Writing: Guardian Masterclass


In the multi chandeliered ballroom of intentions and resolutions the lights only burn with gem like brilliance when intentions and resolutions are actually realised. Thus my chandelier glows with the merest ghostly glimmer because I have crossed off ridiculously few items from the list of things, I drew up a few years ago, that I wished to do in the coming decade.

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Filed under Books, Education, London

It’s Been A While …


It's been a long time since I last posted on JAA.
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Filed under Musings

Coffee Chez Max

dublin's chez max

I am back slightly later than I said I would be. Mea culpa!

The Tuesday before last, the 14th July, was the French National Day: La Jour de Bastille. Its celebration is many degrees different from St Patrick’s Day. Whereas our national day is: party central, a riot of all things green, and, for some, an excuse for a monumental piss-up; Bastille Day is, in contrast, celebrated in a more sombre way, the highlight being a carefully curated set piece military parade down the Champ Elysees.

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Filed under Celebrations, Coffee, Dublin, Food/Wine, Restaurants/Cafés

The No-Kitchen Diet and a Blogging Break


Ugh, ugh, and ugh to the power of infinity: I have put on weight over the last twelve months. Not a hideously dramatic amount but enough nonetheless to ensure that many of my clothes feel uncomfortably tight when I wear them.

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Filed under Musings

Dublin: The Cross Café

the cross cafe

Painting by John Boyd

When I first heard about the Cross Café, a myriad of months ago, I thought that it sounded ‘just so’ and exactly the type of place I would like. At the time I mentally filed its name and location thinking I really must visit it some time soon. Then the weeks leapfrogged into months and the months into almost a year so I only got to try the Cross Café a few weeks ago. I was not disappointed: in an ideal world it’s the sort of café that every neighbourhood should have.

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Filed under Coffee, Dublin, Food/Wine, Restaurants/Cafés

Bathroom Project

rubber ducks

Memory is fine-china fragile: this is both a good and a bad thing. A good thing because sometimes certain things are best forgotten quickly.

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Filed under Musings

Favourite Things//Six

Poems to learn by heart

Poetry book: I am truly and maddeningly indecisive. Mostly. I am also a procrastinator. So, it doesn’t surprise me that over a year on from putting learning a couple of poems per year off by heart, on a list of things I would like to do in the next decade, that I hadn’t decided which poems would make the cut let alone learnt any of them by rote. I haven’t a breeze of an idea how many poems there out there to choose from, but a book of poetry, a lovely compilation by Ana Sampson, called ‘Poems to Learn by Heart’ greatly narrowed down the field and I have finally started with one poem. I choose William Wordsworth’s ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’: partly because everywhere is awash, at the moment, with daffodils standing proud as cheerful yellow heralds trumpeting spring’s arrival, but mostly because I already knew the first verse!

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Filed under Favourite Things

Cabinteely House and Cabinteely Park

cabinetry park

As Urbun, a café in the South Dublin suburb of Cabinteely, is on my caffeine trail and as Cabinteely Park is next to Urbun I often meander around the park post my latte fix. I normally stick to the lower reaches of the 80 odd acre park as there is plenty to see there such as: the small pretty lake with ducks and swans gliding across it; paths along which centuries old trees stand sentinel; and in the summer the apple orchard, close to the lower gates, is gloriously underplanted with a dense carpet of colourful meadow flowers.

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Filed under Culture, Dublin

Retail Therapy of the Spending Kind and Some Cake

wendy crawford's shop

Feeling in need of something to cheer me up I headed to the city centre for a spot of retail therapy. I say of the spending kind because as often as not I am as happy to browse as I am to buy.

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Filed under Cake, Coffee, Dublin, Fashion, Restaurants/Cafés, Shops/Shopping

Paris: Vive la Différence

the seine paris

Early last week I was in Paris. Briefly. Very briefly as I was there just for a day.

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Filed under Paris, Travel