I started work in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa three years ago when I was starting my third year of college. At the time I was extremely anti-work, pro-mooching around UCC and boredom eating my way through the presses. My parents were putting the pressure on to sort out some weekend bar/restaurant work so I reluctantly filled out a couple of applications without thinking much about them - that is until I got a call from the HR manager in a hotel I knew very little about. Thus began my time in the Banks Bar.
As soppy as it may sound for something I only saw as a way of making cash quick, I have met amazing and fascinating people, crazy and entertaining guests, and true life-long friends. People who work in hotels are the hardest workers you will ever come across, and often get very little thanks. So my advice to my readers, (my teeny tiny audience), is to appreciate the work of those serving you, it is not easy and often involves long hours and stressful working conditions, and most importantly, tip your waitress, (especially if you've sent them back and forth across a big bar several times)
I will always look back on my time there fondly, and rejoice that my car escaped the obligatory cling-film send-off! Thanks to the locals, the staff, the guests and most importantly my Banks Bar family, you will be sorely missed.
A sucker for all things flowery, kitsch and ridiculously overpriced, a trip to Dublin is never complete without a stop-off in Avoca Rathcoole. Yummy-mummy central was hopping at midday when we arrived, barely managing to grab a seat in the delectable, "Birdcage Cafe". Albeit extortion to pay €16.50 for a pasty, coffee, orange juice and soup, the décor and ambience certainly eases the pain and suffering to ones wallet.
On the shop floor, Christmas is in full swing with delightful decorations and precious curiosities carefully positioned throughout the store. I adored so many costume jewellery pieces, which were unique and (surprisingly) in my price range. What really took my fancy was the scintillating selection of bangles, which you can browse here
. This week has been an expensive one, with having to pay for glasses, work clothes etc. So I opted out of purchasing in favour of pottering around for free. I am looking forward to their Christmas sale with great anticipation!
Quilted Tee - Penneys, Necklace - River Island, Sunglasses - ASOS
So you've landed your dream job, started planning your work-wardrobe and begun organising your life into several suitcases. Now all you need is the perfect little room in a house of decent souls that leave the bathroom clean, and engage with one other on matters other than the bills. No one ever tells you about how difficult it is to land the coveted position of the Roomie. I had never really thought about the process of organising a house share, having lived at home throughout my five years in college. Perhaps my
naivety is due to my homebody status.
I've only been looking for a week and I've had several cancellations, one of which was cancelled after I travelled up to Dublin specifically for viewings. It's so strange that having completed the interview process with a high profile company successfully I now have to go interview to have the privilege of paying in or around €500 a month.
Not that I'm complaining. I'm pretty sure if I was the person looking for a roomate I would be fairly selective. After working in a customer facing role for the past three years I've realised we live in quite a diverse society with a melange of interesting and insightful characters. So therefore I present myself Ailish O'Connor.
- 23.8 years old
- Regularly bakes cakes
- Loves steak
- Watches more reality TV than one should willing admit to (it's ok I have access to SkyGo, UPC Horizon and Netflix so this won't be an issue)
If you like the sound of this, please don't beat around the bush, pick me! If you don't I certainly won't be offended, just don't cancel on me the day I travel up to Dublin with the sole purpose of viewing your lovely lodgings. I know the road from Cork to Dublin is good, but I don't frequent it for pleasure.
On that conclusive note, here are some pictures from my trip up yesterday. I drove up for the first time with Brian as my co-pilot. We successfully managed to drive from the Red Cow to Monkstown, on to Rathmines, finishing with a dinner-date in Dundrum, without killing each other. Coincidentally Dundrum (which is fast becoming my new haunt), had a Rock themed discount night til midnight. I wore a tartan dress, from Penneys, my Topshop boots and a leather jacket.
The Counter at Dundrum - highly recommended.
It's no secret I've been looking for a job for the past three months now. After several interviews throughout August, September and October I was feeling a bit down-trodden and depressed having gotten my hopes up on several occasions, having to go sign on, and consider temporary work completely out of line with my career plans. It was difficult for me to go to my Graduation with what seemed like everyone who already had jobs. Thankfully someone was looking out for me and I got a call the day after my conferring for an interview, which I subsequently was successful in - result! So, The Clothing Confidante is moving to Dublin in less than two weeks. I'm assuming my initial period in the big smoke will be busy, therefore I'm unsure as to the regularity of my blogging. While I hope to maintain my little project, please bear with me if the blogging appears to be sporadic.
Here are some pictures of my trip up yesterday, (viewings, shopping etc.). My mum chauffeured, stopping in Kildare Outlet Village for a quick visit to Starbucks, and then moseyed on up to Dundrum Town Centre, where I picked up a few new work-wear items. I wore my Topshop, "Mom", jeans, with a faux Burberry Porsum shirt from New Look, Topshop desert boots and a Warehouse leather jacket. My shades are a recent purchase that remind me of, "Saved by the Bell". I read in the Sunday Times a few weekends back that blue lens were the way forward - while I'm not entirely sure this is the case, I quite like the modestly priced ones I chose from ASOS. Whilst on the subject of eye-ware, I purchased new Replay frames from Specsavers this week, they're going to be ready on Monday - I am very excited. I chose a round tortoise pair and a slightly less round black pair. So at least they'll think I look smart in Dublin.
I'm back up again tomorrow for some more viewings, so perhaps an outfit post will follow.
With the passing of Halloween, and the stark reality that it is only 50 days to go, I do believe it is now acceptable to have a Christmas themed post.
A big fan of Christmas, I've retained my festive spirit despite three years of working Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephen's day in the chronically busy but always charming Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa. Experiencing nearly two months of build-up, serving jolly customers mince pies whilst listening to the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby, not forgetting countless winter weddings, my spirit has not yet been marred by the public - but rather strangely strengthened. I enter into November each year with as much enthusiasm as I did when I was compiling a comprehensive list of Barbies and Baby Borns for the red robed man in the North Pole.
With several of my friends dotted across the UK, I am already excitedly anticipating the Christmas homecoming, and dreaming of glitzy Yuletide soirées. I've been watching a few wintery items online for the past few weeks now, waiting for a cold snap as an excuse to purchase. Today, desperately in need of a Monday pick me up I gave in and purchased a dusky pink Ostrich fur jacket
from an Ebay seller in China. It'll probably be December by the time it arrives but I couldn't resist the hilarious unique selling point. "
To make you young ladies more charming and beautiful." I'll be the first to admit it's not exactly a staple piece but with help from Pinterest, I sensibly created a mood-board around the colour and texture of the furry number. My Christmas is going to be
unapologetically pink. Tacky as it may be sometimes, I’m very much enjoying its current renaissance on the high street.
Images via my Pinterest.
I adore this time of year, it brings with it such good memories of trick-or-treating, Halloween slumber parties, and cringey Halloween costumes, (I think I went as the Pink Power Ranger for at least three years in a row). It also brings with it lovely seasonal food for creating the most wonderful of treats. I have been dying to carve a pumpkin and make cakes but there seems to have been a run on them in every Tesco south of the Lee. I'm off to town this morning, perhaps a trip to the English Market will solve my predicament! If not I'll just settle for a can of pumpkin purée from Mr Bells. My friend Fiona makes the most scrumptious of cakes with this tinned wonder, but carving a masterpiece is far more enjoyable then whipping out a tin opener.
Here are some pictures from my, (spooky), Graduation Dinner. Annie's is a fantastic Gastropub located in Sunday's Well, not too far from the Cork City Gaol. The menu changes everyday based on the produce available, then all the meals are written up on the chalk board for everyone to gather around and select their fare. We started with pitta breads served with a selection of dips, (tzatziki, baba ganoush and hummus), all of which were equally delicious. For the main event Dad and I chose the Massaman curry, Brian and Jack went for the Lamb Kofta, and Fiona and my Mum chose the Falafel. I was the official taste tester and enjoyed a bite of everyone's meal, (top marks all roundl. As it was a special occasion I was not passing up on a dessert post savoury. I chose the Jameson Chocolate Fondant - as a bar worker and a whiskey connoisseur this was always going to be my dessert of choice. Often liqueur can overpower a desert, but the robust flavour of the Jameson was complemented nicely by the sweetness of the dark chocolate. I have been to Annie's twice now and it is without a doubt my restaurant of choice in Cork. A hidden gem, it offers delicious fresh produce at a reasonable price. If you have not been I would highly recommend going off the grid and heading towards Sunday's Well. Your tummy will thank you.
Sporting my new iclothing bag, with a Dorothy Perkins skirt, Forever21 jumper, River Island Necklace, and Marks & Spencer's heels, (featured in this weeks Sunday Times Style, and the September issue of Vogue)
I woke up at a reasonable time yesterday and was fairly lackadaisical about the formal proceedings that were to occur later in University College Cork. I curled my hair, did my make up and was ready to go at half past eight - the perfect amount of time to reach college before the Graduand roll call at half nine. Like many people I leave getting dressed until I have everything else done as I have a tendency to spill make-up, my breakfast, and toothpaste down my front. On this particular occasion perhaps I shouldn't have done this. I got distracted listening to the radio and realised it was 20 to 9 and I still wasn't dressed so I raced up stairs and put on my dress, got my Mum to pull up the zip and then out of no-where the zip just broke. Quarter to nine on the day of my Graduation my dress was un-wearable. Queue five minutes of roaring, panic and utter horror, then survival mode kicked in - I was not going to be conferred in absentia due to a faulty dress. I tore apart my wardrobe looking for something that I
A) Had not worn previously
B) Had not warn in the past two years
C) Had not been seen pictured in
I couldn't find anything. Fighting back the tears, (having already destroyed my dress I was not about to destroy my face), I raced through my wardrobe, my mum's wardrobe and my sister's wardrobe in my head. I couldn't think of anything. As a last resort attempt I thundered into my sister's room and amidst her placement clothes, jeans, and fluffy jumpers was a beacon of hope, a teal chiffon dress from Topshop she had worn two years ago for my cousins' christening. I stripped off my pyjamas and ever so delicately did up the zip on the dress. It fit like a glove. I had never tried it on before but always admired it. It matched my accessories better than the original graduation dress. Fate perhaps? I learned two lessons yesterday.
1) Always have a contingency plan
2) Or always have your sister's wardrobe on standby
In the end the borrowed, two year old dress received lots of compliments, and I was overjoyed with how well the pictures came out. Thank you to my parents and my sister for not ejecting me from the house, the car and nearly the hall after yesterday morning's histrionics. And most importantly, (although the majority of this post was taken up by my dress anecdote), congratulations to the Information Systems for Business Performance class of 2013, ye're a great bunch of lads. Wishing everyone single one of you success and happiness, in the IT field, or wherever you choose to conquer. After five years in college I have made friends for life, and am looking forward to entering into a new stage of my life - the working world. Although regardless of where I go or what I do I will always remain part of the UCC family, (forever enjoying my Seanad electoral privileges and five star status alma mater).
"Where Finbarr taught, let Munster learn."
Dress - Topshop, Heels - Next. Brian's suit is from Saville, Shirt & Tie combo - Penneys, Belt - Florence & Fred, Shoes - New Look. Styled by yours truly.
The Jazz festival took place in Cork this weekend, so the city was awash with tourists, musicians, merrymakers, and old friends. Unfortunately I was working Friday, Saturday and Sunday but I still managed to make it out twice. On Friday the girls and I had casual drinks in the Crane Lane, followed by a truly sensuous meal in Il Padrino. My sister let me borrow her graphic print neoprene t-shirt for the occasion which I paired with a black skater skirt from New Look and my clunky but oh-so adored Topshop booties.
I opted out of jazzing Saturday night and did a not-so live tweet of the Xfactor - I cheated so I could skip the ads. On Sunday, refreshed and revitalized, I put down a fairly hectic days work in the Radisson, raced home, threw on my glad rags and arrived in style, (cheers Maureen), at the Gresham Metropole. I assumed the event would be dressy so I wore one of my favourite items of clothing, a black and cream playsuit from ASOS. Very jazzy. I didn't bring a camera and my phone battery was close to dying so I didn't take any proper pictures. The ladies of Cork were dressed immaculately so I spent most of my time creeping in the corner - lots of sequins, feathers, fur etc. I would have loved to document some of them but I'm not quite confident enough yet to approach people to model for my little blog.
The icing on the cake of a lovely weekend was a leisurely stroll with Órla around Mahon Point, followed by an OPI manicure at the Boston Beauty Bar.
My MBS graduation is taking place tomorrow so keep an eye on my Facebook
for pictures of my gúna. The cap and gown regalia costs €45 to rent for a couple of hours, so be expecting a, "getting my moneys worth", image heavy post on Wednesday.
A deluge awoke me from my slumber this morning - yet another beautiful day in Ireland. Luckily I had planned on staying in to bake some treats in order to use the sugarcraft flowers I picked up in Tesco yesterday.
I settled on a basic chocolate fairy cake
mix with added dark chocolate for a rich and moist texture. My pet foodie hate is baking chocolate, so I used Bournville cocoa powder and a dark chocolate made with 80% cocoa solids from Aldi. After baking I left the cakes to cool on a tray whilst I prepared a buttercream icing to which I added a couple of drops of red food dye. I kept the icing in the fridge for approximately 15 minutes as I find that it is easier to work with in the piping bag if the icing is cool. Using a plastic freezer bag I took a rose shaped nozzle and made a piping bag and rather messily piped on the chilled pink buttercream
icing. Once iced I then added the sugarcraft flowers and enjoyed my creations with some tea.
Last week when my beautiful graduation gúna arrived I was crippled by the fear that perhaps my Summer and Autumn of bold girl eating would finally be exposed. I have a relatively small frame but have a tendency to gain if I'm not careful. In general I'm a size eight but from time to time the size might be a tad snug, resulting in going up to the next size, which more often than not is baggy and ill-fitting (the unfortunate in between dress size conundrum). So when my new dress was there waiting on the hanger I took a deep breath,. and said a Hail Mary.
Fortunately it fit, albeit slightly rigid in the hip area - nothing several gallons of water and a two week diet of low-fat natural yoghurt wouldn't fix....
So here we are 6 days to graduation and I think I have eaten ten times worse than usual. My solution? Scouring the internet for grab-one/groupon body wrap deals. However my mum pointed out to me that my graduation is the day after a bank holiday Monday so nowhere will be open to facilitate my needs. Solution number two? A home-made body wrap. Sure I won't have the right algae or materials to prepare a five-star envelopment but we're in a recession, and I'm too lazy to return the dress via An Post. I'm not entirely sure if the wrap would be as good as a treatment in a beauticians, but its definitely an economical quick fix!
Follow the method below if you so wish. I adapted the recipe from this video on Youtube
. The exact quantities don't seem to matter. I would recommend preparing the cling film beforehand then taking the remainder of the roll to form a tight wrap around whichever area you wish. I wore old pyjamas for this experiment as it is quite messy. Ingredients
Greek Yoghurt - The active ingredient lactic acid will smooth and soften the skin.
Honey - Natural exfoliant - draws moisture to the surface of the skin.
Olive Oil - Perfect for dry skin.
Ground Coffee Beans - Natural antioxidant, draws moisture out of the skin.
Cling Film - Don't bother with the expensive stuff. Method:
Mix together in a large bowl, apply to skin, wrap in cling film and lounge for at least 20 minutes. Wash off in the shower with a cloth. Tip:
Have a shower first and ensure your skin is dry and exfoliated before application.
Image via my Pinterest