Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Danger Overhead Powerlines

Everybody please support the very talented Mia Mullarkey in her new film Project
'Danger Overhead Powerlines'

'Danger Overhead Powerlines is a short documentary about Teresa Treacy, an elderly spinster who defies Ireland's largest international semi-state corporation, the Electricity Supply Board, to protect the thousands of trees she planted by hand. In 2006 the ESB contacted Teresa to tell her they would erect pylons along the middle of her land, which would mean cutting down several acres of woodland. However, as the last landowner on ESB's new multi-million euro power line across Tullamore in Co. Offaly, Teresa Treacy prevents the project from completion.

For nearly 6 years she has asked the ESB to put the cables underground but they have said it is too expensive. Then in late in 2011 she was sent to prison at the age of 65 for not allowing the ESB access to her land to cut down her trees. This short documentary intimately follows Teresa's experience during and after prison, giving an inside perspective that was unexplored by the national media throughout the whole event. The film documents the public's outraged response to Teresa's plight and Teresa's journey from a quiet, shy woman to a relentless fighter. '

Click on the link to pledge your support

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Blisters and Bed Bugs

When i signed up to walk part of the Camino De Santiago over 8 days, i thought that the walking would be the difficult part.  I was wrong.

Maeve and Myself first considered walking part of the historic camino de Santiago last March.  At the initial planning stage there was going to be 5 or 6 people going on the trip and October was the month that seemed to suit everybody.  Since flights from Dublin to Santiago only run between March and September, we decided to fly into Santander and take a bus to Leon in Spain and start the walk from there.  Easy, until life got in the way and our time was whittled down to 8 days.  Now, whilst 12 days might (just about)  have been ok to walk from Leon to Santiago, 8 days was really cutting it fine.   This new, shorter trip necessitated a new route.  Instead of the much travelled French route we would walk the less travelled Coastal route known as the camino Del Norde.  Whilst we were excited to be walking such an scenic route, we were concerned by the lack of  (read no) guide books written in English on this route.  After much trawling through the web, we eventually found a very good, and very detailed blog on the northern route in Spanish and through the magic of google translate we had a pretty good idea of where we were going and distances etc..

Joined by our friend Renee and my boyfriend Mark, the four of us set off for Santander where we met our first obstacle on the trip- the Spanish tourist information office.  Throughout our trip the tourist information office was unfailing in its ability to disappoint and frustrate us.  Either the office was closed, nobody in the office understood English or the people running the information office were just unhelpful.  In Santander, the problem was the latter one.  Although we explained that we were pilgrims, they did not tell us that we should get our pilgrim passport in Santander, and for the next couple of days all we heard from the pilgrim hostels was that we should have got our pilgrim passports in Santander.  For the uninitiated,  the pilgrim pasport is the document you present at the alberque (pilgrim hostel) to prove that you are walking the camino.  Its also a pretty cool thing to have as you can get it stamped in all of the towns you stop in.  As it was 3 days into the camino before i got my pasport, i didn't bother getting it stamped.  The staff in Santander tourist information were also quite unhelpful when it came to telling us about the towns and stages on the Northern route and it was up to ourselves to figure out by the internet pages we had printed out where would be a good town to stop off at. 

First stop Santilla Del mar.  After treking for 11 km through rural country roads, we arrive at Santilla Del Mar.  It feels like arriving at an oasis.  We are tired and weary from the plane journey, the train journey and the walk.  The flag stoned streets and buildings are beautiful and there seems to be an abundance  of places to rest our weary heads in and restaurants to eat in.  We stay in the Alberque where we are quizzed about our lack of pilgrim passports by the very rude owner of the hostel.  A very pleasant evening is spent eating and wandering around the town.  The stars are shining in the night sky.  It is going to be an amazing trip.

The next morning, we arise and go at the very early hour of 10am, all of the other pilgrims have already vacated the hostel and are about 5 hours into their day's walking at this stage.  We take a more leisurely approach to the camino.  After a hearty breakfast of coffee and pastries we follow the yellow arrows out of the town.  The camino route is littered with yellow signs directing pilgrims on the route, which is a good thing considering the tiny roads you have to walk through.  You know you are going in the wrong direction if you do not see a yellow sign for a km or 2.  Very useful.   Today we walk for about 15km towards Comillas which is a small coastal town.  We pass some fabulous scenery on the way.  The landscape of Northern Spain reminds me somewhat of the west of Ireland.  The rolling green fields and small bodhreen's.  We pass two farmers leaning by a gate looking at a donkey discussing something important.  I could  be at home. 

Comilla's is a lovely seaside town and their alberque is much nicer than the one in Santilla Del Mar.  Myself and Mark decide to take a dip in the sea.  A word of warning, the sea in Northern Spain is much colder than you might think. I turn blue. 

The following day sees us do our longest walk- 21km.  We trudge uphill and navigate through small rural roads, we see some amazing scenery- mountains, coastal view, lemon trees, orange trees and corn fields.   None the less, we are delighted to finally reach San vicente de la barquera.  A larger seaside town than Comilla's.  A lovely evening is spent hanging out in cafe's and going for a walk by the sea.

We are running out of Camino time at this stage so we cheat somewhat by getting the bus to Gijon from Ribadesalle.  However we  still walked 15 km which is no joke considering the challenging landscape.  Gijon is very posh.   Yachts litter the beautiful coastline and we feel very out of place with our by now manky backpacks!  The most delicious meal of the trip is eaten in a lovely and not overly expensive italian restaurant.  FYI I had a life-changingly good aubergine lasagne and tiramasu.

 Things became a little more difficult at this point.  We got the bus from Gijon to Aviles in the morning, after which we walked a very long uphill 15km without water or food for hours. Lost in the middle of the spanish Asturia´s for what seemed like hours, we were rescued by a guardian angel of a bus driver bearing chocolates. He brought us back to the civilisation of Avilles. Our souls worn we got a bus to a ghost town called San esteban de Pravia. Due to the lack of facilities in the town we have a not very substantial bag of  crisps for dinner.

Desperate to get out of San Esteban de pravia we got the first bus to Cudillero where we spent an hour wondering how we would get out this prettier but equally dead town. Out of nowhere our ever helpful and by now bemused bus driver appears and takes us back to where we came from. We get a bus to Luarca where we have a yummy lunch, meet a crazy russian lady and get the train to Ferrel.  Due to an abundance of blisters and a lack of time our camino has turned into more of a public transport tour of northern spain. One way or another we will make our way to Santiago.

After a good night´s sleep in a lovely pension we explore Ferrol and decide that it is time to make our way to Santiago. Blistered and broken we hobble onto the bus and sleep for two hours. At the bus station Maeve askes about buses into Santiago. She gets a funny look. A couple of Caminoes wave to us from outside the bus station. They have probably walked more than us. We hobble to James´s cathedral and take some pictures. 

I was under the impression before i started the trip that getting to Santiago was the difficult part.  Once you got there you could kick back, pat yourself on the back and relax in the knowledge that your papal indulgences were good for at least one mortal sin.  FYI you need to walk 118km to receive a papal indulgence and that is only good for one mortal sin and there are a lot of them.  You are probably commiting one right now.  Needless to say that we did not work up enough km to warrant an indulgence on our express tour of Camino del Norde.  Whether it was due to this failure or not, out time in Santiago was not easy. First of all, it rained all day and all night.  It was torrential, it was Galway rain for crying out loud.  Second of all, it was not so easy to get accommodation in Santiago- either there was no room at the inn or the prices were exorbitant.  Finally we settled on a pension ran by an elderly woman who had no english, and didn't clean her rooms very often.  In the middle of the night, we found some kind of strange bugs running around the mattress of the double bed.  Totally creeped out we consider sleeping on the floor, but settle for the tiny child sized bed instead.  Hoping against hope that those small red bugs were woodlice we try to forget about it and book into a nice, clean modern appartment for the following night.  Turns out those bugs, weren't woodlice at all, but bed bugs.  Two days back in Ireland I explode in swollen bug bite marks- they are everywhere- my face, my arms, my legs, my neck, my feet.  To make matters worse, i appear to be the only one who has been bitten.  Out of four of us, what are the chances?  I boil everything in site and throw away a lot of the clothes i was wearing on the trip.  I hope against hope that i have'nt brought them into my appartment.  I don't think i have ,at this stage i would have notices.

Santiago is a beautiful city, full of flag stone buildings, and streets.  A magnificent Cathedral and a lovely tapas bar.  It is just a pity i will always associate it with nasty bed bugs.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Madra gig at Pacino's

Library Diva is very excited about the Madra gig which will be held this Saturday in
Pacino's at 9pm.  Put the date in your diary because it promises to be a great night.
Shiloh Palace will be playing support.  Madra are a Dublin based indie rock and roll
band. Like them on facebook to get alerts about gigs

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wall and Keogh

Myself and a couple of friends popped into Wall and Keogh on Camden Street last Sunday for coffee and sushi.  This cafe is an example of why one should never judge a book by its cover, or a shop by its exterior.  The innocuous grey exterior could easily be mistaken for a decorating store, but this is a foil for a great cafe/venue- Funky, shabby chic interior, stylish outdoor area and an events space downstairs.  Tons of exotic teas, fresh sushi, cakes and coffees are on offer.  I had the salmon sushi- freshly made to order and delicious ( tho i did miss not having pickled ginger) and two vanilla americanos because they were that good! My friends opted for herbal teas which were served in adorable tea pots.  Wall and Keogh is definitely worth a visit the next time your around the area.

Friday, 17 February 2012

To speed date or not to speed date?

Last Tuesday, myself and a few friends rocked up to the free speed dating event in the gutter bookshop as part of the 'make a date with Dublin' Valentines festival.
 Thinking it would be a bit of craic on a Tuesday night.  Not so.  It seemed word hadn't spread to the male population of Dublin, with only 2 men turning up for  20 women.  We fled the scene before things got ugly, so im not sure if the night developed into a 'take me out' style competition or if the  men were shared out among the women equally, with everyone getting to take home a limb.

This had not been my first foray into the world of speed dating. I first gave speed dating a whirl last summer.  Myself and a friend of mine went along to a speed dating night in the Church last summer.
Talking to someone for 3 mins may not seem like a very long time, but in some cases it can be too long!
Over the course of the night, i met a guy who wasn't able to look me in the eye and kept looking at his watch, next was the man who spoke about himself for 3 minutes and didn't ask me a single question.  He may not have known my name, but i knew what his favourite walks around balbriggan.  Then there was the man who insulted my profession, followed by the snobby television producer, and last but not least, the clearly gay man who only went along to the event to steal tips for his rival dating company.

Tho answer the question: to speed date or not to speed date? i will say not.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

How to host a Mad Men Dinner Party

When i signed up for 'come dine with me' competion with my friends, little did i know what i was in for!
After Brian and Jacqui set the standard with a fabulous murder mystery night, and Sinead and Clare followed up with an impressive Godfather themed night, Myself and Colin were very worried! What on earth were we going to do??

As a long time fan of the tv show Mad Men, and an even longer time lover of all things retro, i was eager to attempt a mad men style party.   Luckily, Colin was up for it too! So now we had our theme, how were we going to execute it?  Mad Men is all about vintage style, retro decor, booze and cigarrettes.  A good night in other words!

If you fancy hosting your own Mad Men style party, here are a few suggestions to get you started!

Atmosphere is a large part of getting your mad men style party right.
The TV show is set in the 60's so move or hide any wires, computers, sound systems which wouldn't have been around in the 60's. 
Mad Men is set in an advertising company so i printed off sample adverts from the show, got them blown up and laminated to hang on the walls.

This is one of the posters we used
Lighting is great- lots of fairy lights, tea lights etc...
Smoking is everywhere on the show so have lots of ashtrays in the room and give your guests a packet of  candy cigarrettes each.  Colin painstakingly glued 'lucky strike' labels onto a gazillion candy cigarrete packets.
Glassware- I picked up sherry glasses, a decantor and crystal from the charity shop and put them where the tv. would ordinarily stand.
The table- Red tablecloth, old records for placemats, napkins, cocktail glasses, wine glasses, retro name tags all add to the kitch factor

If you can, beg, borrow or steal a record player.  I had to make do with my not very retro laptop and it did look a bit odd amidst the old school surroundings.


I borrowed the official soundtrack to the mad men series from the library. Music by nina simone, John coultrane or the rat pack would be appropriate.  Think jazz, no rap or hip-hop is allowed!


Dress to impress- no jeans allowed!

Me and Colin doing our best don and betty draper impression!

Lyndsey, Brian and Jacqui pictured looking suitably cool and glamorous
 As regular readers will know, this blog began in my hunt to find the dress of my dreams.  I got to wear my
dress for this themed party- hurrah :)
Jacqui brought a type-writer along, which provided lots of laughs!

Jacqui typing something undoutedly brilliant from Brian.

The characters on the show don't seem to eat very much, but they do drink a lot!
In one episode, Betty does host a dinner party with a 'foods of the world' theme.
Therefore myself and colin decided to do a boozy menu with an international flavour.
The menu had to be a bit retro too, so no new fangled foods allowed!
Colin put together a gorgeous vintage style menu to tempt our guests upon arrival.

Colin prepared a delicious tequila salsa salad, which was served on grilled tiger bread.
Many tomatos were killed in the making of this starter...

The vegetarian guests (were there vegetarians in the 1960's?) tucked into a vegetarian bake
served with greens and crusty bread

Vegetarian bake

 The carnivores tucked into boeuf bourgignon (boozy and french!) with potato gratin and greens
Boeuf Bourgignon
I made a scrumptious grasshopper pie for dessert.  Grasshopper pie is a lurid green boozy cheesecake pie with an oreo cookie base, and a creme de menthe/creme de cacao/ marshmallow topping.  Its based on the classic grasshopper cocktail which was popular in the 1950's
Grasshopper pie
If you can try to stick to classic cocktails of the time- martini's, sidecars and manhattans would be perfect.
Myself and colin served simple vodka and cranberry cocktails on arrival and grasshopper's after dinner.
I served the grasshopper cocktails from a tea cup, maybe a kitch step to far....

Cocktails from a teapot!

Myself and colin plumped for charades, which proved to be hilarious and very easy to organise.
Swing dancing could be another possible source of entertainment.  Basically any game which involves technology which would have been available in the 1960's would be suitable!

Myself and Colin had a ball organising our mad men party!  It took quite a lot of planning to pull off, but i think it was worth it!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

10 reasons to love being single

A pre-valentines day reminder to myself....

1. Being able to spend more time with your friends.

2. More time to pursue new interests.

3. Not having to take his likes/dislikes into account when choosing  a holiday.

4.  More cocktail nights on the town with your friends.

5. Being able to watch whatever sappy film you want unimpeded.

6. Not having to shave your legs all the time (gross but true)

7. Not stressing/worrying over status of relationship- are things going too fast/too slow/anywhere.

8. Being able to kiss random boys on nights out.

9.  Being able to get random piercings/tattoos without wondering whether your other half likes them.

10. Money saved on romantic mini-breaks can be used to buy shoes/bags/dresses etc...

I quite like my list, if anyone out there is happily single, send me your list of why its fabulous to be single :)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Come Dine With Me

Due in no small part to the popularity of narrater David Sayer, home grown come dine with me competitions
are popping up all over the country.  All you need is a kitchen, a dining area, a few friends and some understanding flatmates.  Last November myself and 6 others embarked on our own Come Dine with Me
adventure.  Here is how we got on:

The Rules:
1. Teams of 2 will be formed.
2. A camera person/ interviewer will be selected.
3. Each team must cook a starter, main course and dessert.
4. Each team must provide Entertainment.

The Players:
Team 1: Jacqui and Brian
Team 2: Sinead and Clare
Tema 3: Geraldine and Colin.
Camera woman/Interviewer: Lyndsey.

Night 1:
Jacqui and Brian hosted a murder mystery themed dinner party.

Gin and Elderflower cocktails


Morroccon spiced chicken with vegetable tagine and bulghar wheat.
Vegetable tagine with bulghar wheat.

Creme brulee with white chocolate mousse in brandy snap baskets

Cheese board and dessert wine.

Murder mystery game which unfolds over a number of rounds during the meal itself.
Each dinner guest is assigned a character.  No one knows who the murderer is.  Each
participant must listen and take note of the clues and come to a decision over who the murderer is.
Colin won the game by correctly naming Brian as the murderer.

Night 2:
Sinead and Clare hosted an Italian Godfather themed party.

Rose Cocktails

Curry soup and garlic bread

 Main Course:
Beef cannelloni served with salad
Spinach cannelloni served with salad

Chocolate cake


A godfather themed game during the dinner where each guest is assigned a character
from the film and must prove that they are loyal to the Godfather.

Night 3:
Geraldine and Colin hosted a Mad men themed party. 

Vodka and Cranberry Cocktails and Canapes

Tequila Salsa on tiger bread.

Main Course:
Boeuf Bourgignon with potato gratin and greens.
Vegetable bake with greens.

Grasshopper pie

Grasshopper cocktails.


Awards Night:
A couple of weeks ago Jacqui and lyndsey hosted an awards buffet and cocktail night.

The Winners:

Overall Award:
Jacqui and Brian.

Best Starter:
Sinead and Clare.

Best Maincourse:
Geraldine and Colin.

Best Dessert:
Sinead and Clare.

Best Theme:
Geraldine and Colin.

Best Hosts:
Geraldine and Colin.

Best Costume at Mad men night:

Columboan cigar award:

Come dine with me verdict:
The whole experience was great fun and everyone had a laugh and enjoyed themselves.
The only thing i would say is that it can be very expensive providing wine, cocktails, and 3 courses for
7 people.  Having to provide entertainment provided much amusement on the night of the dinner but took a lot of planning beforehand.  Overall we all agreed that it was a good experience but not one we would be repeating in a hurry!

The Awards!

Brian and Jacqui

Geraldine, Sinead and Clare

Lyndsey and Geraldine

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Library Diva loves

Since picking up a copy of 'gorgeous to go' by Aisling McDermott a couple of weeks ago, I have
become seriously addicted to browsing  Created and run by sisters Kirstie and Aisling McDermott, is the most prominent beauty blog in Ireland today.  Updated 5 times daily, you will get all the product information you could possibly wish for on hair, make up and skincare.  Library Diva particularly loves their
beautienomics section, where you can get the low down on products which cost a pittance yet perform like
luxury brands.

To see for yourself go to