Posts Tagged ‘Irish LIfestyle’

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Good morning and happy Monday! I know it’s been a little quiet around here lately. I took the last few months off to spend with my sweet family…especially my eldest daughter {photo above}, who graduated from secondary school in June and then recently left for a college on the west coast of America.

As you can imagine, the past few months have been filled with lots of emotion in our Irish home…and by that I mean way more than would normally be the case with one mother and two teenage daughters living in the same house!

With each passing day, we held on to one another a little bit tighter and squeezed as much fun out of life as we could. Here are a few snapshots of our recent memories; I’ll write about some of them in greater depth in the coming weeks.

First up, for mid-term break, we flew to Hawaii with dear friends to soak up some sunshine. This was our first trip to Kaua’i. The weather wasn’t much better than it was back in Ireland at the time, but we loved the relaxed feel of this gorgeous island.

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Then there was a sweet event at which my husband walked our daughter “down the aisle” so to speak. Oh my goodness…it was a vision of what her final “white dress” occasion might be like!

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Next up, a girls trip to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. If you haven’t visited Moab, do consider it for your bucket-list. From Ireland there is no direct flight to Salt Lake City, but don’t let that stop you. Utah has a number of state and national parks that are amazing {and if you are going that far, I suggest you check out Colorado too}. The Delicate Arch, under which we are standing, is an 18-meter, 60-foot-tall, freestanding natural arch. Hiking out to this point at sunset was just one of the highlights of this quick girls trip.

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Then there was a best-friend graduation trip to Rome. How cute are these two? They’ve been friends for twelve years!

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And the Debs…!

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And, finally, before we knew it…it was time to say goodbye.

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Letting go of this sweet girl wasn’t incredibly hard…it was just incredible AND hard. She was ready for her next adventure and we are happy she has more room to grow.

Through the tears and the hugs and the laughter and the heart-ache, we’ve had an amazing couple of months. Now each of us is adjusting to our “new normal”.

I’ll end today’s post with some wisdom passed along from both my grandmother and my mother-in-law. Their advice has served me well recently. Maybe they will be helpful to you too either now or some day. From Mama I learned, “a mother’s job is to let her children go”. Spoken like a true Irish mammy. From Gma El, I learned, “You GO Girl!

~ XoK

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* We love Utah as a destination: it’s clean, safe, and full of outdoor activities. Click here to go to the Visit Utah website.

** Moab, Utah is home to two national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. Click here to jump to Visit Moab’s official website

*** Go Hawaii’s official website was really helpful to us as we planned our holiday.

**** Did you see the gorgeous meringue cake I baked for my youngest daughter’s birthday party? You can learn to make it here.

***** And last, but not least, if you’re considering a holiday to Rome, check out Rome’s official website here.

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Happy October! From our little Irish home to your home (wherever it may be), we wish you a Spooktacular month ahead!

Of course there are only two months left in 2015…yikes! And this is exactly the time of year when life speeds up…no wait…can it actually get any faster?! So, instead of writing a whole article in this week’s post, I’m doing the first In an Irish Home Roundup. Yep, that’s right…a Roundup!

From decor to travel here are all the things that are on my mind or on my radar at the moment. Most of it centre’s around Ireland or has an Irish angle of some sort…some of it not. Either way, I think you’ll find it interesting.

And, so, without further ado…I give you the October Roundup…(trumpets blaring and drum roll please!):

We’re entering those rainy days of autumn now and these shiny black rain boots from Hunter and this Dusty Parka from Avoca Handweavers are perfectly matched for the weather ahead. The light-weight, knee-length parka is fitted, styled, and has a detachable hood. Great for a morning walk with friends or a wet afternoon on the pitch: super cute!

Rainy Days

Speaking of fashion…I read last month, in Elle UK, about Dublin native Oriole Cullen, the 39-year-old Acting Senior Curator of Contemporary Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She has a BA in History of Art from University College Dublin and an unbelievably fascinating job (not to mention great fashion sense). Check-out this article, Oriole Cullen “How I Got There”, from The Daily Telegraph: Oriole offers sound advice for how she landed one of the coolest jobs on earth. And if, like me, you’re gently guiding your offspring about how to get ahead in this world, you might like to watch this video about Oriole from Bazaar at Work.

While I’m on the subject of strong, amazing, women…here’s a story going round that has me kicking up my Jimmy Choo heels. It seems a group of researchers from the University of Western Australia decided to take a second look at a few Viking archeological remains only to discover that what was previously considered a group of males actually turned out to be a group of males and FEMALES buried with their swords and shields. It seems Shieldmaidens are not a myth! Who knew…I certainly didn’t!?!

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But seriously, this Crystal Amadeo decanter recently caught my eye. I love its flawless and graceful lines. What a gorgeous addition it would be to our/your dining table this autumn. Available at Mitchell & Sons and now reduced from €475 to €380.

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With Halloween just around the corner, our Irish home is already a buzz with conversation about costumes and decorations. Two of these spiderweb candelabra will do nicely…thank you very much Dunnes Stores. Spiderweb candelabra for €25 each.


For year’s I’ve used an eyelash comb (namely a child’s toothbrush, clean of course) after putting on my mascara to smooth out those ugly clumps one gets from mascara. This folding eyelash comb from Tweezerman, called an Ilashcomb, is so much more ladylike. I think it will be my Favourite-Christmas-Gift-to-Give friends this year.

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Like many Irish women, I’ve just booked my pre-Christmas flights to New York! These Plimsolls and this leather backpack from Massimo Dutti will be perfect for running around The Big Apple.

Ease and Comfort

I hear London calling too…especially now that Simone Rocha has opened her first ever boutique at 93 Mount Street, London. Simone, the Dublin raised, 28-year-old daughter of Ireland’s famous fashion designer John Rocha and his partner-wife Odette, has turned a 19th century building and its Queen Anne-style interiors into a bright, warm, two-story space. I hear it’s gorgeous! Known for her unabashedly feminine style, Roche’s shop is nothing short of dreamy! Can’t make it to London just yet? Check out her Facebook page and website.

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Right now I’ve got foraging on the brain. Sure I could step into my own back garden and find plenty, but farther afield things look all the more interesting. That’s why I’m following Wild Food Mary and Forage Ireland for upcoming events and dates.


My latest food crush is on Irishman Donal Skeehan and his recipe for White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cake with blackberries has me dying to break out my food processor! Donal launched his own Youtube channel last year to great success. He recently announced that he’s got nearly 250,000 subscribers. I’m not the only one with a crush! Donal’s also got a two-part photography series with Cannon coming up…so check it out. He says anyone can take a good food photograph…so I’ll be watching in an effort to make my photos even better. Maybe I’ll even win Donals’s competition for a new Canon camera!! To be sure, I’ll be checking out his new cookbook Fresh.

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And finally, The Irish Times recently ran a competition for the Best Shops in Ireland 2015. Sadly my friends Patrick Ryan and Laura Moore over at The Firehouse Bakery in Delgany, Co. Wicklow didn’t win (they’re brilliant!) but many other wonderful shops, stores, bakeries, and emporiums did. Print a copy of the article and keep it handy…it’s a great snapshot of things to do if you’re visiting Ireland and wonderful to have to hand if you have the pleasure of living here full-time.


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DSC_0428When you live in a home with three women, no day is complete until something a little sweet is served. It doesn’t have to be a fancy treat – like a slice of roulade or carrot cake. It just has to be satisfying.

I love the ease with which today’s recipe, Mars Bars Biscuits, can be made. Four ingredients, one pot on the hob (stove), and a tin for pressing these absolutely delicious bars into…that’s all it takes. There’s no baking and no fuss. In fact, this recipe is so simple, it’s ideal for making with children.

Technically these could be classified as an Irish tray bake. Interestingly, I’ve learned the term “tray bake” is more often used in Northern Ireland than in the Republic (the rest of Ireland). Biscuits, bars, tray bake…whatever you call them…they’ve been made famous in my neck of the woods by the very fashionable style emporium that is known as Avoca Handweavers. Any time I come home from Avoca my girls greet me at the door with “Did you bring home Rice Krispie treats?”.

DSC_0411These may seem a lot like Rice Krispie Squares, made with marshmallows, or Rice Krispie buns, made with chocolate, but they are entirely different. The Mars Bars (or Milky Way bars, if you live in America) give this treat the perfect chewiness and crunch that the other two lack. Assuming you like chocolate, I have no doubt you will enjoy these.

Mars Bar Biscuits

Makes about 12 large biscuits


390g/6-7 Mars Bars (Milky Way bars)

200g/13 tablespoons butter

200g/6 cups Rice Krispie cereal

300g good quality milk chocolate (or a combination of milk and dark chocolate)


1. Line a 9″x 13″ or a 30cm x 20cm baking tin with parchment paper.

2. Cut the Mars Bars and butter into small pieces and place in a saucepan. Put over low heat and stir with a small balloon whisk until melted and well mixed.

3. Add the Mars Bars and butter mixture to the Rice Krispie cereal in a large bowl. Stir until ingredients are combined.

4. Spoon into the lined baking tin and press mixture with the back of the spoon to firm up shape.

5. Melt good quality chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour over the rice cereal, spread evenly with a palate knife, and allow to set.

6. When chocolate has set, and rice cereal has cooled, lift the content of the tin to a cutting board and slice into squares.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org

Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org

Guinness: rich, gorgeous, creamy, the national drink of Ireland, available in over 100 countries, dark ruby-red (not black), better served in Ireland than anywhere else in the world…oh, how I’ve tried to like Guinness. Sadly, it’s just never happened. In twenty-plus years of living in Ireland, I have never enjoyed a pint or a glass of The Black Stuff.

But before you break out the tiny violins and tell me to stop whinging (whining), there is one exception to this no Guinness life. Hand me a slice of dark, rich, sweet Guinness bread and I’ll ask you for seconds before you’ve had a chance to slice off a piece for yourself and say, “Cheers!”

Mmmmm…Guinness Bread. It’s dense and packed with flavour and from the very first time I tasted it I was hooked.

DSC_0376And here’s the good news for you, my Dear Reader: you don’t have to live in Ireland to get a bit of this traditional Irish treat for yourself. And, what’s even better, is you don’t have to spend a day in the kitchen making it. Guinness bread is a “quick bread”, which means there’s no rising time. Just like soda bread or brown bread, Guinness bread can be mixed and baked in one hour.

It’s the perfect side to a hearty stew, a thick homemade vegetable soup or a toasted cheese and tomato sambo (sandwich). Sure, it’s even a great elevenses (morning snack) when served with a slathering of {Kerrygold} butter and a cup of tea.

The recipe I use comes from The Guinness Storehouse. Enjoy!

Guinness Bread

Makes One Loaf


4 cups/600g wholemeal flour

1 cup/150g self-raising flour

1/2 cup/75g porridge oats (rolled oats)

2 1/2 teaspoons bread soda (baking soda)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

16oz/500ml buttermilk

6oz/200ml treacle (black strap molasses, if outside Ireland)

1 cup/1/2 pint Guinness


1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C/325°F. Lightly oil a bread pan and line with parchment paper.

2. Mix flours together with the oats, bread soda, salt and brown sugar. Be sure to smooth out any lumps with your fingers.

3. Make a well in the centre and add buttermilk, treacle and Guinness.

4. Mix together until all flour is incorporated: the consistency will be sloppy without being too wet.

5. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Remove from bread pan, tap the bottom to check for doneness. If it sounds hollow, the bread is fully cooked. If not, place back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or so.

Related Articles:

Irish Beer Guide at http://www.today.com/id/23612523/ns/today-food/t/stout-ale-or-porter-essential-irish-beer-guide/

Guinness Cocktails at: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cleanplatecharlie/2013/03/guinness_cocktails_beginners_guide.php

Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich at http://www.theblackpeppercorn.com/2012/04/grilled-ham-and-cheese-on-guinness-bread/

Frequently Asked Guinness Questions at: http://www.guinness.com/en-row/faqs.html

Frothy Facts About Guinness at: http://www.curiousread.com/2010/03/10-frothy-facts-about-guinness-st.html

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