Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside

Just in from the beach so thought I’d so a quick pros vs cons list of beaches/swimming holes around my area.

Sandycove Beach

3410344972_7e29b02aabPros

  • Near enough to the dart.
  • Grassy bit for lying out.
  • Usually an ice-cream truck. If not, about ten minutes walk from Teddy’s.
  • Nice walk along the promenade to/from Dun Laoghaire.
  • Can dive off the pier.
  • Generally a life guard during the summer.
  • Safe for kids.

Cons

  • Lots of kids.
  • Also dogs.
  • Not too clean. Water generally looks pretty scummy.
  • In the summer can be full of knackers.
  • Currents when you get out a bit further, and rocks.

The Forty-Foot

252_swim1Pros

  • Beside Sandycove, so all same pros.
  • Martello Tower looks nice, can pretend to be in Ulysses.
  • Diving off the rocks.
  • No need to wade in, nice and deep for swimming.
  • Other swimmers usually friendly.

Cons

  • Bad currents, expecially when the ferry goes by.
  • Have to be careful on the rocks, some guy broke his neck diving in there recently.

White Rock

white rockPros

  • Lots of sand for lying out.
  • Little changing room place that you can lie on top of and look out.
  • Big flat rock for jumping off when the tide’s in.
  • Can watch the Darts go by.
  • Toilets.
  • Seperate from Killiney beach so seems a bit more private, but Killiney can be reached by walking along the ledge.

Cons

  • Lots of flies cos of the seaweed.
  • Millions of millions of steps down.
  • Uphill trek from Killiney Dart station if you’re coming from that way.
  • Currents.
  • Sharp little stones closer to the sea that hurt when ya go paddling.

The Vico

vico

Pros

  • Can perve on all the nice houses on Vico Road.
  • Can go skinny dipping.
  • Little changing room place.
  • Beautiful views.

Cons

  • Old men skinny dipping.
  • Changing room place sometimes smells like piss.
  • Rocks.
Published in: on May 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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Five products of the moment

1. Ultrabland from Lush

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I love this. I love it so so much. My skin is quite crap and easily offended by alcohol, preservatives and the like. I’ve tried many many cleansers and most either dry my skin out completely or burn, which is all very unpleasant.

Unlike most Lush products, there is no overwhelming smell. To use it, you rub it all over your face (including eyes if you want), and then wipe it off. It feels like a bit like rubbing slightly gritty butter onto your face, which is not actually unpleasant.  You can take it off with a hot damp facecloth so to save the landfills from being filled with cotton buds/to protest against bad ethics in cotton production/cos it feels like having a facial. It leaves my skin soft and happy.

2. Tresemme Vitamin E Moisture Rich Shampoo and Conditioner

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Best shampoo and condish combo I’ve ever used (Head and Shoulders is second if anyone’s interested). Leaves your hair soft and shiny the way they say on the ad, multifaceted, shimmering…whathaveyou. I’ve also used the dark green label Tresemme, but blue’s my fav because it leaves your hair feeling really clean without drying it out. Buy it in Penneys cos you get the two in a special pack for cheaper.

3. Essence 3 in 1 concealer, available in pharmacies, Penneys, random other places…

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Up until recently, the only thing I had ever bought from Essence was their fake eyelashes, which I then stuck onto a puppet I was making. I have to admit to being suspicious of cheap make up. Some may call it snobbery… but I have my doubts that a product under three euro could be made of anything but dirt, grease and the tears of child slaves.

Anyways, one of my embarrassing not-really-secrets is that I watch all those beauty gurus on youtube, like omg, all the time.  Sad but true. So I was watching dazzledust25’s channel and she mentioned that she had found Essence stuff to be top notch, so I decided that the time had come to shelve my prejudices and give it a go.

Can’t recommend their stuff enough. So far, I’ve only tried their lipgloss, glitter eyeliner, nail polish and this lil wonder above, the 3 in 1 concealer. They were all well worth the two or three euro they cost.

The concealer is my new favourite make up item because it works so well. It’s also just as good, if not better, than the far more expensive options that are available. There’s two correcters in green and pink tones, and a normal concealer which is slightly too dark for me, but would probably be fine for most people who aren’t luminously white. It’s €2.99, just buy it and try it.

4. Revlon nail varnish in One True Coral, available in Boots

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Revlon is my favourite nail polish/varnish brand cos it’s the best. Nails inc and OPI may have the edge in colour choice, and Sally Hansen and No 7 do come close, but Revlon just seems to last, chip far less than more expensive brands and have very pretty and lovely colours, albeit in a more limited selection.

I hear One True Coral is their best selling colour, and looks good with a tan. If ever I learn how to tan I’ll let you know if that is the case, but I just love it cos its so summery.

5. Ultralight from Lush

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Firstly, if you have oily skin this is not the moisturiser for you. It manages to make even my dry skin look greasy. But it cured the lil dry patches and the SPF saved my face from being burnt to a crisp like my arms were yesterday, and for that it gets an honourable mention.

Also, a little goes a long way, and it has yet to cause an allergic reaction, which most moisurisers do for me (including Simple and Boots Fragrance Free line). Good stuff.

Sweet Coraline

how mysterious, let's explore catman(Saw this on Sat and didn’t make notes, thus review may have some holes. But in my opinion these only add to the rustic haphazard charm of it all.)

four stars out of five

How very pretty this is.

Directed by the man behind Nightmare Before Christmas, and based on a novella by Neil Gaiman, this film tells the story of Coraline’s fantastic adventure in the parallel world behind a tiny door. The storyline is basic and need not detain us for too long. Coraline moves with her family to an old flat in the Pink Palace Apartments, and is bored because her parents are too busy to play with her. Exploring the house, she stumbles across a tiny boarded up door. She convinces her mother to open it for her, and is dismayed to find it’s bricked up behind. That night however, tiny mice with button eyes lead her through the door to a magical land where everything is just as she would like it. Could it be too good to be true..? yadayada.

The draw here isn’t the story; no offence to Gaiman. The beauty is in the telling. I saw this is 3D, which made the action look like it was playing out on an old Victorian puppet stage. I mean that in the best possible way. It was charming without being swarmy, creepy without being scary, sweet without being cloying. I would have liked more things to jump out at ya with the 3D, but nothing’s perfect. It was also heavily indebted to Alice in Wonderland, though the stop-motion 3d medium may be different enough to excuse this.

It really is lovely. GO see it in the cinema for the 3D and to appreciate the details, like the handmade sweaters, which wikipedia says were knitted using needles as thick as a human hair.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm  Comments (1)  

Bad Bad Ad

Once again, it’s been highlighted to me in the most horrific way imaginable that we are indeed in a recession. Tv airtime has become dangerously cheap with the fall-off in advertising revenue, allowing any oul freak to peddle their greasy wares in front of the nation.

Tonight, my eyes were scarred forever.

Words…fail me. I was going to do a transcript of the voice-over but if I have to watch those shavings again I may actually retch.

Video not recommended for those with poor gag reflex.

Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 11:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel.

There are many reasons why people chafe.  Eczema or repetitive exercise in clothes that dig into you are acceptable reasons. Being so fat that you rub yourself raw walking to the fridge is not.

But never fear! Big pharma has the answer for those whose body shape can best be described using balloon figures — Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel. This forms a protective barrier between your rolls that is, according to their website, more effective than slathering yourself in Vaseline. Hurrah! Hopefully now that your movement is not restricted by horrible chafing, you’ll get some exercise and treat the problem rather than the symptom.

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 1:22 am  Comments (3)  
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Today I got my boyz noise ticket.

And spent the rest of my time on the dart/Shankill/the Four Courts/eating takeaway.

Published in: on May 22, 2009 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Going old school with books for summer

open-book-on-top-of-pile-of-books

I have a dreadful habit of buying books and never reading them. There are a number of reasons for this. Mainly, the problem is that as I’m studying English and History, I simply don’t have enough time to read anything outside of course books. Sad but true. Also, I get easily distracted and forget to finish.

Another significant contributing factor, which is a bit embarrassing, is that I have a horrible habit buying books that I would like to think that I would like. That is, I see some big heavy tome, or perhaps a slim volume with a horribly complicated title (The Epistemology of the Closet, anyone?), and think that it looks awfully clever and must have something awfully clever to say. Unfortunately I never get around to find out what that might be, as once it’s bought, it’s never looked at again.

I finished Revolutionary Road today, and decided that the madness had to end. Instead of going to the shop and spending fifty yoyos on self-improving masterpieces (and a fiver on Jordan’s book, which I then devour leaving the masterpieces to rot in the bag they were sold in), I raided my parents’ bookcases.

My dad also has a book buying compulsion. This, coupled with my mum’s inability to throw anything away, means that we have quite an extensive collection of books. It might not be a stretch to call it a library…though there is no order, books are stacked all over and the shelves are lined two deep. We definitely own every book that was ever written about Munster or Cork. Definitely.

So I chose twenty that I plan to read over the summer.

It’s a mix of fiction and non-fiction. I doubt I’ll read every word of every one, but I’ll give them all a good flick anyways. If the list sounds interesting to anyone sure give me a comment and we can have a wee bookclub! Exciting.

penguin

Persuasion, Jane Austen

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, Simone de Beauvoir

Possession, A.S. Byatt

Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World, Jeremiah Curtin

A History of Ireland, Edmund Curtis (I really should have read this already)

The Idiot, Fyodor Mikhail Dostoyevsky

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (didn’t like Faulkner before but I’ll give him another go)

The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass

Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway

Men without Women, Ernest Hemingway (heart Hemingway)

Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation, Declan Kiberd (this looks really interesting, I was reading some of it in the library a while ago.)

Vanity of Duluoz, Jack Kerouac

The Dead School, Patrick McCabe

The Best from “The Bell”, Sean McMahon ed. (collection from The Bell journal, including pieces by Frank O’Connor, Brendan Behan, Flann O’Brien etc)

The Girl with Green Eyes, Edna O’Brien

The Age of Reason, Jean-Paul Sartre (this may not get read…)

Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr

Naming Names: Who, What, Where in Ireland, Bernard Share

Love the smell of books.

Tips for people who refuse to buy shoes that actually fit

nikki

1. Hairspray is basically a spray adhesive. If you’ve a pair of shoes that are slightly too big and tend to fall off, spray the inside liberally with hairspray. It’ll stick the shoe to your feet. Hairspray can also be used to stick glitter to surfaces in craft projects (though the glitter will come off if not handled delicately) and as a fixative for charcoal, pastel or graphite drawings.
2. You can also use your hairdryer to stretch ill-fitting shoes. Just warm them for 20-30 seconds and put them on. They should mould to your feet. Also, if you’re in a hurry in the morning and you find a big crease down the front of your top, put the top on, warm the fabric with the hairdryer and pull the crease out. Faster than ironing.
3. If your shoes pinch, apply Vaseline to where your foot and shoe rub. It’ll act as an emollient.
4. Throw out the shoes that don’t fit and buy ones that do.

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm  Comments (2)  

Mummy’s sweet white scones

Today was a very lovely day. Went to Le Palais des Thés on Wicklow St and smelled all their delicious teas. They give wee free samples of a different tea everyday, today’s was a green chai with a tinge of ginger. Then, sticking with the French theme, to Léon for coffee and pastries.

lepalaisdesthes

Came home and had a strange urge to make scones. This is Darina Allen’s method, and it’s the ultimate mammy’s scone recipe. Once you’ve had one of these babies you’ll never be able to eat a bought scone again.

This will make c.20 scones. “What would I do with 20 scones?!” You’ll think of something…

Yummy for my tummy

900g plain flour

50g caster sugar

3 heaped tsp baking power

175g butter

110 plump juicy sultanas

3 eggs

450ml milk

extra egg for glazing if ya want shiny scones

  1. Heat oven to 230/250 for non fan.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour and baking power. Stir in sugar and sultanas. Make a well in the middle.
  3. Whisk milk and eggs together. Pour slowly into well. Mix together to form a dough.
  4. Knead lightly. Roll out to an inch thick, cut into scone shapes, pop onto baking tray. No need to grease tray, just rub a bitta flour on it.
  5. Bake in oven for about ten-ish minutes/ til golden brown.
  6. Stuff yo face.

scones

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Why House M.D. is a bloody mess

House-Cast-house-md-35149_1152_864

No stars.

The Mail on Sunday called it “the best thing ever to have been on television anywhere in the world”. As this is the only review quoted on the box, I’ll presume that more discerning publications thought it was absolute bollox. Which it is. Having watched my third and final episode today I feel in a position to give some sort of critique.

House is a medical drama with a twist — our protagonist, Dr. House, has no bedside manner. What a brilliant premise! If only there was something more. Oh no wait, there is. He also has a limp. The limp is there to explain why he is permanently scowling and grumpy. The limp is the good doctor’s backstory.

Dr. Limpsalot hops around the hospital studiously avoiding speaking to patients and brooding over seemingly random symptoms. He has been given a crack team of specialists, who would be completely interchangeable but for the fact that one is a woman, one is black and one is neither black nor a woman. There might be another guy, I forget. Who knows.

Though House is apparently the best doctor the hospital has, the sadistic overlady of the hospital forces him to work in the drop-in clinic everyday. She does this because she doesn’t like him. He also doesn’t like her. Working in the clinic allows for random scenes of House shouting at not very sick patients or scaring people who don’t give their children vaccinations or fobbing off hypochondriacs with placebos. House can always guess what the patient has got wrong with them before he speaks to them or examines them in any way. Patients are amazed.

Everyone but House is permanently confused. House flips between pensive contemplation and manic explanation. We are to believe that he may be a grumpus, but this is acceptable as he is also a genius. Genius or not, watching someone be a massive prick to dying people gets old quite quickly.

Plot-lines are so formulaic that after three episodes I feel in a position to present you with the patented House formula. Just add cringingly bad dialogue and irritating music and you’ll have your very own episode to keep!

How to build a House M.D.

  1. House is made take a patient. He never wants to. Shows a hilarious lack of interest in the patient as a person. Makes many sarcastic quips. Think Dr. Cox but not funny. Like, not even a little bit funny.
  2. Cut to House’s bland interchangeable teammates swabbing worried patient and variously slagging/praising House.
  3. Woman who manages hospital and House have a run-in with pithy pathy dialogue.
  4. Scene from subplot of House working in a clinic, fobbing off hypochondriac patients.
  5. Back to main plot, patient admitted at the start is getting worse with treatment. Uh oh.
  6. Team Bland reconvenes. Ponder what else it could be. Team give suggestions. They think they’ve cracked it, but always miss one vital symptom.
  7. House shoots them down, ploughs ahead with his own theory. Refuses to test patient for whatever he thinks it might be and opts instead to go straight for treatment. What a badass.
  8. Patient gets worse.
  9. More scenes of House bored in clinic/trying to get out of clinic duty.
  10. Patient gets worse.
  11. During banter with collegue about some random thing, House’s giant brain figures out what actually might be wrong with the patient.
  12. Back to the room with the big board where he explains the problem. Cut to computer generated sequence inside a patients body, complete with red blood cells, dying ligaments, beating heart etc. This sequence is the most self-indulgent bit of the whole shoddy mess.
  13. Wrong again.
  14. Oh wait no, turns out a patient or member of patient’s family lied about something somewhere along the way. House finds out this deception, which is the key to the case. Shouts about how he was right about never speaking to patients. One more cut to computer-generated patient insides and hugs all round.
  15. House goes home to sulk.

It’s not going to get better.