Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Flexitarianism - Wobbly or Win?

Ok, so I'll be bold and just blame not living in the States for being slightly behind the times when it comes to the latest healthy-eating trends. In fact it was a very American-based book which inspired me to start this blog in the first place, and this new (to me) concept, flexitarianism, is the conclusion I got from The Omnivore's Dilemma, without actually realizing it was already a thing.

According to wiki: Flexitarians avoid, but occasionally eat, meat. In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word and defined it as "a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat".

Anyways, here's my take and why I don't think it's just being a wobbly veggie cheat. Being omnivores, the human body was designed to have some meat. Some. Like once or maybe twice a week, if that. I see flexitarianism as less a "new" diet and more like going back to the diet humans were designed to have. I'll call it a "vintage diet". Plus, it's nothing new, but I'll re-iterate, cutting down on meat not only is healthier and cheaper but also has an environmental impact. Lucky for me I like vegetarian food, but I also like meat. Double win.

While I wouldn't be someone mad into giving my eating habits a "name" I do like this flexible term as I am trying my darndest to cut a lot of the meat consumption that goes on in my house. It's not so much a moral thing on my part, I do believe in the food chain, but I also believe that we, as people, are not meant to eat as much meat as we do in this post-industrial age. Huge factory farms, feed lots and chicken with 40% added water gives me the heebie-jeebies. Buying meat from a local butcher who buys direct from local farms however? That is something I can feel pretty good about.

I generally haven't bought meat from the mega supermarket in nearly a year, which is a start. And I've been making a conscious effort to order the vegetarian option when eating out. Sometimes. So now it seems a good few American restaurants are getting in on the action as demonstrated by Tasting Table.

So... My fellow flexitarians... Unite!

Further reading:
Books: Almost Vegetarian & The Flexitarian Table

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In a pickle...

As an American ex-pat living in Ireland for nearly ten years I've had my fair share of noticing differences in products available for in markets. I remember years ago, asking in the grocery store where the sour cream was kept and got a look as if I had two heads. (Sour cream? Why on Earth would you want it sour?) These days, it's not that bad, a lot of items (sour cream for example) have become pretty normal on the shelves here. Plus I think I've just gotten used to it... and I also certainly eat a lot less processed food than I did in my early twenties, which is mostly the stuff Americans seem to miss. There are, however, those certain items which are just.... different, and whose absence does go noticed by me and my Yank comrades living on these shores. Example?

PICKLES. Not just any old gherkin, we're talking kosher dill pickles. Oh how I miss their salty goodness. The sweet and floppy pickles on offer in Ireland are just no comparison to a good old snappy Claussen.

So I'm thinking, in an attempt to reclaim this favorite burger accompaniment, I might try my hand at making my own. With a little help from Martha of course. Here's the link to the recipe.

There's also overall info about pickling and canning - as well as recipes for tomatoes and jams. Handy if I had an abundance of fruit, and definitely worth reading about for curiosity's sake. Plus, yep, of course it's an exercise in sustainable living and eating. Go on the vintage food revival. Read more here.

Wish me luck!

Photos from http://www.wholeliving.com/

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The summer thus far

I've been busy. REeeeeEEeeeally busy. Proving thus that when I was actually employed I had a lot more free time on my hands than I do now that I'm "freelance". Yep you read that right, I have been gainfully employed (somewhat) for the past 8 weeks or so, but it does mean I have much less time to spent with experimental cooking, observing the "past imperfect" world around me, growing my own and just blogging/podcasting in general.

But here, I think it's time to do a bit of a catch-up post as I still obsessively photograph my culinary works and still potter about in my tiny garden (made even smaller now by my half-completed hypertufa experiment) and still hold onto articles and record tv programs about sustainability and farming etc.

So. Here we go, I give you a run down of my foodie experiences from the past six months or so.

I often wax lyrical about my butcher - Brady Butchers near Belvedere Rd/Dorset St. and they have given me the opportunity to perfect fillet steak. Below is my first go at it, and it was perfection if I do say so myself... complete with homemade from scratch chips! Gordon Ramsay's simple recipe and method for checking the done-ness.

I then tried it again for Paul's birthday...

I also got pretty good at butter pastry from scratch as well as you can see from my mini-patries

I made some savoury pastries too, with mediocre results - I think I tried to do too much: this had potatoes, cream cheese sauce, asparagus, ham & cheddar.

I was busy with seasonal veg, variation of a skillet chicken recipe, honey butter & cous cous...

Wow, what a boring post... clearly I'm better off with the shorter recipe-based food posts. Hopefully more time will be found to update properly.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Farming in your Window

I've mentioned some massive vertical farms before... but here's one everyone can implement in their own home! No longer be constrained by weather or lack of space.

Hydroponic Window Farms!

Get more info about the Windowfarms on their very confusing website:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

UPDATE: The Uniform Project

The Uniform Project - which I reported on before, has come full circle, put 263 kids back in school and raised awareness about changing our throwaway culture (especially in the realm of fashion).

Watch the results in video:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making the One Pot Pledge

Hey it's been a while. I'm slowly updating all my millions of blogs while I attempt to work on things which actually pay... and also work on researching a new possible entrepreneurial adventure. Phew!

But in the vein of what this blog is all about, I came across a new campaign that has my green-fingered-food-loving-self all exsi-ed.

The One Pot Pledge is a campaign designed to get people back to the roots of their food chain - literally. Encouraging a simple way to get into growing your own, according to them "you don’t even need a garden – one pot on a window ledge is all you need to get started". Them being the UK's leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic.

Check out their website http://www.onepotpledge.org/ for lots more info on getting involved and taking baby steps towards growing your own - which in turn leads to more sustainability and food health. Color me involved.

In fact, yesterday I put paid to my pledge and got my fingers dirty potting up my zucchini (that's courgette to you), red bell peppers and beefsteak tomatoes. My strawberries that are now three years old have also happily survived the frosts and look like they'll be flowering soon. I've also FINALLY begun my ginormous hypertufa raised beds. Full report to follow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

Today is the 40th birthday of Earth Day. That happy-go-hippy day where people are supposed to take a moment to think about this blue planet we're on, and ways to help it, whether that means, spreading the word about climate change, leaving the car at home, enjoying a walk in the park or a stroll on a beach, going greener in various aspects of your life... and so on.

The crowd behind Earth Day are encouraging "acts of green" which is a great idea, but what if you're a bit unsure what to do? Foodie newsletter Tasting Table has come to the rescue by puttin together a Go-Green guide, which I am happy to share with you all.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The USA's answer to DublinBikes

If you read this blog on occasion you may be familiar with my reporting on DublinBikes - the city wide scheme that gives you access to bicycles on several city centre stands for either an annual membership of €10 or 3-day passes for something like €2. Pretty good right?

Looks like the scheme (which is already successful in Paris - and I think Amsterdam) is now headed to the US with Denver being the inaugural city (you can vote on the next city they come to). I think anything to get people out of their cars and onto their feet (or two wheels) is a step in the sustainably right direction. These 'B-cycles' as they're called, look a bit more high-tech than the ones we've got here with GPS and data logging to tell you how many calories you're burning etc. Even the electronic bike stands have a low environmental impact as they run off solar panels. Brilliant stuff.

I've become a HUGE fan of Dublin Bikes as of late. It took me a while, at first they felt awkward, heavy and slow when compared to the mountain bike I usually cruise around in. But the handiness of having them around for those quick jaunts around town is invaluable. I'm lucky enough to have a stand super close to my house and near all my usual haunts, the band's practice studio, the bank, exchequer st. etc. LOVE EM.

Visit the B-cycles site
Visit the DublinBikes site

Monday, April 19, 2010

Paris' 1st Sewing Cafe

I think I need to move to Paris. I've been slowly growing obsessed with the place (Just check out my other artsy-site for the proof) but now I see even more that they have people opening places that pull at my heartstrings of amazingness.

Welcome to Sweat Shop, Paris's only sewing cafe

Basically it operates like an internet cafe, where you can rent a machine on an hourly rate while sipping your cafe creme and tucking into a lovely buttery croissant. Plus, they have classes and workshops which I'm sure are a great place to find inspiration and friends of the same crafty persuasion. Classes even include a "couture class" for learning to perfect technique. Hello. I definitely need that. Or let's be honest, even just a beginners class.

I love their ethos too:
"Welcome to a world of creativity, a place of discovery, of DIY ethics, a piping hot cup of tea and funky furniture. Enjoy organic delicacies courtesy of our New York neighbors at Bob's Juice Bar. Enter into a serene atmosphere where work and relaxation go hand in hand."

Sustainability annnnd fun: "Bored of buying, wearing, throwing away? Fix that seam, make a dress out of those trousers or even design and create a brand new silhouette."

Thanks to Angela Scanlon & the Guardian for passing on this link!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Free Talulah Does The Hula Download

my band, Talulah Does The Hula, are offering a remix of our previous single, Bad Boyfriend, for the grand sum of nought! We held a little remix competition at the end of last year and you can download the chosen track below, but you can also listen to and download the other remixes on our mySpace page: http://myspace.com/talulahdoesthehula

Download Bad Boyfriend (Cast Aside Brides Remix)

The track will feature on our next double-A side single for the songs 'Don't Panic' and 'Real Friends' and will be released on the 7th of May.

We will be hosting a single launch Upstairs in Whelans where we'll be playing alongside Hello Moon & The Evening Watch. Tickets are a mere €7. Feel free to post and re-post the track wherever you like.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2 Foodie Quickies

Everyday I receive a newsletter from the very lovely foodie crowd "Tasting Table". Today they sent me two mails I just had to share.

Always with a finger on the pulse of new food trends, they've uncovered the latest in old-fashioned comfort foods brought bang up to date.

First off... Grilled Cheese. Oh yeah, these were a luxury for me as a kid as rarely did anything unhealthy or dyed dare cross our Californian lips. However I know personally that my own adult grilled cheeses aren't half bad (whole grain delisho breads grilled up in some garlicky EVOO) Well now it appears there is an online "Grilled Cheese Academy" where you can research and submit delicious cheesy goodness as brought to you by the cheesy good folks from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board: http://www.grilledcheeseacademy.com/

At the moment my favorite is "The Lil Kahuna" it's like a Hawaiian Pizza...sandwich. However I'd definitely swap out the Hawaiian sweet bread for something more like, whole wheat ciabatta or something. YUM.

For seconds, Tasting Table have offered up a new desert trend I'd happily get behind, Cake Balls. Yeah, you read that right CAKE BALLS.

Simply put, it's squashed-up-crumbled-up cake, mixed with frosting, rolled into balls and then dipped in chocolate. Uh huh. No need to worry about perfectly crack-less, smooth, fantastically frosted cakes. Just squash it up. However TT has to give credit to "The Cake Ball Company" for coming up with the idea. http://www.cakeballs.com


I'm off to stuff my face in comfort.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Keeping It Up

I've been terrible about keeping this blog up. Being unemployed you would think I would have lots and lots of time to laze around looking up amazoballs things on the Internet... but instead I have put all of my energy into various projects and looking for more work. I guess when I was working in the office I had much more computer/desk time to kill.

I don't want to put a moratorium on this blog, but I do need to say I won't be putting as much energy into it as I simply don't have the time. Possibly part of the reason I haven't updated in a while is my worry that there isn't enough direction to this blog. Is it a travel blog? Foodie? About sustainability? More like a place where I discuss random lifestyle thingies. I have lots of posts planned, I still seem to photograph many of the dinners I cook, so there is definitely more to come.

In fact, I have a proper post planned right now... and one that is actually related to the idea behind this blog. Woo Hoo. Here we go.

Looks like high street staple H&M have started a new line of sustainable clothing. It's called the Garden Collection and it's made up of a lot of flowy florals perfect for Spring/Summer.

I'm like like liking this little red number:
For more info... visit them here: The H&M Garden Collection

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Freebie - Free (& legalish) music

Now, if you're reading this blog, chances are, I'm preaching to the converted... however, if, like me, you have an insatiable appetite for music, particularly music you may have never heard before, there are multitudes of amazing music blogs that offer free, and usually legal, mp3 downloads.

If you're familiar with my other blog, which posts weekly mixtapes of a variety of music, will know finding new sources of musical inspiration is a big necessity.

Most musicians these days understand the value of giving away remixes or sample singles to their fans for free. Their songs get written about, talked about and played to no end... which is generally great for PR, and in turn, record sales and especially ticket sales.

There's millions upon millions of these blogs, many of them specialized, so one of the best ways to discover your favorite sites is to visit The Hype Machine, which aggregates blogs which post music, allows you to play the track and then gives you the link to the blog from which the post came - as well as links to purchase the track if you were feeling so inclined.

Generally these mp3 links are completely legal and actually sent to the bloggers by record companies/musicians as promotional material. However, I should note that not all the tracks found on blogs are legally put there... anyone dubious about downloading music, I've written my opinions about it on this blog in the past.

Some of my favorite spots to listen to and discover new music are here:
Nialler9 - Dublin-based music blog & podcasts... ahsome new music
Winnie Cooper - Canada based blog that posts great music new & old
Funky 16 Corners - Links to lots of great classic soul 45s
Garage Hangover - Garage! As in, 60s garage 45s
NME Daily Download - new promotional hyped up mp3s every day

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spud Fail

I admit it, I like to pride myself in my 'invent-a-recipe' style of cooking... this is where I generally know how to cook something, and try my hand sans-recipe. Most of the time this works for a nice dinner... and sometimes the results are awesome (I'll have to post my sausage & pesto breadcrumb stuffed chicken breasts soon) but there is one area where I have nothing but FAIL, and have decided I need to edumacate myself - Potatoes!

As the future wife to an Irish fella, and an Irish fella whose dad is a chef and whose mom is a pastry chef (I know, big boots to fill!) I really really need to up the stakes in the land of spud. Not only that, but as this blog suggests, I make every attempt to eat food which is local and in season etc. etc. so I HAVE to get better at this staple of Irish-dom.

I'm fine at the basics: mash, baked, I even do a mean roastie... but as soon as I try to experiment, I have had nothing but embarrassment.

Below, my attempt at garlic/scallop potatoes. Yeah, they looked good, but everything bar the top layer was uncooked despite 70 minutes in the oven, and don't even get me started on the curdled milk.

Then there was my attempt at a potato cake/hash browns. Again, they looked good, but were completely flavorless and slightly undercooked as well... I blame not enough eggy mixture.

Anyways, I'm going to have a good study of some proper potato recipes. My food bible, The Joy of Cooking, has a whole section of them... and then of course, where better place to get more info but from an Irish food blog? So it's on to The Daily Spud for me.

Wish me luck! I'd hate to disappoint my adopted country with a new kind of potato famine! Eek!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alex Riley, you're my hero

On the menu tonight, some engaging telly on BBC three.

Tonight I was watching another installment of Alex Riley's "Britain's Most Disgusting Food." A show that does an amazing job at taking the somewhat boring, yet important, topic of food sustainability, health & safety... and making it humorous and engaging.

Yeah... he often sets up obnoxious stunts like standing outside of Lidl and covering himself in Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (aka HVO) to make the point that many of their products contain this dangerous heart-clogging fat. Yes, some of the points he brings up are glaringly obvious, but I found this episode to be a bit more clear and to the point... and of those points? It's all stuff people should know, that people should question what they put in their mouth, that they should wonder about the origin of their food.

He also highlighted the fact that a lot of companies are beginning to build sustainability into their business plans, and that there are some European laws that are protecting our health when it comes to hormones given to dairy cows. Apparently some of these laws are starting to come over to the States... in fact, it's good to know my home State of California already has a ban on HVO.

Again, watching shows like this just confirm what I've always preached, buying fresh, organic and local where you can, including meat & dairy.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Freebie - Stylish DIY Garden Pots

I've always loved gardening, so as the owner of a small cement yard with no dirt or grass in sight, I have to make do with putting my all my plants in pots. LOADS of em. I think it looks a bit charming... but yes, it is a bit tatty and unmatching, and the fella completely hates it.

For years I've been looking for a stylish solution to consolidate all the little pots into big planters or raised beds to go all along the edges of my yard. However, big pots are expensive and heavy and generally just... the wrong size. So I was delighted when I happened upon a Martha Stewart video talking about homemade Hypertufa pots...

Hypertufa is basically a really easy and cheap-to-make concoction that can be easily formed in a mold. It's a bit like a grown up mud-pie. Once formed and hardened, it turns into a rock-like, yet strikingly lightweight substance. It can even be made into large planters that can withstand rough weather and frosts. Woo hoo! I'm really looking forward to constructing my own hypertufa back yard solution; you can use a variety of materials as molds and you can also add additional details into the mold for some visual intrigue.

I've included a link to a hypertufa recipe, although there's loads of other recipes all over the webs. I've also included the link to the Martha video & recipe that started my fascination.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Take A Weird Break

New Addictive Tumblr Alert!

When I first arrived in Ireland nearly *gasp* nine years ago, my good friend Joanne introduced me to the most MENTAL of literary genres... the British "true life stories" magazine. Yep. You've got your 'Take A Break' your 'Pick Me Up' and of course, my very favorite... 'Chat'

Anyone who has come across these in newsagents will know the hilarity the headlines provide. Usually the story isn't quite as horrific and grim as it appears on the cover, but they are entertaining none the less. And great for their "tips" section... a hem. One of my favorites was a mother who, instead of buying skim milk, bought whole milk, watered it down and then served it to her family as skim milk... What money saving genius! EWWW.

Anyways, I've left my Chat addiction behind, but I can still get my fix on a brand new Tumblr site which gives you just the headlines... sure that's the most entertaining part anyway isn't it?

So here you go: http://www.takeaweirdbreak.com/

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweets for your sweet

Happy Valentines Day my friends!

As y'all know, I am a broke as a joke recession victim... But ho ho! Am I a negative nelly? Do I sit on a pity pot? Not me! No, I'm more of a fan of the aul "build a bridge" school of thinking, and know that lack of money doesn't mean I can't lavish my love with romantic gestures (which by the way, should not only be reserved for Hallmark holidays).

So here's my ideas for a cheapie but thoughtful Valentines pressie.

I am a very lucky lady with a fella who has a penchant for baking... He's been perfecting his lemon cake recipe lately and here's my Valentine's present from him.

Then of course... you did it in school, why not do it now? Homemade cards of course! So much cheaper, so much more awesome thoughtfulness. Here's mine for my fella who (aside from the cake) refused to acknowledge this "fake" holiday.

Moving on...

Valentines Day being a Sunday makes the perfect setting for a romantic breakfast in bed. Here's some yum brunch ideas:

French Toast

Whip up some eggs & milk, add a good dash of cinnamon and (here's the secret to extra fluffy french toast) a couple of tablespoons of flour. Soak some thick bread (brioche if you've got it) in your concoction and fry up in a blob of hot melted butter or oil. Shake up a dash of powdered sugar and maple syrup on top... and YUM yerself OUT.

Breakfast Burritos!

A weekend staple in our house, there is very little that is as easy, filling and delicious as a good old breakfast burrito. You can make it veggie or meaty. I scramble up eggs, add some rice, salsa, sausages, a big handful of fresh spinach and season to taste. Warm up some tortillas, stuff em with your eggy fillings top with grated cheese... wrap it up, take a bite and wait for the taste boat.

Enjoy & Happy Valentines Day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Freebie - Pasta Sauces

As has been mentioned in this blog numerous times, over the last few months I have been living the "freelance" lifestyle... aka... broke. So my old carefree way of popping to the corner shop on a daily basis to buy dinner had to be curbed. I'm now much more conscious of every Euro which passes through my fingers and therefore more conscious of making the things that I already have go that extra mile.

We all know pasta is a super cheap and simple way to fill your belly, but what happens when you don't have much of any sauce at home to jazz up that bowl of carbs? I've found a little trick to make a little leftover sauce go a lot further without sacrificing taste.

Creating a "creamy" sauce from bits of other leftover sauces is super easy, and can sometimes be more tasty than the original. I usually start with heating up a bit of olive oil and crushed garlic and throwing in the base of your sauce, whether is a bit of leftover tomato sauce, a tablespoon or two of pesto, some passata or some crushed/steamed tomatoes. Add the base and heat it up a bit and then slowly add some milk and dashes of flour stirring constantly. Don't add too much at a time otherwise the flour will clump up. You don't need to use fatty cream, skim milk will do the job, the more flour you add, the thicker the consistency of the sauce. The important part is to add seasoning, some garlic salt (or just pain salt) some nice cracked black pepper, basil, oregano or whatever savory herbs you've got in the house. You could also add cheese if you like, but I find that sometimes that makes it a bit clumpy & curdled.

I also like adding extra veggies if you've got them; such as cooked peppers or a big handful of spinach - fresh spinach will melt down really small into the sauce - or you can use frozen spinach which has already shrunk. The important part is to taste your sauce the entire time to make sure you've got the flavors you're looking for.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Heart Rachel Ray

As a new "Stay at Home Person" I have become guilty of watching a lot of daytime TV. You know daytime TV... aimed at housewives, unemployed people, or folks who are in need of workman's comp. Luckily in Ireland we don't have all those obnoxious no win no fee attorney ads, we're just stuck with "MONEY 4 GOLD".

Anyways.... one show I have become addicted to and excited about is Rachael Ray. Yeah it's got the usual chat show dross, but it also has great cooking ideas, including ways to make a little bit of food go a long way... very important for a non-earner like myself.

So here's one I tried out earlier, her Butternut Bowtie Pasta Bake Fakeout. On the show she described it as a fakeout because she makes a golden "cheesy" sauce out of the much healthier butternet squash. Aside from just the health side of things, squash is also a lot cheaper than mounds of cheese. You can find the recipe here: http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=2200

I changed it up a bit, cuz that's the beauty of food, there are no hard & fast rules. Rather than bowties I went with shells cuz I thought they'd be nicer in a fake macaroni & cheese dish... I also had no sage leaves, so I added a store-bought pesto to the sauce as well as dotted more pesto on the top of the bake. On the website Rach suggests sprinkling almonds on top, instead I added some nice sharp cheddar... to add to the "fakeout".

The results? Roasting the squash took a while, and there's a lot of dishes to cleanup - esp as I used a food processor (apparently you could use a potato masher). I did enjoy making a gorgeous golden sauce that didn't actually include cheese, but the end result was quite heavy & filling, and according to the boyfriend... bland.

I think it's worth trying again, personally I enjoyed it, but here's what I would change: I would use less squash in the sauce and more milk to make it thinner. It was HEAVY. I would also use a lot more pesto... or just a lot more seasoning. When eating, every time you hit a pesto pocket it was divine, the rest was just okay. If I'm feeling brave the next time, I might even add some Tabasco... which goes with everything... in theory.


Oh and PS, if you have a veggie-loving cat like me, beware of leaving out your unused cooked butternut squash & husks. I got to wake up the next morning cleaning up golden orange cat barf. Nice.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I haven't been to Disneyland in at least... 15 years, but I remember very very clearly that (aside from the Haunted Mansion - which is amazing) my favorite section was "Tomorrowland." Not because it predicted the future, but because it was like stepping back into the the 50s version of "tomorrow", aka the 60s, which, as a reader of this blog you'll know, I'm a bit obsessed with.

So I found it very amusing today when I ran across an article displaying 1940s Seagrams Whiskey Ads that "predicted the future." No jetpacks and flying cars in these ads, instead they pretty much had a spot-on vision of today's 3D movies, Mobile phones, Skype... oh and a weird grocery store on wheels (Tesco delivery?). Anyways, I enjoyed, so I figured you would too:

"Yesterday's Ads Predicted Today's Tech"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Freebies!

As a person thoroughly immersed in unemployment, I've decided to (attempt to) start regularly posting more on the topic of "Living on the Cheap." Basically chronicling my attempts to still continue living the life I became accustomed to before the big "R" word set in. Covering topics such as: not becoming a shut-in, using your creativity wisely, eating generously & deliciously, entertaining & more... all whilst not breaking the bank. For cuteness sake I'll call it my "Friday Freebies". So, here ya go, Friday Freebie numero uno:

Joyous was I when I first heard that this Saturday is a FREE OPEN DAY AT THE IFI TO WATCH AWESOME MOVIES FOR FREE!

I know right?! Its so awesome it's AHSAHM. One of the films on schedule is Bringing Up Baby, which has always been a fave, but what I'm really looking forward to the vintage Irish travel films. Oooh err... I'm desperately in love with anything vintage, especially now that I spend my days reading all of the internets from start to finish and back.

Full info here: http://ifi.ie/cinema/season1_07.asp?PageID=60&SID=193

Saturday, January 30, 2010

And now, for something completely different

I love chopped up video. I love nostalgia. Hope you do too:

It's like video upcycling. Mwha ha ha!
Okay, overdoing it on the upcycling theme? Uh, yeah.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Going out in a green way.

Photo from Green Coffins Ireland

Last night I was finally catching up on my long overdue newspaper reading, and in the Sunday Times I came across a new green trend which has now found its way to Ireland. The Green Graveyard Company is a business started by Colin McAteer where he has leased a 7.5 acre site in Wexford to create Ireland's first natural burial ground. The aim being that the body is returned to the Earth in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. He already runs a sustainable casket & urn business, where the caskets are often a woven wicker made from willow, banana leaf or other organic materials, and there are no permanent headstones at the burial site. Apparently, to make them even better, these funerals are less expensive than a traditional funeral. As you would probably imagine, eco-funerals are already quite trendy in the US & UK.

Personally, as a person without strong religious beliefs and a strong desire to live as environmentally friendly as possible, I love the idea. And knowing how expensive funerals can be... and how the industry fills your head with all the things you need to have a "proper" funeral - for just that little bit extra, well then it's great for getting rid of unnecessary excess.

Check out the beautiful eco pod coffin! Wowsah.

Speaking of excess, I'm starting to understand the concept more than ever. As a person planning a wedding, I'm finding it amazing all the little bits and pieces that the sickenly cute trendy websites start putting in your head. "Save the Dates?" Okay fair enough. Favors? Ehhh... Wedding website? No thank you.

Errr... it's amazing how similar funerals & weddings are. Not to mention that old Irish joke. Erk. Ehm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Upcycling & geekery rolled into one

I'm a complete nerd... I own about a million hard drives (this comes with the territory of being a video editor), I love upcycling, and I love VHS tapes (nostalgia addict). So for other nerds I happened across an ultimate accessory: The VHS external harddrive. That's right, someone hollowed out an old VHS movie, stuck a USB drive in and voila! Nostalgic "memory" geddit? Ha! I kill me (that's courtesy of ALF).

Buy your own VHS drive on CentennialMerchant's Etsy Shop

Monday, January 25, 2010

PI Hearts "The Uniform Project"

Last night I came across Sheena Matheiken's site "The Uniform Project", which she calls "an exercise in sustainable fashion."

The concept is simple, Sheena wears the same dress every day (her friend designed and created seven identical dresses for each day of the week), yet creates a totally unique and fashionable took every day using simple accessories or other items of clothing - most having been upcycled, recycled or created sustainably... the best part it that it is all for a good cause.

I have to admit I'm jealous of her incredible style, and it is really inspiring to see how many looks you can create from a single article of clothing. This is definitely a must-read for Primark addicts (including myself unfortunately).

Sheena has already raised $53,012 for Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots movement that is revolutionizing education in India. Which is also very touching, considering that many of the throwaway fashions we are guilty of wearing are created in India. You can donate money to the cause, or if you're a bit skint or jobless like me, you can also simply donate accessories or items of clothing. When the project ends this coming May, they plan on selling versions of their incredibly versatile dress with all proceeds going to charity.

Here's Sheena herself talking about the project when it was only 3 weeks old:

What an incredible, inspirational, yay idea.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh (Cold) Snap!

Oh Ireland... what on Earth has happened to you? You appear to have become stricken with the most unusual malady. COLD?!?!? Wha? in WINTER?

Ah yes, the cold snap that for a brief while, turned this green isle white, and turned all civic amenities upside-down. (Salt for the roads? You mean we should have the stuff stockpiled? Surely not!) Despite people breaking their wrists on icy pavement and cars sliding into each other in the slush, some of us were able to enjoy this fluffy occurence.

Figure 1: Putty tat is curious about strange white fluff.
(please disregard our embarrassing bin buildup)

Figure 2: Posh snowman in the yard (he's posh cuz his nose is a champagne cork)

It seems Dublin is back to normal, and perhaps that means that warmer weather is soon to follow. In fact, looking closely at my sad brown clematis I found a little green sprig of hope. It also appears that leaving sweet pea seeds out in the dirty snow sometimes brings a lil surprise.

Here's hoping that I can use this as a small metaphor that the rest of the world, although going through horrible shit, will come out and blossom as soon as this long season is over.