Friday, May 31, 2013



I just broke my fourth pair of sunglasses in the space of one year.  How could this happen to me four times?  This time, they just seemed to fall off my face and when I picked them up they were in two pieces.  Curses!

Any inspiration for a replacement pair?  I usually go for some variation on wayfarers but I love these ones too!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Forrest and Jenny

forest gump caradona

forrest gump2

Re-watched the genius that is Forrest Gump last weekend.  There has never, or will ever be a film like it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thing #54: Drink Champagne to celebrate nothing


Pop the champagne and make it rain!  There was nothing to celebrate, I just always wanted to say that.





Photos by Lucy Jones

€5 has been donated to UNICEF Ireland for the completion of this ‘thing’.  Click here if you too would like to donate online.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Question

1-a question

File under: how to write

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thing #88: Make a birthday cake for someone



Peanut Butter Birthday Cake, pictured with Marie’s famous brownies

Marie makes the cakes.  That’s how this whole thing stays together.  If there is a cake that needs baking… a birthday,  an engagement, a new job?  Marie has a cake for that.  There’s no big fuss about it either.  If you walk into Marie’s apartment when she’s baking, she doesn’t look like a hot mess and she doesn’t tell you to come back in an hour when she has her shit together.  She can hold a proper conversation with you, while she carries on weighing and measuring and beating and folding (that’s a baking word I learned from Marie).  I think she actually likes it.

The other thing is that everyone loves Marie.  Really, everyone.  She’s a crowd-pleaser type of person.  I should be clear that this has exactly nothing to do with her baking skills.  Marie, as a person, is sweeter and lovelier than any of the cakes she’s produced.  Even the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

I tell her all the time how glad I am to have her in my life.  But that’s not enough.  She deserves more.  On her birthday, at the very least, she deserves a cake that she didn’t have to make herself.

So, that is what I gave her.  I knew I couldn’t pull it off with the same panache as Marie, but a cake was called for, and a cake I made.  I put on some old school Smashing Pumpkins and followed the goddamn recipe.  I listen to The Smashing Pumpkins while I bake cakes.  That makes me a badass.

It’s a tremendously easy cake to make.  In fact, the most difficult part of this recipe is not eating too much of the frosting before you are entirely sure you have enough to cover the cake.  That requires willpower beyond my limits. 

Anyway, here it is.

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

This recipe is adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook and makes one 8 or 9 inch round cake.  The original version is a double layer cake, which I also made, but wasn’t entirely happy with the result – I felt it wasn’t the right cake to frosting ratio, but maybe that’s just me.

What you’ll need:

for the cake

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

100g peanut butter

50g unsalted butter, softened

60g caster sugar

60g brown sugar

2 medium eggs

150ml buttermilk (I used this substitute)

for the frosting

300g cream cheese

100g unsalted butter, softened

100g peanut butter

250g icing sugar

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

pinch of salt

Here’s how:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).  Grease the cake tin.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together peanut butter, butter and sugars for about 3 minutes (I use a hand-held mixer because that’s all I have).
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed for 1 minute between each addition.
  • With the mixer on a low speed setting, add half of the flour mixture. Slowly pour in all of the buttermilk. When it just starts to come together, add the remaining flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a metal spoon.
  • Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  • Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, just beat all the ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth.  Use immediately (at room temperature) to frost cake.  If you need help, here’s how to frost a cake.


€5 has been donated to UNICEF Ireland for the completion of this ‘thing’.  Click here if you too would like to donate online.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fun Pix Fridays #36











This weekend, let’s find some time and share it with each other.  Have a good one. xo

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cycles of Life

cycles of life

Bicycles and Grant Snider’s illustrations:  two of my favourite things!

p.s. Another one.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blind Date

blind date

A blind date with a book?  I can’t think of a better kind.

Awesome idea in a library!  The books were wrapped in paper, with only brief messages giving a clue to the content – words like ‘drama’, ‘espionage’, ‘plot twists’… the only thing visible was the barcode, so you could check it out!

I love the people who come with this stuff!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Tutor Crowd

Possibly my favourite single-topic tumblr discovery in a while;  The Tutor Crowd have taken grammar correction out of the classroom and onto the streets of London.  Check it, don’t wreck it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Beautiful Man

beautiful man

…because, you know, Mondays are tough.

(more here!)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Your Weekend


I hope you have a real weekend.

I hope your bed is warm, and your pillow cool.  I hope you wake up late.  I hope you eat doughnuts for breakfast without giving it another thought.  I hope the breeze through your kitchen window makes you want to take your coffee outside.  I hope you forget all about the dirty dishes and to-be-folded laundry.  I hope you smell sunscreen this weekend.  I hope you breathe salty sea-air and sink your toes in the sand.  I hope your weekend includes fresh flowers from an outdoor market, a bubble bath, a mostly-downhill bike-ride, ice-cream, a long afternoon nap.  I hope you watch a feel-good movie while shovelling popcorn into your mouth. I hope there is a happy hour in there somewhere.  I hope you find some time to yourself.

I hope you have a real weekend.  Really I do.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Money and Happiness


Everyone says money can’t buy you happiness.  Not entirely true.  There are (at least) three things that I could buy, with money, that would make me happier:

1. A puppy

2. A Vespa

3. A karaoke machine

If you had the money, how would you buy happiness?

Photo via Le Blog de Betty

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Starbucks Doodles




Ivette is hilarious.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thing #74: Buy nothing unnecessary for a month

essie haute as hello fiji

Unnecessary:  Essie in Haute as Hello (coral) and Fiji (pale pink-white)

The Rules

Things that I deemed ‘necessary’ and thus, exempt from the shopping embargo for the purpose of this project

1. Food, even biscuits.  I didn’t think it wise to try to curb unhealthy shopping habits and eating habits at the same time.  Good Lord, I am only human.

2. Money spent on nights out.  On alcohol, yes.  You try working in my job for a week and then tell me Teacher’s Medicine is not a necessity.

3. Birthday presents and other gifts, because your friends shouldn’t have to suffer through this ‘thing’ with you.

4. Internet and telephone.  I doubt that my provider would have entertained the idea of cutting me off for one (unpaid) month anyway.  That’s my story.  Sticking to it.

You’re probably thinking my rules make this very easy indeed.  I also implemented the ban in January, making it even easier on myself since everyone seems to be tightening their purse strings at that time of year.  But easy, this was not.  No clothes (even January sales bargains!), no beauty products, none of my little sporadic pick-me-up purchases.  No really, this was dang hard! But, I can be pretty determined when I want to be.  I was going to nail this one on my first attempt if it killed me, which thankfully it did not.

The first thing(s) I bought after the month was up were Essie nail polishes in ice-creamy colours (pictured).  A completely unnecessary, but completely guilt-free purchase.

I don’t know if this ‘thing’ really had a positive impact on my spending habits in the longer-term (I don’t know if that was even my intention?), but either way it is good to step back sometimes and remind ourselves of the difference between what we need and what we’d like. 

€5 has been donated to UNICEF Ireland for the completion of this ‘thing’.  Click here if you too would like to donate online.

Monday, May 13, 2013

That Video

It’s that video that’s gone viral over the last few days.  I’m as enamoured as everyone else.  Have you seen it?

Before you watch the video (and you must watch it), there’s this thing I want to tell you about.  It’s about this time when I was driving back home from Dublin Airport.  My Mam and Fiona were in the car with me and we had just returned from a lovely long weekend in Krakow, but were beginning to feel the blues set in at the thought of resuming the banalities of everyday life.  While stuck in the usual traffic at Harold’s Cross, I glanced across at the car in the next lane and there was the driver, singing along to whatever song happened to be on the radio.  I mean really going for it – eyes closed, fist-pumping, top-of-his-voice singing.  There was nobody else in the car with him.  I wish you could have seen him, to understand.  We couldn’t catch the song.  I imagined it to be Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, but that doesn’t matter.  It really doesn’t matter at all. 

The point is this:  I love that man.  I think about him often.  I think about him after I’ve read in my local paper about someone beating up an old person or hear about someone being broken up with in an email.  I remember him when I’m beginning to think this is a horrible messed-up world we live in.  I can be having a really shitty time and be feeling like the world is against me and all I need do is remind myself that there are people like that man in the world.

In this video, the singing is not even the best part – the best part is that you get a little glimpse of one of those truly happy relationships that are more special and rare than we think.  I’m sure this pair have their bad days too but it must be a lovely comfort to know that another person so clearly and openly thinks you’re awesome.

This is beauty, indeed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thing #69: Make my own candles

A quick google search tells me that Arsonphobia is the fear of fire, but what is the opposite of that?  What’s it called when you have a weird fascination with fire?  Not necessarily setting things on fire (don’t be afraid friends…), but when you find yourself in a state of tranquillity while watching things burn?  I have that, whatever that is.  Have I gone too far?  Did things just get weird?  You’re afraid now.  Rest assured that most of the time, logs are the only thing I’m watching burn.

How do I find my way back from this tangent? 

Candles are a fun (and safe) thing to watch burn. 

There we go.


I love candles so I decided it might be a nice idea to make my own.   My brother Richie bought me the materials (such a thoughtful gift!) and I sort-of followed this tutorial, substituting two old pots in place of a double boiler, glass jars instead of teacups and ignoring the need for a thermometer.  It all worked out just fine.

1-little t



I think this would make a sweet DIY gift.  I’d wrap it up with cellophane and a little ribbon and attach a card with this quote from the book One Day, by David Nicholls:

You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence.  It would be the gift of confidence.  Either that or a scented candle.


€5 has been donated to UNICEF Ireland for the completion of this ‘thing’.  Click here if you too would like to donate online.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thanks, Mufasa


Accidentally close a tab? Ctrl+Shift+T reopens it.

Bananas release dopamine, eat them when you’re sad.

Ctrl+Shift+Eec is the one handed version of Ctrl+Alt+Del

Don’t brush your teeth hard, it makes them sensitive and removes enamel.

Don’t like spiders? Put citronella oil on your walls and they will not go there.

Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have, you’ll get drunk without getting a hangover.

Get clear ice cubes by boiling water before freezing it.

Heal paper cuts and immediately stop the pain with chapstick.

If you accidentally write on your dry erase board with a permanent marker, scribble over it with a dry eraser marker to remove it.

If your shoes smell, put them in the freezer overnight, it will kill the bacteria.

Make bug bites stop itching with a banana peel.

Make a paper longer with 12-point text, but 14-point periods and commas.

Need to get around a blocked website at work? Try replacing the http:// with https://.

Never send your resume as a word file (unless asked) Instead, save it to a pdf file, it’s much cleaner and professional looking.

Pick a flavor of gum you don’t normally chew, and chew it while studying during a test.

Place a piece of bread in a container with your homemade cookies and  they will stay soft.

Put a dry towel into a dryer with wet clothes, they will dry faster.

Put toothpaste on a pimple and it will dry out.

Practise fake smiling in the mirror every day before going to work/school, you’ll genuinely start to feel happier.

Rub canola/olive oil on knives before cutting onions, you won’t cry, alternatively chew gum and you won’t either.

Short on time with a wrinkled dress shirt? Hang it up in the bathroom while showering to steam it flat.

The night before, place things you don’t want to forget the next morning on top of your shoes.

Use hydrogen peroxide to remove blood stains from clothing.

When cleaning windows use newspapers or coffee filters instead of paper towels, they will not leave streaks.

When microwaving bread products/pizza put a glass of water in with it, it will keep your bread from going spongy.

When you move into a new place you’re renting, take pictures of any and all damage, then post them on facebook (privately if preferred) so you can use the reference date as proof you didn’t do it.

When searching plane tickets online delete your cookies prior, prices go up when you visit a site multiple times.

via Tea for one, SVP

Wednesday, May 8, 2013



Just to be clear, they named the low-fat version Monterey Jill.  Men don’t need to watch their weight.  Got it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Life Hack

life hack

= winning.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Graphic Novels

Fiona recently gave me the graphic novel French Milk by Lucy Knisley as a birthday gift – it was the first graphic novel I’ve read and I really really loved it. It’s an illustrated diary-account of a 6 week trip to Paris that Lucy took with her mother. I didn’t start it until I was back from my Easter break to Sicily, but it would have made perfect holiday reading – light and funny; more gripping than a glossy magazine, without being as taxing on the brain as some of the literary greats.  In some ways, it reminded me of reading a really good blog. 

3-little t

Relish (by the same author) was recently published and I’m looking forward to reading it. 

I’m also on the hunt for other graphic novels.  Do you have any recommendations for me?

Friday, May 3, 2013


Life hasn’t been very kind to me lately/ but I suppose it’s a push for moving on/ In time, the sun’s gonna shine on me nicely (one day)/ Something tells me good things are coming, and I ain’t gonna not believe.  Are you looking for freedom? I’m looking for freedom, and to find it cost me everything I had.

I can relate.

Also, this song is from the Django: Unchained soundtrack.  What a film!  I know, I know, I’m still talking about it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kjerag Mountain, Norway

kjerag mountains norway

Would you dare?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Best of… April 2013

Some very beautiful things were happening in April.

apr facehunter1

apr facehunter2

Playsuits via Facehunter

apr coco1

apr coco2

Lily Aldridge being insanely hot, via Cocogroove

apr sj1

apr sj2


apr sorakeem1

via Sorakeem

apr tuula2

apr tuula1

apr tuula3

via Tuula

If you want more, pinterest was invented for that kind of stalking.