Driving Ireland 🇮🇪

Ok I went and done it!! I’ve been driving in Ireland for  a week now. So far the hardest part was hiring a little auto to get out and see the country, every place I went into or rang said no because I didn’t have a credit card. The thing is if you have an Australian licence you have to have a credit card to book with. I was lucky to have Mark with me,  We got it sorted and he got me out onto the M50 and on my way. A few things I needed to know was it’s 120km on the motorway and 100km on the national roads, make sure you have change for the toll roads and remember to take some good music next time as the radio doesn’t always have a signal.

It’s been amazing, I haven’t managed to get myself lost, everything is well sign posted, there’s plenty of petrol stations along the way. There’s not too many eejits on the roads, just the odd few who I think are tourists. A lot of the little towns along the way have the houses right on the street. They wouldn’t stand a chance in Australia with the amount of houses  that get hit by cars that aren’t even close to the road!

I’ve enjoyed having the freedom to go off the beaten track and visit some of the smaller villages I would never have got to see if I had taken a bus or train. I found doing that I was traveling on roads that were just wide enough for two vehicles, or lanes where one vehicle fitted snugly. On those occasions it was tuck the elbows in as another vehicle approached close the eyes and hope for the best. Yip I’m driving Ireland and loving it.

l’ll put up another post when I arrive back in Dublin with some photos of the places I have explored along the way, until then Laugh Dream Reach!!!

Food!!!!

Ok I’ve realised you can’t live without it, it’s an important element in the staying alive process and does give you warmth and energy. What I really love about food is how good it can taste. As you probably know it is winter over this side of the world, the need for good hot tasty food is high on the list for surviving winter. Irish Stews, hot soups, hot pots, all types of pie dishes and the yummy mash (I had to admit Mark still makes the best mash ever) just makes lunching out a real treat.

 

When my serving of food is placed before me, it’s pick up the utensils and dig in much to Jaimee’s disgust. I never think about photographing my food so when I’m out with Jaimee she gives me fair warning, “don’t touch it till I take a photo”

 

So here are just a few of the lovely meals we have had while we are out and about. I’ll probably need a bigger chair by the time I get back to work but for now I will enjoy what each country we visit has to offer and hope all the walking we do keeps the weight down!

Laugh Dream Reach it’s worth it!!

I’ve been to Scotland!!

Wow I have been in Dublin and beyond now for over a month, it’s true time does fly while you’re having fun!! In answer to Jaimee’s post below, yes I have gone off track a few times, I like to visit places I have never been, we wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t gone that way, we wouldn’t have seen that part of the city, we could have missed something really interesting if we didn’t look. Quite simple really!! As for the toilet incident, he was off my bus tour, Jaimee was busy waffling on about something and I thought he was exiting the building, I was distracted, I was just following him for that reason, once again an explanation for everything!!

Ok nuff said, I got myself to Scotland, found my accommodation in Glasgow and Edinburgh by myself with once again Jaimee and Mark ringing in my ear, “Don’t talk to strangers, make sure you send details of where you are going to be, what you are doing”  

Glasgow was my first stop, I stayed at the Rennie Macintosh Hotel, pretty central to transport, restaurant’s and shopping. It is a very old hotel, close to Central Station and my room was in the attic, it was lovely and warm and on the fourth floor, 62 steps from reception, I got my daily exercise just climbing those stairs. My first day out was the usual Hop on/off bus. Best way to see the city, get my bearings, cos I don’t want to get lost (someone moves the feckin street signs) and see what is on offer in the way of attractions. I got off at the Glasgow Cathedral, People’s Palace and Riverside Museum and Tall Ship. It was one of the coldest days I had experienced since being over this side so was thankful for a lovely hot meal with a vino and dessert at the Mediterraneo Ristorante. The food was amazing and it topped off a very educational first day. The next day I got to meet one of Jaimee’s friends Colette, (I think Jaimee’s way of checking to see if I was doing ok and hadn’t disappeared) she picked me up at my Hotel and we took the underground to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Colette is one of those people, as soon as you meet her you feel like you have known each other for years, we talked the whole way through the museum and through dinner at the Café Andaluz, for Tapas. They had a special on £14.95 for 3 Tapas and dessert. We decided to pick 6 different dishes between us and thoroughly enjoyed them, so much so that we ordered another three. We then had three desserts to eat and by the time we finished, absolutely stuffed full, we thought it wise to walk it off back to my hotel. It was a lovely day out with great company. The next day I caught the train to Edinburgh. It was great to be able to see another slice of Scotland on the way.

I stayed at the Benmore Guest House in Edinburgh, a bit further out from the city centre but still walking distance if you felt like a good walk. From the Hop on/off bus I stopped off at Edinburgh Castle, I spend quite sometime there. The views over the city were amazing. There was so much to see in just that area. I went around a couple of times and marked some places I knew I could walk from my accommodation. After a big day of sight-seeing I stopped off at Greyfriars Bobby Pub for a much-needed meal before I headed back to put my feet up and an early night. On the Tuesday I was invited to catch up with Jo, Shelley and Neil, I had met them 14 years ago on the internet through a site for Crohn’s sufferers and family. We had more or less stayed in touch through the years and it was a great chance to finally meet them in person while I was staying in Edinburgh. (Jaimee at this time was anxious that I was meeting strangers I had only met through the internet, I had to give her all the details of who they were, where they lived, phone numbers etc, before I left for Edinburgh, I had a laugh about it with the family when we met up) We spent a lovely day catching up on all our goss, lunch and out for a dinner before we headed back to my place.

Jaimee and Mark recommended I do the 12 hour tour with Highland Experience Tours, if I wanted to see some of Scotland while I was there. We left at 8am and travelled through Kilmahog (or many will say Murder my pig), Stirling, William Wallace territory, pass Doune Castle (Winterfell in the first series of Game Of Thrones), many sites where they filmed James Bond, Harry Potter and Outlander, Glen Coe, Loch Linnie, Ben Nevis, Loch Ness (I had hoped to spot Nessie, no such luck), took the boat out to Urquart Castle, through Inverness and Perth and back to Edinburgh. Our guide and bus driver Russell was very good at passing on the history and managed to entertain us the whole tour. I recommend it to those that have limited time and want to see a huge chunk, this is the way to go.

The next few days I did a lot of walking and photographing many of the lovely attractions around Edinburgh. There were still places I didn’t get to this time round. I really should have hired a car to get to the places out of both cities that I wanted to visit. That hopefully will be another trip, (it will also be another thing for Jaimee to stress over) I had to prove that I could survive by myself if I travelled alone. I enjoyed my short stay in Scotland, it is made up of lovely people, amazing attractions and a desire to discover more.

Laugh Dream Reach, you know you want to

 

Parents 😅

Have you ever looked at your parents/parent and thought “How in the hell did you manage to raise me?”.
I hadn’t. Well that was until last week. I should have however, seen the signs on our first trip together, but I guess I kind of….just let it slide.
Let me start from the start, the culprit being my sweet and charming 😃 mother. Maybe this  might help explain things a little bit better.

It was our first Euro-trip together – Kiwis Up Over Tour (phase one) 2014-15. First stop was London, we were emotional and not thinking straight, so I let Mum direct us around…….and around…….and around. Yup continuously in long loops of the same streets. In fairness she’s never been great for direction so I just happily strolled along with her. We did manage to see a lot, at the expense of our very tired legs.
Then in Berlin, we were starting to stink, so we decided a clothes wash was in order. We went to a convenience store and after some long studying of the pictures on the front of the box, she purchased some washing powder.
We found the closest laundry mat and settled into watch the clothes dance about inside the machine. About 15mins in I quietly decided to mention “doesn’t seem to be much of a soapy washing powder, does it?”.
Mum sort of shrugged and we continued to stare, mesmerized by the spinning, tumbling clothes. Long story short…….when we opened the machine at the end of the cycle we discovered that my clothing, yup only my clothing, had been destroyed by some tie dying bleach. Her clothing miraculously survived. Convenient? Mistake? I’m still not sure. I just remember her chuckling and saying “One day you’ll laugh at this”. She was of course right, after wearing my new fancy (but not so nicely tie-dyed) clothing around for the rest of the trip, it did make a good story and induce a few giggles.
Then there was that time in Rome, when we did thee old faithful Hop on/Hop off tour. This fine day we sat pleasantly atop the open top bus, listening to the very informative pre-recorded guide as it chirped brightly through our ear phones. I caught mum’s eye and indicated that we were to hop off at the next stop. She nodded eagerly and we collected our belongings in preparation for our departure. Bus pulls in and I jump first to my feet and pull my ear plugs swiftly out and into my pocket. I watch mum carefully to make sure she’s coming too and that’s when it happened. She jumps to her feet starts quickly pacing up the aisle, just as the cord from her earphones pulls tight whipping her head backwards and throwing her off-balance. She caught herself well and it was only her ego that was bruised as fellow passengers chuckled around her. I didn’t laugh though…..well not much 😂. We were in fits of laughter as we stepped off the bus and onto the footpath.
I really could go on all day, but I won’t, instead I’ll leave you with this gem.


Whilst visiting Malahide Castle last week, we stopped off at the lil girls room to freshen up and on leaving the bathroom we were deep in conversation. Mum was walking ahead and as she stepped through the door a young gentleman rushed past on the way to the lil boys room.
Mum starts to walk quickly after him as I call out “mum…..where are you going?….Mum? MUM???”.
She’s still chatting away closing in on the poor chap who’s now throwing paranoid glances over his shoulder as he goes to push through the door. I try one last time “STOP MUM, That’s the men’s toilet!”.
The man stops just as mum nearly runs into the back of him, an awkward exchange occurs as she sheepishly scurries back toward me. Accident? I’m not sure, but that poor fella got a fright.
Anyway she’s now off in Scotland, I’m excited for her yet still a little bit worried as I received a message from her today:

I forgot to tell you.  I did the earphone thing again in Glasgow, in front of only 1 person this time. 😂

And by the tone of the message she’s pretty chuffed with herself! Anyway keep following our journey as I’m sure there will be plenty more to tell you……Lord give me the strength Haha!

Laugh, Dream, Reach xx

Welcome 2017……..

Well I’ve made it into 2017 pretty much unscathed, due to the weather being shite (yes I’m learning some of the local lingo) on New Years Eve in Dublin we had a night in with family, a few wines and a lot of laughs.

I didn’t need to make any new year resolutions, I’m pretty much living all mine over the next year, travel, take more photos, meet new people, try new things, travel to places I haven’t been before and not having to think about getting up for work. Ok I’ve rubbed it in enough! I hope you have all decided to do at least one thing this year that you haven’t done before, it’s never too late.

I have been getting out and about around Dublin and beyond. Before New Year Mark & Jaimee took me to a beautiful place called Kilkenny. It’s about an hour twenty south of Dublin. Such a picturesque place with so much history. We visited the Kilkenny Castle and St Candice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. Mark and I climbed the 121 steps up the tower to a fantastic view of Kilkenny and beyond, it brought me back to the days of ladder drill at fire training, it left me with shaky legs then too. It was quite a tight squeeze and very steep up the steps but was well worth it.

I was really excited to finally find a chai latte in a little café as we walked around the town. We also had a lovely meal at the Hibernian Hotel before we headed home. There is so much more to see and do in Kilkenny, we will be back.

On Monday 2nd January we headed out for a look around Dún Laoghaire, Pronounced Dun leary (or in Irish, Doon Leereh) it is a beautiful seaside town on the southern coast about 12km from Dublin. We went for a walk along the mariner and out to the light house, the wind was nippy but it was amazing how many people were out walking.

Yesterday I headed into town on my own (Jaimee had to go back to work) with her still ringing in my ear, now you remember what bus to catch, where to get off and back on, ring me if you get lost (since when did things change and she become the responsible adult??). I did a spot of shopping, Marks & Spencers had a great sale on so a chance to stock up on some winter tops. I also met up with Inez and Ciara from Perth and got to meet, Inez’s sister Claire for a meal at Avoca and The Auld Dubliner for a drink. It was great to catch up with them before they continued on their travels.

I’ve booked my first couple of trips away, Scotland next week and Copenhagen in March. Just sorting details to Bristol next month, plenty of adventures to come!!

Laugh Dream Reach only you can make it happen xx

 

 

Loving Ireland……

Ok I’ve only been in Ireland just over a week but I’m loving it! Christmas when the temperature is not over 15C, ok so far it hasn’t been over 10C but it is so much more manageable than in the 30’s. The decorations and lights, the food is amazing, the live music in the warm, inviting, Irish pubs and the lovely family I am staying with, which does include my daughter and future son in-law. I have been out to a family dinner at the Vermillion Indian Restaurant,  been to a couple of Irish Pubs, had an amazing Christmas dinner and some very funny after dinner entertainment playing Heads Up. I went sales shopping on St Stephen’s Day (which to all those not in the know is Boxing Day), visited the Dublin Zoo and went for a look at Glendalough in Co Wicklow where we walked along the lake/lough and had a picnic in the ruins of a mining settlement.

No doubt there is plenty more out there to see and do, best I put on my winter pyjamas, jump in my bed, rest my weary head and see what tomorrow will bring.

Laugh Dream Reach …….. Shirley

 

Merry Christmas 🎄

Arriving in Ireland to carol singers at the airport and Jaimee dressed as an elf, what more could anyone ask for. I have been relaxing this week to get over my long flight, while Jaimee is flat out at work. I’m in the right time zone now so the body has adjusted well. Some last minute shopping in town, so many people doing the same, the beautiful Christmas lights and my first Irish pub with live music. It’s all part of my new adventure. We are off to Grafton street tonight to experience Christmas Eve.

Jaimee and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas xx

Laugh Dream Reach you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve xx

2017 here we come!!!

Life takes many different twists and turns. The past two years have been some of the most difficult we as a family have had to experience. To change that path Jaimee sent me a message, “Why don’t you come live with us for a year”. After much thought and a conversation with the boss the dream of all dreams become a possibility.

A year of saving , doubt, more saving, planning and oh yeah more saving that dream is now only a week away. The suitcase is nearly packed, although packing a years worth of stuff in a 30kg suitcase isn’t easy! The last few last-minute jobs are done. My last week at work, ok I don’t really want to think of that yet. It is going to be hard saying “see you in 2018” to my IMCC family who have helped me get through those last two difficult years. Moving further away from my NZ family and leaving behind Mitch and Shelley. I know it’s going to be hard but I also feel like if I don’t do it I will regret giving up the chance to fulfil one of my long time dreams.

Jaimee and I will be documenting the adventures on our blog. We have a list of things we want to achieve so if you want to follow our journey you can log in and get notifications sent to your email when we post. We also welcome suggestions that you think we should attempt on our travels. We will share our list as we go.

Laugh Dream Reach, we are sure going to in 2017!!

 

 

It’s a Whole New World

Life is such a funny thing. You never really start to live your own life,  until something happens to make you realise that time will someday run out. But why do we wait for that wakeup call? Why do we work so hard and leave little time for play, fun and laughter? We work to live, not live to work. Life is for now, not later. It is not a rehearsal. Life is the journey we take, the roads we stumble down, the forests we get lost in, the rivers that cleanse our souls and the oceans that take us around the world. The time for living is this very moment, it should not be wasted. Breathe in, breath out for this next year is going to be an adventure!

It is with my most utmost delight and pleasure to finally announce………….drum roll please 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Shirley is coming to town, and just in time for Christmas!

She’s chucked it all in for a year of adventure, so I would like to welcome you back to the BLOG! In the coming weeks we will revamp laughdreamreach.com and you will be able to share in our adventures as Mum and I take on Europe.

We have each developed individual bucket lists and are going to combine them to make the ultimate travel list, so we will be posting them as we go along.

All we ask of you is that you sit back, relax and come along for the ride, as we try to navigate through the many countries we plan to visit. There will be tears, laughter and memories to be made, on what will be fondly called Kiwi’s Up Over Tour – Round 2.

Welcome to the start of what’s to come!

Laugh, Dream, Reach xxx

No Word Of A Lie, I Almost Did Die

Let me tell you the tale of the moment I thought my life was ending.

The sun was shining and the day was warm. It was a day like any other day, almost. I had just signed up to the gym and today was my first day. The class wasn’t too hard, and I’m sorry to say that that wasn’t what nearly killed me, although it left me red faced and breathless. I showered after the class and pulled on my clothes. Lastly I pulled on my socks and smiled as I realized I was wearing one of Marks socks, as well as one of my own.
I continued on to work and the mundane task of washing dishes (filling in for a colleague that was away on holiday).

The day was mostly uneventful and if it wasn’t for the delightful banter with the chef I would have probably died from boredom. I was wishing for something that would disrupt the day and I’d be able to go home and unfortunately it wasn’t long until my wish was granted, perhaps not exactly in the way I had hoped.

I took in my hand a black bag full of rubbish. I wasn’t too bothered being left with this job, the skip (bins) weren’t even far from the back of the shop. I began my descent on the old metal staircase humming a tune as I basked in the glorious sunshine. It was just near the bottom of the stairs that life as I knew it was about to change forever (or perhaps just for a next few weeks), the gods may as well have just ripped up my gym membership because what I was about to endure was going to leave me physically impaired (OK, OK perhaps still a little bit dramatic) for…….well there was no way of knowing at the time. As I took the last few steps the rubbish bag slammed into the handrail and flung back into my leg.
Now it didn’t hurt, I am of course a strong independent woman! I continued to walk and thought nothing much of it at all until…….

ALAS my foot was wet, I looked down and I kid you not I was gushing blood like some sort of popped goon bag (wine cask). I stared in horror as my white sock stained red and with each heartbeat there shot a stream of blood from my leg. I strangely felt calm and all I could think was “I don’t wanna die next to the bins”, which in fairness I don’t think I know anyone who would. I let the black bag drop from my hand and ran up the stairs calling for the chef for help.

She simply thought I had gone mad, and I am sure she thought I was well and truly cracked as I flung myself onto my back on the floor, grabbing blue paper as I went down, kicking my leg up above my heart as I held the paper tightly onto the wound to stem the flow of blood as it sprayed artfully onto the walls.

“Tourniquet, someone get me a Tourniquet”, I cried out.

Yip that’s right I was administering my own first aid (I heard someone say hero…..perhaps not). Needless to say the next few minutes were loud and there was a slight panic in the air, mostly from me hoping I wasn’t about to bleed out here on the floor of my workplace, even if it was an upgrade from the bins.

I lay on my back watching my life flash before my eyes, breathing slowly in and out to calm my heartbeat. I looked up into the face of my work mate who was kindly holding pressure to my cut. This is it, the last face I would see, grateful that she was a beautiful sight. And then I waited. Waited for the grim reaper to arrive and take me to my final destination.

But it wasn’t my time, and I was pulled to my senses by my other work mate who basically carried me in her arms like Kevin Costner did with Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard (or maybe she didn’t……details, shemetails!) to the medical centre down the hall.
At this point it’s obvious I survived, but it was a close one. A couple of hours later I was at home with a cider in my hands after a trip to get some stitches. There were only three of them but the cut was deep and it was going to take time to heal. The only funny part being, it was Marks sock that was ruined, I believe everything happens for a reason and I think the good lord knew (being slightly OCD at times) I wouldn’t of dealt with the loss of a good pair of socks.

After a quick look by my work mate, she discovered the evil chalice that had threatened to end me. It was quite simply a broken teacup, the jagged handle of doom.

So there you have it folks, the story of my almost untimely demise. I made it out this time, I just hope to be forever this lucky.

Until next time……….

Laugh, Dream, Reach xxx