August 29, 2008

Now in Cambridge

So much has happened and not much time to post. Places and Highlights.

Edinburgh
Saw Shakespeare for Breakfast. Saw morgue and coffee_lifeform et al again at another party. I gave morgue a big hug that he is to share with everyone. See him and demand your fraction!

Beau and I also climbed up Arthur's Seat the regular way and then back down via gorse, brambles, streams and cliffs. According to the people at the party, still the regular way ;) We then went along the crags and slid down a sea of grass to Holyrood Palace. Good fun. Between the walking/scrambling and the party we also waited over an hour to eat at Monster Mash and it was worth it.

Highlands and not so high lands
After and uninspiring drive to Inverness (best bit was having to pull over into a cafe with free internet to figure out what the speed limit was) and stay at an uninspiring "BnB" we drove back down via Loch Ness, stopping at the Loch Ness Visitor Centre and Urkhardt Castle. Seriously beautiful scenery. I wish we had more time to explore Scotland. It isn't like Otago, as we had been told by morgue, NZ is much newer and so more jagged looking. The Highlands are full of these huge rolling moutains. Seriously beautiful.

We cut back east towards Edinburgh driving through Glen Coe. Totally recommend the visitor centre. Picturesque views and HIGHLAND COOS! Awesome.

We stayed with muggle's buddy GymE near Stirling and she took us to faboo pub/restaurant in the middle of nowhere for gorgeous dinner (Beau and GymE had venison steak pie things and I had pork and mash) and desserts (Beau, sticky toffee pudding, Gym E, rice pudding, me, rhubarb fool with ginger ice cream). She didn't have to work the next morning and took us round to local sites, the Stirling Castle and the William Wallace Monument. We took her word for it and didn't actually pay and go up and in either of them, but by this stage a bit castled out.

Still to come
Kirby Lonsdale and Cambridge

Point of Fashion: dishabille
Current Obsession: punting

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August 23, 2008

Morgue Sighting!

We saw Morgue today at the Elephant Cafe. 'Twas good. Actually, all our activites so far have been good.

The 5 10-min plays we saw with the Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show were all fabulous. The actors had much energy and were all attractive. ;) Also, we got strawberries and a croissant. Happiness.

After the show we went to the castle and touristed until I was full of history and couldn't take any more. Meanwhile Morgue texted us and said he was in town, so after checking out the vaults and the visitor shop, we made our way to the Elephant Cafe and Morgue (+ friend who shall be in NZ next year). Yay! Morgue (+ friend)!

After food and chat they walked us down to the Meadow and the Chinese State Circus. OMG SO GOOD!! Jumping, flipping, ridiculous bending, Shaolin Warriors, swinging poles, candy floss, aerial silks....ahhhhhh. I *love* Chinese Circus. Awesome. Plus we got great center front seats and Beau and I both got to shake hands with the Monkey King.

We still have a party to attend tonight and we hope to make it to Shakespeare for Breakfast tomorrow morning. I like shows in the morning. It makes us get up and stuff.

Point of Fashion: Best Defence against Rain
Current Obsession: Highland Coos

Posted by giffy at 08:24 AM | Comments (7)

August 22, 2008

Irish Comedy in Scotland

We went to our first Edinburgh Festival event today, Fringe actually. We went to David O'Doherty who is a Dublin based comedian. It is kinda silly to be going to Scotland to see and Irish comedian, but I would say that he was more accessible than Tommy Tiernan was in Cork. Just 'cause the material was pitched to an international audience rather than an Irish one.

We are only booked in to one other event, The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show a series of 10 minute plays with breakfast, for tomorrow morning. Mm, food and entertainment!

We are also planning to go and see the Chinese State Circus tomorrow evening. We saw a Chinese acrobatic show in Thailand 5 years ago and it was awesome (15 people on 1 bicycle, who can resist that?). Plus, Shaolin Warriors.

At some time we shall also see Morgue... hopefully?

Point of Fashion: Wet
Current Obsession: Bedtime

Posted by giffy at 11:17 AM | Comments (6)

August 20, 2008

Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Mohir, Aran Island

We had a great weekend roadtripping with GNZ for the first couple of days around the Ring of Kerry and then passed the Cliffs of Mohir.

We had fun scrambling around on ancient stone forts and basking in the occasional sun. We had been told that the weather would be horrible and over the weekend there was some severe flooding, but we were pretty fortunate and every time we got out of the car it was fine. This good weather was ascribed to a piece of bone that GNZ found on a beach and named Sharky.

As Beau says "It isn't a road trip unless you have an anthropomorphised piece of cartilege".

The Aran Islands were the highlight of the trip for me. We only went to Inish Mor, which is the largest Island and it has the coolest cliff top stone fort. If you get to Ireland sometime, you should go there! Once you are on the island you may travel around in a tour bus, a pony trap or on bicycle. We chose bicycle. It's better 'cause you can take you time and stop whenever. Minus is sore legs and bottom. I'd still bicycle again. The views etc are totally worth it.

Whoops must go, we leave our flat and the country today.

Point of Fashion: Pajamas
Current Obsession: Packing

Posted by giffy at 11:08 PM | Comments (5)

August 15, 2008

Rolling Stone

Well, the girl who is replacing me was here yesterday for training, so no blogging occured. I have a few lunch pictures so will post them to flickr later (hopefully).

Today is my last day at work. After work Beau, GNZ and I drive to Kenmare for dinner and sleeps, then do the Ring of Kerry tomorrow. It is basically all go now.

We will be back in Cork on Tuesday to pack up our flat and then on Wednesday we fly up to Edinburgh to do some festivaling and see some people, including Morgue!

Then it's road-trip down the UK (looks like a couple of nights in the Lakes district, then Cambridge, London, Basingstoke... must email!, Oxford, Bath, Bristol). Then back to Cork to swap luggage around, visit peeps etc, before heading to Spain. Things get a bit fuzzy then as we are still not too sure about where exactly and when exactly we will go to places in Europe.

Anyhoo, internet access will no doubt be variable. We will try and check email and possibly even blog at least once a week, but my blog reading and commenting shall definitley drop.

Any way that you look at it, Beau and I are planning to have a great time and we hope that you are too.

Love and snuggles,

Giffy

Point of Fashion: comfy
Current Obsession: what to throw and what to keep?

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August 14, 2008

Just quickly

We went to swing last night. It was a drop in improvers and some people should really have been in beginners. Was great seeing people we knew from the last class though. We had fun and will try to fit in one more lesson.

Work blogging has not been so great the last couple of days as I have been on phones organising things eg, lunch for big boss, franking machine top-up, accommodation in 3 different places over the next few days, the new temp.

Beau and I went to dinner at the Four Liars Bistro as recommended by delichan and mytholder. OMG so goood. I am full of the fullest deliciousness. All three courses excellent, 1/2 a bottle of wine en-pinkens my cheeks and leads to giggly smiliness.

For Jenni: They gave us fresh bread, butter and water as soon as we ordered. We shared a tiger prawn and salmon on noodles entree, had a delicious sweet and chilli sauce. My main was pork with wild mushroom sauce on a potato and herb mash. Beau had peppered steak, very tender and actually medium rare. We were so full we had to share a dessert (couldn't handle one each) and we had sherry trifle. The texture was beautiful.

After dinner we wandered over to mytholder's and were roped into playing in a Conan playtest he was running. Much silliness was had.

X+ has bought us a surprise present! So touched.

I have sent 2 parcels of mail this week. Have a letter to write for another parcel to go this week.

I must remember to order thunderpants tomorrow!

I love my hubbly, my family and my friends.

I'm still en-pinkened.

Point of Fashion: time to shower!
Current Obsession: emailses

Posted by giffy at 11:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

More organised

I finish work in 3 days! Awesomes. My work mates have been pretty cool, but the job itself is boring. I wouldn't mind working full-time for this company, but not in my current role!

Beau and I sat down for an hour with google maps and google calender and roughly plotted out where we want to be on our UK roadtrip. We have 2 mystery nights between Edinburgh and Cambridge. We thought we might go a little bit further north before we start to head south. Anna is on leave the days that we are in Cambridge and has said she would be keen to hang out/tour guide. Which is neat.

TP has also said that her couch is available when we want to be in Oxford. I must email/call London, Basinstoke and Bristolians. Should be fine though.

Our flatmate, Voltron has been having people come over and view our room 3 out of the last 4 days. He'll hopefully get a nice couple sorted by the end of this week. He is a super flatmate, doesn't have parties often, but is keen if you want them, doesn't make much mess, has an inflatable mattress for guests and cooks. I hope these future potential flatmates appreciate him.

Much of my time today has been spent organising our accommodation this weekend. Beau, GNZ and I are doing the Ring of Kerry on Sat and also plan to go to the Cliffs of Mohir. Beau and I are then going north to Galway(touristing the Aran Islands and possible Connemara) and GNZ will be going back to Cork. I had two places in my mind when I started out with my booking, but both were full! Apparently there is a fair on in Kenmare this weekend, which means there isn't much accommodation in town, plus it's tourist season. I fully understand why travel agents exist. I'm happy with the places that I got though (in Kenmare, in Killarney). Tomorrow I shall tackle booking in Galway.

Best thing about BnBs in Ireland? Full Irish Breakfast! Omnomnomnom.

It's the little things that make me know I'll never be a vegetarian.

Point of Fashion: Soon to be packed away
Current Obsession: Swing tonight! First time in a month, probably last time for the year. We're improvers now!

Posted by giffy at 04:31 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 12, 2008

Shopping and Dressetiquette

I am currently buzzing on having a cute new outfit. Yes, I went clothes shopping.

There have been a lot of sales on, end of summer stock etc. I keep passing shops and ogling the wares. However, I've also been having a bit of negative body image combined with cost of travel stuff, which has turned me off shopping. I mentioned it to Beau and he was like, you're being silly. You can have some new stuff. He was telling me to shop!

So, I weighed myself on Sunday and was not horrified. That's always a good way to start. Sadly, I didn't have anyone to go shopping with either. I prefer to shop with someone else, having another pair of eyes is good. As it was, it was just me and the store mirrors. Brrrr.

As usual I mostly bought work clothes. I feel least guilty about buying work clothes as they have a definite use. Plus, they are definitely nice enough to wear out with friends too. I also bought a couple of crop tops/sports bras. I went out with that as mission. As Beau and I are trying to have a minimum amount of clothing for doing the Way of St James, I need underwear that I can wash and dry overnight (they reckon 3 sets of underwear and socks, one to wear, one to wash and one spare). I'm lucky in that I don't need serious sports bras, so these are perfect. Plus, they are black, so with plain black boyshorts, I have make-shift bikini if necessary.

I also bought something completely frivolous and unlike me. I bought a dress. I bought a *yellow* dress.

Seriously, how often do women wear dresses nowadays? Not very. Weddings and maybe special dances (I wore a dress to a Swing event and also to a burlesque night). I brought a red summery dress with me from NZ, I'd worn it to 3 weddings. I've since worn it to 2 other weddings (the only double-ups at any of these weddings were me and Beau, so yeah). I also wore it to the previously mentioned burlesque night. That is actually an incredible amount of wear for a dress. I don't think I've ever worn any other dress as often as that. It was a weird combination of large number of weddings and noone I knew going to any more than one of them (except for Beau).

Yup, not only do you hardly ever get reasons to wear a dress, it kinda isn't ok to be seen more than once in the same one. WTF? I *know*. I mean, it's not a sin... but people would notice! Seriously, I know I'm not the only one this affects.

Anyhoo, the red dress is due for retirement. It's looking worn. However, I already have a new dress. My gorgeous silk swing dress that Neid made for me. So, I don't need a new dress and I definitely did not go out looking for one, especially not a yellow one.

You know how there is an old myth that red-heads are not to wear pink, well, Giffy's are not to wear yellow. It makes them look sallow. Or so I believed. delichan told me a while ago that she thought I could carry yellow and I put on my Official Thai King Supporting Yellow Shirt, teased my hair to maximum volume and did a silly photo shoot. I actually looked quite good.

So, while cruising the sale racks I came across a ruffly, light mustard yellow dress in a size 12 (NZ and UK sizing are basically equivalent, some people reckon UK is slightly larger, I don't). I was pretty sure it wouldn't fit (non-stretch) and wouldn't suit, but I thought it'd be a laugh. It's wasn't a laugh it was a *grin*. It fit, it suited and it was only 15 (I don't know what original price was, Topshop so over 60 I'd say). Later on in the day I realised it will actually be perfect to wear to a(nother) wedding I have in NZ. I mean, I could wear my swing dress but...

Anyhoo, for those of you who *need* to see such things, I found a couple of pics of it online. Here is one with a much skinnier model than me wearing it. Here is one where all the colour seems to have faded away.

BTW for those of us who believe in wearing outfits more than once (Renew, Reuse, Recycle), it is nothing compared to the fashion *crime* of being in the *same* outfit as someone else. I blame cameras and the internet.

Point of Fashion: Fantasy Secretary
Current Obsession: Fry's Peppermint Cream

Posted by giffy at 12:24 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 09, 2008

Pressure to plan

It's so close until we leave Cork. I find I'm dwelling a bit on this and the hustle and bustle of organising our "holiday" is stressing me (and probably Beau). I feel like I should be trying to see people and squeeze as much out of the last few weeks. Who knows if or when we will be back?

But this feeling of *should* is also not enjoyable. Grrargh. Telling myself to relax only reinforces the fact that I am *not* relaxed. *headdesk*.

Making friends here, Irish, Kiwi and otherwise has been one of the best parts of travelling. They are what makes Cork a *home* rather than another stop on the visiting trail. However, now that time here is running out I am torn between wanting to hang out with my friends and going out with Beau and exploring the countryside.

Last night Beau was trying to convince me to stop working earlier so that we would have more travel in Ireland time. I'm a temp, so I could stop earlier, but I told both my workplace and my temping agency about a month ago that I would work until the 15th. A week out from that day, with a replacement temp still not completely organised and my supervisor going on leave today, I am *really* not comfortable with telling them I don't want to work anymore. I mean sure, I don't want references, I don't have a contract or anything. They can't punish me for changing my mind. I can punish me though. I *told* them I would stay 'til the 15th!

I already feel bad about us finishing our lease at the end of this month. We told our flatmate (and via him the landlord) that we would be around until Dec. They are both fine with us leaving earlier, but I'm sure that we wouldn't have gotten the flat in the first place if we had said we were only staying 6months. It's all extra hassle for Voltron and I feel bad about it.

I understand that plans can change and that others also understand, I just feel deceptive if I say I will do one thing and then do something else. In regular life I feel I am more likely to be vague/unplanned as I detest making and breaking plans so much, I would rather have no plans at all. Which, lets be honest, is kinda silly.

It's also an issue because Beau and I are having to make plans now, what with the hiring of cars, buying of tickets and asking people if we can crash on their couches. They want to know dates and times.

My brain feels a bit squished. I am looking forward to the travelling though, really! I just hate the organisation that goes with it. It's almost enough to make me want to throw lots of money at a travel agent. Almost.

Point of Fashion: The only black I'm wearing is my shoes! Omg!
Current Obsession: Organising... You realise that we arrive 2 days before X-mas? That means we have to fit X-mas shopping in somewhere too! Beau's mum also emailed about us making quilt patches for another baby quilt so I'll be busy with that next week too. Must go shopping for stuff for that tomorrow. Also need another suitcase to pack our stuff into. Also need to figure out how we are getting the car we are using next weekend and returning it when we are finished. I have stuff to post too!

Posted by giffy at 03:07 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 08, 2008

Make-your-own-sushi

As previously mentioned, last Thursday we had a make-your-own-sushi night. What basically happens is we buy, make and organise a bunch of ingredients for people to make their own Sushi.

We're lucky to have a very good local fishmonger in the English market so we are able to have fresh salmon. I don't know that I'd dare to do that in NZ.

Beau prepped the rice (medium grain), we don't have a rice cooker, so this is cooked old school in a pot. Then he mixed in the rice vinegar etc. The general rule is 1/2c uncooked rice per person.

I made tamagoyaki. It's that sweet egg stuff? Most of the recipes I've seen call for dashi, I don't have any and don't plan on making or getting some for my occasional forays into japanese cooking. My adjusted tama-faux-yaki recipe:
4 eggs
3T water
1T sugar
1T soy

Follow the instructions from this site, it has pictures.

Beau marinated the chicken sometime mid-morning. Unfortunately there was a mix-up in the communications and he used 2t sugar instead of 2T sugar, so it wasn't your regular teriyaki sauce, but it was nice. I fried it the the "egg" pan. As few dishes as possible please.

Anyhoo, here's a picture of it all laid out. It made enough for 6 people.

Click on the picture to see more details.

I've only made two lunches in the last week as I slept in on Friday and didn't work on Monday or Tuesday. They both featured pumpkin soup that we made on Tuesday night. It is seriously yum and I love having a water-tight container.

I mixed it up a bit and had nice bread and vege with it yesterday, whereas today I used leftover potatoes in a salad to go with my soup. Both meals were satisfying.

I'm going to seriously miss cooking and making my lunches etc while we are travelling. Ah well.

Point of Fashion: I think I'm going to bin this skirt before I return. The Mary Janes won't be coming back either.
Current Obsession: Car hire

Posted by giffy at 04:41 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 07, 2008

Why aren't all weekends 4 days long?

Four days is a good amount of days off. We stayed out til about 3am Friday night and then skyped NZ to see Bean's baby until after 4am. So much of Saturday was spent blobbing. We did manage some shopping (sleeping bag inners and hiking socks) and blobbed outside our house even!

On Sunday we got up in time to pack and walk over to the boy flat for our ride to Cape Clear Island. There was some organisational kerfuffle, which lead us to hanging out with Homebody for a good while before we left, but it was good fun. The drive was uneventful although parking in Baltimore was horrific. There was some festival or regatta or something on, people were all over the main streets and even illegal parking was hard to find. We still managed to get legal parks and made it to the ferry with minutes to spare.

The ferry ride was smooth for the most part and the weather was lovely. Near the end of the trip it got choppier, but it was fun rather than sickening. We were met just off the pier by mytholder et al and they escorted us up the hill to the camping ground. Pretty basic ground, there was a toilet block, but no BBQ/cooking facilities. In fact, I don't really consider it real camping because we didn't even cook anything ourselves. We had all our meals at the shop/restaurant at the waterfront!

We only stayed one night, which was probably a blessing as it rained the next night and delichan and mytholder, who had moved into our vacated (and as it was discovered, leaky) tent, were rained on. That tent was thrown out later that day.

I wore my onesie. I walked on sand. I had hot chips after midnight from the chip van. I drank tepid coke and malibu from a plastic cup. I had a good time. I don't consider it "camping". I don't know if Ireland actually has good enough weather for me to want to try real camping.

We got back home Monday evening and really blobbed. Staying up late, then sleeping on the ground (we slept on the groundsheet as we didn't even have foam mattresses), then longish car ride, means sleepy Giffy and Beau. We managed to get enough energy to buy takeaways for dinner (pizza and a salad), but that was about it.

Tuesday was a day of much movie watching. We saw The Dark Knight in the morning and went to the preview screening of Hellboy II: The Golden Army in the late pm. We liked Batman. We liked it *much* more than Hellboy. Some people have said that Batman could do with another edit. Hellboy *seriously* could do with another edit. I didn't hate it though. The elven prince fights pretty.

We also managed a library visit, some grocery shopping, made pumpkin soup for dinner and I even set up and used Neid's (mini!) sewing machine. I'm making a wheat bag with seperate cover for X+. I've finished the actual bag bit and have half done the cover. I'm doing some *basic* embroidery on it which is taking some time. I managed to do lots at work (hence the late posting) so if I go hard now I might finish it tonight.

Point of Fashion: Shorts are my friend
Current Obsession: Cleolinda's write-up of the 4th Twilight book. I don't care if it's spoilerific, I loves it!

Posted by giffy at 07:36 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 02, 2008

Everything changes and stays the same

We had Dr A and GNZ over for make-your-own-sushi last night. I even remembered to take a photo (this is our 3rd sushi night here, first time I've remembered). Dr V is visiting with them and came too. She's been travelling steadily for the last 4 months in Europe and will be finishing things off with a one month road-trip through the UK.

We were talking about our current plans, how we're feeling that we have to cut down on the places we can visit, and eliciting travel and walking advice from them. They gave us some good advice (apparently Croatia is nicer than Santorini, better beaches) and we had fun eating sushi. Sushi is almost unheard of in Cork, there are 2 places you can buy pre-made sushi and it is either very expensive or has been refrigerated, so the rice is yuck.

Dr A went to school with Muggle and is friends with a few of her and my friends. She studied with Beau, but they weren't in the same study group, so he didn't know her very well. So, we both knew people who know Dr A, but neither of us knew her (or GNZ). Coming to Ireland we've gotten to know them and they are cool people. They're not as geeky as us and we would probably never have gotten to know them in NZ, but now that we have, I hope we stay in touch.

We were talking about how once we start travelling we will hardly be back in Cork or Ireland and how we will be leaving the flat sooner than we originally thought (December). We have been thinking we will leave on 1 Nov. Dr A then suggested that we leave at the end of August and that when we are briefly back in Cork, we can crash on their air mattresses. We brushed if off at the time.

We are now thinking that is a good idea. If we can leave at the end of this month, we will save over 1000! Of course it's a good idea! I feel stink though, because when we signed up for our flat we said we'd be there 8 months. We didn't sign a contract or anything, so there is nothing legally to stop us leaving, but I feel bad, like we misled Voltron when we told him how long we would be staying.

I think our current plan is that when we leave Ireland for Spain, we don't return until the end of November, to pick up our stuff, say last farewells and do some last minute Ireland touristing (Giant's causeway)! This also means no GaleCon in Dublin in October.

My head is kinda spinning at the changes, my heart is kinda aching at the thought of leaving and the thought of causing Voltron problems, but I think this is the right choice.

Point of Fashion: Corporate Casual
Current Obsession: travel stuff

Posted by giffy at 05:01 AM | Comments (10)

August 01, 2008

Lunches and Hummus

This week I finally went and made my own hummus. I got the recipe from Genie, the Inadvertant Gardener. It has no tahini! That makes it awesome in my book.

I halved it so it would fit in my mini-foodprocesser, but then I added more garlic, because, awesome.

1 tin chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
5T olive oil
1/2t salt
handful of chopped mint

1) Blend the first 5 ingredients
2) Stir in the mint
3) Enjoy!

Extra bonus, the parts for my mini-foodprocessor are all dishwasherable! This was so easy and tasty that I will definitely make it again. I'm also going to try other bean dip recipes as Beau and I like them both as dips and also as sandwich spreads. Win-win!

Here is a picture of my hummus in my lunch.

I haven't really done any other cooking this week, well I didn't take any photos anyway so lets do an indepth look at one of my lunches. Here is Friday's lunch.

This is a relatively standard lunch for me. It's packed in a 670mL container and took about 16-18min to make. That is actually quite long . Here is the process:

1) Microwave a portion of refrigerated rice with about 2t of water for a couple of min on med
2) meanwhile get fruit and veg out of fridge and wash them.
3) put in sieve to drain/dry
4) get 80g tin tuna, mix with 1Tmayo, 1/2 chopped (clean) spring onion, mix in with (now warmed) rice, taste, add a bit of soy sauce for more saltiness. Leave to cool
5) Chop veg into suitable sizes
6) Put right amount of rice mix into container and move to the side, add some pickled ginger as seperator/flavour enhancer.
7) pack rest of fruit and veg
8) put everything away/in dishwasher and eat leftover rice and veges for breakfast.

Putting the capsicum on top of the rice is a new touch and I like it, it didn't take any extra time, but it looks really effective!

Point of fashion: I <3 pleats
Current Obsession: Holidays

Posted by giffy at 03:59 AM | Comments (5)