Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday's Moments ~ 25/04/16

What a weekend! Spent bar hopping, musical watching & makeup shopping in London with Corrina for my belated birthday trip; the truth is I may be delirious with tired in writing today's post. How and ever, I can't let a Monday go by without giving thanks so here goes: 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Captain America: Civil War - Movie Review

Who's In It?

, and 

What's It About?

When General Thunderbolt (yep, really) Ross forces Government sanctions to be tabled by the Avengers, it splits the team down the centre.

Any Good?

A surprise to no-one, this movie is definitely NOT a Cap one; it's an Avengers through and through. I'm not sure if they named it as Captain America because Avengers 2 was so recent, or Iron Man already had 3 - but there's just as much if not more time devoted to other characters.

I found that they put a bit much focus on Cap being selfish and not perfect - over half the film seems to build up to the fact that he's wrong, until the last act or so where it flips the wrongdoing to Iron Man. But, even though I was/am Team Cap, I could totally understand where Tony Stark was coming from - even if the reasoning was as subtle as a slap in the face.

Spider-Man has always been my favourite Marvel hero, but even I found the hype around him in this a bit much considering how recent his last films were; but I was pleasantly surprised. Tom Holland was great as Peter Parker - awkward and nerdy but when he was Spider-Man he was funny and sarcastic even while being on his best behaviour.

Black Panther was also incredibly cool, he was quick and strong with a vibranium suit that soaks up minigun shots and has claws that damage Caps shield. One surprise was Ant-Man, he seemed to take some of the comic relief roll off Tony Stark's shoulder and it really suited Paul Rudd.

Bucky Barnes was a lot less angsty in this - but in some scenes he goes full Anakin Skywalker and hams it up rediculously. His arm looked fantastic however - but so did everything else. I absolutely LOVED Black Panthers suit - it reminded me of the Crysis Nanosuit, and even Spider-Man's suit didn't look half bad. 

The story felt like a fleshed out version of the fight about Ultron in Avengers 2 - it was definitely a set up movie. The highlights were definitely Spider-Man, Black Panther and Ant-Man being added into the Avengers - I'm quite looking forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming now. 

Overall I found it above average, but I think I've kind of fallen out of love with the big team based superhero movies after Batman vs Superman. I definitely do recommend going to see it though - the fight in the airport makes the trip worth it alone.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

I made the executive decision today to wait until after lunch to unrustle my jimmies ~ it was best for everyone... As ever, get in touch and release your own Kraken, it's oh so cathartic.

1. Tomato in pre-packed sandwiches...

2. Having to give up the ghost and replace my beloved Parfois sunglasses ~ they're so scratched I'm like Roy Orbison doing laps of the park...

3. Free range children in restaurants!

4. Event pictures that I didn't know were being taken...

5. "No Offence"

Tell us, can you relate? What's been rustling your jimmies this week? 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New Brows AND a Good Deed ~ Benefit's #BoldisBeautiful Campaign is Coming!

There's nowt I love to promote more than a brand supporting home grown charities. I'm not talking slapping a ribbon on something and calling it awareness, I'm talking full on, '100% of proceeds go to..' kind of support. That's why when I learned of the upcoming Bold is Beautiful campaign from Benefit, I knew I'd be sharing again and again. Last year alone Benefits Global Philanthropy Campaign donated $2.5 million to local charities, this year they're including Ireland in their philanthropic efforts. 

It me! As a superhero/young Esther Rantzen - Thanks, Benefit!
How to Get Involved with #BoldisBeautiful

During the month of May 100% of the proceeds from all brow waxes (€16), completed at the 13 Benefit brow bars will go to the two chosen charities, Look Good Feel Better and Daisy House. Not only that but as a thank you Benefit are gifting every customer with a full size Gimme Brow product (€26) for getting involved with their charity efforts. 

Often copied, never equaled, you'll have seen me talk about Gimme Brow
The Charities Chosen

Look Good Feel Better are dedicated to improving the well being and self confidence of women undergoing treatment for all forms of cancer. Daisy House (Watch HERE) provide secure affordable high quality supported accommodation to homeless women and to provide them with the skills and confidence to move to independent living. Both do Trojan work for the women of Ireland, the funds raised by Benefit for this Bold is Beautiful could be quite literally life changing for many of them. 

Maggie Ford Danielson (Benefit's Global Beauty Authority) speaking passionately about the Bold is Beautiful Global and Local campaign

Will you be bringing your brows to Benefit during the month of May? I know I will and I know Corrina will too (they're her go to brow bar anyway). New Brows and a good deed to boot? Thanks, Benefit!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Athlone Castle & The Luan Gallery ~ Ancient Ireland’s Fortifications Brought to Life!

Through travelling Ireland and seeking out museums, exhibitions and events with our 5 children, we have instilled in them a love of Irish history and heritage. My older three children Orla, Aoife (9) and Seamus (7) had been learning about Ancient Ireland’s Fortifications in class so our Tullamore trip was an ideal opportunity to bring them to Athlone Castle.

From Tullamore it was a 35 minute drive to Athlone but we stopped off along the way when we saw a playground. I find it helps to break up road trips with young children if you let them keep an eye out for playgrounds you can stop at along the way. We have rules though, if we’re on the way somewhere we only stay as long as it takes for them all to get a go on everything in the playground then it’s a run back to the van to set off again.

Athlone Castle

As we arrived at Athlone Castle it had just started to rain, we were lucky enough to find on street parking around the side of the castle on the banks of the River Shannon costing €2.40 for two hours parking. We received a lovely warm welcome from Mary and Fiona who gave us a map of the eight gallery spaces.

Little ones enthralled in Athlone Castle

My children were mesmerised by the first room we entered as it contained an audio visual set up they had never seen before. There was a large flat rock like structure on a table in front of a bench; they quickly clambered up onto it to see what the buttons would do. To their delight an over head projector projects moving battle scenes onto the rock, this was further enhanced by a large cinema screen on the wall behind it explaining what they were seeing, they were also surrounded by the sounds of a battlefield. Needles to say we had to stay for the full presentation twice over!

We moved on into the other exhibition spaces learning as we went that Athlone Castle was built in 1210 to defend the crossing point of the River Shannon. The next room was full of our favourite kind of history “hands on”. They got to play interactive games, use the touch screen displays, build a 3D model of the Castle, practice using a bow and arrow and even dress up in period costume for a photo or two.

All smiles building his very own Athlone Castle

There is a small lift so I had no issues negotiating three floors with a baby in a buggy. When we got to the second floor, Ann a volunteer at the castle joined us to explain all about the run up to the siege of Athlone. The children soaked up what she had to say like sponges as she was very friendly and warm towards them.

My favourite exhibitions were the 360° cinema depicting the 1691 siege of Athlone and the life size Jacobite and Williamite soldiers clothed in recycled materials, a quirky twist that makes for a spectacular display.

Admission: Adults €8, Senior/Student €6, Children under 15 €4, Children under 4 free and discounted family tickets €20 & €25. On your admission tickets you will find special offers such as half price admission to Belvedere House and 25% off an Irish coffee at Sean’s Bar among others.

Luan Gallery

The Luan Gallery is located directly across the road from Athlone Castle; you can use the underpass if you wish to avoid crossing the road. Luan Gallery the first purpose built municipal art gallery in the midlands was opened in 2012. While we were visiting they had a 1916 Centenary exhibition. My son Seamus made sure we didn’t miss it and I was glad as not only did we get to view some wonderful artwork we also got to take in some beautiful views of the River Shannon.

Admission is free, guided tours are also available free of charge but they must be booked in advance.

Sean’s Bar

Cillian refueling, while the big ones plan our next move (he's his Aunty Sue's protege)

Dating back to 900 A.D. Sean’s Bar has claimed the title of oldest bar in Ireland. Guinness World Records list it as the oldest watering hole in Europe, so I knew while we were in Athlone we had to pop in for a glass of lemonade and a packet of crisps. With low ceilings and saw dust on the floor as soon as you enter you know you’ve stepped back in time.

The smell of the open turf fire envelops you and brought me right back to my childhood days of holidays in Connemara. As we were having a drink a couple in the corner were chatting, I recognised them as we’d seen them in both Athlone Castle and Luan Gallery. The gent approached our table as he was going to the bar. I was nicely surprised when he complimented me on giving my children a wonderful childhood and filling it with memories like these.

Aoife warming her cockles in Seán's Bar before moving on - she didn't lick it off a ston...

Sean’s Bar also has a riverside garden I’d say it’d be beautiful for a visit during the summer months to watch the traffic on the Shannon while having a cooling drink.

Did you know you can take a cruise on a replica Viking longship down the Shannon to Lough Ree? I didn’t! It’s a 75 minute cruise costing €35 for a family, departing from the quayside at Athlone Castle. Unfortunately it was raining while we were there so we’ll be returning during the school holidays.

Have you been to Athlone? What did we miss?

*Disclaimer: I had paid into Athlone Castle but was very generously refunded our admission fee when we were leaving as I had been tweeting about our experience, while we were there. I also received a pair of adult tickets for a return visit which I gave away via a Twitter competition. @msmum was our lucky winner & the tickets have been posted to her.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday's Moments ~ 10/04/16

Spring has well and truly sprung, the evenings are brighter, the work diary is fit to burst and everyone's in great health in Casa Cherry. I mean it's not like I have to search far for Moments to chase away my Monday Blues this week but there are five stand outs - I'd love to hear yours!

1. Hairy Potter arriving home from Florida! I'm all for the lads being independent and spreading their wings but three weeks on the other side of the planet from Adam was beginning to give me palpitations. I mean, what if no one ever knew how to make my tea again?! I jest. He's home. I'm chuffed.

2. Diesel managing a full 25 minute walk like the pup he thinks he is after his stroke. Granted he slept like a log for 13 hours afterward but still. I snapped him with the Rocky tune playing and the amount of people that snapped back to wish him well or cheer him on. You're all bloody legends!

3. Aaron (@DieHardDublin) recording two slots for Spin 1038! He was invited in to chat movies with Gordon Hayden and had a fantastic time. Cross your fingers that it becomes a regular thing!

4. Spending time with little Alex, in Wales. With all the commotion I didn't tell you about his Toothless teddy. I bought him a Build-A-Bear teddy when he was a baby with my voice inside because we don't see him as much as we'd like. The poor child was stunned that my voice was his bear's voice, as if his Toothless had come to life, or at the very least, learned ventriloquism.

5. The Google Alert I have set up for social media mentions popping Rach's blog onto my radar! Read it HERE. Every Sunday Rachel interviews an Irish Beauty Blogger and asks about their inspirations or fave bloggers and little ol' me got so many mentions!! I'm over the moon. Thanks so much, ladies <3

Tell us, what chased away your Monday Blues today, Hmmm? 

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Jungle Book 2016 - Movie Review!

Who's In It?

Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo EspositoChristopher Walken, and Neel Sethi

What's It About?

Mowgli has been raised by wolves in the jungle, it's all he knows but when the tiger, Shere Khan declares he'll kill as many as it takes to exact his revenge on the man-cub for past wrongs, young Mowgli embarks for the man-village with Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear. This Disney classic remake runs true to form.

Bill Murray as Baloo - or is that Baloo as Bill Murray - you decide!

Any Good?

I don't think I've ever been as blown away by as film as this one. I don't hold much truck with remakes and as they go, this holds a very special place in my heart. I grew up watching The Jungle Book every Saturday with my Grandad, so I was sure it was going to be awful and quite possibly a cash in; but nostalgia was left behind almost immediately.

The visuals are INCREDIBLE, just as good as IMAX/Blu-Ray Avatar's were (I actually went back and watched just it for this review), only for the colours are more muted - even more so by the 3D glasses (a bugbear of mine). The animals' lip-syncing is spot on for the entirety, and the voice acting done so well that they leave behind any worry that the characters will just be vessels for the voices. Once the first character speaks, you're right there in the jungle with them.


The soundtrack is a 10/10 for me, while there's only 2 real songs featured, the score in general was absolutely perfect. The new Bear Necessities is epic, John Debney and his orchestra did a fantastic job of making Disney's most iconic song incredibly powerful and all without lyrics. Christopher Walken singing I Wanna Be Like You was made even more charming by the fact he can't sing, but he forever changed the way I sing the song to myself and will change the way you do too ooh ooh.

Speaking of Walken, I LOVED his King Louie; his infamous cadence, singing voice, and just how colossal he was. He would have stolen the show for me, if it weren't for Neel Sethi playing Mowgli. I don't usually like child actors, but he's easily the best actor so far this year and this is his first film. His mannerisms, his reactions (to green screen no less) - he's a star!

Every voice pitched perfectly, especially Bill Murray as Baloo and Ben Kingsley as Bagheera. They were perfectly cast, and played off each other so well, with Bagheera keeping Baloo straight and narrow - just how I'd imagine Ben would with messer Bill in real life. I think my biggest disappointment was Scarlett Johansson not getting more time as Kaa, she was quite literally mesmerising, so apt for the hypnotic serpent. I fell in love with her voice in Her (review HERE); her dulcet tones were even better in this - Johansson is proof ASMR is a thing.

I fell in love with how this newest Jungle Book was shot, there'd be gorgeous sweeping scenes of amazing CGI, landscape and animals, broken up by the totally menacing Shere Khan or even by the incredible "Red Flower"; it's a truly beautiful film. It felt Lord of the Rings-ish in scale nearer the end for me, and I think you'll know what I mean when you see King Louie.

Jon Favreau made his masterpiece with this but I really think the achievement is out-shone by Neel Sethi's potential. I recommend it in 2D as we saw it in 3D and only the end credits justified the encumbrance of glasses, while it sadly darkened the rest of the film. A word of note to parents of young'uns though, there's a reason this isn't a Universal rating, little ones might just find the menacing characters a little much.

It doesn't matter how old you are or if you have kids, or how many iterations of The Jungle Book you've seen to date - get out to the cinemas and be amazed by this Disney marvel.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Things That Rustle My Jimmies

As weeks go, this has been a good 'un.... mostly: 

1. Watching a park full of joggers when I've forgotten my trainers on the nicest day of Spring so far...

2. We want you to cover our upcoming event that's of zero relevance to you... or your audience... 

3. The fact that 'Please' and 'Thank You' are still magic words....

4. ALL Bloggers do this [insert despicable thing]

5. Getting to Dublin Airport Security to be asked if I have a knife in my bag 'Of course not!' - 'Oh wait, that monstrous knife that Aaron uses to open Diesel's sacks of food and clearly put in my bag accidentally because it was on the kitchen table when I packed? Yeah, that's mine' 

Tell us, what's been rustling your jimmies this week? Release that Kraken, it's SO cathartic! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tullamore Tourists in Tullamore Dew & Birr Castle!

Welcome back, this week, as promised, I’ll tell you about our first full day as Tullamore tourists. Seeing as I was flying solo with my 5 little ones I decided to let them pick where they wanted to go. Armed with a bundle of tourist brochures from reception we sat down over breakfast and pondered all of our options. The children were immediately taken with Birr Castle, Gardens and Science Centre; there was something for everyone there. My 4 year old Cillian really wanted to see the skeffletope (telescope)!

Friday, April 08, 2016

My Top 5 Upcoming Summer Movies! (2016)

This post is a mirror of the interview I recorded today for Spin 1038(!!) with the FANTASTIC Gordon Hayden.We had good craic so hoping that it's the first of many.Cross your fingers, maybe light a candle, Aaron. 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The Central Hotel in Tullamore ~ Our Midweek Midterm Escape!

If you’re a regular reader round these parts you may remember I wrote a post of my top buys under €50 for Mother’s Day. OK, I admit I bought most of them for myself, while researching the post but that's an occupational hazard when you're writing about great travel deals. One of those deals was €49 for one night B&B in the Central Hotel in Tullamore via I bought the two night option and paid €89 for two nights B&B for two people, with two children under 12 staying free. The offer also included a free bottle of sparkling wine, if you dined in their restaurant.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Monday's Moments ~ 04-04-16 (with ALL the !!!)

Hey, All, how's your Monday been treating you so far? As ever there's a struggle 'round these parts to whittle the Moments I'm grateful for down to just five but here goes: 

Friday, April 01, 2016

Stella & Dot Launch Autism Awareness Bracelet Benefiting Irish Autism Action

Tomorrow, April 2nd, sees the 8th Annual World Autism Awareness Day and one of our favourite fashion accessories brands, Stella & Dot are going above and beyond to support Irish Autism Action with their Harmony bracelet. The incidence of Autism is now believed to be at 1 in 100 children, though studies show that is on the increase. Unfortunately little is known about possible causative factors or conditions preceding or accompanying Autism so support is imperative for Irish Autism Action, a young dynamic, innovative and passionate organisation bringing positive change into the lives of those affected by autism.

Victoria - Movie Review