever get to do something like this?!Pricing was 45,900 ISK per person.
















Staying and eating in Reykjavik? 

If your staying in the city, there is actually loads to do, see and visit. We took one full day to walk around the city- see the artwork and capture some of the sights. Iceland is tiny with a population of 300,000 and yet 2/3 of the population live in Reykjavik. Think cute little streets, corrugated iron houses and big jeeps lining the roads.

We ate at the Hornid (Italian food)- yummy pizzas and pastas, Saegrifinn (Seafood)- lobster soups and scallop skewers, Apotek (mixed gastro menu)- by far the best restaurant we ate in and it wasn't the most expensive either (their lunch menu is very reasonable...for Iceland!)- the mink whale was so good, we had it twice in one day! Cafe Loki (traditional Icelandic food)- we had fermented shark...hey when in Iceland right?! And had ice-cream at Ísbúðin Valdís- try the peanut butter oreo flavour!











We also visited the Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral which is simply stunning- concrete and vast but so beautiful. Walked around the harbour, visited the stunning Harpa building and searched for wall artwork high and low.




















Costs?

Reykjavik and Iceland is by far the most expensive place/country I have ever been to...it surpasses uber expensive Paris and trendy Dubai. A meal for two- two mains and two drinks (no starters or desserts) would set you back around 65 euro. Which personally I think is very expensive for sub-standard food. But your dealing with a country which has to import everything in. A bottle of water would set you back around 3-4 euro (tap water is the purest you will ever find so bring a reusable bottle with you!) and I can't comment on the shopping as we didn't set foot into a shop! If you budget well, and plan your trips accordingly it could be done much cheaper, however this was a birthday trip for Ev and I wanted the experience to be more personal and memorable!

What to wear?

We visited Iceland in late Oct/early Nov so it wasn't actually the coldest time of the year yet, but good thermals, waterproof gear and layers are a necessity. I bought the comfiest pair of Sorels that I lived in for the entire time I was there and they were waterproof but fashionable at the same time.




These are my must have items if visiting Iceland during the Winter season;


- my Sorel's- the pair I chose was the Cozy Carnival boot (sorel.com)
- I lived in my thermals and got these from Amazon (Amazon)
- I wore a base layer (by Mountain Warehouse) top under all my jumpers each day (Amazon)
- Smartwool socks- my feet were toastie (Amazon)
- UA beanie (Under Armour)
- UA Storm ColdGear Elements Glove (Under Armour)
- ...and don't forget your swimming togs!


Thursday, 22 September 2016

5 things we waste our money on...

Ok- so it's quite apparent since my last post and my current Mortgage Diaries coverage on Twitter (follow me @ yasmina aniss) that I'm quite budget focused at the moment. Hey healthy obsession right?! And well I was looking at how fricken empty my purse was yet all I seem to be doing is working! It's the little things that eat away all your hard earned dosh and here are mine:




1. Food shopping. Ok I know we have to eat to survive. I always buy treats when I feel like I deserve it- and I could persuade myself that I deserve treats daily- lol! Everyone impulse buys and the amount of wastage that's committed is frankly quite disgusting. I try to make myself feel better by being an avid compost engager, but who are we kidding. We always put too much in our basket. We always order too much at the table, and most of us (go away health freaks!) definitely over consume in calories daily. It should be all about food prep and negotiating and getting rid of that idea that we deserve to fill the trolley up with 1/5 of treats (crisps, popcorn, biscuits, chocolate, wine, beer etc!) especially if we have had a bad day. We all do it and it's just emptying out pockets...most lunches cost around the seven euro mark (sambo/crisps/drink) and if you spend that 5 days a week and 48 weeks of the year- your looking at least €1600. The last time I checked that's a Celine phantom?!

2. Bottled water. It's only when I am emptying my car, that I do a head tilt, total up in my head what I have spent on water bottles that month and go...crap! I have even bought re-usable bottles in the past- BPA free of course! But I have lost lids, they have shattered, I didn't bother buying a new filter...blah blah blah. I might let's say buy three bottles a week- 1 litre ones, I also (naughtily!) maybe use the same bottle for a day or two. Most bottles are around the €1.50 mark, thats €4.50 a week and a whopper €234 a year, which ok...isn't huge. But over a year, it could be  3 Aveo water bottle (reviews of this non-leaking bottle are brilliant!) and over two hundread squid to spend on a facial or two.


3. Pennys. I think writing this means that any chance of ever having a collab with Primark/Pennys will indefinitely be thrown out the window lol- but seriously! What's with the Pennys effect? You pop in to get ankle socks and you can come out with another set of fleecy pjs, boob tape, make-up remover and a new make-up bag.  Sure it's only a few euro right?! I love the shop for seriously providing value for money products, but it's never good going. Same can be said for my Aldi/Lidl shop- new containers, himalayan salt and a spice blender have graced my basket recently. Lesson learned- leave the visa debit at home and only bring the cash that you ACTUALLY need.


4. Coffees. I love caffeine and I am actually quite good in that I may only ever have one coffee a day. I generally drink a lot of green tea (I bulk bought this fantastic bundle deal from Amazon here). Two cups in the morning and one in the evening. But coffee tends to be bought out and is usually consumed when I have a big drive to classes across the country. Coffee prices keep creeping up...and while I have my favourite places to have a sip of a brew and people watch on a Sunday (Kaph, Slice and 3FE are my favourite places in Dublin!), most of the coffee I buy in petrol stations is absolute mush, yet I still drink it all while my euro's are disappearing! Four take-away coffees a week in petrol stations (that being the cheapest place to get a coffee- I still see so many places charging over three euro for a cap!) is over four hundred euro a year- which is a pair of these Gucci Princetown leather slippers that I have been eyeing up for ages.


5. Subscriptions. Netflix. Amazon Prime, Look fantastic beauty box. Spotify. Glamour magazine. All really un-necessary expenditures but so necessary at the same time. Every little subscription adds up and when you see whats debiting out of the account every month...it's scary stuff. When I did my accounts this year- I think I totalled it up to night in the Marker (this hotel is my fave place to stay in Dublin) and a very very fancy meal...Boo you debit card! I'm down to just my Netflix (can I just leave this at NARCOS?!) and have phased out my beauty subscription. Real Adult stuff going on here. Tear drops.


What do you waste your dollar dollar bills on? 



Saturday, 10 September 2016

10 things I would tell myself 10 years ago...

I'm in the process of making big A.D.U.L.T decisions. I write that in caps and with singular letters because that it literally how detailed investing in your future is. I'm hitting 28 in a few months and I really feel like my 20's have flashed past my eyes and I have this gnawing feeling of just not wanting to grow up quite yet. Is it the fear? God I have no idea. I don't really get the fear. I just worry that I have not made enough mistakes or been ballsy enough. I don't mind regrets. I feel like they are life lessons, but if I was 18 again, there are a few things I would like to tell myself in advance. Maybe my life would have panned totally different. Maybe not...






1. Start a savings account. Way sooner. Even if it's €20 a month in a deposit account. Make it an automatic debit transaction (I always find you brush of physically having to deposit money!). It's a healthy habit, and one that you'll appreciate in years to come...! If I had realised how difficult it would be in my late 20's as a self-employed woman to get mortgage approval- I am not sure I would have gone down the path that I have. 

2. Say no! I've always said yes. Since day 1. Yes to extra work. Yes to more responsibilities. Yes to anything anyone has ever asked me to do. It's ok to say no (add a little thank-you!). And no, your not being selfish!

3. Regularly re-evaluate your vision board. I've always associated a vision board with something that you might do in a group work in school/college- however I have found mine (only done one in Jan 2016!)  super motivating when I take the time to look at it (place it somewhere you will always see it!). I'd have loved to have done one of these years ago. I might have thrown down things in my late teens that I would never dare write down now. We are more naive when we are younger and there is nothing wrong with that!

4. Don't buy so many shoes. God I bought so many shoes. SOOO many shoes. I could have had my own shoe shop. Be realistic. Fashion constantly changes. Buy a few staples and 2-3  fashion pieces that you can rotate. My bank manager has warned me about my purchasing patterns. I am now paying the price for having a colourful wardrobe...Boo!

5. Keep in touch. Social media doesn't actually count! When I turned 18, I started dance college and most of my school friends went on to do various things and then a good lot moved abroad. I got so caught up with my training and travelling, I didn't go out as much and lost a huge amount of contact with the company of people I really enjoyed. It's so much harder when you get older to make friends. The awkwardness. Our busy lives. We always say in passing that we should meet up and we never do...

6. Avoid M & S like the plague. It's made me develop a very unhealthy relationship in justifying spending hard end money on items like mojito flavoured popcorn and mixed seafood risotto. I think if I didn't have such a fruitful palette from a young age, I'd be a lot richer and probably a size 8!

7. Have my eyebrows threaded and tinted from a pro. Religiously. What was I thinking going around with upside-down Nike ticks above my eye I'll never know. I shudder when I see photos of me from the past...

8. Breathe more and learn to relax. Any body that really knows me will know that I am the most tense, up tight, obsessive, over-thinking headless chicken. I'm a busy fool. And it's not healthy. I've been like this for at least the last 10 years. Had I spent time in my late teens pausing and breathing, I'd probably be more rational and calmer.

9. Work abroad before opening up a business. I love going abroad and I wish I hadn't rushed into opening my schools so soon. I'm limited that anything international now is purely as a holiday...I wish someone had said hold off on opening up your school and go work somewhere for a year.

10. Start a coding course. Because let's face it...it's all the tech geeks out there that have really been the most successful!

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Side notes, Taste in Dublin + Balfes and Dilllingers...

*Side note* 

It's been a while right since I have blogged....and I did think I was going to do more writing once my teaching work died down, but I think I have just been enjoying my time off. Doing absolutely nothing. Serious slothness. But again my laziness didn't last for long, as I usually get itchy feet and urge to do something with my 'me' time (we have a love/hate relationship!- I love the idea of relaxing but then feel totally guilty when I engage in it!), and was blessed with four weeks of camps that will keep me going till my Summer holidays in Morocco in August.  Yippee!



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Myself and Ev did a whole vlog of our weekend- so if your more of a visual person then see our youtube video here (click please!). 

Taste of Dublin (located in the Iveagh Gardens- see here)

What a load of horse sh***e! I've been wanting to do it for years- it was my idea of heaven. Trying out tapas style meals from places all around Dublin in one venue. Drool! We received complimentary tickets (I think the value of them was €15!) so saw this as a saving and it meant more money towards buying food.... but the weekend's weather (it's currently Summer in Ireland!) was possibly the worst it could be for an outdoor venue situation- and this definitely affected the experience. We were advised to buy florins (a booklet of tickets that you exchange for food at each vendor so there is a cashless environment!). We bought a booklet worth €50. An amount we would usually spend on a brunch sitting. Excuse my french- but we literally pissed through the booklet, I was still starving and that was without having drinks. And I wanted alcohol. We spent another €20 on three drinks with about €3 left over and you couldn't really buy much for €3. Most of the vendor stalls we had tried were places we had yet to go to eat in Dublin- Pichet, Klaw, Amuse to name a few...and we were so excited about the idea of a new place- but what they served didn't necessarily entice me to go book a meal there.  Wouldn't that be the whole purpose? There was a lot of dishes that were served purely for convenience- I swear i'd seen brisket about five times over! Boo! The concept is a great idea- but it just cements rip off Ireland and it could be so much more.



Balfes (located just off Grafton Street- see here)


Balfes actually happened on the same day as Taste in Dublin...purely because we were still so hungry and I was dying to try out the Instagram-worthy eatery I heard so much about. Balfes is located just under the Westbury. Think marble tables, chic Parisienne style outdoor tables and a simple (and health conscious too!) menu. We had oysters on the brain, so went for a plate of Carlingford Oysters, the Tuna Tartare and bread basket with dips. Desserts were a parmesan and fig cheesecake (yes you read that right and it was so good!) and a pepper grilled pineapple with vanilla ice-cream. Now that's food. And good food too! We will be back. 

video


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Dillingers (located on the main street in Ranelagh- see here


It's become a tradition within my family that we all go out once my stage schools conclude. I decided to try Dillingers. It was my first time going- well it actually should have been my second (I won their #Brunchtastic competition which was a free meal including drinks for two- but was busy so I gave it to my parents instead and they didn't stop raving about it...kudos to a brilliant twitter competition!). The food and drinks were amazing- we went for steak and eggs, the nachos, the Scandinavian, the chicken and waffles, a cheeseburger and brioche soft roll filled with Shrimp. All mains came with a generous side of fries, potatoes or greens. The drinks were good and strong too- check out the breakfast stick on the Bloody Mary. We shared dessert amongst the seven of us- creme brulee with clementines, a chocolate mousse with almond ice cream and a baked New York cheesecake. Special highlights were the steak (smokey and juicy!), my Mimosa (I love bubbles obviously!), the Nachos and the chocolate mousse. If I was to be a bit picky, I'd stay away from the  chicken + waffles- the southern fried chicken was quite dry- purely because I think they chose fillet pieces as oppose to a piece on a bone (maybe to cater for the majority of people, I'm not too sure!). We will be back- if not for their brunch, then for their steak Wednesday's which sound super. Ps- Ranelagh is one of my favourite places in Dublin- maybe because my mum's childhood home is there, or I love...ok, dream about owning a terrace house there one day!





video


HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!




Wednesday, 8 June 2016

24 in Dublin: Union 8, 50 Shades of Gay and Slice

Yesterday was my first day off in a while, because of my job in the arts- this time of the year tends to be quite hectic until the the lazy Summer hits. I like to plan something on my day off otherwise I'll end up procrastinating and wasting the day away on meaningless activities. One of my good friends from the arts world had landed a solo gig and dying to see him in it, I booked 2 tickets to see him perform in the Smock Alley Theatre. Sticking to our plan of eating our way around Dublin- we booked Union 8, in Kilmainham for pre-theatre dinner and planned brunch for the following day in a little restaurant- Slice in Stoneybatter, that we had walked past a few weeks ago and that was buzzing and we were dying to try.


Union8- http://www.union8.ie

Union 8- self-labled as your neighbourhood eatery has been busy every time we passed it. Ev had heard great things about it, but we always booked something else in the past and so only got round to trying it out on the Monday. It was 5.30 on a bank holiday so we were offered the Early Bird Menu @ €23.50 for two course + tea/coffee. I went for the Seared scallops with Mc Carthy’s black pudding, Spring onion, Ponzu and Chicory for my starters and the special of Pan fried hake on a bed of tomatoes and squid. And Ev went for Wild garlic and nettle soup with Créme fraiche and Nduja  and for mains went for the Roast Duck breast, Blood orange, Potato rosti, Carrot and anise. To drink I chose a Passion fruit Margarita and Ev went for a Coconut Mojito. 







To be blunt- it was poor and we expected so much more. I don't know if we expected more because of the reviews, because it always looked busy or because we liked the idea of having a restaurant a stone's throw away from Ev's childhood neighbourhood. But it was so poor. Drinks were good, and so were my scallops. But everything else was just very mediocre. The soup had a domineering pea smell from it- even though peas weren't advertised in the title. My hake (which is a fish that I love!!!) was overcooked and also burnt on the outside and the bed of tomatoes ended up being a tomato cut in half with a few lack lustre pieces of squid. Nothing that made it a special. Ev's duck was cooked well- except that it was luke warm and the rosti seemed to miss seasoning. Don't get me started on the half piece of carrot on the plate. This wasn't a tasting menu, so don't serve food that way. 23.50 is fine for a two course, but our waiter seemed brand new, didn't know the menu and we waited 20 minutes for our drinks to come out. I hate not giving something another try but but I really don't think I would visit Union8 again. The brunch I'd try- but other restaurants nearby offer a far more attractive meal. Highly disappointed. 


50 Shades of Gay- on at the Smock Alley Theatre till Saturday 11th June


This is not a bias review simply because I know Rob Murphy personally. I've seen other friends in performances before and not necessarily blogged about it. I'm more writing a review because it actually far exceeded my expectations. It's a fantastic bit of theatre that everyone can relate too- gay or not! When I told Rob last week that I'd bought tickets for me and Ev- he rather politely went crazy and suggested that I should be going with a group of girls or some gay friends. Utter nonsense. While it is a rather overly stereotyped play on a gay men and his sexual conquests- Aiden (played by Rob Murphy) speaks about some of his 69 past boyfriends and we can't help but grasp on to a few familiar situations and just as we start to well up and reminisce, Aidan snaps us back to laughter with references on grocery items that will never set foot in my trolley again; sweetcorn and jelly tots are over for me!

The Smock Alley is a fantastically intimate theatre, just rather disappointingly, ticket sales were quiet (hey it was a bank holiday Monday and a lot of people had work the next day!) and I knew that it mean't Rob had to work ten times harder to get any audience interaction. So on that alone- I was blown away. His effort and passion for performing in a one-man show was brave and inspiring and  I highly recommend you visit this week before the run ends this Saturday. Hey, the weather is so beautiful in Ireland at the moment, it's perfectly acceptable to go for a drink or dinner, take a walk up the quays and stop for a bit of theater- c'est la vie non?! Tickets can be booked here.


Slice- http://www.asliceofcake.ie

Tuesday's brunch was at Slice. I walked past it a few weeks back and it looked charming. There was people sitting on the makeshift bench, it's located in the uber cool Stoneybatter area and I made mental note to come back and try it out in the future. We arrived around 11.30, so breakfast was still being served. And the lunch menu started at 12 which suited me fine. 








I went for the scrambled eggs on sourdough with avocado and chorizo and Ev went for the home made beans and sausages on Sourdough with Gubbeen cheese. He went for one of their teas, I went for their juice of the day- watermelon and apple and we got two coconut milk cappuccinos and a slice of coconut cake that was filled with the oozing jam. As far as breakfast goes- mine was lovely- decent portions, but most importantly good tastes. Loads of coriander + meaty chorizo in mine and simple homemade beans in Ev's were the highlights. And we really enjoyed the bread. I loved the juice so much- we stopped of in the supermarket on the way home and bought watermelon to use in Ev's juicer. And my coffee was good. Like real good. Cappuccinos made with coconut and almond milk are my new go too's. I'm really obsessed with them. I got chatting to who I think was the owner- and just the overall vibe of the place was my cup of tea. Me and Ev love Stoneybatter- just one of the terrace houses from the mortgage gods down the road and I'd be sorted. Hey...one can dream right!