Nicholas Cage, a girl who grows wings and the problem with young, Irish women

Since, opera floated right out of my life, I’ve became very attached to an item called TV. For the first time in years, I went to Xtravision and rented some DVDs out. They’re doing a really appealing deal where you can rent 2 new releases for 2 nights, 2 drinks and a popcorn for €10. Pretty, pretty good.
So, I went for Black Swan and Bad Lieutenant, pulled the curtains in the sitting room tight and sat back ready to be entertained.
Problem was that Terry had been raving about Bad Lieutenant since forever and seeing as Nicholas Cage rocks and Terry is normally correct in these matters, the standards were set high! Don’t get me wrong, the film was good but it was not amazing, excellent or even hilarious.
I laughed slightly at 2 bits, I enjoyed it but I felt like I had seen it all before. Get this-a cop goes bad. He takes illegal drugs. He blackmails bad guys. He does naughty things to even naughtier people. The other characters are rubbish, bad acting and impossible to be sympathetic towards. In short, Nicholas Cage saves the film. I didn’t like the iguana and lizard that rambled throughout the film that symbolised Nicholas’ character’s mental state. In fact, I think the ending was quite mainstream and predictable.
I’ve seen a film like this before. Similar to the Town or the Departed but not as slick.
Or maybe, I’m just a grump.
The second film was Black Swan. Very disturbing. Unnerving. Odd. But vaguely fascinating. Natalie Portman was truly excellent but the film couldn’t make up its mind. Was it a thriller or a wacky, off the wall, all in the head similar to American Psycho? Certainly not as clever as American psycho, where you never quite believed what was going on yet you did somehow. When Natalie’s character, Nina takes a jump at the end, I was left feeling thankful that it was all over for her and for us.
The last film was called His and hers. We recorded it on Sky, so it was free, free, free! Ish.
It started off on a bad note, the basic premise is that this documentary filmed loads of different women from the age of 4 up till 80+. The women spoke about the men in their lives-their fathers, their sons and their boyfriends and husbands. The interesting thing about this film was that all the women were incredibly traditional and Irish. They worshipped the Daddy. They met their “man” at a young age, yearned for a wedding ring and children. The young women came across as being insecure, immature and unappealing to me. However, the women started to get interesting when they got to about 40+. Their relationships, their take on life, their sense of humour came out. The film ends with the wives being left without their husband, their life partner that have grown to love. A perfect circle of life comes about. The film is beautifully shot with moving music and complete honesty. I really liked it and I don’t know why. It made me reflect and created conversation between the two of us. It entertained in a simple way.
Go get it.

Up a big hill and all the way back down again:proper hillwalking

So, a few summers ago, in a fit of madness, I said I’d do the Wicklow Way with Terry and Simon.

Terry was an experienced hill-walker. I was not.

Terry likes walking ultra fast up hills through the rain with little to no breaks. I did not.

Terry liked moros. So, did I.

You can see how that trip went. I finished Day 3, though the exact number could be debated, I was nearly put off the whole hill-walking thing until last week. The Tullow Mountaineering Club was doing an “Easy” walk of about 14km. It sounded nice and Simon agreed it was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday. Terry was asked and he accepted.

It was beautiful and thankfully the Wicklow Way didn’t totally put me off. The Club were really friendly, helpful and took it at a nice pace. Apparently, the rule is to keep the pace with the slowest walker(listening, Terry?) All of the group carry emergency stocks for anyone who comes, like bottoms, tops, hats and even food.

Parts of it were slightly challenging, I hated it when it rained but when we were all sitting by this fresh lake eating a roll and sipping coffee, I sat back and thought how nice it was.

It was a great way to clear my head, my limbs were slightly sore the next few days.  Robert, the Group leader told me that the Wicklow Way, though very interesting, was a path made walk. Hmmm, I think he was implying it wasn’t as real as hill-walking. I’d agree-lots of mud, water, bog and rocks.

A proper hill walk? I hope to go again. The Tullow Mountaineering Club go every Sunday from Car Park by Abrakebra, Carlow Town at 9:30 sharp. An easy walk is schedule every month. Check out their web page at!/pages/Tullow-Mountaineering-Club/370336333713?sk=wall

Precious, our cat is AWOL for 9 days now….

We miss Precious. I miss the abuse that Simon used to throw at him, jokingly. I miss his purrs and cuddles.

Come back, smelly.

It’s worse that we have no proof that he won’t come back. Spotted 2 different cats in our garden in the last week. But, no Precious.

I hope he returns.

Jarvis Cocker works in Superquinn!

I knew that would grab your attention!

Okay, I’m lying. He doesn’t work there but a guy who really looks like him does. Darren, is the ultra wine expert in our local Superquinn! He recommended 2 excellent wines for our wedding 3 years ago and they really rocked! Can you believe that we still have 3 bottles of the red left? The white has long gone though, which is a shame as Superquinn don’t stock it anymore.

So, this evening I paid a visit to Darren-aka Jarvis Cocker and there is no need for Darren to feel embarrassed or insulted. Simon and I are big Pulp and Jarvis fans! It is quite the compliment indeed for him actually.

Darren is a great salesperson, he loves drink! No, he wasn’t drunk but he loves his job and he knows his stuff. I left with a bottle of an absolute yummy wine, which I am sampling now. It is a Gewurztraminer 2009, South African. I love the Gewurztraminer that Tesco stock so I told Darren this, he came up with this one and it is really, really good. Try it.

I also was going on about my wedding white wine so he recommended a near copy of it, it’s Chilean white, sauvignon blanc reserva called Casa Rivas. And no, I don’t know what it’s like, it may be many weeks before I know. We are not huge drinkers but when I do sample it, I’ll let you all know!

Now let’s end this with some quality pulp music and let’s go with a wedding link! This was our first dance song. “Something changed”

It’s the small things…pink gloves…

It really is the small things that make me happy. WEll, two things today really.

Yesterday, we did a bit of Christmas browsing/shopping and I came across some very funky leather gloves in M and S. They had them in all colours, beautiful, soft jewel colours and plain chocolate brown and black. It was quite difficult for me to choose which special colour would bejewel my hands. I remembered how a Colour Therapist (yes, they exist!) advised me never to wear pink and if I did decide to break this rule, it should be salmon icky pink.


I was feeling all rebellious yesterday so I opted for pink gloves. Not just any pink but hot pink! Oh yes, how delightful they look on my hands, clashing with every colour, refusing to matchy match.

The second thing I was happy about was when I got to the till, my lovely husband took the gloves from my hands and paid for them.


The Ice House in Ballina-location of our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

The Ice House is just delish…from the inside.

It looks rather plain from the outside and not like a hotel or spa at all. Probably because it used to be a ….Ice House! I bet you’ve wondered where and ice was made, now you know…

The Ice House is incredibly relaxing, the staff were ultra nice with one of the staff ringing us the night we arrived to check when we were arriving. He then greeted us at the car, carried our bags in and presented us with a glass of my fave, champagne. We sat downstairs in the bar area, which looks right out onto the River Moy.

Our room was beautiful as well. I’ve put a little photo in of what it looked like, this wasn’t our actual room as our room always looks too messy to take a photo of…this was one I stole from the website.

We are always very excited about the bathroom in posh hotels and this one did not let us down! A massive, freestanding bath and open shower with candles laid around the bath. The Ice House wins the “Rozz award for best toiletries in a hotel bathroom type” the toiletries were L’Occitane everything! Oh, yay! Of course, I didn’t take any of these away for my own use at home.

We ate in the Pier Restaurant downstairs later that night. Simon had booked us in for the Spa the next day so we were wonderfully chilled out. I chose “Posh fishfingers”(this is what they were called!) and Chip butty, which was posh as well! Simon had some kind of healthy thing with fish and green-ness. This is typical of his behaviour. He chooses the most strangest and healthiest thing and I go for anything resembling Fish and Chips. I won the meal contest that night! I had Dark chocolate tart and Si got an assiette of dessert. His won this time as I was far too full to finish the dark tart, a bit too heavy for me but would have been lovely with a strong coffee the next day.

The Chill Spa is heavenly. When you go into the spa, they bring you into a Relaxation room. Again, overlooking the River. You are pampered with freshly made fruit smoothies, fresh fruit juice, fruit and herbal teas. Well needed after the dinner we had the night before. We had the Yon Ka facial, body scrub and foot masque. It was possible the most wisest way we have spent 3 hours. Utterly divine. The foot masque ended with a warming foot pouch. Bliss I still dream about the Chill Spa. One day, I plan to live there.

For lunch, we had a shared plate of warm bread, breadsticks and dips like red, nutty pesto, hummus and chilli sauces. It was so good. They had this beautiful home-made Guinness bread. I dream about this platter too. I would recommend going to the Ice House for this alone!

After the treatment, we took a walk on Inniscrone Beach. It was gusty but the rain stayed away.

We left the Ice House feeling chilled out and in a dream like state. My only gripe? You wanna hear it?


No, I love children but was fascinated by the amount of familes that stayed there for the 2 nights. Very young children aged 4-8. The Ice House has no swimming pool, it’s not marketed as a “Family Hotel” and if it was , we wouldn’t have stayed there. The children slightly wrecked that relaxed, adult vibe. I wonder why parents would waste money (it is expensive) on little kids staying in a place like this. The food would be totally out of the typical “McDonalds” type child, but maybe I had a sheltered childhood.

The air out there is so clear, when you pull back the sliding doors in your bedroom, it opens right up onto the River. Breathless views of Beleek Woods, swans, grey clouds.  I felt like I’d landed on the most tranquil place on earth.

You know what, I probably had….

The station

Someone, who shall remain nameless gave me this story today.

I am not into all this love lovie types of poems and stories. I hated the book The Secret and find books like the Last Lecture self centred and pointless, they teach me nothing about me. This short musing made me think, life really is too short (cliched, I know) but rushing around trying to do things that lead you to a nameless goal is not what I want to be about. Trying to live and think in the present is a simple wisdom. Hope you enjoy this.

The station

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves traveling on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at the crossings, row upon row of corn and wheat, flatlands and valleys, mountains and rolling hillside, city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. Once we get there all our dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. How we restlessly pace the aisles, waiting, waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station that will be it!”
“When I’m 18!”
“When I’ve paid off the mortgage!”
”When I’ve put the last kid through college!”

Sooner of later we realize there is no station, no one place to arrive once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets of yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, walk barefoot more often, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less.
Life must be lived as we go along.

The station will come soon enough.

JR Hastings

The pre-hen night

My sister in law, andrea(Simon’s sister) is getting married in August. We had a lovely dinner in Bann Thai in Ballsbridge. A nice, relaxed and quiet evening to prepare ourselves for the strippers, oil, thongs etc of the real Hen night tonight.

I’ve always wanted to do that….

You know the way. There’s something you’d always been meaning to do. Learn the piano, travel the world, read Ulysses…You imagine that one day you’ll do it. You convince yourself even.Most people carry on like this until they pass this world. Some people take action.
I was thinking about how many times I reminisced on how much I enjoyed singing when I was little. I sang in our school and church choir, sometimes solo but always loved it. When I left primary school, I became too self conscious to bother with it.
But I’ve always remembered the way it made me feel.
I don’t want to be one of those people who put it off and off. So, one evening in a fit of madness and a glass of champagne, I googled “voice training”
I found this charming website and beautiful singer under the name of Charlotte Mahler. I listened to her voice and thought, yes, I’d like that! Obviously, I’m never going to be a mezzo-soprano like Charlotte but one can always improve what they have!
Today, I had my second lesson.
It went well, it is fascinating. There’s so much to take in. We started with our warming up exercises and then launched into the songs. Woah, one was far too high for me but she told me in no uncertain terms that:
” You will be able to sing this song in half a year if you practice every night!”
I’m up for the challenge.
Even if I never do anything with this, I’m enjoying the time spent on myself and proving to myself that you don’t need to put things off and off.
If you want to do it, make the steps.
My next aim?
Learning the piano!
Hmmmmm. Let’s get the singing right first!