A fairly new phenomenon to our side of the pond - Black Friday discounts were in full swing as I moseyed down Grafton Street yesterday afternoon. I bemoaned the surge of shoppers blocking the street weighed down by their overflowing sacks of spoils, despite the fact that I myself was also there in pursuit of the perfect Black Friday bargain. Far from a slick Black Friday capsule edit is the hodgepodge of items I picked up online, my style is a rather strange combination of androgyny and femininity. I own several pairs of black boots, countless pairs of black skinny jeans and amass of baggy t-shirts, but I thought it essential to purchase a yellow lace dress adorned with pleats with my CYBER WEEKEND discount. The masculine/feminine divide of my wardrobe is an unfortunate paradox when it comes to co-ordinating ones outfits. Nonetheless I am quite fond of the items I purchased - fluff and fun in keeping with the festive season that is well and truly upon us.
A caveat to this travel log is the fact that I was completely debilitated by a horrendous bout of tonsillitis that unfortunately tinkered with my itinerary.
I had a notion about travelling to Morocco as two of my colleagues raved about it following respective successful Easter trips to Marrakech. I enjoy Moroccan cuisine, but that was about the extent of my Moroccan related knowledge. I did a bit of research i.e. read some swish five star travel logs online and managed to convince Áine to accompany me.
Both of us were quite ignorant as to how Muslim the country is, packing unwisely, drawing unwanted attention to ourselves. This was only really a problem in the Medina – the old part of the city – which is like stepping backwards into a medieval realm – albeit there is Wifi in most restaurants. We chose to stay three nights in the Medina in the wonderful, “Les Riad de Les Deux Portes.' Samir and his colleagues welcomed us with traditional mint tea and gave us an excellent guide to all the neighbourhoods in Marrakech, The Medina, Gueliz, The Palmerie, Hivernage etc. This information was invaluable as the Riad is nestled within the bustling souks on the periphery of the world famous Djemaa el Fna. While Riad was exceptional – the breakfast in particular was a triumph for a pastry lover (yours truly), I would only recommend two nights in the Medina – unless you’re staying in a swanky Riad with a pool, which I unfortunately wasn’t – as it can be overwhelming. A chronic hive of activity - oh so sweaty.
For the second leg of our holiday we ventured out to the Zone Touristique to stay in the charming 'Albakech House', which is a hybrid of a hotel and B&B with an in house Hammam and generously sized pool. The bedroom was fit for two queens and was equipped with a TV that had multiple decent movie channels – which would never usually be a prerequisite for accommodation but by the time I got to Albakech House, my Tonsillitis had reached it's peak and I was in severe need of TLC and questionable movies. Being a former hotel worker I have high standards when it comes to accommodation but my expectations were surpassed – all of the staff at Albakech were extremely pleasant and helpful.
I’m not embarrassed to admit my holiday was in parts spoiled by my maladies but looking back it was a wonderful holiday – when my body was filled to capacity with ibuprofen, codeine and Clarithromycin. The following are my personal highlights from my trip and must see parts of Marrakech.
Djemaa el Fna & The Souks
When we arrived we were dropped outside the square (Djemaa el Fna) by our Taxi driver while we awaited our Riad Host. The place heaves from morning to noon, transforming into the illustrious night market following Sun down. While it is a spectacle full of wonderful items to look at, I distained for the poor monkeys that are seen throughout, wearing baby clothes, their owners targeting tourists for pictures with the poor primates. Here you can also find snake charmers, ladies offering henna and the odd exorcism. Animal welfare aside, the market and souks are fantastic for picking up trinkets and fake gear – if you’re into that sort of thing, which I obviously am. Be prepared to bargain hard with your Souk seller, they will try to convince you that they are selling, “a real fake”, the irony. I managed to drive a fake YSL bag down from €200 to €35, and a Longchamp from €80 to €20. Looking back I wish I bought more things like pillowcases and home wares as the colours and intrinsic details of items offered deep in the souks were unlike anything you would ever find in Ireland. If you can handle the painfully annoying sellers, a trip or two round the souks is an entertaining way to spend an afternoon pottering around Marrakech.
The former home of painter Jacques Majorelle, was later owned by French designer Yves Saint Laurent. The vivid cobalt blue is synonymous with the garden, which also features beautiful mosaics, topiary and peaceful ponds filled with Koi fish.
Palais el Badhi
The palace is a vast clay former stronghold of the Moroccan aristocracy. Nowadays the derelict palace is home to Storks which take up residency on the walls surrounding. There’s lots of interesting underground tunnels to explore here. Tip – don’t go during the middle of the day as it’s extremely exposed with very little shade. So wait until after lunch or bring the factor 50.
The resting place of Saadian princes – it is located close by to the Palais el Badhi. A serene location, that is quite small so go early or late in the day to avoid queues
I had been talking about treating myself to a massage for ages, so when I realised our hotel had an in house Hammam, I figured it would be rude not avail of the service. I opted for Hammam, Gomage and Massage which lasted an hour and cost a mere €39. Gommage involves scrubbing one’s body to the brink of severe pain. Tip – don’t go wearing fake tan – you will return from your retreat bán and your Masseuse will laugh at your orange peely skin. Gommage is then followed by Hammam which is like having a giant adult bath with funny potions. This all took place in a large steam room complete with a cistern of warm water that is repeatedly thrown over you with a lunch box. Following this I was brought to an Aladin inspired room and listened to pan pipes while the Masseuse undid 24 years’ worth of stress and anxiety. I can’t recommend a Hammam experience more – although I don’t think I’d brave a real municipal Hamman.
I stopped off in London on the way home and met with Órla. Please see below for obligatory Gherkin selfie.
Last weekend whilst visiting the motherland, my family and I stumbled upon a gastronomic gem in Kilbrittain – The Pink Elephant House. Set facing the idyllic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, “The Pink”, offers an assortment of seafood, and a medley of tantalising dishes. The carte du jour changes based on the produce available – which is always a winning line for a food snob like moi. Desperately in need of a decent feed having been driven around West Cork for hours, I chose the lobster and prawn isotto, which was served with roast fennell and parmesan shavings, followed by homemade meringues with summer berries. The main was complemented by a crisp Pinot Grigio and desert was accompanied by a delicious Americano - (top marks for decent bean selection).
I was not alone in my celebration of our discovery, with each member of my family complementing every aspect the experience. The staff of, “The Pink”, were welcoming, attentive, and informative when we enquired about the various offerings. In terms of décor - the balance of cosy and modern was executed to perfection with the odd elephant sprinkled here and there, a subtle logo of sorts. While accomodation is not available in the house itself, there are several B&B’s within walking distance, conveniently advertised on their website. Although I do not frequent West Cork all too often, I would certainly return for a mini boozy foodie break in The Pink Elephant House.
Last weekend saw my wonderful Wexford family celebrate the birthdays of my twin cousins Conor and Aoife! As to be expected a wonderful spread was laid on by my Aunt and Uncle, including a colourful selection of salads, supreme cuts of cow, and a delightfully fun happy hour.
I have mentioned Wexford in the past on the blog, as it a part of Ireland I hold so dearly. I drove down solo in the motor as my parents came from Cork and my sister is still saving the world in Africa. Spinning past the Ferrycarrig, I was hit by such a strong memory of my little cousins christening that took place there when I was six, now close to eighteen years ago. Although I was floored with how fast time has gone, it was a nice reflection to have of a Friday evening.
On the night of the soirée I wore a vivid kaleidoscope-esque shift dress, which I picked up in New Look whilst accompanied by Aoife on my standard Saturday jaunt. My Mother kindly took some outfit snaps, (albeit 1.30am after a bottle of wine), and I took my usual instapics throughout the weekend.
I'm currently a week behind on my blogging, but as I have purchase pictures from this weekend I may attempt a blog post in the coming days.
Since I returned from Greece, time has gone by at an alarming pace - similar to the speed of May, which I remarked on in my last blog post (a whole month ago). Unfortunately as I am doing exams in September I'd imagine the frequency of the blog entries will wane, but I will endeavour to do one or two in the coming weeks, (weather dependant as always). This entry will serve merely as a Greek melange of sorts, highlighting the past months escapades and outfits! I was reunited with my Mother/photographer this weekend, so I have an outfit post lined up for the coming days.
May went by in a whirl, the quickest month I've put down in Dublin. One Direction have come and gone and I am now awaiting my holidays with bated breath, the thought of an entire week off work is truly sublime. If you're following me on Instagram, you would have seen what I've got up to throughout the month, what bits I've purchased, and a general commentary of my everyday life.
Following a glorious day of sunshine yesterday, the weather has reverted back into its temperamental self. Sun seeking, I went for a spin today with my family to Clonakilty. I wore this gaudy but amazing vintage shirt I bought yesterday at Mother Jones flea market. I paired the supersized shirt with Topshop Mom Jeans, and my new Call it Spring espadrilles. Ideally I would have shot some outfit pics in and around the town but the weather was so atrocious we spent the day ducking in and out of the various boutiques and siopaí.
I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to blog again before my holliers but that's not to say I won't!
Have a good bank holiday.
These past two weekends have been rather successful on the shopping front, with my holiday wardrobe beginning to take shape. Perhaps the bold prints I veer towards aren't the wisest of choices, but I cannot help but succumb to the allure of Tropicana and folk prints.
My purchase of the week has to be the fluffy pom pom I picked up in Vibes and Scribes on Drawbridge Street. I am planning on making a Fendi inspired bag charm. I chose a teal/turquoise fur ball, but at the ever so modest price of €5.50 one could nearly buy ever colour in the range. All going to plan I will do a DIY post showcasing the results. Check out the inspiration below.
Images via Pinterest.
Unfortunately I have been crippled by an ever so debilitating summer flu - which I imagine is a result of my weekend frolics in the rain. Staying in Dublin at the weekend is such a nice treat for me as I tend to travel back to Cork more often than I should. There is something so pleasing about waking up on a Saturday morning in Dublin. The bus ride from Clonskeagh to Stephen's Green is one I look forward to immensely, largely due to the promise of brunch, coffee and clothes in the bustling city centre.
This weekend involved, a Friday night soup run, drinks in Dakota and Coppers, and two ridiculously irresponsible days spent shopping. Lorna accompanied me for her first weekend up in Dublin. Encouragement and self-indulgence was the theme of the weekend, (when isn't it?) so we both added significantly to our Crete wardrobes.
I haven't had time to properly photograph my Grecian travel wear but will hopefully do so over the coming days. In the meantime check out my Instagram diary, chronicling my adventures over the past week and a half (follow me for daily updates).
Summer has finally begun, although you would not think it with the un-seasonal weather we've been "enjoying" throughout Eire. Yesterday I celebrated the birthday of one of my comrades so we had celebratory steaks and pints, (Mutton Lane Inn & the Strasbourg Goose). I chose to wear my Topshop Mom jeans, a Florence and Fred lilac camisole and a vintage multi-coloured jacket I picked up in Camden.
I am a broken record when it comes to sounding off about the Irish weather, but more often than not it ruins my outfit plans! This coming Wednesday I am dining in Drury Buildings and unfortunately my outfit involves (yet again), black opaques. This is far from ideal considering the balmy climes we experienced this time last year. It's safe to say this weekends purchases (see below) won't see daylight untiI touch down in Crete.
I may be slightly biased but the passion, creativity and taste I have experienced throughout this city is unparalleled. To vote please click here, and don't forget to check out the fantastic video from Blue Shed Productions showcasing all the delicious food produced, prepared and sold in the city.