Friday, 27 November 2015

Black Mass - Movie Review

Who's In It?

, and 

What's It About?

Johnny Depp plays real Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger, who turned FBI informant under the impression it would take down the mafia closing in on his turf.

Any Good?

Johnny Depp is brilliant as Whitey Bulger, he's totally convincing and bizarre looking with the blue eyes/yellow teeth combo, it's a HUGE step from his usual quirky same characters. While he is incredibly well acted, the film does the same thing every other crime media does and has the scene where the main boss says something insane calmly and then laughs and says they were joking. It also does the Al Capone everyone-loves-him angle that The Departed had, it just reduced him to a normal, samey villain.

The real Whitey Bulger

While Johnny Depp was amazing, he was outdone in my opinion by Joel Edgerton as the FBI agent he was informing. The transformation was brilliant - if predictable -, he goes from slightly cautious and nervous new guy to acting as if he's a crime lord himself; going as far as to try commanding his boss' boss around and threatening his wife .

Brilliant acting, great action scenes and just as good character development are dragged down by the fact this is nearly EVERY crime story you've ever heard. While I did enjoy the film, it was just that fact in the back of my mind that really took off the edge of all the intense scenes and reminded me that I know what's going to happen at every turn.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

I'll preface this week's Jimmies with the fact that there's a full moon and I'm basically a walking hormone this past week, but Sweet Baby CHEESUS if I haven't had to bite my tongue one time too many. In no particular order of buffoonery:

1. Anyone that adds me to a Closed Facebook Group to hock Aloe/Yonique/Body Wraps/Any other Ponzi Scheme they might have gotten caught up in... 
ESPECIALLY when they re-add me after I leave!

2. 'Have you met her? She's SO NICE!!'

3. Sharing 'Black Friday' Deals but not Mentioning that You've Added Your Own Affiliate Links...

4. 'Hey, Sue, LOVE what you do! I'm just getting started but would really appreciate if you'd 
pop over your contacts for...'

5. Christmas Trees in November. 

It's just as well I'm away this weekend for some R'n'R, isn't it? 

Tell us, what's been rustling your jimmies this week? Any or ALL of the above? 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Cabra Castle Fit for a Queen in Kingscourt, Co Cavan!

At the start of the year I was very lucky to be given a luxury weekend break with and Irish Country Hotels. We chose the stunning 4* Cabra Castle Hotel in Kingscourt, Co Cavan for our break. Seeing as we have 5 children we never get any offers to babysit which is understandable really. We decided to split the children between their two Grannies so we could have our first child free break in years to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.

We didn’t get off to a good start as Storm Barney paid Ireland a visit so it rained nonstop all the way from Kildare to Dublin & traffic was chaotic, we were halfway up the M7 when I realised I’d left the baby’s nappy bag at home. As there are no convenient shops en route it was going to waste precious time to purchase what we needed but Sue came to my rescue with one of her #randomactsofhappy. She saved us a shed load of time, thanks Sue!

We safely deposited half our children in Glasnevin & half of them in Blanchardstown and left Dublin for the hour long drive to Cavan, still in the lashings of rain. From the second we arrived at Cabra castle I was in love with the place and every minute of panic was forgotten in an instant. They had their Christmas decorations up outside complete with tiny twinkling white lights, the castle looked stunning. Check in was efficient and friendly we also booked a table for dinner for later that night. Our room was located around the back of the Castle in the courtyard; we hopped in the car and drove around. (yes the castle is that big!)

We were in room 67 which is one of the top floor courtyard suites. The decor of the room was in perfect keeping with the Castle, expensive carpets and curtains with bare stone walls and varnished wooden ceiling beams. The bathroom was tiled floor to ceiling; in one corner was a gorgeous replica antique bathing stand in the other there was large Jacuzzi bath. Having read reviews on TripAdvisor I believe the courtyard rooms are better than the rooms in the Castle, many people advise asking for a courtyard room.

Every member of staff we encountered was so warm and friendly, which to be honest really makes a hotel stand out for me. Dinner is served in the Courtroom Restaurant on the first floor and books out fast so booking is advised. I could easily see how they book out as the prices are amazing for an award winning restaurant. A four course dinner starts at just €35.50 per person. The fact that the Castle and restaurant are always full is a testament to the owners; by keeping it affordable they are ensuring the Castle will remain open for years to come, employing local people.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was fabulous; a really relaxing and welcoming environment. We asked for a table down the back as it’s a smaller area making it more romantic. We couldn’t fault any one of the dishes served to us, all were made with local fresh ingredients cooked to perfection. If you do go I’d highly recommend the Caesar salad, it’s the best I’ve tasted in years. 

They make their own dressing which has won a gold medal and it’s divine. The wines were also surprisingly affordable; we opted for a delicious Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon priced at just €25 a bottle. We loved everything about the meal so much so that before we left we booked a table for the following night. 

Truly the only niggle I had with the restaurant was that when requesting (my fave) Eggs Benedict for breakfast, they didn't serve it. Now, I'm not mentioning this to be picky but it's not that they just didn't serve it, the waitress had never heard of it! I'm guessing she was new and what with the entirety of our stay being sensational, I'm not going to hold it against them. 

On Saturday we took a short drive into Carrickmacross for a spot of shopping and then on to Drogheda for lunch. It didn’t stop raining all day so we returned to the Castle early so I could have a Jaccuzzi to warm my bones before dinner. If they had a pool at the castle we would have spent the day at the hotel rather than braving the Irish weather. There were weddings on the Friday and on the Saturday at the castle so it was very busy but that didn’t impact us at all as there was always a friendly staff member available. 

They currently have a fantastic special offer on their website starting at €220 for 2 people for 2 night’s bed and breakfast. The only weekend date available is 1st & 2nd January it’d be a perfect Christmas gift for that someone special and yourself of course!

Trying to squeeze every last moment out of our weekend we spent Sunday morning sitting reading the Sunday papers at a large open fire just off the reception area, it was while here that we noticed the Proclamation framed and hanging on the wall. Also on the first floor there is one of the original Tricolours on display, I loved that they have an appreciation of our history and heritage.

It’s easy to see Cabra Castle is a family run hotel as everything is impeccable and the staff really seem to enjoy working there. The Corscadden family also own Ballyseede Castle in Co Kerry, which is now on our list of places to stay and Bellingham Castle in Co Louth which is a 19 bedroom Castle available for private hire for weddings, parties and corporate events. I recently learned that the family also bought Markree Castle in Co Sligo which is currently undergoing renovations, scheduled for opening in spring 2017; having stayed there a few years ago I can’t wait to return when it’s complete to see the Corscadden touch.

Have you ever stayed in Cabra Castle? How did you get on? Are there any other Castle hotels in Ireland we should visit?

As mentioned our break
was courtesy of
but not on condition of review.
We weren't paid or sponsored 
for this feature and, as ever, it 
wouldn't sway our opinion even
if we were. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Bridge of Spies - Movie Review

Who's In It?


What's It About?

Tom Hanks (James B. Donovan) is an insurance lawyer appointed to defending a Soviet spy, and when he does so successfully he is sent to segregated Berlin to negotiate the trade of said Soviet for an American pilot.

Any Good?

The film starts out with a brilliant sequence of the steps Rudolph Abel (Soviet spy) takes to retrieve a dead drop.It really sets a standard for great methodical scenes that sound boring, but are really well done and interesting; despite the subtlety of a sledgehammer. 

The dead drop in question

The characters are great in the film, with the acting for the Soviet spy and German negotiator being head and shoulders above the rest - and Tom Hanks above even them, despite his constant verge of tears face. James Donovan's CIA handler (Agent Blasco) is total cheese though, it was like he was put in to add a ruthless face to the Americans after all the vilifying of the Soviets.

The biggest problem I had with the film was the obvious pushing of the flawless Nuclear Family American image. While the Soviets were torturing the American pilot and shooting people trying to climb the Berlin wall, the Americans were taking great care of the Soviet spy - and these scenes just looked so biased and forced next to each other. Other than that it was brilliant - but the blatant Zero Dark Thirty-esque jingoism almost killed it for me. 


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

Oh I do like a good unrustling - don't you? If this is your first time, a little explainer: To Rustle One's Jimmies = To Annoy Someone Almost to the Point of Stabbiness.. but not quite. Each week we use the magical restorative powers of gif to unrustle those jimmies & set the world to rights again. 

This week's worst offenders:

1. 'I could of told you that' - Until you learn English you tell me NOTHING!

2. The 'Embed Tweet' function refusing to work on Blogger. 

3. When samples of beauty products are so much better than the full size. J'Accuse, Better Than Sex mascara ~ Tricksy Hobbitses!!

4. Packaged sandwiches that look stuffed to the brim, when it's only a sliver of filling in the centre & you end up eating dry bread instead!

5. Realising friends you highly respected are actually HUGE BIGOTS through their Facebook posts after a tragedy. 

Tell me, can you relate? 

What's been rustling your jimmies this week?