Friday, 22 May 2015

Blood on Snow - Review

From the best selling author of the Harry Hole series and BAFTA-nominated Headhunters, comes Jo Nesbo's Blood on Snow.

Drugs. Death. Murder. Revenge.
And a hitman with two big problems.

'Olav lives the lonely life of a fixer. When you 'fix' people for a living - terminally - it's hard to get close to anyone. Now he's finally met the woman of his dreams, but there are two big problems. She's his boss's wife, and Olav's just been hired to kill her.'

I was kindly sent a copy of Blood on Snow from the Mumsnet Bloggers Network to review. Having never tried an audio book before and after hearing a clip from it I immediately said yes. Admittedly I found it hard to concentrate at first and found that just sitting there listening I couldn't focus so I got up and started to get some cleaning done. Before I knew it I was 10 chapters in, had all my hoovering done and a clean kitchen.

Read by American punk legend Patti Smith, her deadpan gravelly drawl immediately sets the tone. It brought to mind a Film Noir type setting, highly visualised and created a fantastic picture in my mind, almost like Sin City. The story pulls you in and just when you think you know where it's going there is a twist.. I don't want to give away too much but here's a clip for you to listen to.

Having never read any of Jo Nesbo's books before I would be interested to know more, I like his style of writing and tone. I would like to try more audio books now as I was surprised at how quickly you can get through them. This book was 4 hours long and I got through it in 2 sittings before going back over it again. It is available to buy from iTunes.

(Disclosure : I received this audio book as part of the Mumsnet Bookclub for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.)

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

What's New on Netflix

Netflix just keeps getting better with its own original content and new seasons of old favourites being added there is something for everyone!

The Returned : Season 1 (Now Streaming)

A small town is turned upside down when residents who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear. A Netflix original based on the critically acclaimed French thriller Les Revenants, every season 1 episode is now available to stream.
I started watching this last night and got sucked straight in, I will be watching more tonight.

Between : Season 1 (21st May)

Starring Jennette McCurdy (iCarly), when an unknown disease hits a town and wipes out everyone except teenagers, a siege between the government and survivors begins. Quarantined in a 10 mile diameter space, the remaining inhabitants learn how to persevere against the odds. With new episodes added weekly, it's sure to become the next must see thriller.
Put this on your one to watch list it's going to be good, looking forward to the first episode this week.

Grace and Frankie : Season 1 (Now Streaming)

What happens when two women's husbands fall in love with each other and make plans to leave their wives? Wow now this sounds really interesting!
Netflix latest hit starring Hollywood legends Jane Fonda as Grace and Lily Tomlin as Frankie, as newly found partners in crime who form an unlikely bond in the face of an uncertain future. Together they discover a new definition of "family" with laughter, tears and plenty of mood enhancers along the way.

Jen Kirkman : I'm Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) (22nd May)

Jen Kirkman stars in the latest Netflix original comedy special, delivering sharp, hilarious truths about divorce, kids, sex and turning 40.
This looks really funny I must keep an eye out for it.

Other programmes and movies to check out this month:
  • The Other One : The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir - Documentary (22nd May)
  • Richie Rich : Season 2 (23rd May)
  • The Summit (Now Streaming)
  • World War Z (21st May)
  • Fast & Furious 6 (Now Streaming)
  • Anastasia (Now Streaming)
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia : Season 10 (Now Streaming)
(Disclosure : As a member of the Netflix StreamTeam I received and Apple TV and a Netflix Subscription. All opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them. Images and video links courtesy of Netflix.)

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Escape to Galway Day 1

It's hard to believe it has already been a week since I escaped to Galway by myself for the weekend. I went over for the Into The West Blogger Network 1st Birthday Celebration, that was on the Sunday but I made my way over on the Saturday so I could have a bit of time with my family. As I have mentioned before I lived in Galway for a few years and my family are still there, I don't get to visit as often as I would like but I always have a good time when I do. I had intended on getting the half 5 train over which would have made it late enough getting there but I was lucky enough to get a lift to the Red Cow and get the Luas straight to Heuston. I got there 5 minutes before the half 3 train was set to leave so without even thinking I ran straight for it.

I was delighted to get a seat but honestly I spent the first 20 minutes wondering if I was on the right train! It was odd not having the girls with me to keep them occupied but I must say I enjoyed having a bit of time to myself, I put my headphones on and listened to an audio book I am reviewing and got some blog work and picture editing done. It's great that trains have wifi as it meant I could work on my iPad.

Before I knew it we had landed in Athenry and my Auntie Gwen picked me up. We headed straight for my Mams so I could see everyone and Mam said we would be heading out for dinner and then to see a local band playing. I was glad I got the early train. Some coffee and a catch up and then I freshened up and put my face on before heading out. I was starving at this stage and so was glad to hear we would be going to La Rustica as they do fantastic food, have excellent service and a warm and inviting atmosphere. It was hard to choose what to order as everything sounded good, not only do they do delicious pizzas and wraps but they also have great pasta dishes too. The specials that night were The Gourmet Burger, Prawn Tagliatelle, Beer Cod & Chips and Mourads Special Steak. I decided to take a challenge and went for The Gourmet Burger. We had calamari and duck rolls for starters.

The duck rolls were really good and I liked the sweet chili dip that came with them. I have never tried calamari before so this was a first for me. I was worried it would be rubbery but it wasn't at all, it was almost like a prawn ring and went nicely with the dip. We soon demolished the lot.

Then my burger arrived and all I can say is wow!! It's not just a burger it also had bacon, salad, onion rings, brie cheese and was topped off with shrimp on a stick holding it together. It took me a minute to figure out how I was going to eat it before deciding to use my knife and fork to disassemble it. I can easily say it was the nicest burger I have ever had, and I managed to eat most of it, which is huge for me as I can't eat a lot in one sitting. With the burger came a basket of homemade chips which were so good.

John (my Mam's husband) ordered the burger too and he polished off the lot, while my Mam had duck which I tried and was really good, nice and juicy, full of flavour and not dry at all. With the delicious food we had a bottle of Pinto Grigio, this wasn't one I had tried before as I am only just used to drinking Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco, it was a bit sharp for me so my Mam (who knows me so well) only poured me half a glass and then topped it with sparkling water so it was more like a spritzer, I really liked it then.

We were nice and full after the delicious food and didn't quite have room for dessert (even though it was very tempting) so we ordered coffee instead, I went for a Latte and it had the lovely touch of being sent out with some biscuits. I thought this was really nice and good for my sweet tooth.

Once we were finished we went to a local pub across the road called Will Dowlings as my Mam's friend Julie and her band The Bandwagons were setting up to play for the night. Julie is also in another band called Belladonna and they actually played at my Mam and Johns wedding last year and they were brilliant so I was really looking forward to hearing her play again. A woman of many talents she also runs a coffee shop in Athenry called The Nook and she makes the most delicious coffee and crepes, if you are ever in Athenry I urge you to drop in. Well we couldn't have a night out child free without having a few drinks so the Rosé was flowing the chat was going and the music was lively.

The Bandwagons were great and we were sitting right beside them so we almost felt like the backup singers joining in on all the songs especially Psycho Killer (The Talking Heads). It was so nice getting some time with my Mam, John and Auntie Gwen as I don't get to see them as much as I would like. It really was a great night and that was only Day 1 of my escape to Galway.

Myself and the Mammy xx

Thursday, 7 May 2015

That first night..

That first night we brought her home, our first night alone with a newborn. Worn out, bruised, in shock and absolutely terrified, I was in complete awe of her. We both were. To think that we created such a beautiful little creature so perfect in every way from her little button nose, long delicate fingers and tiny toes. Nothing could have ever prepared us for the shock of becoming parents but even more of a shock was the deep gut wrenching overwhelming love we felt for her, our first born.

We had no bottles, no formula, and not even a camera. After days of trying to breastfeed it hadn't worked out. We had to stay a few more days in the hospital until feeding had been established. Family rallied around to help and bring us the things we never knew we needed. The hospital sent us home with some pre mixed bottles that she had taken to, after trying a few different ones, and she was picky over the teeth. Owen ran over to the chemist once we were home and they gave us all the supplies we needed and a disposable camera.

I just wanted to lie there and look at her, Owen took some pictures, we had no idea how they would turn out but just to capture those first precious moments of having her all to ourselves was all we wanted. I have never shared any of these pictures before, I used to think I looked awful all swollen and stretchmarks, but looking at them now I can appreciate all the beauty of those moments. Just look at what my poor battered body created, a perfect squishy pink bundle of overwhelming joy.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Some Things About Me

  • I used to have a pet rock called Rover Dangerfield. I had an orange piece of string tied around him for walks and he sometimes slept in my wardrobe.
  • I love cats and I used to have quite a few until I remembered I'm actually allergic to them.
  • There is a goldfish graveyard in the front garden of the house I grew up in. I used to insist that my Mam bury them when they died.
  • I have scars all down my left arm from being scalded as a child. I caught the lead off the kettle and pulled it down on myself.
  • I was also bitten by a dog as a child and have scars on my right hand from it.
  • I am a huge Harry Potter fan. My Dad gave me the first book when I was around 11 or 12 and my first thought was "What do I want with a little kids book?", in a huff I started reading it and didn't stop until I was finished. I was gifted the last book for my 21st birthday.
  • I have lived in Dublin, Meath, Galway, Wicklow and Dublin again before settling in Wicklow.
  • I find it hard to be on time, I am usually late or occasionally early but I like to refer to Gandalf for this "A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to."
  • I get lost in my own thoughts and find it hard to escape my own head.
  • I care deeply about those close to me.
  • I used to work in a movie shop, back when there were still videos too!
  • I would love to work in a little book shop some day.
  • I still have my childhood teddies, Henry the pickle who once fell in the fire, Yogi Bear and Sooty.
  • I find it hard to give things away or throw them out, I become very attached to teddies, books, CDs etc.
  • I love lying in bed, listening to the rain when I know I don't have to go anywhere.
  • I wish I could hibernate in winter, seriously I would make a good bear, stock up on food, books and movies and just not leave the house for a few months.
  • I love walking in the woods, trees are fascinating, I spent the best part of a year just drawing trees after watching The Lord of the Rings.. Ents are cool.
  • I found it hard to study for my leaving cert, I wasn't well at the time and would often fall asleep trying to study so I read The Lord of the Rings instead.
  • In my head I can dance like Michael Jackson in Smooth Criminal, in reality I'm not that smooth.
  • I didn't know I was geek until about two years ago (seriously who knew being a Potterhead/movie loving/bookworm was considered geeky) I have totally accepted my geekiness and am happier for it.
  • I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up..