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Last Wednesday Emily From China Village organised the third lifestyle bloggers meetup this time in one of her personal favourite spaces Coppa Café at the Royal Hiberian Academy on Ely Place. I can see why she loves it – located at the entrance to the gallery, it is bright and welcoming. The staff are very passionate about what they do and they put service and food at the forefront. There are lovely little touches like the table napkins being made by Frederico’s Italian momma!
This was my third lifestyle bloggers meetup and I always come away with more inspiration and contacts in the growing blogging world. Everyone is very friendly and helpful and it’s lovely to put faces to blogs. We were welcomed with a refreshing cocktail before being treated to a range of speciality sandwiches, frittata and salad with a glass of wine. Unfortunately I had eaten before I came but the food was delicious. I will definitely be back when I’m hungrier so I can enjoy it. I was lucky to share my table with Priscilla from Woke Up in Dublin and I also met the lovely Ajda, a food stylist as well as catching up with Alex of Hydrangea Girl and Rincy of A Little Bird.
After we had been fed and watered – Emily organised a helpful swap-shop of resources and ideas where we all shared either an idea or asked for help with something. This was a really good exercise. I was looking to connect with more bloggers and luckily both Lauren from The Dare Project and Holly from Sweet Like Cinnamon were also looking for similar so hopefully this will lead to interesting guest blog posts by both soon – watch this space!
I really enjoyed the night and sharing blog stories and tips with fellow bloggers. We got lovely goodie bags from Etsy and Tiger to take home. Thanks to Emily and Coppa Café for organising and hosting a lovely evening.
So are you one of these people who have to trick their bodies into exercising like I do or are you one of the lucky ones who love it? My sister and friends all laugh at how I try the newest fad in exercise but I say whatever works for you, bring it on! I thought I’d share a few types of exercise I like.
I was lucky enough to discover yoga early on and I loved it. I tried many different types and classes and teachers until I found the one that suited me. I still remember getting the leaflet with red butterflies on it through my letterbox and thinking that this would be perfect and it was. It happened to be Hatha, the more gentle yoga [typical, huh?] focusing on strength building exercises and poses. I have been practising for ten years or so – still not as flexible as I’d like to be but I dread to think what I’d be like if I hadn’t found it.
If you’re looking to practice, I’d recommend Open Mind Yoga in Pearse Street if you’re near Dublin City Centre. In recent times, I have branched out to try some new trends in yoga such as Anti-Gravity or Aerial Yoga and Bikram Yoga. Unfortunately neither are for me – the anti-gravity yoga was far too energetic and acrobatic for me but if you like hanging around like a bat and doing backflips then it might be for you. Bikram yoga was far too hot and disciplined but if you like to sweat it all out while trying to contort your body into various shapes then it may be the one for you. Yoga really is for everyone – you just have to keep trying until you find the perfect fit for you.
Another exercise I swear by to keep my body operating is pilates. I discovered pilates purely through necessity after having both neck and back problems, my physio recommended it to try and tone or at least locate my core! I still haven’t found it completely but thankfully my neck/back problems have lessened through regular practise. I’d recommend the Pilates Centre in Clontarf. As well as offering mat classes, they offer Reformer [using the machines] and Barre Blitz [a combination of pilates and ballet using the Barre]. I’ve also tried Arc Pilates using a step barrel to ensure proper posing. My favourite has got to be the mat classes but I would recommend trying the Arc or Reformer classes if you haven’t done pilates before to get you into the correct postures and Barre Blitz if you want something at a faster pace that is more of a challenge.
Another exercise that I love is any form of dance and I’ve tried them all from Salsa to Zumba to Bokwa! It’s like the fun way to exercise. I started off with salsa dancing classes and progressed to trying Salsa Slims with Stepping Out. I then progressed on to Zumba when the Zumba craze started. Having the attention span of a flea, I have now moved on to Bokwa, which is movements based on sign language using numbers and letters. I even dragged a friend to a workshop with the creator of Bokwa, Paul Mavi – she was convinced we were joining a cult! It is definitely lots of fun. My newest fad is Piloxing [not the nicest name, I grant you] – a combination of pilates, dance and boxing. All a great way to work out and highly recommended for the fun way to exercise – get your body moving.
I’m not a huge fan of the water not being a strong swimmer but aqua aerobics is another low impact exercise routine and good fun. I tried Aqua Zumba over the summer and found it great fun and great exercise.
Lastly, I fell in love with trampolining through Boogie Bounce. It involved bouncing around on a mini trampoline. Unfortunately our instructor, Emma, went to Canada for further fitness training so my Boogie Bouncing days were cut short. I did try Jumpzone, Ireland’s largest trampoline park located in Sandyford Industrial Estate, Rebounding classes. This was more like trampoline bootcamp and is not for the faint-hearted. I almost passed out with shock – it was definitely more cardio than I was used to!
I think once you put exercise to music and do it in a group situation, it is much more enjoyable and the hour flies by. I wonder what exercise fads 2014 will bring but whatever it is you’re sure to find me there!
The Gathering went well and was hailed a roaring success as tourist numbers increased by 291k.
I accomplished all of my goals for 2013 – well they were rather achievable – I joined a union, went to the dentist and gave Bikram Yoga a try as well as lots of walks with Baxter.
Some of my favourite things included:
Music this year has been pretty good with Haim; Chvrches; Kodaline; Villagers; Biffy Clyro; Little Green Cars; Walking on Cars; London Grammar; Hozier; James Vincent McMorrow and many more being top of my playlists.
All the many gigs I attended even though I thought I was being quite restrictive….I actually clocked up 14 gigs but only 1 festival! Some of my highlights included Biffy Clyro and Tom Baxter in March; Little Green Cars in May,The National and Robbie Williams in June and Blue October in November. Another highlight was the new Festival Longitude in Marley Park where we were bathed in sunshine all weekend. I didn’t blog about it mainly because I got strep throat back in July right after but it was the best organised and laid out festival I have been to! I would totally recommend it especially if we can order the sunshine!
Also theatre-going featured strongly for me this year from musicals like Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 and Once to Irish-produced plays such as Singlehood, A Wine Goose Chase and For Love. With the Fringe Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival and many others, theatre and creativity is fostered in Ireland. I even attended Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the beautiful setting of Malahide Castle.
Travel also featured with a few trips around Ireland including to a cat show in Limerick in February, an overnight to Brooklodge in Wicklow in May and a boating trip down the Shannon in August. I also made it further afield to Vienna in September and a mini-break in Birmingham in November but the big highlight was spending the October bank holiday in Iceland. It is definitely in my top ten places that I have visited.
2013 was also about connecting with other bloggers. Back in March, I was thrilled when Rincy from alittlebird asked me to do a
Paddys Day Playlist. I also attended two lifestyle blogger meet-ups organised by Emily, From China Village – one in Avoca in April and one in Peperina in October where I met some lovely, inspirational bloggers. In June, I was honoured to receive a Leibster Award from Edwina Smith of The Life of Stuff. And in October I had the French Experience in Dublin and met Ketty of French Foodie in Dublin who has taken blogging to a whole other level. I continue to be impressed and inspired by my fellow bloggers – here are “Some Must Reads” that I wrote about in November. I hope this continues in 2014.
Another highlight was meeting inspirational female authors such as Dawn O Porter; Caitlin Moran and Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones fame. I love the Dublin Writers Festival and how reading is encouraged and fostered in Ireland.
Lastly, to round off the highlights from 2013, some of the other things I have enjoyed included the Breathe Expo, Bark in the Park and awesome summer sunshine; learning to meditate; making chocolate fudge and The Christmas Cookbook Club with Donal Skehan.
I also bought a bike last year and am hoping 2014 is the year of the bike. 2014 – bring it on!
Every year feels a little like groundhog day as I tend to make the same resolutions and then end up breaking them! Weirdly I have a thing about odd years and feel a lot more comfortable when it’s an even year [don't ask, I can't even explain my little oddities] so I’m looking forward to 2014! Instead of resolutions this year, I like the idea of doing things differently.
I love Susannah Conway’s idea of choosing a word to embrace and inspire you throughout the year. Mine is adventure.
Or what about Laura McDonnell’s idea from the Dublin Diary of choosing 14 things to get excited about for 2014. I love the idea of pleasant resolutions that you want to try. I just might make my own list.
Keeping a blog is an excellent way of keeping a record of the highlights from my life and also things that make me smile. I love receiving my WordPress Year in Review as it makes me reflect on another year passing. Am always a little surprised that people read what I write! Not sure why a Christmas-themed Happy Monday was the most viewed post in mid-March but who am I to argue with the Stats Monkeys! I’ve also reached out to the blogging community a little this year both in April and October and found the bloggers I’ve met to be warm, friendly and keen to share a common interest. I hope 2014 brings more meetups and connections.
I shall be writing a post about my personal highlights from 2013 but in the meantime…
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.
Last Sunday, I joined about 200 other people for an afternoon of meditation in the Davenport Hotel. It was a free event from the Sri Chinmoy Centre and Dublin Meditation. I was struck by the number of people at the event of all ages and there was a good mix of both male and female.
It was a lovely afternoon of inner peace. It started with an introduction to meditation and some easy-to-follow exercises. Following this, there was some live meditative music performances which was surprisingly soothing and helped get into the zome.
There was a brief break after which their special guest, Ashrita Furman, from New York spoke passionately about how meditation helped him achieve his goal of world-record breaker of the Guinness World Records. He bounced onto the stage quite literally on a pogo stick and told us how his teacher Sri Chinmoy inspired him and taught him the four tools he uses today: 1. Meditation 2. Chanting 3. Prayer 4. Visualisation. His stories of the records he holds were funny and inspiring including pogo-ing up the CNN Tower and across the Great Wall of China, racing a yak in a potato sack and winning; walking miles through the streets of New York balancing a milk bottle on his head and chopping apples with a Samurai sword.
I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and came away with a feeling of peace and some tips on how to meditate.The Dublin Sri Chinmoy Centre in Little Fitzwilliam Place is holding free meditation classes on Tuesday & Thursday evenings, October 22, 24, 29 & 31 (7.45pm-9.15pm). If anyone if interested, you can register by texting your name to 085-1450880.
Last Wednesday on a rainy night in Dublin, the lovely Emily From China Village hosted a second gathering of lifestyle bloggers in Peperina Garden Bistro. Peperina is a local bistro located on Dunville Avenue in Ranelagh, close to the Beechwood Luas stop.
There was a great turn-out of about 30 bloggers. It never ceases to amaze me the number of blogs and the variety available on every topic imaginable….if you don’t believe me check out the Blog Awards Ireland which recently took place. We even had one of the winners among us that night, Ketty of French Foodie in Ireland, who won both Best Personal Blog and Best Newcomer. Her blog is well worth checking out for great places to go in Dublin. Also what struck me was the many nationalities represented – there were English; Americans; French as well as Irish.
We started the night off with some punch and a craft demonstration from Laura of Daintree Paper who showed us how to decorate glasses to liven up a table display. I loved the idea of glitter – so simple yet very effective and even me, a crafting novice, could manage that. She had lots of ideas and then we got to put them into practice by attempting our very own. Peperina treated us to some samples of their lovely food both savoury including some yummy mini sliders and sweet including mini scones. We got to chat and get to meet some new friends.
The highlight is always meeting the faces behind the blogs some of who I already feel I know by following their blogs [stalker alert] – Rincy of A Little Bird; Alex of Hydrangea Girl; Laura of Dublin Diary. It’s also nice to be introduced to some new blogs to follow and hear what interesting things they have going on – Jette of Wood and Chocolate who has just moved here from London; Emily of Lemonkind who is launching a new shop on November 8th and Liz of Cool and Dandy who interviews the faces behind the small shops, galleries, cafes around Dublin.
All in all a fun night and we even got a goodie bag to take home. Thanks to Emily and Peperina for hosting.
Imagine my surprise upon opening my e-mails to see that I won an award, and not just any old award, the Liebster Award, it’s passed from one blogger to another. I got an e-mail from Edwina Smith from Life of Stuff to tell me she had nominated me for the award – thank you kindly Edwina. It’s nice to know someone reads my little old blog!
The Liebster Award is a chain-award that bloggers give to fellow bloggers all in the name of discovering new blogs and spreading the good word. It must have originated in Germany as ‘Liebster’ is the german for favourite.
So what are the rules to receiving a Liebster Award?
1. Thank and link back to the blogger who presented you with the award.
2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
4. Write 11 questions for your nominees.
5. Present/nominate a Liebster blog award to 3-5 other bloggers.
Eleven Random Facts about me:
1. I love music.
2. I have a tattoo.
3. Some of my favourite movies are from the 80s – Ferris Bueller; Say Anything; The Breakfast Club; Dirty Dancing; Baby Boom.
4. My guilty pleasure is watching reality shows with a competitive element – be it X-Factor, The Voice, Strictly Come Dancing, Great British Bake-Off to quiz shows like The Million Pound Drop – count me in.
5. I have a lot in common with my two nieces – we love the same movies, music, tv shows – basically I’m a kid at heart.
6. I love bubble baths and candles.
7. I am pretty smart but equally ditsy – I like to think I hide it well!
8. I was a diner on The Restaurant – the one with Enda Kenny.
9. My sister is also my best friend.
10. I don’t do well with change.
11. I’m a homebird – love to travel but the best part is coming home!
Answer Eleven Questions:
1. What time of the day do you blog most?
Evening time mostly – I am a night owl but also I work full-time so don’t really have the time until evening.
2. What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten?
Liver – mum used to try to get us to eat it when we were little as dad loved it but we rebelled.
3. Where can you see yourself living when you retire?
A cottage by the sea.
4. What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
I am a terrible liar – it’s actually one of my pet peeves that I am incredibly honest. Am willing to take lessons! I think the biggest lie I ever told was when I was about three or four I told the lady who used to take care of us that we were moving into a really big house. I was better really at telling stories rather than outright lying!
5. Name a pet peeve about your partner?
No partner therefore no pet peeves!
6. What’s your favourite ice-cream?
Vanilla – am a traditional girl.
7. What song do you probably know all the words to?
Fields of Athenry
8. How old were you when you had your first kiss?
Five….kiss chasing was rife in primary school!
9. Where would you like to go on holidays?
Somewhere sunny…would love to go on a safari in Africa.
10. What’s the smelliest thing you’ve ever smelt?
Rotorua in New Zealand….smelled like rotten eggs.
11. Panda Dog … right or wrong?
Right….what could be wrong about combining a cute panda with a dog!
Write Eleven Questions for your Nominees
1. Where do you get inspiration for your blog?
2. What’s your favourite movie?
3. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you pick?
4. Who do you admire most?
5. What’s your first memory?
6. If you could choose either confidence or beauty, which would you choose?
7. What’s the best quote that sums you up?
8. What’s the first gig you went to?
9. Are you a morning person or night owl?
10. Can you swim?
11. What do you like to do to relax?
Happy Father’s Day to all the poppas out there especially mine, poppa Joe – you’re the best!
THE MUMMY TEST
I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.
“Why?” my daughter asked.
“Because it’s been laying outside, you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty and probably has germs” I replied.
At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, “Wow! How do you know all this stuff?”
“Uh,” …I was thinking quickly, “All moms know this stuff. It’s on the Mummy Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mummy.”
We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.
“OH…I get it!” she beamed, “So if you don’t pass the test you have to be the daddy”
“Exactly” I replied back with a big smile on my face and joy in my heart.