The river this November afternoon
Rests in an equipoise of sun and cloud:
A glooming light, a gleaming darkness shroud
Its passage. All seems tranquil, all in tune.”
― Cecil Day-Lewis,
Can it really be November already? Apparently so. But what a beautiful, calm entrance she has made here in Ireland. Days almost like summer, with a serene calmness in the air and not a hint of a breeze to disturb the russet carpet on the ground. Such days followed later by evenings arriving early, containing just a soft whisper of winter reminding us to light our stoves and boil the kettle for cups of steaming comfort. Transitional weather just doesn’t get any better than this.
But before a short digression becomes an entire weather themed sub-plot, back to the task at hand. A few of my October favourites.
My favourite event: Mad Hatters Food Trail, Kinsale
Regular readers of this blog will know that Taste of Dublin has long been my annual foodie event of choice. But suddenly the narrative reveals an unexpected twist as there has emerged a clear rival for the accolade of “Best Foodie Day Out” in Ireland, as decided by me. After my maiden voyage to the Mad Hatter’s Food Trail in Kinsale I am torn, very torn, and that is high praise indeed. The day warrants a full post but I can’t quite stand over the accuracy of my memories, as this is really a booze tour masquerading as a foodie event. The need to queue for a drink at 11.30am and images of a packed nightclub by late afternoon are clear indicators of the type of day that you are in store for when you follow an Alice in Wonderland character down this particular rabbit hole…. but what a great day it is. It is little wonder that at a hefty €95 this event still sells out months in advance. The food was fabulous (I think!!), there was a never-ending supply of quality alcoholic tipples and the participants knew that donning novelty hats was a signal to leave your inhibitions at the door, accept that “we are all mad here” and allow things to unfold in a manner that grows “curiouser and curiouser”. Sure they even have “your man Martin off the telly!!” Take a look….
And yes there was food…
It’s a really great day, in a really great town and has all the hallmarks of an annual pilgrimage. It made Keith Flyod fall in love with Kinsale…. and it’s easy to see why.
2. My Favourite Make-UP Brand: NARS
Yes, I know that I am very new to this particular party but in an attempt to broaden my make-up horizons, I have been experimenting with some new brands and NARS is the one that is impressing me most. I have been using three products and while liking them all, it is the matte concealer that is really living up to the hype. I use the shade Custard which is a medium tone and I now I think I need two of these little beauties on repurchase day. A lighter one for under the eyes and the same medium shade again for blemishes. It is a true wonder product.
I also love the lipstick as it is not drying on the lips and the colour stays in place for hours. But tbh, despite this being a beautiful formula, I am not enough of a make-up gal to worry about my brand of lippy too much, or to regularly splurge on something I invariably break or lose, so this may or may not be bought again. The shade, for anyone interested, is Anna.
And finally the primer. I did really like this. I have almost completely used it up. I will definitely take a scissors to the tube just to ensure no precious product goes to waste but I am on the fence about restocking. It is exactly what I wanted but there is so little in the tube I feel I can’t justify making it an everyday primer. And I want an everyday primer. So here I am torn, on the fence, out with the jury, in two minds, hemming and hawing; you get the picture. I am contemplating an Urban Decay version for November – it looks to be more product at a similar price point – but currently I am at the stage of putting it on the back of my hand, nodding affirmatively and leaving the cosmetics hall paralysed by procrastination. These are big decisions, big decisions indeed.
3. My Favourite Food Product: Basil Pesto
It has been a busy month – the lack of blog posts is a clear indicator of that. I am one of those lazy souls who can’t function tired…. so I need quick comfort food and very early nights. The kind of early nights toddlers get to enjoy. And I know I am not a two-year old but in my defense if I had the luxury of a nap in the afternoon I may stay up a little later. Anyway when things get a little hectic and the food needs to be fast but not a McDonalds, I find pesto to be a food hero. I just chop up lots of veg (generally mushrooms, yellow peppers, cherry tomato and courgette) and add them to a chicken breast that I fry off with a little garlic. Bung in the pesto with a dollop of creme fraiche to thin it out and serve over a little bowl of pasta shapes. Black pepper essential, parmesan an optional extra. Yum!!
4. My Fashion Favourite: Knitwear
Specifically jumpers…..I love jumper weather. But currently I am loving one jumper in particular – the Zara “Blonde” jumper – don’t worry it comes in other hair colours too but mine’s a blonde. It is just so cozy – oversize, fun, soft and cute. Now that’s a lot of positive adjectives for one knitwear item but it is a jumper that brings a smile to my face. Poppy Deyes and Samantha Maria have also purchased this one, so it’s becoming a regular on Instagram already. I ordered online partly because the Zara Online packaging lifts my spirits. Clothing wrapped in pretty tissue paper and folded perfectly to fit the sturdy cardboard box – take note ASOS and others, this is packaging done right!! Unbox, unwrap and slip your arms into a virtual cuddle. If you can wear hygge, it feels like this sweater.
5. My Interiors Favourite: Ikea
I know, I know – it is mass produced, it is generic, it is devoid of character – but for interiors on a budget Ikea really is hard to beat. Now you have to accept that it is a marketing triumph, I mean I only went for a bookcase and look…..
Where on earth was the bookcase supposed to fit??? There is no doubt that Ikea is the heroin of the impulse buying addict but if you just want simple furniture that you can style yourself, it is a winner. Simplicity and “quality” at an extremely affordable price point. My shelves, for an awkwardish space, cost about 50 quid. Add in a few accessories and it is exactly what I wanted. I would love bespoke furniture but for now unique is too expensive and so Ikea is my ideal Saturday afternoon destination. I mean €50…. and look how they turned out….. and all the other stuff in that trolley was entirely necessary too obvs….
So there it is… some of the things I have been loving this October. I have high hopes for sober and sugar free November – where I will lose a half stone in time for Christmas. Lofty goals indeed. However, I am delaying the beginning of this virtuous life until Monday because I am currently on my hols and have a theatre evening with my mum and a girlie night away with my favourite bevvy of sisters to look forward to first. More to follow on all that….. xo