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Beyond the Pale - A 'pale' is a fencepost. The English Pale was a boundary in Ireland marking out the part of Ireland under direct English rule circa 1450 (which included Dublin and environs). Those that lived 'beyond the pale', outside of English rule, were considered out of control and uncivilised. You decide...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Montana and Wyoming - Yellowstone Park and Big Sky Country

Big Sky Country, indeed!
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, no I didn’t, don’t be absurd. Wham songs aside, Dom’s parents were visiting so we thought it would be silly not to immediately leave the state (with the in-laws, the plan was never to leave them behind!). Goodbye mild weathered San Francisco, Hello freezing Montana and Wyoming!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Southern California Part 2 - So Cal So Good

"I love you, California"


We'd bedded down with Madonna in San Luis Obispo, we'd pismo'd about on Pismo beach, we got an eyeful of Marilyn in Palm Springs, what more was in store...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Southern California Part 1 - So Cal So Good

Rooooooad Triiiiiiip


Is it cos I'm cool?

In the days before we had a car we decided to take a Thanksgiving road trip to explore southern california. As with all road trips the two most important questions are… Sensible car hire or ridiculous car hire? What music are we going to play?

We went for the ridiculous car, a Camero convertible. And we started with the old reliables… The Beatles.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Las Vegas - Sin City

Made of Money?

Adore it or abhor it, there is nowhere else on earth like Las Vegas. If you had a week to live and you wanted to experience everything from gut wrenching disgust to heart bursting exhilaration, pulling up a stool in Sin City is probably your best bet (assuming Eastenders wasn’t on the telly that night).

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nantucket - There was an old man from...

Main St in 'Fall'


Nantucket is truly picture perfect. I had the tremendous luck to live there for a Summer at the age of 19 on a “J1” visa, tons of memories, tons of jobs, tons of parties, tons of stories, but that’s for another ton of time. This time round I had one weekend to convince Dom of my 10 year long petition for us to sell everything we have (including grandmothers) to buy a weekend house on Nantucket (the weekday house would be a brownstone in New York City of course, duuhh - a girl can dream). 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Boston - Stay Strong

A park bench, Boston style


Where were you when Boston won the World Series last year? Me, I was was about 5 minutes from Fenway Park hanging out my hotel window watching the revellers, well, revel!

We were in Boston for a work trip. I had been to Ireland’s 33rd county many times before but it was Dom’s first visit to Beantown. I love Boston, it has a very lived in feel about it. It manages to be as equally famous for being posh as it is working class. The Grand Dame of New England, the sophisticates, the founding families, old money, it’s all there, however it has it’s delicate hand in it’s calloused palm as it’s also famously home to the immigrant Irish, the South Boston gangs, and a mean pint of Guinness.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cozumel - Sun City... or is it

The hard life

Having been to Mexico City (for the story click here), the next visit south of the border had to be the quintessential American vacation… resort time!

Cozumel is an island off the east coast dedicated to relaxing holiday makers. It was a mission to get there, flight from SF to LA, another flight from LA to Cancun, then a looong tax ride to Playa del Carmen, finally a ferry ride to the island.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Utah - The Big Five

Silicon Valley??

Utah, sure, where else would you be goin?!

That should be the state’s slogan. It is one of thee most beautiful places on earth. It’s like the Grand Canyon and Ayres Rock mated and produced offspring more mind blowingly impressive than ole mater and pater ever were. Americans bandy the word ‘awesome’ about a lot, I’ve been known to sprinkle it around quite freely myself, but no other word is more apt to describe the God-like wonders that will bathe your senses when you drop down to the Beehive State.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Austin - shines in the lone star state


Now that I live in America, it was only a matter of time before I turned up in Texas. Austin gets a lot of hype so that’s where I tied up my ‘hoss’ (that’s ‘horse’ to you and me, and it was more like a plane, and I didn’t tie it up anywhere).

The first thing I noticed on touch down was the Texan heat, maaan, they like it hothothot down there, ‘hotter than a snakes butt in a wagon rut’ (I don’t know what that means, but it’s a Texan expression! How lovely). The second thing I noticed is that everyone really does say “Y’all”, which I found very endearing, everyone was like a character from the Waltons.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Yosemite - What's Buzzin Cuzin

Ain't she purty


My favourite form of nature is woodlands so for me getting to visit Yosemite is a little slice of tree heaven. I also hoped I would meet Yogi Bear but that turns out to be Jellystone Park, which according to google maps does not exist (pah, what do they know BooBoo).
Don't go chasing waterfalls

If you’re a visitor to San Francisco you can join a day tour to Yosemite National Park, which involves an early start, a long bus journey, and a train ride. When my Dad was visiting we took a chance on this and it’s not as bad as it sounds, bring a book or just sit back and take in the passing fields of sugar cane, the rows of swaying corn, the slender almond trees and the graceful grape vines.  

Or, a group of you can pile in a car, slap on some music, get lost together (hard to get lost separately when you’re in the same car) and discover little dinky towns for pitstops, picture snaps and poking good natured fun e.g. Copperopolis – a genuine mining town but with a comic book name.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Portland Oregon - Keepin' it weird

I'm on it!


Portland, Oregon is hip to the hop to the hippity hop (to quote the Sugar Hill Gang). If you’re not in your sixties with long grey hair and wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt, or twenty two years old with tattoos on top of your piercings and a bearded face that has been exhausted by life, then you’re going to stand out in liberal Portlandia.

Coming from San Francisco automatically gives you hipster credentials so we blended in with our free living northern brethren. In fact, with about 600k residents and being easy enough to walk around, Portland reminded me of a smaller SF. Plus, they say if you don’t like the Portland weather wait ten minutes (that sounds familiar), and it is definitely just as quirky a city; every block contains a piece of public art! If you don’t feel like walking, Portland is very proud of its public transport so jump on a streetcar (it will even bring you back and forth to the airport).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fog Lines - Brunch, Bars and Bay to Breakers

Sketchy City


San Franciscans love brunch, they will happily spend hours in a line for bacon and eggs that have been ‘fused’, ‘immersed’, and ‘drenched’ with all sorts of fish, fowl and fruit that God had never intended to appear on the same plate. Friends were visiting from New York recently (wazzup Morgan and Kat!) and they were shocked at this queuing malarky; lines of people snaking around blocks, shuffling in silence, moving one inch closer to a slice of toast (probably fused with alpaca meat, immersed in goji berries and drenched in anchovies, naturally).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in


I need to preface this story with a few details about my digestive system. I know, best opening line ever!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fog Lines – San Francsico, Day Trippin Downtown

"My City by the Bay"
I have a lot to say about San Francisco, and by God I will, but let's start with downtown day trippin...

Tony Bennett left his heart here, it was the epicentre of the Gold Rush, the Hippie movement and several earthquakes, the city invented denim jeans and fortune cookies, and it ranks 4th in the world in terms of number of billionaires living within the city limits (Wazzup Zuckerberg). San Francisco is like no other American city, if you haven’t been here yet... why the hell not!

Muni Bus-ted!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Whistler – The other Australia

Whistler Village - Winter Wonderland

This is my last 'catch-up' blog post, so as the May sun licks your face cast your mind back to a colder time (apologies to those of you in baltic climes who are sinking into their third layer of coat).
Nearly ten years ago I made an attempt to ski in Whistler, but torrential rain shut the slopes. Once I’m prevented from doing something I have my heart set on, it goes straight onto my bucket list. Come hell or high water, I will move mountains, municipalities, motor vehicles and other things beginning with ‘m’ to make it happen, even if it’s a decade later. Some may call that a psychosis, I like to think of it as a charming determination :o)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Panama City - Pandemonium with the Panamanians


The sign says it all

A couple of months back we splashed down in Panama City. Dom was competing in a 70.3 (triathlete short hand for a half iron man: 1.2 mile swim + 56 mile bike ride + 13.1 mile run = 70.3 miles). I have to take off my (Panama) hat to these competitors, it’s a huge undertaking and a very impressive feat. Dom is very modest about them and is almost embarrassed to tell people (he just does it for the buzz not the bragging rights). However, there are A LOT of gombeens who rock up to these things plastered in lyrca and expensive gadgets, who ponce around the hotel hosting the tri,and shout things like “I’m gonna rip this thing APART, man, YEAH!, I’m gonna tear it up and strip it DOOOWN, I’m gonna SMASH it and CRUSH it, BOO YA!”. I can’t tell if they are making a Thai curry or going for a run! Eeeeejits.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mexico City - Andale, Andale!

The face of Mexico!
I’m playing catch up with my blogging, so let’s jump back a few months to a time when people were younger, Spring was in the air, and I had all my organs ;o)

In early Feb we took a jaunt south of the border to Mexico City. No, we are not running a drug cartel and I refuse to comment on the rumours that spleens go for thousands on the black market down there.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Salt Lake City - The Book of Mormon and Other Good Reads

In David Cameron's words - "the middle of nowhere"


A few years ago a couple of our best friends, Finn and Killian, moved from the cut and thrust of crazy London to the bubble and squeak of sleepy Salt Lake City. This has allowed us the pleasure of visiting SLC on more than one occasion (F and K are magnificent hosts).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lake Tahoe – Sunburn and Snowflakes



When you live in Northern California there are three things you must do or they take away your love beads... 
  1. Go to wine country, get horrendously drunk and punch someone (I’m kidding, it doesn’t have to be in wine country)
  2. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway, throwing as much rubbish out the windows as possible (Noooo, only recyclable stuff of course)
  3. Ski in Tahoe