Penney’s had their Spring/Summer 2016 press launch this week so I popped along to check out what was on offer in the menswear department. There was a Moroccan inspired theme running through the collection and the show space for Spring/Summer 2016. Elegant and stylish with a touch of old world charm and sophistication. Continue reading
Bloom has been running for nine years and this was my first year to actually go and visit. I have to say, it was well worth the visit. I went on the Saturday morning and the sun was shining so it was perfect timing. There is a very handy complimentary shuttle bus that leaves beside Heuston Station which drops you off right outside the entrance. Continue reading
I’m quite partial to a bit of Jazz. Even more so when it’s themed with some good food and drinks. With that in mind for this weeks post I’ve put together a list of places around the city where you can enjoy some Jazz while you eat and drink.
The Kilkenny Shop Cafe offer a live Sunday Jazz session between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and also a live Bluegrass music set between 2.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. So whether you prefer brunch or lunch they have you covered.
On the last Sunday of every month between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Cill Airne boat on the River Liffey over a live jazz session. I’ve been a couple of times and have to say the band are excellent as are the surrounds.
Over on Pembroke Street you can find Pedal Pushing Monkey and on Saturday nights they have a live jazz band playing from 9 p.m. They are also serving up some enticing looking cocktails such as the Absinthe Sour shown below.
Between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursdays in House Dublin they have live jazz playing in the garden. A fantastic venue with lots of themed areas to choose from. They also have the Camembert Quartet playing in the Glasshouse on Sundays between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Most Wednesdays in Olesyas Wine Bar you can enjoy live jazz in their main dining room from 7 p.m.
No doubt there are many more venues around the city offering live jazz so do please feel free to let me know of any you are aware of.
I recently broke up with my partner of seven years. Maybe it’s that famous seven year itch that people talk about. I’ve only ever dated one man so I didn’t have a lot to compare to when I plunged head first into the male dating pool. I actually had no idea where to begin. The good old fashioned days of meeting someone in work or through a friend or god forbid in the local pub have been replaced by the world of mobile app dating. It’s cheaper, it fits in your hand and you don’t need to leave the couch. It all sounds very convenient.
After some investigation I signed up to Tinder. A mobile app with a logo of a red flame which I assume means to ignite some kind of fire. Tinder streams pictures from your Facebook account and allows you to write a short sales pitch or ‘About Me’ section. You swipe right if you like the picture and left if you don’t. If you swipe enough pictures you will eventually find a match with someone else who decided they liked your picture too. Now you can live happily ever after.
I ended up matching with a guy in the next town from me. We swapped a few exhilarating messages like ‘Hi how are you?’ and ‘Where do you live?’ Clearly he had much more going on in his life because he took ages to reply. I however was nimble of fingers and fired off quick responses which probably made me look clingy and needy, which let’s be honest is not terribly attractive. One thing I noticed when I joined the world of singles was that I could literally say and do anything I liked without having to think what my partner would say. Sometimes when you are in a relationship for so long you move from being two people to being one person and your individual voice tends to become muffled. Tinder apparently also has the side effect of giving you the ability to speak again. I wonder if the developers of it know that.
After a few days of chatting back and forth I took the plunge and proposed that we meet. Actually with my brazen new voice I suggested to my Tinder Man that he make me dinner and I’d call in on the way home from work to sample his culinary delights. I figured I had nothing to lose. The worst that could happen is he would say no in which case Tinder also has your back there with a handy BLOCK option. It’s the equivalent of ignoring someone when you are in a real relationship. As luck would have it he said yes and we arranged for him to pick me up at the train station.
The day arrived and I headed to my train via the off licence for some beers and wine and made my way to my date. He picked me up at the station as arranged in the lashings of rain and we chatted aimlessly on the drive back to his house. He seemed nice enough and that’s always a good start and I’ll talk to anyone really. He opened the door to the house and two excited dogs came barreling towards him. They also someone managed to recognize me as a close friend and welcomed me by jumping all over me. I don’t dislike dogs but these things seemed to literally shed their entire fur coat and leave it on my suit trousers. To be fair he did notice and promptly secured the hounds in the laundry room.
At this point I produced my ‘thanks for agreeing to make me dinner in your house even though I kind of forced it on you’ gifts of wine and beer. He had mentioned he drank Coors so I gave them to him and asked for a corkscrew for my Chablis. “I don’t drink wine” was the response. Marvelous for him I thought but I’ll still take the opener thanks because I love a glass of wine myself. I was a little confused to be honest. Who doesn’t own a corkscrew? And for that matter, not to appear to stereotype people but what gay man doesn’t own a corkscrew?
Not to be defeated at the first hurdle I quickly switched into MacGyver mode and came up with a plan. Having watched a YouTube video where a man opened a bottle of wine with his shoe I was certain that should be my next move. So much to Tinder Man’s bewilderment I took off my shoe stuck the bottle of wine in it and leaned out his back door into the rain and started hammering it off the wall. Five minutes later I am happy to report that I was now the proud owner of a wet sock and a perfectly intact cork still in the bottle. YouTube had lied to me. But believe it or not here is the link to the video.
At that point I’m sure Tinder Man thought I was for the birds and was wondering why in hell he let me into his house. Yet he was obviously still somewhat amused by my antics and suggested using the end of a spoon to push the cork into the bottle instead. I wasn’t going to ask if he owned a spoon so passed the bottle to him with an ‘off you go’ nod. He swiftly rammed the spoon into the top of the bottle and low and behold the cork popped. Funnily enough the same time the cork went in the wine came flooding out all over him. I suppose all that hammering on the wall with my shoe was to blame for that. To say he was less than impressed was an understatement. There was a flash of anger followed by a storming off to change his shirt. I had a quick swig out of the bottle while he was gone.
A more composed Tinder Man returned and busied himself checking the dinner in the oven. I stood idly by holding my bottle of wine wondering if he owned a wine glass at all. So to quell my curiosity sure I went ahead and asked him out straight. “I don’t drink wine” was the response. “So no wine glass then” I said with a half a smile. My wine eventually made it into a tumbler and we sat down to dinner. I was thinking to myself either he is very bad at entertaining guests or I’m really high maintenance. After a couple of false starts we actually had quite a nice evening with not a single lull in conversation, although we did talk about bailing hay for about twenty minutes. I’m not sure what surprised me more, the fact that it was interesting or the fact that it was two gay guys talking about it. Not a single mention of Britney Spears all night. Apparently men who like men can still be manly men. Who knew?
After dinner he dropped me back to my train and said he would like to see me again. Sure why not I thought that was a bit of a laugh and not too bad for my first date as part of the land of singles. In keeping with being a man, I got a few texts the next day and then never heard from him again. I can only assume he moved country because I was a wonderful date. I even sent him a link to the YouTube video of the man opening a bottle of wine with his shoe. That was just to prove I wasn’t crazy. I guess he had already made up his mind that I was.
Note: more about the prep for a Nautical Themed Night
A buddy of mine had celebrated his birthday (30 something) and after one too many drinks I suggested that I’d have a little dinner party for him. Always up for having some fun I decided to make it a Nautical Themed Dinner Party. Any excuse to dress stupid, drink too much and laugh at myself.
So I assembled a select group of people, all of which I knew would make the effort to dress up and get into the swings of things. An invite was cobbled together and swiftly texted around (much quicker).
The date was set and as it was a Nautical Themed night I sent out boarding cards to the guests in advance. No boarding card no entry was the rule. I enjoy throwing in lots of little details when organising a themed bash.
Next up was the menu which again followed the theme and as the birthday boy was a vegetarian, fish was the way to go.
All that was left was to throw a few nautical decorations around the house. For the craic, and in my head it was much easier to do, I decided to cut up white bed sheets and create sails on the roof of the kitchen. It bloody took about an hour and the aftermath is a whole lot of thumb tack holes in my kitchen ceiling.
I also managed to source a few blow up finding Nemo’s which were promptly added to the ceiling, along with some paper lanterns. The table was set with my finest bone china (Ikea) and I had wrapped the cutlery in napkins tied with bits of string and finished off with a polo mint which looks like a little life buoy. A collection of Penny’s ducks added a little seafaring charm.
For a bit of added detail I commandeered the colour printer in work and made some fish themed wine bottle labels and relabelled the red and white wine.
Having previously visited the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast I also had some great White Star Line beer tankards on hand.
Pinterest is a great source for getting ideas when you are doing anything and it was there I came across the idea of using old jam jars with string and polo mints tied around them to serve cocktails.
I even rolled out the red carpet for the guests on arrival. Only €7 for a party supply store. The only downside being that you stick it to the floor with tape which does not want to come off the next morning.
Dessert was served in little pirate treausre chests, again from a party supply store with 8 of them for only €3.
As is typical at an Irish dinner party there was a serious amout of beer, wine and cocktails served. Some of the beer being Titanic themed!
The night ended wild drunk which is no suprise and still in costume ended up in the local pub getting many a sideways glance.
A few pics of some of the guests, all of which made a great effort to dress up. My favourite being Sarah who called herself De’Bris and had spent the afternoon collecting ‘crap’ from the beach and decorating herself with it. She even had real crab claws and seaweed and christ did she smell bad.