Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Romanov Palaces

Russia has such an interesting and at times brutal history, which is one of the reasons I suppose I find it so fascinating. Before heading back to visit this time I read a lot about the last Tsar and his family. While reading I learnt about some of the palaces in which they lived...they seemed to be endless! There were a few in particular that I wanted to visit.

The Winter Palace in St Petersburg is so accessible and worth a half day or full days visit as it houses the Hermitage museum. It is enormous and my favourite parts were the rooms of the palaces which were as they were during the times of the Tsars.

We did a daytrip to Peterhof, which is very easy to get to from the city by hydrofoil. It is very formal and what I imagine Versailles to be like. It gives you an idea of the riches of the Royal family. The grounds are huge and you can get a little train around them if you are feeling a bit lazy like we were. Otherwise you could spend a whole day wandering around here and bring a nice picnic to eat on the river or in a pasture.

The palace I most wanted to visit was he Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selowhere the last Tsarina was captured and taken from. Unfortunately we didn't make it there because some of our travel party were sick of palaces ;p Hopefully I'll get the chance to go back and finish my tour of palaces...St. Petersburg is a wonderful European/Russian city and now it is possible to visit from Finland without a visa it will make it easier to get back there.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lá breithe sona dom...

I have always loved birthdays...what's not to's the one day in the year that is officially yours (and your parents), you generally get pressies and people are nice to you...and it gives you an excuse to gather your friends and party!
I got lots of lovely gifts and lots of cáca milis (cake) this year...lucky girl...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Swap!

I was so excited when Anna put up a post about doing a swap. I've never been part of one before so I jumped at the chance. Her blog is lovely and she updates a lot more regularly than I do and she loves her tea (me too!!)so I was in!
I wasn't disappointed when on a rainy Friday after work I trekked to the Post Office sorting centre and picked up my package...

How lucky did I get? Love all this beautiful stuff I got, especially the artwork! I don't have the blog address for the lovely person who sent this to me but as soon as I do I will add it to this post (if you're out there, please send it on!)

This is the link to Laura's lovely blog...go on over and check it out!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some Eye Candy from a Market in St.Petersburg

There is a wonderful tourist market near the Church on Spilled Blood, but be warned...haggle like there is no tomorrow or you will end up paying double or triple the price for some items. I was going to buy a watch at one stall but changed my mind and later bought it in Moscow for almost half the price!
The stallholders must be applauded for their displays....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

I first saw this church a few years ago at the end of my Trans-Siberian trip. I hadn't read anything about it before the trip. I had seen St. Basil's in Moscow which is a well known and easily recognisable landmark, but this was something I was not expecting. I was blown away...we turned a corner looking for the market to buy some souvenirs and up pops this onion domed beauty! It is quite different from St. Basil's with it's enamel domes and elaborately ornate mosaics and tiling...and in the competition for my favourite onion-dome Russian church, this one is the winner so far!
This Church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. There is a small gazebo over the place where his blood was spilt. On March 13, 1881 (Julian date: March 1), as Tsar Alexander's carriage passed along the embankment, a grenade thrown by an anarchist conspirator exploded. The tsar, shaken but unhurt, got out of the carriage and started to remonstrate with the presumed culprit. Another conspirator took the chance to explode another bomb, killing himself and mortally wounding the tsar. The tsar, bleeding heavily, was taken back to the Winter Palace where he died a few hours later.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Borscht...what girl doesn't love a soup that turns pink!

We got lucky in St. Petersburg with a great recommendation for a restaurant close to our hostel. Zoom cafe was AMAZING! Delicious food, menu in english, selection of russian cuisine with a twist and a dessert named 'call your parents cake'! So we basically stalked them, going for 2 meals a day a couple of the days we were in the city. Oh, I almost forgot to metion that they have teddy bears there too! So you can sit with your fluffy friend and have your cold borscht with sour cream, or a million other dishes all served with a sprinkling of dill (they just love that stuff in Russia!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Marry me on Nevsky Prospect...

Our first day in St. Petersburg we were introduced to weddings Russian stylee...this is the main street in the city and it is BUSY! But don't let the traffic whizzing by put you off getting your perfect wedding pic :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On the road to Ruski...

I always prefer a train journey to a bus journey, but you haven't got this option when travelling from Tartu to St. to brighten up my journey Flip Flop bought me chocolate with a pink wrapper AND Hello Kitty...yum! The little pink purse you see peeking out is one of my best buys in Estonia and is big enough to hold my camera...much prettier and less clunky than the generic camera bags!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Visit Tartu

Tartu is a lovely place to visit if you are in Estonia...beautiful river with man made beaches along it for swimming and sunbathing, gorgeous architecture, sculptures and city fabric, friendly people, wonderful bike paths reaching all the country villages which couldn't be cuter! A limestone exhibition and castle tower in a neighbouring area which are interesting to visit, but what would be the main draw to me would be the limestone lakes in the area that look so tempting to swim in.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Looming Hostel, Tartu

In Tartu I stayed with the Beau in Looming Hostel. I have to say it was one of the nicest hostels I have ever stayed in. I loved the design, ethos, staff and vibe. Most of the furniture is free-cycled from people who were throwing it out or donating it. I had my concerns about that, worried that it might be a bit grotty, but in fact I would be happy to move in there and make it my home! The rooms are so comfy and clean, they have hammocks and couches in the sitting room and a lovely new sun terrace where you can have your food during the day or sunbathe. The only thing I didn't like was that the showers were in the basement which didn't make me feel very safe when I was showering alone. But all in all, I would definitely recommend it and would love to go back, ASAP!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011


After Talinn we headed for Tartu whihc was hosting this years Europeade festival in which I was dancing. Tartu is the second biggest city in Estonia and is a University town. It is a really fun and beautiful place to visit. The wooden architecture reminded me of the houses in Siberia, and the countryside during the bus journey was scattered with little wooden houses and storks nests on the electricity poles, lovely.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Estonian Graffiti

Wandering the streets of Tallin I found some nice street art...not just the 'Edenmore AOK' or 'Damo was ere' type though ;p

How cute is that?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Winter woolies in the middle of summer?

I's weird, but you gotta love this wooly goodness. The Baltic States are renowned for their knitted goods and I can see why...

Also, a big lá breithe sona to flip flop...little sis all grown up :) xxx

Thursday, August 4, 2011

BMX'ing in Moscow

On an excursion in Moscow we ended up in a park which we mistook for Gorky Park, turns out we were in completely the opposite side of the city! Oh well :) We got some free entertainment in the form of rollerbladers, bmx'ers and a few stray skateboarders. This guy in particular was unreal, like a ballet dancer on his bike!

Ye Olde Times

'Ye olde' medieval times seems to be all the rage in Estonia's capital...that and stag parties! The old town is absolutely beautiful and it's narrow winding streets are a joy to get lost in...

Old Hanse is a major ye olde hangout near the town square with all the staff dressed in medieval outfits. It's pretty touristy but worth the visit for the cinnamon beer alone!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tea Time in Talinn

Cute cafe's and restaurants are everywhere in Talinn...mainly medieval style but here is a decidedly more contemporary style cafe with a beautiful view in the Modern Art Museum.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Talinn...first impressions.

We took an early flight to Talinn, Estonia, with Ryanair. I don't know about everyone else but I never manage to go to bed early before one of these flights, always resulting in having about 2 hours sleep and a complete waste of the first day at my destination...famous last words, never again!

After a mega sleep in Old House Hostel, we explored the city. The supermarket was easy to find for a nice cheap brekkie in the hostels super cute kitchen. Across from the hostel was a bike rental place where we got a tandem...a life long dream come true!!! It was a bright red Schwinn, so beautiful and so much fun! We also got a single speed city bike that I wished I could bring home with me.

We had an adventurous cycle around the city with me leading the others onto motorways and dual carriageways...ooops! You don't realise how dangerous it is until you think about whether you would do it at home or not, eh, definitely not!

Here are some of the sights we saw along the way...

Coolest tree house ever!

Kumu new art museum in the palace grounds. Really impressive building.

The presidents house. You could almost walk up and knock on the front door! Apparently it's very common to bump into him or his wife!

The palace and its beautiful gardens.

The shady forest on the way to the beach.

And the best beach seating ever!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Craftitecture competition

"The Crafts Council of Ireland and the Irish Architecture Foundation in association with the Electric Picnic, Greencrafts and Cultivate announce a new competition:

CRAFTITECTURE - A Pavilion for Electric Picnic’

The competition will realise the design and build of a re-usable temporary structure at Electric Picnic 2011, the annual arts-and-music festival held in Stradbally, Co. Laois.

The pavilion will house small intimate events during Electric Picnic and through its creation raise awareness and demonstrate the links between architecture and craft.

Joint submissions are invited from Architects and Craftperson teams and must represent equal input into the design and development of the pavilion.

The competition forms part of a dynamic programme of events to celebrate Year of Craft, 2011 on the island of Ireland, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Crafts Council of Ireland (CCoI)."

This sounds like such a cool project...get your noggins thinking, deadline 12th May...good luck!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring shorts

I love shorts all year round but here is my first spring time shorts and t-shirt outfit from a few weeks ago, it was an unusually warm april saturday in Dublin...

Top - River Island
Shorts - Warehouse
Tights - Urban Outfitters
Shoes - Toms

Soggy bottom boys apartment

I moved into a new apartment almost 4 years ago and I love it. It's only small (44sq.m.) but it's my little haven and I have filled it to capacity (or maybe a little over!) with all my stuff. Initially I kept the walls white and used textiles to bring in colour. My mam sewed cushion covers for me from the 70's curtains they had in the first house I lived in, they are so cool...I'd had my eye on them for a while, they have green camels on them!!! Totally rad ;p
But then, disaster struck...I had a massive flood last summer. The apartment above me had a burst pipe and because no-one was home it was left to flood my apartment for hours, filling it with water and as a result destroying everything. It has been a long road trying to get the place habitable again, I had to move out for 4 months and then move in with builders still working on the place. But, the upside was I got the opportunity to redecorate as I wanted (I hadn't chosen the kitchen or built in units and I was glad to have the excuse to change them)and to try out living in a cute house in another part of Dublin city.
So, coming home from New York I was looking forward to getting some more storage units and getting my stuff can imagine my horror when I walked into the apartment and saw a massive water stain on my ceiling!!! But I didn't panic, I rang the management company and hoped they would sort it out. Two weeks later, I come home again on a Sunday and find the stain has spread down my wall and behind my new cabinets!!! I am so tired of water, I have been dreaming of waking up and having a swimming pool in my kitchen and not in a good way! Hopefully this will all get sorted over the next while, but as a result I now think everytime I leave the apartment that all my belongings will have been destroyed when I come home...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Sorry for the lack of photo's in the previous posts...I am away seeing the fella's relations in Sverige without access to internet! Having a fun time though in Sunny Stockholm and I promise to share some piccie's and tips for a visit in the upcoming posts x
Happy Easter everybody!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Wishlist...keep on wishing!

I came across Kiel Mead and his beautiful jewellry and decided I needed to share this with you guys, simple and tongue in cheek jewellry that I wouldn't mind receiving in my Easter egg!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fatty cushion

Looking through my blog links I ended up at Pickles today.
I'm in search of some new cushion ideas for my apartment and I thought this one looks perfect...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jane Austen ♥ Embroidery

After blogging about Wave Hill and my adventures in embroidery, I saw this on A Cup of Jo's funny...Jane Austen and embroidery just like my day out! How wonderful are these bookcovers...want, want, want!!!

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!!! xxx

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Céim eile

My Irish dance teacher is presenting an Irish Dance Theatre Festival, céim eile in the Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24 from the 18th-23rd April. It is bringing together 'three exciting, original productions, that offer a fresh perspectie on an age-old tradition - Irish Dance'. It looks like a great chance to see another side of Irish Dancing, and a fun way to see this form of dance for the first time or the millionth time!

These are two of the brilliant acts performing in the festival...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Come and Follow me...

Hey Peeps!
So, I've changed my layout to show my followers on the top right hand side bar (as recommended by the good people at Google). I've called it Come and follow, please do. If you like the blog just click on the follow button on the right hand side and you can follow me on my adventures in wonderland. All you need is a google/twitter/yahoo or some other types of account and you can sign up. It's simple and quick and would make me sooo happy ;p

Love to all those who have popped in along the way xxx

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Naaasty times two!

I'm in two minds about putting anything negative on here. I was hoping to keep it for the more sunny positive side of life or even some of the dull things in life, but what happened on Friday night upset me so much that I think I will rant about it here....although on second thoughts maybe I won't! Lets just say that I had a run in with my neighbours who were terribly rude, threatening and racist to boot! All this from people who are currently studying to become doctors...definitely not the kind of doctor I would like to have at my bedside.

On another note and also home related...I recently bought the Women's Institute Book of the Home in a sale of library stock. It is a wealth of information and I feel like I will be using it as a written word Google for my home woes. I was having some problems unblocking a drain in the bathroom so I sourced an eco friendly and less scary than caustic soda solution in the above mentioned book. Here are the instructions for anyone out there with blocked drain problems...
Pour ½ cup of bicarbonate of soda down the offending drain;
Follow this with a cup of white vinegar;
Leave for 15 minutes;
Pour a kettle of boiled water down the drain and watch your drain become unclogged.

It is one of those gross but very satisfying tasks that make me so happy! I love when I get these things done and know everything is clean and hygienic again! I loved it so much that I repeated the process just for the craic! I also scrubbed the bath, sink and toilet just to put an extra shine on my happiness! Strange but true :)