Author Archive

The Lone Ranger

the_lone_rangerThe Lone Ranger has not had great reviews so far since its release in America, so when I went to see the premiere on Tuesday I was pleasantly surprised.

Corruption and greed are the foundations of a good film and The Lone Ranger will not disappoint, keeping the audience on the edge of their seat while also making them laughing out loud. Continue reading

Film Review: Monsters University 3D

File:Monsters university logo.jpg

Monsters University is a film full of humour, surprises and action that will entertain both adults and children alike. The prequel to Monsters Inc., the film follows the story of how Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) decides to become a scarer and how he forms an unlikely friendship with James P. Sullivan (John Goodman).

Another fantastic 3D film from Disney Pixar, it adds to the original movie as you begin to understand more about the characters from Monsters Inc., like why Randall (Steve Buscemi) has such a chip on his shoulder. You are also introduced to a whole host of new monsters, such as the cute Scott ‘Squishy’ Squibbles (Peter Sohn) and the funny acrobatic Art (Charlie Day).

Continue reading

Longing For A Return To Liverpool

Liverpool, home of The Beatles, Cilla Black and Craig Charles (aka Dave Lister from Red Dwarf or Lloyd in Coronation Street) is renowned in Ireland as the place for shopping, a forty minute flight to the vibrant and lively city with great nightlife, lovely accent and, most importantly, wallet friendly.

Liverpool was our last get together, our last girlie holiday (for a while at least) before one of the girls jetted off to her new life in Canada. It will always hold fond memories in that respect but don’t be fooled, Liverpool has more to offer than sentimental value. A few of the girls had been to Liverpool before but this was my first time and definitely not my last. Continue reading

A Fancy Alternative To The Traditional ‘Hand Me Downs’

yummy-mummy-1The Yummy Mummy Market started in late 2010 and since then has been moving around the country allowing parents sell their new or nearly new baby clothes, maternity wear and baby and toddler essentials. The market is a great way to get up close and properly inspect pre-owned items, a lot easier and safer than selling items over the internet. Continue reading

2013 : The Year of the Festival

Reading Festival 2011This year you need to replace your usual two week sun holiday with a load of weekend camping trips because this summer is the summer of festivals. Last year there was no Oxygen or Slane but its all happening and then some this summer. With upcoming  festival headliners being frequently announced in the press its time to start being festival aware. So before you go and buy your funky wellies and brightly coloured tents, take a look at the low down of festival fun happening around Ireland this summer. You’ll need to decide which ones to hit and which ones to miss. Big decisions will arise when you have to choose between Indiependence, Castlepalooza and Oxygen  as they all fall on the same weekend – but fear not because no matter which one you pick you are almost certainly guaranteed a weekend to remember (or not…) Don’t forget though it’s all about the music! Continue reading

Monsters, Inc. 3D

monsters3dEleven years after it was first released Monsters, Inc. is back on our screens and this time it’s in 3D.

All the monsters are back, top scarer Sulley (voiced by John Goodman whose voice you might recognise from the beach master in Happy Feet 2 or as that of the voice of the infamous Dan Connor from the hit American show Rosanne), Sulley’s hilarious side kick Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and of course the cutest heartbreaker to ever set foot on animation, Boo. Incredibly the cute childlike babble of the irresistible Boo is played by Mary Gibbs who was just five years old when the movie was first released.

The great thing about the re-release of this fantastic movie is that now a whole new generation get to experience the misadventures of all the team at Monsters Corp. and really get to know what is lurking in their wardrobe!

The film is funny and creative and is definitely one to take the children too. For those who have not seen the original, the story follows on the concept of monsters in your closet. The monsters collect the screams from the kids they scare in order to power the energy in the city of Monstropolis (the city where all monsters of varies shapes and sizes live). It follows on to be a story of love and determination, fighting ‘evil’ along the way.

I feel I have to give the 3D glasses a mention because they are fantastic, designed in the turquoise and purple colours of Sulley, two ‘monster hands’ are grasping the sides of the frames.

There may have been a hidden agenda bringing back Monsters, Inc. to our screens with a prequel Monster University being released this coming June 21st, but you certainly won’t hear me complaining as it is a movie that you appreciate the more times you watch it.

Directed by: Peter Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich

Written by: Peter Docter and Jill Culton

Monsters, Inc. will be in Irish cinemas on Friday 18th January 

Mary Byrne

The Ultimate Guide To Christmas Markets

There is about four weeks to go until the big day and the run up to Christmas is definitely the best time of the year. Streets markets any time of the year can offer unique and creative products but street markets at Christmas have that added ingredient of magic. If you have never been to a market Christmas time is definitely a great way to start. Christmas lights adorn picturesque wooden huts, with Christmas performances and beautiful Christmas music filling the sky.  The lights, the music and the sheer general ‘Christmassy’ creates a feeling of such extreme excitement for the countdown to Christmas.

Stroll up and down the stalls, mulled wine in one hand to keep the chill at bay and have a gander at all the incredible products on sale. Christmas markets are held all over the world from November to December and each offer a unique experience that only that city can offer.

I have compiled a list of Christmas markets that will take you all over the world from Galway to Prague to Dubai each offering an incredible and unforgettable experience.


Galway Continental Christmas Market in Eyre Square is open from Friday 23rd November to Saturday 22nd December. Santa’s Grotto will be there along with lantern making and a Christmas Youth Pageant to name a few of the activities that Galway offer.

Christmas Markets at the Milk Market Limerick in Cornmarket Row runs from the 30th November to 24th December  (Friday to Sunday until 13th December and then every day from 13th December) will contain Christmas choirs, food and craft stalls.

Kilkenny Christmas Market along the Parade Kilkenny runs on certain days from 1st December to the 23rd December 10am – 6pm. There will be carol singers, wooden log cabins, daily kid’s storytelling, and traders selling fantastic Christmas gifts.

Ballina Christmas Market in Mayo runs during the weekend of the 8th and 9th December and 15th and 16th December. Two weekends of Christmas festivities, including the arrival of Santa, craft and food stalls and a Christmas carol services.

Gorey Christmas Market, Wexford will be held on the 4th December on the Main Street with craft and food stalls a carol service, mulled wine and of course Santa!

Waterford Winterval Christmas Market on George’s Street will be starting 30th November and running each weekend until 23rd December with traditional Christmas food and craft stalls.

Docklands Christmas Market Dublin will be held from the 7th December until 23rd December and showcases the magic of Christmas through the Victorian fairground rides, gourmet food stalls and arts and craft stalls. Santa will be turning on the lights on the 7th December


Cologne Christmas Market, Germany, is set on the backdrop of the Cologne Cathedral and will make for a picturesque weekend trip. Cologne has six markets all eluding a different sense of Christmas, from the 26th November until the 23rd December. All six markets have their own unique spirit of Christmas from the Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral, “Home of the gnomes” Christmas Market, and the Fairytale Christmas market, the Christmas market at Stadtgarten, the new maritime Christmas Market and the Angels Market. Each Market holds Christmas performances and offers you traditional arts and craft, and delicious food and drink stalls.  Lufthansa fly to Cologne (Friday to Sunday) from €205.02

Krakow Christmas Market, Poland runs for a much longer period than the Irish Christmas markets from the 24th November to 6th January. The Krakow Christmas market will celebrate the Christmas spirit with beautiful wooden stalls selling crafts and jewellery. Nothing could be more beautiful than picking up a traditional Polish craft as you walk through white winter snow winding your way past lit up wooden stalls. Ryanair fly to Krakow Friday to Sunday from €92.00 (approximately), Aer Lingus fly to Krakow from €462.00 (approx. Friday to Sunday flight)

Outside Europe

If walking knee deep in snow doesn’t appeal to you why not skip the snow and try a Christmas Market in style. Dubai doesn’t do things by half measures and the Dubai Christmas Festival certainly showcases this. Running for three days 6th, 7th and 8th December the Dubai Christmas Festival is the ultimate Christmas festival and includes celebrity chefs, a music stage, Winter Wonderland which has bouncy castles and Christmas arts and crafts, Christmas Market and of course the man himself Santa. Etihad fly to Dubai from approx. €560.00 (flying out on a Wednesday and returning on a Monday)

Mary Byrne

Have a Spooktacular Halloween at Home

With a bank holiday to look forward too, an extra hour to enjoy and a whole week off school for the kids, it really just comes down to the ultimate question- what to do this Halloween?

There are loads of events around the country so you don’t need to go away to have a frighteningly enjoyable Halloween. Here is a taster of some of the great events and festivals across Ireland this Halloween.

The Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival with its thriller nights and friendly witches takes place from 19th October to the 5th November.

Blackwater Open Farm in Wexford is taking on a more traditional approach to celebrate Halloween this year with face painting and fancy dress on the 28th.

Longford will see the ‘Dead of Night’ Halloween celebrations on the 31st,while the Galway Aboo Halloween Festival caters for the young and the brave as ghosts and ghouls take over Galway’s Latin Quarter on the 26th to the 28th October.

Thurles in Tipperary is holding its fifth annual Halloween festival from the 25th to 31st October. This seven day festival caters to all with a variety of events from poetry reading to a fireworks display to a street cycle race.

Kerry will host the Ballybunion Halloween Festival which takes place on Halloween night with a bonfire, beach party and street parade.

There are also LOADS of festivals throughout the Capital so check out what is going on in your local area.

Have a safe and fun Halloween.

The Beautiful City of York

Take a trip back in time to the beautiful city of York.

Just 45 minutes from Dublin is a city perfect for a weekend getaway. Take a trip down the city streets of York and you will be in awe at the higgledy piggledy architecture which dates back to medieval times and beyond. It sits nestled within the York City Walls and it is like taking a step back in time walking through one of the five gateways into the city.

The shops still retain their quaint lint lined windows with some of the doors still clearly made for medieval heights. The Streets are narrow and cobbled; funky shops and boutiques line the pavements, all set against the back drop of the magnificent York Minster.

The city walls have become a huge tourist attraction, you can take a two-hour trip around these walls and because they are the most complete walls in England it takes approximately two hours to walk the two miles of the self-guided tour. The trip offers examples of Roman, Dark Ages, Viking and Medieval style along the walls.

The bars around York have the quirkiest names; ‘The Golden Slipper’ offers a perfect traditional village English pub in a city, while ‘The Royal Oak’ Pub offers good beer and good food in perfectly spooky surroundings!

A weekend in York is an ideal location to spend this Halloween as the city is steeped in ancient and supernatural history. Spook yourself through Ghost tours and Creeper trails. The Ghost Creeper tour will take you around York City, down haunted laneways and alleyways with stories of the supernatural. While the York Terror Trail takes you on a frightening two-hour adventure around the city.

It is a beautiful little city that is often missed out to its sister city Leeds for weekend trips.

Ryanair fly Dublin to Leeds/Bradford for €29.98 return

Mary Byrne

What to do while in Kaikoura, NZ

In the last post the journey to Kaikoura came alive but this time I want to take you into Kaikoura and show you all the fantastic and memorable activities that the town has to offer.

Kaikoura is not a big town but it has so much to offer that you could quite easily spend an entire week or even more there. From whale watching, to seal diving, horse riding, cliff walking, sheep shearing, bike rides, surfing, albatross experience and a unique Maori tour, Kaikoura will  keep you both entertained and will give you a lifetime of intimate, personal and picturesque memories.

This is just a taste of what Kaikoura has to offer and it most definitely has to be on your list of places to see.

1 You can visit the sperm whales, which are dotted around the crystal blue shores of Kaikoura, by either boat or plane. The plane takes you out over the ocean and gives you panoramic views of Kaikoura. This trip is definitely one for someone who is looking for the perfect picture. It takes about 30 minutes and you are almost guaranteed to see sperm whales

At NZ$165 for an adult and NZ$75 for a child it is definitely worth a trip

2 There is a real working family farm almost at the tip of the peninsula which will let you feed lambs and watch sheep being sheared. You will get to see authentic sheep shearing in action and will also be informed about different wool types and shearing techniques. It doesn’t go on for too long and is definitely worth a stop.

It’s cheap and cheerful at NZ$10 for an adult and NZ$5 for a child.

3 One of the best trips you can take in Kaikoura is the Maori trip. This is definitely one of the most amazing experiences that you can get while there.  It is not cheesy or tacky but a real life trip through the history of the Maori people and their customs. The bus tour will take you outside Kaikoura through woodlands and introduce you to Maori customs. You will be taught a Maori song (which you will be made sing by the way) and how to do weaving.

It is a personal and intimate trip that really will introduce you to the real New Zealand.

NZ$125 – Adult

NZ$65- Child

4 One activity that you should not leave Kaikoura without doing is rent a bike! Riding up and down the road, wind in your hair it really is so much fun and is a great way to really get to the tip of the peninsula. You can even rent trailers for kids so they can enjoy the journey aswell.

5 A walk around the peninsula is a great way to experience the real Kaikoura. As you walk through farmland, over cliff faces, up and down hills, through towns, past houses and back into farmland you will be given a true sense of just how magnificent New Zealand is. When you will arrive back at your accommodation you will be exhausted but with a real sense that you got so much out of Kaikoura than you ever thought you could. The walk takes about three hours and you can take it at your own pace. You are not guided but you can get a map at the iSITE but it doesn’t cost anything which makes it even better!