Monthly Archives

February 2016

PLACES TO GO RESTAURANT OFFERS

Mammy’s Day | Top 3 Picks in Dublin

Afternoon Tea at the Shelbourne

So next Sunday, March 6th is the celebration of Mammies. In other words, it’s payback time! It’s always a toughie trying to think of something different to, and better than, last year’s pressie triumph, and let’s be honest here, you’re playing for the highly coveted Best Present from an Offspring Award! Stakes are high, and you’re in it to win it! So here are some recommendations of where in Dublin to take the Best Mammy in the World this year:

SHELBOURNE HOTEL, ST. STEPHEN’S GREEN, DUBLIN 2
For Mammies over a certain age, there’s no hotel in Ireland that holds such a perception of unattainable luxury and old-style glamour as the Shelbourne Hotel. Situated on Stephen’s Green, the iconic hotel has hosted guests such as Michelle Obama, Charlie Chaplin, Princess Grace, and the Kennedys. The Boston ones, not the ones from West Cabra! So to take her for afternoon tea to the spot which has housed so many stars and luminaries would be the ultimate treat, and not just on Mother’s Day. Served in its Lord Mayor’s Lounge, to the accompaniment of a live classical pianist, the hotel offers a Chocolate version, in addition to the Classic Afternoon Tea . Chocolate Afternoon tea costs €45.00 per person or Classic Afternoon Tea with a glass of champagne, €57.00. If you can’t get a table, you could always go to their No. 27 Bar & Lounge for Jazz brunch, and soak up all the atmosphere the Shelbourne has to offer.

Tel: 01 6634500
Website: www.shelbournedining.ie

Afternoon-Tea-gallery2

THE SEAFOOD BAR, DAWSON STREET, DUBLIN 2
Only open since November, this spot is truly decadent with its extravagantly decorated restaurant filled with luxurious chandeliers, mirrors, and theatrical velvet curtains. Owned by Wrights of Howth, the delicious menu demonstrates their pedigree in seafood, with dishes ranging from fish & chips (you know who’ll be ordering that) to a full lobster, if you’re pushing the boat out. For those in the family who don’t like seafood, there’s also meat and chicken dishes available. And for mother’s day, they are giving mammies a goody bag filled with luxury gifts!

Tel: 01 5312260
Websites: http://www.theseafoodbar.ie/

The Seafood Bar, Dawson Stret
FALLON & BYRNE, THE PEOPLE’S PARK, DUN LAOGHAIRE
Housed in the former Tea Rooms in the People’s Park, this beautifully restored Victorian building is the perfect backdrop for a delicious lunch, or early dinner (it closes at 8pm on Sundays). What makes this place particularly special is its location in the heart of Dun Laoghaire. Make a day out of it. Walk along the pier, stop at Teddy’s and have a nostalgic 99, or stroll along the coast to Sandycove. The best gift you can give is your time, and experiences will always be remembered and cherished, much more than any tangible object. Time together. That’s what it’s all about. Happy Mother’s Day!

Tel: 01 230 3300
Website: http://www.fallonandbyrne.com

Fallon & Byrne, Dun Laoghaire

Photos above courtesy of Shelbourne Hotel, The Seafood Bar & Fallon & Byrne

FASHION

5 under €50 | This Month’s Picks from the High Street

5 from the High Street

Yes, we know it’s nipsydoodles out there, but spring is apparently on its way! And just to remind you, those kind retailer peeps have stocked up already on all the new season collections, full of frills and pleats, and fabric so light, it will freeze your bits off, but hey, it’s fashion, dahling! Here are 5 picks from the high street, all under €50, to give your wardrobe a little refresh!

ZARA LEATHER EFFECT YELLOW A-LINE SKIRT €29.95
This versatile faux leather skirt can be dressed down with biker boots, or dressed up with heels. Perfect for injecting a pop of colour into your wardrobe. The skirt is also available in light blue and black.
Zara Faux Leather SkirtZARA PATCHWORK SHIRT DRESS €39.95
Get this season’s 90s grunge look with this patchwork dress from Zara. Wear now with black tights and biker boots, and in summer with a pair of Converses.Zara Patchwork Grunge Dress

H&M PADDED BOMBER JACKET €39.99
Bomber Jackets are absolutely everywhere this season, and every retailer has their take on it. The H&M version, with its quilted sleeves is available in black, khaki, and mustard.
H&M Bomber Jacket

 OASIS WHITE FRILL TOP €40.00
You’ll be bang on the frill trend with this lovely vintage-style sleeveless top. Team it with denim for a more casual look.
Oasis Frill Top
MANGO FAUX LEATHER BUCKET BAG €39.95
This bag picks up on this season’s tassle trend, and with a removable longer strap, allows you to wear it in multiple ways. Also available in black.
Mango Bucket Bag
FOOD NEWS HEALTH

Matcha Do About Nothing?

Matcha Latte

There has been a lot of buzz about Matcha tea in the last year or so. In case you haven’t heard, Matcha is a variety of high-quality and, dare I say, bloody pricey, green tea, used originally in tea ceremonies by Zen Buddhist monks who valued its health-giving attributes. It has been around since the 12th century, which is why you probably won’t have seen it on Dragon’s Den at any time. However, Celebland and the West in general, in its desperate quest to find the next superfood, has latched on to it like it’s the best thing since the selfie stick!

So what’s so great about the green stuff?

  • It’s full of antioxidants including the all-powerful EGCg (sure wouldn’t you know that would be involved). In the Premier League of antioxidants, let’s just say Matcha is dead cert for winning the cup, and spinach is facing relegation. That’s how good this stuff is!
  • It boosts metabolism and burns calories (burn calories, you say!)
  • Calms the mind and aids concentration
  • It’s rich in fibre (ahem, say no more!)
  • Lowers cholesterol

So what does it taste like?

Eh, green tea obvs! But if, like me, you can’t stand the taste of green tea, all is not lost. Mix a spoonful in with your favourite smoothie, or into a glass of apple juice, and it is very tasty indeed. There are a number of online retailers selling Matcha powder, or you can purchase it from the organic supermarket group. If you’re out and about, you can get it as a Latte instead of your normal coffee fix from the numerous independent cafés around the country. But be warned, the taste does vary somewhat depending on the type of milk used e.g. almond or coconut. So if you don’t like it the first time, give it a go somewhere else. Your wellbeing will thank you for it!

Here are my top three places in Dublin city to fill your Matcha Latte prescription:

1. Kaph, 31 Drury Street, Dublin 2
2. Cracked Nut, 71 Camden Street, Dublin 2
3. Oolong Flower Power, 4 Stephens Street Lower, Dublin 2

 

 

FASHION

Marks & Spencer to get the Alexa Effect

Archive by Alexa Chung at Marks and Spencer

You have to hand it to Marks & Spencer, they sell great food! And tights. And knickers that wash well in all sorts of temperatures. And did I mention the tights? And then it’s a bit of a struggle. While their food business has seen increased revenues each year, sadly their clothes side has not. But bless ’em, it’s not for the want of trying! However starting this spring, they are creating a series of M&S &… collections which will see them inviting a range of designers and trendsetters to create capsule collections. Much in the style of the H&M collaborations, but without all the hair-pulling, kicking, and eye-gouging one has come to expect at a H&M launch.

First up to the podium is the ridiculously cool Alexa Chung. I’ve seen Alexa a number of times in the flesh, and she has indeed an undisputed something (or je ne sais quoi, as they said in the 80s), coupled with an effortless style, which will always turn heads. The Archive by Alexa Chung collection consists of 31 pieces taken from the M&S archive, but with a particular focus on the 1940s to 1980s. The pieces have been given a more modern perspective using different colourways and fabrics to give them an “Alexa” feel. The collection features beautiful mini-dresses, wide-leg trousers, a sharp khaki-coloured trench coat, and delicate camisole tops. With prices starting at €29, there’s something for everyone’s budget.

Here are some of the key pieces from the collection, which will definitely feature on my wishlist. The collection will be available in stores and online from April:

Archive by Alexa for Marks & Spencer
Photos courtesy of Marks & Spencer

RESTAURANT OFFERS

Best Dining Offers in Dublin in February

Best Dining Offers in Dublin

If, like me, you get a ton of emails from different voucher websites, it can be all get a overwhelming, with the result that they end up straight in my trash folder. They are, however, a great and less expensive way to try out places. To save you the bother of trawling through your emails, I’ve put together my top 3 for this month. You´re welcome!

OSCAR’S BAR AND KITCHEN
Location: 1 Merrion Street Lower, Dublin 2
Website: http://www.oscarsbarandkitchen.ie
Style: Gastropub
Offer: 3 course dinner plus a bottle of wine for 2 people for €49.99
Offer Link: thetaste.ie

VERMILLION 
Location: 94 Terenure Rd North, Terenure, Dublin 6W
Website: http://vermiliondublin.com/
Style: Indian Fusion
Offer: Buy €5 voucher to avail of 2 for 1 Dining from the A La Carte Menu
Offer Link: thediningroom.ie

ROLY’S BISTRO
Location: 7 Ballsbridge Terrace, Dublin 4
Website: http://www.rolysbistro.ie/
Style: Irish
Offer: €35 for 3 Courses from The Set Dinner Menu for 2 People with Tea or Coffee
Offer Link: dealrush.ie

 

FASHION

Storytime in Dublin!

& Other Stories in Dublin

Well the Twitter hashtags were flying all over the place today as the announcement came that one of the H&M posse, & Other Stories, was coming to town! In fairness, it is great news, not only because they have a great line of reasonably-priced accessories in addition to their clothing line, but it also sees the occupation of a long-time vacant spot on Ireland’s supposed premier shopping areas, Grafton Street. The spot previously housed A-Wear, and HMV for a while, but now it has been saved from the fate of a calender pop-up shop by the Swedish superstars! Skoll to that, I say!

So on to the shop itself. Well, as a little background, the opening of its London Regent Street branch in 2013 was greeted with hysteria not seen since the Beatles (little fabrication, but you get the gist). & Other Stories is your basic one-stop wonder shop stocking women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, jewellery, bags, shoes and beauty. Its focus is on sharp tailoring or simple and chic items, so perfect for picking up some wardrobe staples, rather than throwaway fashion. ‘Tis somewhat Scandinavian in feel (it being Swedish n’ all), so the designs are simple and fresh, but the prices are lower than its more mature sister, Cos.

The store is due to open around September time. Until then, you can hop on over to their website and pick up your fashion fix there.

PLACES

Concourse Luxury in London

Grosvenor Hotel London

As I travel to London for business quite a bit, I’ve had the pleasure of staying in quite a number of lovely hotels around the city. On this particular trip in January, I needed to get an early flight from Gatwick at stupid o’clock, so I was dreading the thought of having to faff about looking for a taxi or underground to Victoria, while simultaneously losing out on some much needed kip (I hope you’re feeling my pain, folks). So I focused my search around the Victoria Station area, even if it meant coughing up some extra moola. After a quick trip to Google and my trusted friend Trivago, I came across The Grosvenor Hotel which alleged to be a mere 3 minute walk from Victoria Station. Now, as you know, hotels estimations of how long it takes to walk somewhere tend to be more on the Hussein Bolt end of timings, but this my dear people, was no lie. In fact, if anything, it’s less, because wait for it, there’s only a door at the side of the reception into the frickin’ Victoria station concourse!!! How off-the-scale great is that! All that lovely extra kip to be had! What joy!

The hotel itself is gorgeous. The Grade II listed building has undergone a multi-million pound restoration which has maintained its 19th century grandeur, but with the addition of modern detailing. I booked a standard single room for two nights, and got the special rate of £120 per night including breakfast. Upon arrival, the genuinely friendly receptionist upgraded me to a deluxe single room (oh, don’t you love an ‘ole upgrade). The room, while small, had everything you need in it, down to a Bose iPod docking station, and a two-pin socket for all the non-UK & Ireland travellers. The wardrobe even had a proper iron board and iron (because let’s face it, those trouser press thingies are a complete waste of time!). The bed was lovely and comfy, which would apparently be due to the fact that it was a Hypnos bed (a quick trip to Google informs me that Hypnos are the Beyonce of the bed world, having won the Bed Manufacturer of the Year Award no less!). And if that wasn’t enough, there was complimentary bottled water in the fridge and a couple of posh Jammie Dodgers! Quality!

hotelmontage

The breakfast, served in the Grosvenor Arms dining room, was a beautiful buffet of hot foods (your usual English/Irish breakfast contestants), an array of delicious pastries (their pain-au-raisin could easily rival my favourite from Pret-a-Manger), as well as fresh fruit and cereals. Once again, staff here were faultlessly efficient and friendly, but in the same genuine way which the receptionist had welcomed me the evening before. Unfortunately, on the second morning, I couldn’t partake in the breakfast offering as it began at 6.30a.m, but feeling refreshed from all that lovely extra kip, I passed through the magic door into the bustling Victoria concourse, armed with the aforementioned Jammie Dodgers in my pocket, ready for the journey home.

If you’d like more information on the Grosvenor Hotel, check out their website, for more photos, videos, and special offers.