Disclaimer: This image was taken from Pinterest. It’s way too bloody cold to go to the beach.
Oh 2014, you came and went like a flash. However, when I consider each month in retrospect I guess everything seems in order; last January seems like forever ago!
2014 was a good year. I started the year flying solo, which is something I haven’t experienced in a long time. And to be honest, I did a lot more for my singleton self and said yes to a whole lot of things that perhaps I wouldn’t have even considered the year previous. I stepped out of my comfort zone, which at times felt terrifying…but I always ended up feeling far better afterward and never had to wonder about ‘what if’. I figure sometimes you have to be a little selfish to get to where you want to be, or at least get on the right track.
During the past year, a lot happened around me! My sister finished school and started college, and a couple of milestone birthdays happened. Friends had babies, some are now engaged and two of my friends got married. Some friends changed jobs, some changed countries! Of course there were ups and downs which of course is part and parcel of every year but it was definitely a particularly eventful one for new beginnings and lifestyle changes. Congratulations again to those I’m talking about above (you know who you are.)
I met a serious amount of wonderful new people in 2014, many through blogging opportunities and events. I never dreamed that people would start noticing what I document here, and I really do appreciate all your support and where it’s leading me (nearly 1000 followers and nearly 350,000 views you guys!) I still often re-read emails I receive and have to pinch myself to make sure they’re actually meant for me; so I thank you for putting me in that position.
New Year’s Eve 2013, with my friend Katie at Bach 16
Something I am quite proud of which seemed to remain consistent during 2014 was the ability to live in the moment. OK, I have my phone and my laptop in my face for a considerable amount of time each day…but what I mean is I didn’t really look ahead too much. I enjoyed each day and took the time to experience joy in the little pleasures of life, and never once felt a gag reflex when I knew Monday was looming. (I’ve clearly still managed to stay dramatic.)
I have been keeping this mentality for most of the year, slipping occasionally when challenges presented themselves, but they too, of course, always passed.
Instead of resolutions, I have my 2015 goals in sight. Goals sound more longterm, don’t you think? Resolutions is a word that sounds like it was made to be broken. So while I’ll keep those to myself, I will say that during 2014; I laughed, I cried and I worried. I sometimes doubted myself, and asked for a lot of advice. I made lots of mistakes, I found myself, I sometimes lost myself…I dated a few different characters good and not so good (big learning curve there…) I did plenty to scare the wits out of myself, changed my hair (another learning curve – bleach makes me bald!) and acquired a lot. And I plan to do it all again this coming year, but with like, new stuff thrown in!
I hope you’re all not bored to tears! I’m done being saccharine now.
Here’s a few things that happened over the past 12 months. With pictures! I didn’t blog about half the things I did this year, but 50% online and 50% offline seems like a good balance.
January’s first blog post was a review of the then newly opened Bach 16 wine bar on Bachelor’s Walk. I spent New Year’s Eve there and had an amazing night. Within 24 hours of publishing the review, it hit 2,000 views.
I read Debra Ollivier’s Entre Nous over Christmas and did a blog post on the book. Debra herself caught wind of it and sent me a really nice email thanking me personally for the kind review.
I also posted my second and last YouTube video to date (I need to take that up again!) and experienced an amazing afternoon tea at The Shelbourne with my Mother.
For the first few months of 2014, I spent a lot of time with Spanish friends I met in Salamanca the previous year. Vega and Carlos moved to Dublin after graduating to look for jobs and improve their English. While they were here, Niall and I took them to the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair. We saw some amazing Irish dancers, tried loads of meats, cheeses, crisps, bacon jam (!) and mixed enough craft beers and whiskey that we were all in a bad way. The good kind of bad way! Paddy Casey also performed. Great craic. The 2015 festival is on February 27th.
My best pal of 8 years, Paddy, married his very sweet girlfriend Sinead on February 22nd. The wedding reception was at Finnstown Country House Hotel, and everything was flawless from the food to the band. They really outdid themselves.
I took my first Uber ride home on Valentine’s Day, and my driver handed me a real yellow rose at the end of my journey. If that isn’t love, what is? Uber are starting to grow in Dublin. I recommend them for a safe and professional service. No cash needed, totally affordable, your journey is GPS tracked and the cars are spacious. Nope, this is not a plug guys! Just advice from one friend to another. Don’t try them tonight though! New Year’s Eve is NOT the time to take my advice.
I took a trip down to Galway with friends and family and stayed at The Stop. I read a lot about it before the trip and had to stay, it looked so quirky and cute. The location is great, as was the breakfast and homemade cookies.
We visited Morans on the Weir, for oysters and old times. On our second day we took a trip to Clifden and up the windy Sky Road, where I photographed that gorgeous horse, as grey as the weather. We finished the evening with a long and leisurely top notch meal at Ard Bia at Nimmos, nestled in a cosy snug. One of my most memorable of the year.
That delicious looking egg dish is from Forest Avenue. I tried their much talked about tasting brunch menu last April.
Spring sunshine was in full swing, the grass was green and the skies were blue. This was the month I raved about The Green Hen, for ambiance, food and value. I went to the Little Museum of Dublin with my Canadian friend Marcus and we were given a great tour by one of the museum founders (complete with wine!) and then went downstairs to a very echoey room to hear stories and songs from Nathan Salsburg and Landless sang beautiful haunting ballads.
I accompanied my friend Laura Mullett to the premiere of Tarzan in the Odeon cinema where I took on the role of photographer for the evening while she interviewed Kellan Lutz for RTE. He was such a down to earth guy and very generous with his time. Laura and I fell in love with him a little bit, and stalked him afterward at The Gibson Hotel.
I watched the sun go down on Ringsend Pier and attended the amazing Secret Garden pop up restaurant located in Meeting House Square. I was blown away by the tasting menu and creativity of the whole event, and it transpired that Lidl were behind it all – the food, the wine and even the flowers! At the end of April, I went to Edinburgh for a long weekend. I saw old friends I met in Spain, ate in really impressive restaurants and had my first Pimm’s at the Edinburgh University end of year party.
I finally got tickets to the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail. We started in Bagots Hutton, moved on to the Drury Buildings, Market Bar and finished with dessert at Zaragoza. Barbecue season was in full swing, and I celebrated my *cough* 26th *cough* at El Chico Mexicano. I went from a red tint to a full blown head of bright red hair…I think it was a decision stemming from a short lived panic over turning another year older. Achieving that level of brightness is now out of my system.
The biggest change in June concerned my job. We packed up, moved out and became a distributed office. I’ve been working from home ever since.
I spent a week in Spain at the beginning of the month with my sister and Niall. We went back Salamanca, naturally! Nothing much has changed there, and I still love it as much as ever. I think a yearly visit will be essential for the rest of my life. On our second last day, we rented a car and drove to Segovia to see the aqueducts and Alcázar Castle.
I took a second trip to Galway with friends during the Fringe Festival, and stayed in a hotel overlooking Eyre Square courtesy of my friend Aisling. Before Galway we went to Clare for the afternoon to see The Cliffs of Moher.
A group of us went fishing in Howth. We caught enough mackerel for everyone and barbecued our catch, served up with pints of Guinness for some; a meal of pure Irish produce.
My sister achieved outstanding results in her Leaving Cert, so we went to the Redbank House & Restaurant in Skerries to celebrate. We took a detour to see the windmills up close, before I tackled the largest seafood platter of my life (so far.)
Zaragoza Dublin, a tapas restaurant on South William Street invited me in to taste their best dishes, and I experienced afternoon tea at the Michelin star Bon Appetit in Malahide.
I was thrilled to find out that I was one of 6 finalists for the 2014 Image Blog Awards and attended the shindig at Dylan McGrath’s Fade Street Social. I was then shortlisted for Blog Awards Ireland 2014, then became a finalist which again, was huge! Thanks to all who voted for me, achieving a spot as a finalist helped Travel Style Food gain a lot more exposure. I spent a lot of my time in the city during September, as the weather was beautiful and I figured it might be the last drop of sunshine.
I attended the Shiseido event for the launch of their Ultimune serum at Harvey Nichols at Dundrum Town Centre, which is my favourite product of 2014 and has changed my skin drastically. Ask a Shiseido counter for a sample before committing yourself. I promise you won’t regret it. Also not a plug!
During October, I partied on a boat with Yelp, took walks through Trinity College Dublin with my sister (their newest student!) held a very successful Halloween party and spent a week at Alanda Club Marbella in Elviria. We went to all our usual haunts and I developed quite a taste for espresso martinis at The Playwright, where coincidentally I saw newsreader Anne Doyle…starstruck!
I went for dinner at Sabor Brazil to experience their tasting menu for the second time. They don’t allow photography or blog features but remain number one with their TripAdvisor reviews as the best restaurant in Dublin. I took a sneaky picture of the cheeseboards anyway to at least show you something (I’m rebellious like that.) If you think that looks impressive, you should see (and taste) the other dishes!
My baby sister turned 18! Pretty much the whole month was dedicated to her. I organised lots of events to draw out the celebrations and we started with a fantastic meal at The Larder, followed by a family night in Essence Bistro. Brunch after a night of birthday drinks with her friends was at San Lorenzo’s, and I took her to The g Hotel as a final celebration. We also tried out the famous Roisin Dubh during our time in Galway.
I reviewed the much hyped Bulletproof coffee, and partook in delicious breakfast symmetry at Metro Café after some press events with Laura.
The rest, you guys know already! I watched the Christmas tree light up on O’Connell Street and attended an evening with Nick Munier of Masterchef at the Dublin Wine Rooms courtesy of TheTaste.ie. I had a busy Monday at the beginning of the month where I attended the Image Networking Breakfast, had a tour at the very cool Dean Hotel and finished my evening with dinner with the Zomato crew and other food bloggers at The Exchequer in Ranelagh. Christmas was filled with food, drink, family and friends and tonight will be no different!
Thank you for reading and being a part of it all.
Happy New Year and New Year’s Eve! I hope 2015 is a safe, healthy and happy one – not to mention the brightest and best yet.
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