Saturday, February 28, 2015

Christmas 2014!

I'm sure by now no one really wants to view Christmas photos, but it's becoming a tradition that I post them super late and I can't break with tradition, can I!? The whole Christmas season was lovely, of course! As I was living in my own (rented and lovely) home and feeling very much like an adult, I treated myself to a real Christmas tree. It was a small tree but made me so happy over December!

I had two work events in the run up to Christmas, a party and a lunch. Both were fabulous! The theme for the party was 'A night at the movies' but I had voted for 'Around the world in 80 days'... so I stuck to my guns and went as Phileas Fogg! I was so happy with how all my time spent paper mache-ing and basket cutting went. We all had so much fun at the party; I already can't wait for the next one! The lunch was held in Churchill College and was so impressive! Rows and rows of tables were set with free flowing wine, games and crackers, and the food was so good.

I flew home a few days before Christmas Day and spent most of my time relaxing and hanging out with my family. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to delete all of my photos from Christmas Day, so don't have anything to show!! But I did take a few photos at Donadea Forest.

Then came Ódhran's birthday! The lucky guy got a cake shaped like a car, but couldn't figure it out and kept on trying to drive it with his hand! It was tasty. He got lots of fun presents and had so much fun playing with them.

And of course, we went to Tullamore to meet my Mum's family. Seeing everyone was lovely! My uncle had arranged a treasure hunt on the second day and our team very nearly won! Our annual trip to Tullamore is always so fun and more so this year, because I wasn't writing my thesis!

After Tullamore, I met Paul in Galway, where we had pints at our favourite pubs and met some friends. Then to Dublin, where we spent New Year's Eve with Paul's friends, who cooked up a feast for us! Finally, we went to London and Paul got treated to the Book of Mormon as my Christmas present to him! It was so good! I was worried that it would be too much like South Park but, though there were scenes that were fairly crude, it was great and so funny.

And there you have it! A rather hasty re-cap of my Christmas! Maybe next year, I'll write my Christmas post sooner after Christmas...





















Sunday, February 15, 2015

My November

My November was fun! It was quiet enough but filled with friends and family, which is always nice.

First up was Bonfire Night and it was magical! I've seen fireworks before, plenty of times, but this spectacle was really special. I put together a small video from the night too and I'm fairly pleased with it!

Later in the month, I went home for a whole six days!! It was wonderful. I visited my parents in Naas for two days and then Paul and I frolicked about in Dublin for the weekend! We visited the Irish Museum of Modern Art; the museum is set on a lovely site, with beautiful gardens and impressive buildings, but being honest, modern art isn't my thing, so...

One of the highlights of the weekend was dinner at Rustic Stone, courtesy of Paul's parents. I took a few too many photos of the food, but it was so good, it needed to be documented! We had steaks which we cooked ourselves on hot stones, truffle chips, a knickerbocker glory and a few other dishes!

On the Monday before I left, I hung out with Ódhran while Aoife was working and then in the evening, Paul came over and the four of us had dinner and chats. As always, spending time with Aoife and Ódhran was really nice! And seeing Paul and Ódhran get on so well together made me smile so much!

I made two trips at the end of November, one to Bury St. Edmunds for their annual Christmas market and another to the Natural History Museum for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. Both were great days out, of course!

And finally, after nearly a year, I finished crocheting a blanket that's been bugging me for a long time! Bunches of granny squares were constantly sitting on my kitchen table, staring at and judging me. So I put an end to it with a final push and stitched them all together, yay! I'm quite happy with it, except that it's long and not wide... I put that down to laziness really, and reluctance to make more granny squares!






















Sunday, November 23, 2014

Morocco // Riads

Morocco is known for its riads - big houses with rooms overlooking a central courtyard or garden. And they are amazing! Forget hotels, hostels, etc... If you make it all the way to Morocco, stay in a riad! Amidst the craziness of the city, you'll be glad for a bit of peace and quiet, and of course, luxury. Once you enter your riad, you can hardly hear the noisy streets and if they're all like the ones we stayed in, you'll have your fill of mint tea and almond biscuits!

For the first two nights, we stayed at Riad Sidi Ayoub, a really authentic and rustic refuge from the city. The place was so well laid out and decorated. Each area had its own atmosphere and style and its obvious that the owners have paid attention to every detail! The rooftop views were incredible. I got to watch the sunset on my first evening there; it was so pretty! And our bedroom was so much bigger that we expected. The bathroom was designed in the Moroccan style and the bed was so comfy and big!

The breakfasts at the riad were interesting but a bit basic; although the pancakes were really tasty! We were served freshly squeezed orange juice every morning too, which was such a treat! We had dinner at the riad one night. Calling it a dinner is a bit unfair though, it was more like a feast! The starter was a kind of chopped salad full of the freshest ingredients - beetroot, tomato, aunergine and so much more. For our main dishes, we had two tagines that were cooked to perfection. Mine was apricot, date and lamb, and those three ingredients resulted in the most delicious tagine I've ever had!

Our second riad was Riad Dar Silsila, a more modern hotel-like riad, which was kitted out to the highest degree. This riad was fairly huge, with a large courtyard and swimming pool in front and a smaller one in the back. I liked that it had so many different places to sit, read and relax, where we wouldn't be disturbed by the other guests. We were much closer to the city at this riad and the view of the Koutoubia Mosque was really lovely! The room was small enough but it still had everything we needed during our stay.

We spent a lot of time at this riad, reading in the sun, swimming in the pool and just relaxing. It really was luxurious! The breakfasts were lovely too, with freshly squeezed orange juice, pain au chocolat and delicious homemade yogurt, which went really well with honey! 

I hope you've all enjoyed reading about our Moroccan holiday. It really was amazing!


Riad Sidi Ayoub






















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