Diva dresses, which are my favorite all time label. This is because they come in so many styles and in so many colours, always something new and always fabulously flattering. Patricia Roe, singer songwriter and friend is getting plenty of wear out of hers as she goes forward to Eurosong in Ireland with a dam good chance of making it to Denmark. Please do vote for her on the 28th February if you are in Ireland and if you aren’t please keep your fingers crossed!
In case you hadn’t noticed it is STILL January. It must be about 18 working weeks and 12 moons long because it has already been January forever and yet the calendar tells me the month is magically only halfway through. Combining as it does lack of fun, lack of light, and lack of money January has long since been regarded as the most boring month of the year. Even if there was anything happening you wouldn’t be able to afford it!
There’s only one thing for it then, to make your own fun! I’ve complied a list of ’10 Things To Do’ to help beat the January blues (you’re welcome).
Disclaimer: I’ve tried to limit the number of food related options (the last thing I need is more comfort eating) but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
1. Take a happy dog for a walk, either yours or one you’ve borrowed and don’t forget the tennis ball! Look how enthusiastic that dog is about that tennis ball. You could learn a thing or two from that wise, wise animal.
2. Bite the bullet do that one household task you’ve been putting off for months and months, whether its cleaning under the stairs or defrosting the freezer, you’ll feel so ridiculously accomplished once it’s done.
3. It’s the perfect time to watch that tv show everyone has been recommending to you for years! Whether its Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire… everyone is too broke to do anything anyway so you won’t be missing out on any craic by staying home a little more.
4. If you know even the very basics of knitting you can knit yourself a cosy new snood (psst: it’s just a wide scarf with the ends sewn together). Using chunky wool and needles it will only take a few evenings in front of number 3 and will make your couch potato ways feel more productive!
5. Make a surprise cake for a friend. I recommend chocolate, coffee, carrot, banana, cheese, lemon, sponge…all of them basically.
6. Send a letter (and maybe some Barry’s tea and taytos?) to a friend living abroad, they may be feeling extra homesick after the high of Christmas.
7. Babysit for nieces, newphews, godchildren, anyone’s children, it’s a good deed and will hopefully lead to lego. Lego is downright cathartic.
8. Try and speak a different language to a friend for at least 15 minutes, try not to burst into laughter when you both forget the Irish word for ‘go’. (Don’t worry it’s only 13 years of schooling down the drain).
9.Next Mondaymorning bring your workmates a lovely coffee each just the way they like it- now that’s a happy way to start the week.
10. Finally if all else fails, pretend it isn’t January. Daydream yourself the best summer holiday anyone has ever had, research and plan it. Whether you end up actually going or not you still got to spend one dreary January afternoon in Tangiers…
Finally Christmas is just one week away. You may be reading this secure in the knowledge that all your gifts are carefully wrapped and tagged while your loved-ones get ready to panic buy their way into a second mortgage. But it doesn’t do to get over-confident, that’s when disaster strikes. Picture this: it’s 5pm on Christmas eve, you just popped down to the post office to collect your perfect thoughtful gift, and lo and behold it’s gone missing. Or another scenario: your sister arrives in unexpected from Australia on Christmas eve. Surprise! You don’t have a single gift for her, you old scrooge. All the shops are closed. Now you know the true meaning of panic. The following ideas are proper last minute, all you need is 10 minutes and a printer (or not since you can just email them to the recipient). And not a single one-for-all voucher in sight. Phew.
1. Concert Tickets
Granted this one does require a relatively close relationship to the recipient but gig tickets are great last minute gifts as they are print and go. Just comb ticketmaster.iefor names of artists or djs your friend likes/ has mentioned. It’s probably best to go for smaller, up-and-coming acts as it’s likely your bff is well aware that Beyonce is coming to town and has booked her tickets already, however a smaller indie act playing in Whelans or The Academy could have slipped under her radar. Surprise! You are the greatest friend in history.
2. Magazine Subscription
This one is pretty simple if you know the person well, or if you work with them. If they buy it regularly, they will definitely love a subscription. Subscriptions to Irish-based magazines are particularly reasonable. Image will set you back €39 euro per year, U is €44.20, Easy Food is €30 and Stellar is around the €25 euro mark. A small price to pay for the gift that keeps giving all year long!http://www.subscribe.ie/
3. TEFL course
This is the perfect gift for your young (or young-at-heart) friend who has itchy feet. This person wants to travel the world but doesn’t have the funds for one of the fancy yachts people are always talking about… They can learn to teach English as a foreign language and travel to all the fabulous parts of the world constantly in need of more teachers. An online course is perfect as you won’t be required to have a detailed knowledge of their personal calendar to gift them with it. There are regularly deals on groupon but even on websites such as teflexpress.co.uk there are often 120 hour courses on special offer at €99. www.teflexpress.co.uk
4. Spotify Subscription
Spotify is basically owning online music at the minute. If your friend owns a phone or a laptop, they almost certainly have a spotify account. They will also be well acquainted with the fist-clenchingly annoying ads (un-mutable!) that play between songs. For just €4.99 a month (or €9.99 for the offline service too) you can gift your loved-one the sound of wonderful, uninterrupted hits. And all the extra hair they won’t be tearing out anymore. www.spotify.com
5. Oxfam Charity gifts
This is almost certainly the best gift you can give to the person who has everything. Let’s face it, not only do they not need that decorative soap dish, they really don’t want it either! There is a huge range of gift options to choose from on https://www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped (suiting every budget!) making it super easy to personalise the gift too. For the new mother? Send ‘Care for a baby’ just €17. For your child’s teacher? Send ‘schoolbooks’ for €10. It’s as easy as pay and then print out your lovely colourful card. www.oxfamireland.org
Have a happy and stress-free Christmas everyone! Ho ho ho.
Rosanna Davison , a long standing customer of The Kildare boutique Divine owned by Mary Greene whose cool chic ensures stylish fashion for women who love difference and lots of choice. The edit smacks of confidence and accessories are chosen with care. This evening was infused with a Christmas theme but clothing that could be worn for several different occasions so offering excellent value. Prosseco, nibbles and a much sought after goodie bag kept the audience smiling.
It’s definitely time to start planning your Christmas gifts, and not a moment too soon (of course we all know that one person who has everything bought by the start of October. Bunch of show-offs). Getting prepared early will mean come Christmas week it’s time to sit back and enjoy the mulled wine, while everyone else scrambles around town in a panic.
The problem with this great plan is that there’s always one person on the list who makes shopping early and being organised an impossibility. You know who they are ( or maybe you are one of them). The person who has the best taste in everything, is up to the minute on trends and, even worse, always gets you the most thoughtful presents imaginable. Needless to say, an M&S gift voucher is just not going to cut it. I have selected a few options to help give you the perfect gift idea- for that one special someone in your life; your bff.
Apparently at one point in Clery’s history, it’s infamous previous owner Denis Guiney offered to refund shoppers their train fare if they spent more than five pounds in the store. The incentive proved very popular, and perhaps cemented the nations love of the world’s first purpose built department store.
The store, reopens today after a 4 month hiatus, when a flash flood forced it to close its doors in August of this year. The 160 year old store required extensive refurbishment, after flood waters damaged all three floors, including stock.
Clery’s is a national monument, last destroyed during the 1916 rising, it is as much a symbol of Dublin as it’s neighbour the GPO, or more recently the spire. The clock, has become a famous meeting place for couples, friends and families, even while it’s doors were closed for the last few months. It’s face lift comes just in time for Christmas, a little fresher but still the old friend we recognise.
I’m not going to pretend that the recent onslaught of Christmas decorations, lights, music and advertising on the high street is bothering me. I wish I could but I can’t. I love the run up to Christmas and though I wouldn’t admit that (I’m considered extremely cool…right guys?) secretly I’m loving the entire over-sentimental super-commercial business (it may help that I work in retail).
Despite the fact that it is decidedly uncool to admit enjoying the long lead-in to Christmas, it is absolutely allowed to plan and discuss (at length) pre-Christmas parties, events and trips. Who else is going to plan all those office parties, shopping trips and nights out with friends and family returning from abroad? I’m getting excited just thinking about it. With so many different occasions in the pipeline it helps to start thinking about your wardrobe now, because sad as it may sound, you certainly can’t wear the same outfit twice. Think of the facebook photos…
I’m not really a big one for trends but if you like a bit of Tartan then there is no harm is splashing the cash on this one as it creeps right back in every few seasons so you can be sure that you will get value for your spondoolicks. I especially like the Dresses and those court shoes. Diva do several dresses and a skirt that are affordable and that would make Christmas a good deal more interesting.
Now that you’re getting up in the dark and permanently attached to a cup of tea it’s time to accept that we are now officially mid-winter. For me that means only one thing,obsessing about spring; when it will arrive and what I will wear when it finally does. Okay and two other things; the ‘C’ holiday I’ve been banned from mentioning and eating an ungodly amount of potato-based cuisine. But mainly I’m dreamingabout SS14 and the beautiful clothes it will bring.
Since arriving into the showroom a number of weeks ago, our new Paris-based fashion brand See-U-Soon has made a big impression on all of us, especially myself and Philippa. In fact this is the brand that I am now obsessing about wearing next spring (and the spring after that).
May I present 3 of my favourite outfits from the Spring Summer 14 collection, and believe me it was not easy to choose. Now roll on Easter (…too early?)
Love Holly X
Brunch With The Girls
Because my boyfriend will simply not understand the awesomeness of this jacket. It will take the fashion nous of a gaggle of shrill women to really get to the heart of what makes this the perfect spring statement piece. Is it the shape, the colour, the print, the quilting, the contrast collar and cuffs?? The combination just WORKS.
The Summer Wedding
The colour of this dress alone is enough to sell it for me- it’s so fresh and deceptively versatile. The printed fabric has a raised texture which gives it a classic spin i.e. It’s dressy enough that granny won’t give you the evils all through the speeches.
Granted, this outfit is probably best kept for a job in a creative field but paired with a smart black shirt it says “I take my profession quite seriously but my keen fashion sense cannot be contained to weekends.” If you can show me a better looking suit that this I’ll eat my new bomber jacket, which brings me to…
The Jewish festival Hannukah commemorates the victory of the Israelites over the Syrian Greek armies, and the miracle of restoring the menorah in the Holy Temple. Only one vial of oil was found, enough for one day–and yet it lasted for eight days. We will light one candle for each night to celebrate the miracle, sing (badly) and eat latkes (potato cakes) and donughts and other foods fried in oil because practically every Jewish festival has it’s own special foods associated with it. This is a happy festival and I thought I would give you a heads up in case you needed or wanted a new Menorah (special candle holder) or perhaps buy a special or fun gift for the occasion.
Most of the photographs here are my own. If you wish to use them feel free but please credit nickysragtales.com. Where I have used photographs taken from other sources I have credited them where possible, but if I have used any in error and you wish me to remove them just let me know.