Wednesday, 31 December 2008

It's cold... and being tired of Dublin City Centre!

I'm not sure that I've been in to town so often in such a short period of time as I have been in the last few days (except of course when I'm working!). In a sense it's been interesting observing the crowds... and trying to decipher how people can shop in those crowds. I guess if I'd been in shopping mode I might have actually got some bargains but I'm afraid that I don't do crowds and post Christmas sale shopping is not me!

So, yesterday we decided that enough's enough with regards to town and we headed out to Glendalough for a short stroll and to see the old monastic ruins in the Monastic City there. It's been bitterly cold the last few days (I thought that I'd never warm up on Monday... not even in The Market Bar on Mon evening did I remove any additional outer layers other than my coat!) and Tuesday was freezing again (actually it was about 5 degrees). I've been out to Glendalough many times in the past but it's always been to park in the upper car park before heading off on a hike (that's a one day tramp to any kiwi readers) but I've never really taken the time to stroll up from the lower car park to the upper and to just just look at what's in between. There were plenty of photo opportunities but my hands got colder and colder each time I had to take my gloves off so by the end I was being very choosy on what I photographed :)

Below is a photo of the Monastic City from a distance...
Monasic City

The food plan didn't work quite as expected. We headed to Avoca in Kilmacanogue for lunch at around 3pm following Glendalough. Yup this place is always busy but at 3pm I reckoned we'd just be hitting the tea/coffee and dessert group. Actually if anything, what I was wondering about was whether or not there'd be much left in the way of tasty salads and scones! Instead we walked in and were hit by a huge queue... which didn't move. Turned out there were no tables and so they'd stopped serving at the counters! These two hungry people definitely couldn't wait so we headed to Bray (Cafe Bar Deli have opened there). Admittedly a bit of a hassle on the parking front but we got there in the end :) And below is a photo of Bray, or at least Bray Head (it's not necessarily that scenic when you're in Bray itself :) )
Bray Head

Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Many Faces of Megan

My Mum's dog, Megan, certainly likes her comfort. When in the house she likes to lounge in her basket...

or across my brothers lap.
Ah yes... lounging about!

She's also well capable of the haughty lady muck look as well when out on a walk (she loves walking on walls too!)

And even then she's still a bit of a twit! I'm sitting here watching The Chronicles of Narnia and I've had to put her back in to the kitchen because she keeps barking at the wolves (they work with the white witch) !!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Pre Christmas Shopping

On Tuesday I headed in to town with the purpose of, in no particular order, finishing off some shopping, experiencing Christmas feeling/atmosphere in town, buying some cheese from Sheridans, meeting up with Dave, saying hi to some friends in the Dublin office, and then meeting up with a couple of friends for dinner.

I arrived in at 1 and within an hour I was wondering if I really had the energy for this! I had had a great day, awakeness wise on Monday, but I certainly wasn't on Tuesday! After a quick bite to eat there was that panicky feeling building up in my stomach as I wandered the shops thinking "Oh God, what am I going to get Mum??!!!" However with arrangements to meet folk at 3pm I was forced to just make a decision on present, which was a good thing as otherwise I could have spent the rest of the afternoon dithering over it!

I wandered past Sheridans a couple of times and each time there was a queue inside tiny shop with about another 10 people queueing outside just to get in! The woman at the head of the queue on one of those occasions was not looking happy. I decided that I did not want to be her so I just kept on walking both times :)

It was actually nearly 5pm by the time that I got in to the office so while I saw some people it was only briefly and I had missed others as they had already left for the pub (I did end up in a pub but not everybody went to the same pub). Walking down/up Baggot St on the way to the office definitely felt a little weird but it did make realise that when I do work in Dublin I just love working in that part of town!

I met up with Maria and Veronica later and we headed to Carluccios Cafe for dinner. Interesting place... it was totally mobbed but we were only waiting 5 mins for a table. During that time we were told, somewhat abruptly (could have been interpreted as rudely), to move away from counter as we were blocking it. This resulted in us blocking the passageway that the wait staff were using. Luckily we got a table pretty quickly so we weren't blocking anybody for too long :) My Penne Giarinara was gorgeous though I couldn't eat it all. Desserts were definitely disappointing (at least mine was!) but that was okay as I guess I was pretty full anyway!

And then after all that I headed home as I was wrecked! It was lovely to meet up with folk again and being in town just before Christmas? Well it was very very very busy. I guess I expected this but when I told others they were surprised to hear this as apparently, with all the doom and gloom going on the lead up to Christmas has been pretty quiet this year. Well trust me, on Tuesday it was not quiet. At one point on Grafton St I could hardly move there were so many people! I look forward to heading back in maybe next week when it's, hopefully, still busy but not quite so grid locked!!

Monday, 22 December 2008

My Wardrobe...

Couple of weeks back it was cold in Dublin. Very cold. And it's December so I packed accordingly. Lots of icebreaker tops thrown in to the suitcase. Sure that'll keep me warm! And it would. The problem is that it's not actually that cold out there - sixteen degrees earlier! So I'm a little warm.

The other thing which I didn't think of enough when packing is that a couple of nice dresses for Christmas Eve/Day is fine but what about everything else? My choices are nice dress or jeans and icebreaker top. So for lunch today it's going to be the latter. Ideally it would just nicer trousers and nice top. I mean I could have brought lots more clothes but different clothes require different shoes and my suitcase was pretty full as it was. Men have it so easy. Not fair!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

It's winter!

Well, it was a long but relatively hassle free journey back to Ireland... we left Wellington at 10am Sat morning (kiwi time) and I arrived at my parents house here in Dublin at about 11am Sunday (Irish time, so that would be midnight Sun night kiwi time). The first leg seemed longer than the second even though it was actually the other way around. I guess that was down to being awake for the whole of the first leg and being in economy for that leg and business class for the second leg. I'm not sure what I got fed on the first leg; the first meal was definitely some of pasta thing, maybe a wholemeal pumpkin ravioli or something (with small bit of dodgy loooking sauce) but the second meal? Haven' a clue. Possibly some sort of potato thing with porridge oats on top and rather alot of glutinous sauce around it. I wasn't even going to taste the brightly orange coloured dessert!

Was seriously tired by the time we got to KL... we wandered around airport for a bit - I just followed Dave and that way no brain effort was required before heading the shower to the lounge and freshening up. I did best to sleep/rest for the second leg which is possibly why that leg seemed quicker.

We were in Schipoll airport (Amsterdam) by 6am (Dutch time) this morning. I'm so used to flying through Frankfurt (boring!!!) that even though I know that Amsterdam is more interesting airport I still didn't expect anything to be open but by the time that we'd collected our luggage and checked in for the last leg everything was open. It was great; had yummy pastry but less than excellent coffee. Yes, as soon as we were ordering I realised that I would just have to make the mental adjustment to the fact that I will not get another decent coffee until I land at Auckland airport on the 6th Jan. And I'll need to be back in Wellington before I get the really good stuff :) Did you know that the Rijks Museum have a small exhibition on at the airport? and that it opens at 7am? It was a great way to pass 15 or 20 minutes and just so different to the normal airport experience!

So my aim for today is to try to stay awake until 9:30pm tonight... I won't give you the odds on that!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Okay I'm ready!

Right I'm ready for my holidays now :)

I *think* I've left everything all organised in office for while I'm away. I managed to get out a little early today... just before 5pm and I left with, totally unexpectedly, 3 bottles of wine! I arrived in this morning to find a bottle (nice cellophane wrapping and silver ribbon) sitting on my desk from one of the PMs whose project I'm managing the configuration for. Then about an hour later I get a bottle from another PM whose project I'm also working on. And then afternoon I get a card and a bottle of wine from my manager! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not the only person to receive wine from these particular PMs/managers but that doesn't make me appreciate them any the less. So that'll be something to look forward to in the New Year.

So I came home, emptied rubbish and set about the packing. I didn't pack everything that I intended to but I think I should be okay - 2 dresses, one pair of jeans, the pair of trousers I'll be wearing, all my winter icebreaker tops, one pair of shoes and one pair boots (my nice Mia Piaci ones). Oh and my camera's in there :) Hand luggage will consist of trainers (for wearing once get to colder climes), book, tickets, and I can fit my Macbook so I think that I'll take it with me. Just hope they can set me up on the wireless at home!

So, like I said, let's go. I'm ready :)


Happy Christmas (again)!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Been a while...

since I've posted. Not sure that this is going to be particularly long/interesting either.

Had a great birthday last weekend. I love opening birthday cards and each of the ones that i received from my sisters and parents were addressed slightly differently which amused me. Lovely presents too... I'm very much looking forward to my Deluxe Facial in my favourite beauty salon in Wellington (favourite but not most visited as they ain't cheap!) But what really made me laugh was the sound track to Mamma Mia. I laughed my whole way through that movie and the sound track is definitely something to listen to if you want a need cheering up and/or a laugh. I found myself singing along to it last night! I was a little surprised with myself but for someone with a voice as bad as me, it's maybe helpful that they're all far from brilliant singers :)

We headed up to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary to enjoy the sun and take a few photos. To be honest it was pretty disastrous for me on the photography front... as can be observed by the rather few piccies that i posted on flickr. Whether it was my struggling with new lens or just being too slow I don't know. Who knows, maybe I'll have better luck next time :)

This week, my last 5 working days, before flying back to Ireland have been unbelievably busy. So much for the pre-Christmas slow down. Monday was just horrible, Tues a bit better but not much, Weds I started to get things under control and today I'm v busy but *think* I have everything under control before I head away. Tomorrow morning is full of meetings though... week before Christmas? Sure it's great to be popular. Go figure...

Anyway, I have the suitcase out on the floor. I have some stuff sitting in it but won't pack properly until tomorrow evening. I have this weird thing where jeans need to go at bottom of case or near bottom and well, I'll be wearing them tomorrow so not starting. I'm looking at "hand luggage" pile spread across the table here and thinking that maybe I won't be bringing my Macbook with me after all. There's alot of stuff!

Okay, that's it. I'm tired (actually I'm exhausted) so think it'll be an hour of some CSI Miami (it's ridiculous; I love it :) ) and prob bed with book.

And in case I don't get to post before Christmas, Happy Christmas to anybody who I won't see before the 25th...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Weekend

What a weekend... I can't get over how hot it's been!
Leisurely coffee/brekkie on Sat morning. Then we headed off to On Yer Bike to hire me a mountain bike before we headed off to cycle the Rimutaka Rail Trail. This was an interesting experience for me considering that the last time that I was on a bike was in 1997! A tad wobbly at first but that didn't last for too long. I have to say that I did enjoy the feel of the wind on my arms (have I mentioned that it was hot out?) especially on the way down. I definitely prefer downhill to uphill :)

Watched a few episodes of Firefly over Fri and Sat evening. I've seen these before but I love them! If you haven't watched it then my recommendation is that you do so once you get your hands on the DVD set. Why they only made one series of it is beyond me! Witty, clever and thoroughly enjoyable to watch :)
I think that today was even hotter than yesterday! I met a friend to visit the Thorndon Fair which is an annual event. Bit disappointing for me on the present purchasing front but an enjoyable couple of hours nonetheless. The rest of the day was spent doing real Christmas shopping, browsing stores with Dave before heading off to complete shopping.

Feeling relatively relatively smug with myself having finally given the apartment a proper clean! Am now moving in a sunny warm leisurely Sun evening.

10 working days to holidays :)

Monday, 1 December 2008

the brown baron

the brown baron
Originally uploaded by edartr

I just love this! So so cute :)