20 Mar

A Wrinkle In Time Movie Review

A couple of weeks ago the family and I were kindly invited along to a preview screening of A Wrinkle In Time by Disney Ireland.

As the boys get older, watching movies together has become a special treat and they eagerly count down to ‘Movie Night’ which happens once a week. We turn off all devices and settle down for a few hours of escapism. Disney films are top of the list when it comes to Movie Night picks. Not just the more modern movies such as Star Wars, but the classics like The Flight Of The Navigator and Tron are huge hits in our house.

Great books open a door to all you can imagine. I read “A Wrinkle in Time” around 9 years of age so I’d been watching all the hype in the lead up to its release in the US and had already marked the release date in Ireland so that I would get our family tickets.

Storm Reid is Meg Murry in Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME, an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic.

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23 Aug

Morphy Richards Spiralizer Express Review

In advance of its launch on the Irish market, Dimpco sent me a Morphy Richards Spiralizer Express to test out at home and review.

To be very honest with you, I’ve never bought a spiralized item in my life and don’t have a manual spiralizer in the house. Which sounds mad considering the glut of courgettes and vegetables I get at this time of the year. It’s something that I’d intended to rectify this Summer anyway so this offer couldn’t have come at a better time.

If you’ve never eaten or used spiralized vegetables/fruit before it’s simply a different way of preparing your fresh items. You can substitute spirals of courgette for pasta in dishes for example, making them low in carbs. Spiralizing your fruit and vegetables gives you a greater surface area for marinades and pickles, meaning you can easily add extra spices and flavours to lift your meals. Read More

14 Jul

Warner Brothers Studio Tour Review

This family of muggles travelled to London and decided we’d like to visit the studios where the Harry Potter films were made. It’s not a theme park, it’s a genuine interesting, thrilling, and exciting studio tour. We thought it was well worth it; here’s a flavour of how we got on.

Harry Potter Experience ReviewIf you travel to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour by public transport, please, please take the bus from the train station. It’s inexpensive enough (costs about €3 per person), and it’s mocked up to look like the night bus. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, this is probably going to be the most boring thing you’ve ever read. Sorry! If you are a fan, then you’ll certainly be interested in this family visit review. Read More

07 Jul

Legoland Windsor Review

Both hands up, we love Lego, all ages play with it in our house, and the idea of heading to an entire theme park dedicated to Lego had us all excited. Legoland Windsor is located in a scenic location in, yes, Windsor. There are a couple of hotels nearby, but we had based ourselves in London City Centre so we used the rail network to get there instead. This was a bit of a kerfuffle as it involved taking a tube from our hotel, 2 trains and a shuttle bus. It took about 90 minutes excluding the tube journey on a rainy Summer’s day. Read More

17 Feb

Budget Or Bust? Nutrition Blenders Put To The Test.

Budget Or Bust_ Nutrition Blenders Put The The Test.Please note. This blogpost was originally published on 18 February 2016.

I’ve taken the most popular nutrition blender in the market, and tested it beside 2 other budget versions. How does the new Aldi Nutrient Blender compare to the Nutri-Bullet or a classic smoothie maker, and is it worth spending the extra money on the more expensive nutrition blenders?

Yesterday I tested 3 nutrition blenders in my kitchen. What’s the difference between a nutrition blender and a juicer? It’s simple, with a juicer you’re left with juice in a glass, and the pulp in a reservoir. Most people don’t use the pulp at all and they’re missing out on important fibre and antioxidants if they only consume the juice. With a nutrition blender, you blitz everything together so you’re getting the full nutritional value of what you put into the cup. This is why the nutrition blenders are so popular.

If you know anything about me at this stage it’s that I love testing! On the kitchen counter:

  • Kenwood 2GoSport 300W
  • Nutri-Bullet Graphite 600W
  • Aldi Nutrient Blender 700W
  • Stopwatch (for precisely timing the blend conditions)
  • Sieve (to check for the “bits” in the smoothie and see how well the ingredients were blended)
  • Classic Smoothie Ingredients (frozen banana, coconut water, yoghurt, frozen raspberries, spinach, and avocado)
  • Roasted Peanuts & Coconut Oil

As you can see, there is a marked difference in power between the blenders so I was expecting there to be a difference in the amount of time it took to blitz ingredients, and how smooth the end result was. Read More

03 Jan

Irish Food Predictions 2015

Well it seems that quite a number of people searching on the blog remember I made some Irish food predictions in  January last year about what I thought would be in store for Irish Food in 2014.

In 2014 said that I thought that group dining/Sunday Roasts would be making a comeback. The Exchequer has been doing it for years, but I also believe that newer establishments such as the Brookwood have started doing a roast dinner. This trend will continue to increase in 2015.

Juicing was my trend to watch and I was pretty much bang on with that too. There has been an explosion of juice bars in the Dublin area that I’ve noticed. The price of tropical fruit has remained static enough but this could be down to the slump in fuel prices, more so than lack of demand.

Increase in Ottolenghi/Middle Eastern/Lit-Fest inspired dishes across blogs in Ireland in 2014? I’ll stick a firm tick beside that one.

I mentioned how the food bank system would struggle unless the major retailers stepped up to the plate – go figure, between the Bia Food Bank & Food Cloud the amount of food that is being redistributed has increased significantly. So I’m happy to report that while food banks have increased demand, they also have more food to hand out.

I’m putting the diseases related to nutritional deficiency to one side – as I’ve not had a chance to research this thoroughly (I’m a bit laid up at the moment).

Now to 2015. Read More

03 Dec

Review: Hairy Baby T-Shirts For Kids

5 years ago my other half went abroad with his 3 brothers for a few days. I figured that the best way to mark them apart from all the other people in the football stadiums in Madrid was to make sure they all looked the same. It was then that I placed my first order with Hairy Baby, choosing the “Paddy Irish Man” T-Shirts. They were pretty cool back then and the lads wore them with pride.

hbm-paddy-irish-man-t-agIt’s been 5 years since the t-shirt landed back in the laundry basket and it’s been washed many, many times. At the very least it’s been washed about 50 times. The colour has held remarkably well, there has been no colour-run and the print has held up well too. Read More

24 Nov

Review: The Happy Pear Cookbook

In this book we hope to inspire you to eat more veg. That is it, plain and simple.

It’s a great introduction to a book that is packed with recipes from The Happy Pear in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Much more than that though, the book is full of the philosophy behind Dave and Steve’s journey to becoming vegetable evangelists, and retailers on a mission.

The identical twins (for the shop, and book, are a play on words) are the best advertisement for the way of life that the book espouses. While the recipes are at the heart of The Happy Pear cookbook, woven throughout are experiences of their family, employees, and customers. Read More

30 Jul

Inis Mór

Just 24 hours. That’s all we had on Inis Mór. It’s not enough time to do all the things we wanted to do. The last thing we wanted to do was to climb on board a tour bus. Hubby spends enough of his time driving buses so even if it meant we missed out on some of the landmarks, for the most part we walked.

Journey

It takes about 3 hours from Dublin to Rossaveal Harbour, where you can park  your car to get aboard the ferry. You can also travel to the Aran Islands via Clare but this was the best option for us.

It’s a further 40-odd minutes to get to Inis Mór on the boat. However do bear in mind that it may take longer if the weather is bad! No matter how sunny it is, a raincoat or wind-cheater is a must for the boat if you intend to stand outside. I always stand out on deck if I can, if you suffer from motion sickness, make sure you’re in the fresh air, even if it’s raining.Aran Islands FerryAccommodation

We stayed in the Mainistir Hostel which is about 2km outside of Kilronan in the townland of Mainistir. They have a dedicated family area where you can book adjacent family rooms, and it’s private to the rest of the accommodation. For the 5 of us, including breakfast, it only set us back €100 for the night.  It’s about a 20 minute walk up a hill, 30 minutes if you’re pushing a buggy with bags and cranky toddlers/teens.

This kind of room was not the kind of lodgings I expected to get from a hostel:Bedroom at Mainistir Hostel

Joel (proprietor) will also cook an evening meal for the very reasonable price of €15 per person for a mainly vegetarian buffet cooked from local ingredients. It has been highly recommended to me, but we didn’t get a chance to try it out as dinnertime was a bit too late for the small ones. I do trust the recommendations I got from more than 1 learned person so it’s certainly something to bear in mind if you want excellent food cooked for you on a budget.  Otherwise there are ample cooking facilities in hostel.

The breakfast by the way was all homemade. Some freshly boiled eggs, homemade blackberry preserves, muffins still warm in the cases, lashings of toast, fruit compote and yoghurt. There was also a selection of cereals, all eaten in front of a massive window overlooking the sea and washed down with a giant pot of strong tea. I could have stayed there for hours.

Here’s a short video of what we got up and there’s more information our stay below:

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02 Jul

Stokke Steps Review

A couple of weeks ago I took delivery of a Stokke Steps Chair for a review. Here’s how I got on and what I thought of the new system. Read More

16 Jun

Tea Biscotti & Teaology

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a tasting with Barry’s Tea and their master blender Denis Daly. I didn’t need to be asked twice. If there’s tea involved, I’m there with bells on. We were treated to tea based cocktails, iced tea and got to see some vintage stamps, order books and other items inside. I was particularly taken with these:
We ventured into the main room  and Mr Daly turned into a tea tasting and teaology machine. It was a lovely evening and I went home with a bag of specially blended tea from the master himself.Barry's Tea - Caitriona Redmond - Wholesome IrelandWhat do you do with a bag of specially blended tea? Apart from the obvious of course? It is a beautiful tea. Mam gave me a new teapot as a celebration present the day my book was published, it has a small infuser that sits inside so works perfectly with this robust, yet delicate blend. I figured why not up the tea content in my elevenses and come up with something that enhances the flavour.

All of the best instructions begin with:

First brew a strong cup of tea.

That is where my “tea biscotti” start. Read More

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