Wild Wicklow Tour, Ireland

A trip to Ireland would not be complete without a tour. We managed to find a cool tour of the Wicklow Coast. Wild Wicklow Tour. The tour itself was beautiful, the guide was super funny and it was a great way to spend the day seeing the coast and mountains. The tour consisted of a drive down the coast past DunLaoghaire Harbour, Dalkey and Killiney (with stops to see Bono’s home and a few other famous people’s homes, as well as sitings of where movies were filmed).

There was a stop at Avoca Handweavers for coffee, pastries and some *touristy shopping. Then on to Glendalough to see 6th Centruy Monastic Settlement and beautiful views. Lunch at a traditional Irish Pub (which were everywhere, seeing as we were in Ireland!) And of course view of the mountain lakes, wild heather, barren boglands where they filmed Braveheart.

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Next trip to Ireland…. we tour the west coast đŸ˜‰

*meaning expensive stuff

First Day in Dublin Ireland

In June my family and I had the chance to take a trip to one of the places in the world I have always wanted to visit. Ireland. After the kid finished school and started her summer break, we took an evening flight from Montreal to Toronto and then the over night from Toronto to Dublin. It was the longest 7 hour flight I have ever taken. Luckily the kid slept 95% of the time. I managed a few hours. Poor husband only managed a few minutes.

As a reader, I often read stories that took place in Ireland. As a result, I’ve always wanted to go there to see if all that I was reading was true. Turns out, I felt very much at home in Dublin. Almost as if I had been there before. I only wish we had managed to visit more of the country.

O’ Connell Street, Dublin (And some guy’s head who popped in at the last second)

These guys moved very very slowly… very cool. Scared the life outta the kid though!

The River Liffey

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Map of Dublin

Deck Wars

I have an addiction. I am addicted to HGTV. I’m not sure why. If there is nothing else to do or watch, you can bet I am watching some lame person looking for a new home on HGTV. I love watching Property Virgins, Income Property, House Hunters and House Hunters International, and  of course I LOVE Holmes On Homes!

Recently I’ve been seeing this show Deck Wars on HGTV. Every time this show is on, it makes me cringe. The point of the show is to have two teams compete to see who can create the best deck. Great idea. Unfortunately these decks are made in a big studio around a fake house. At the end no one has a wonderful deck to use. They’re taken apart and apparently the materials are somehow disposed of…. uh huh. Sure.

What I could never understand about this show, is why they don’t have two houses in the same neighbourhood getting these decks? After the show is over and one team is declared the winner, two families will have an awesome deck! What great advertising! What a good way to make sure there isn’t wasted materials! What an interesting show this would make….  I have no idea why I was so incensed about this. I think it may have to do with the fact that I’m not working right now, and I need a cause.

Image

The other day, I set out to make sure HGTV heard my complaint about Deck Wars and their wasted materials. It took me all of 15 minutes to track down their email address: http://www.hgtv.ca/hgtv/contactUs.aspx and I sent them a very well written email đŸ™‚

Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 11:53 AM
To: Feedback@HGTV.CA
Subject: HGTV Television – 5. Other Comments and Concerns

[feudusoleil] has sent the following message via the contact us mailer on Television HGTV.

I have a comment about the show Deck Wars. I’m wondering who came up with the idea to make decks in a building and then see who has the best deck. Who benefits from these decks? No one. What happens to these decks after the show has been filmed? What a waste of materials! Why did no one think it would be a good idea to have these two teams pick two people in a neigbourhood and make decks on their places? Then, no matter which team wins, two people in the neigbourhood also win. They get a deck! And no wasted wood and materials. It makes me angry every time I see this show, and watch them make a deck in a big room. How wasteful this is. I end up turning the show off, because it irritates me so much. And I probably would watch if I thought someone would be getting to use these decks at the end of the show. This would be good advertising for the show as well. I’m not sure who you have pitching your show ideas… but I think it’s time they retired.

Then, I promptly forgot all about it. I’d vented and I figured I would hear nothing back from them. After all, I’m just a viewer, and I’d likely still watch their station. Just not this show.

But guess what!!! I did get a reply! Today. A typical, it’s not my fault, it’s someone else response.

From: “Feedback@HGTV.CA” <___.___@shawmedia.ca>
Subject: RE: HGTV Television – 5. Other Comments and Concerns
Date: April 5, 2012 12:48:36 PM EDT

Hi,

Thanks for contacting HGTV Canada! We appreciate you taking the time to provide us your feedback.

The cast and crew of Deck Wars are committed to keeping the planet as green as possible. Over 80% of the material you see in Deck Wars was either reused or recycled.

HGTV Canada broadcasts many shows and our programs are produced by independent production companies. In most cases whenever they are able to recycle or re-use a product they do, using local companies to recycle the products, however, that aspect is not featured on the show.

Again, we appreciate the time you have taken to bring your thoughts and opinions to our attention, as viewer feedback is very important to us.

Have a great day.

Sincerely,
HGTV Canada Viewer Relations
http://www.hgtv.ca

I think anyone else who finds this as irritating or wasteful as I do should email HGTV as well. Let them know what we think about the waste of all this wood and materials! Send your own email to http://www.hgtv.ca/hgtv/contactUs.aspx

 

March Break Day Four

Day four was all about travel. Packing, cleaning and driving. That was our day.

I abhor packing. It doesn’t matter how long the planned trip is for, I cannot stand packing. I don’t like trying to figure out what I’m going to be in the mood to wear while I’m away. I will continuously check the weather forecast for the days I’m away, but inevitably it always changes. If the forecast was for sun and warmth, it’ll change to cold and rain/snow. If the forecast was for snow and cold, it’ll be sunny and warm. I can never win. And I’m always wishing I’d brought that one item that I left behind.

Every time I have to pack for our monthly trip to Toronto, I get a nervous twitch and all itchy. We’ve been doing these monthly trips to see family for two years. And I still freak out every time. I actually find it much harder to pack if I’m going for only two days than if I am going for two weeks. I can bring more options for two weeks!

I don’t just have an allergic reaction to packing for vacations or trips. I have the same reaction when we’re moving and I need to pack the house. This is why my husband is the one who packs the bags (or boxes).

BUT… I love unpacking. Putting everything into its rightful place, cleaning and organizing. (Mild OCD anyone?) Luckily my husband understands my dislike of packing and will do what he can to help ease the stress for me… and luckily for him I love to put everything away. Win – win!

As I’ve already mentioned these trips to Toronto happen pretty much every month. We always drive, and we always complain that it’s a crappy boring drive. And it is. There isn’t much to see once you get passed Cornwall until you hit Kingston, the half way mark for us. But once you pass Kingston, there isn’t much to see until you hit the lights of the Greater Toronto Area.

Six and a half hours driving. The poor kid can’t do much in the back seat. If she watches a movie on the ipad she pukes. If she reads, she pukes. If she colours or draws pictures, she pukes. Well, you get the point. She manages to occupy herself with a few barbies or playmobile toys and sleeping.

We also play a game called, The Donut Game. This object of this game is for us to pretend to be making different types of donuts and then giving them to the other person to taste test. The game has evolved over the two years, now we also make other imaginary foods to feed each other. The object of the game is to come up with different food ideas or flavours of donuts. Yup. You guessed it…. this game is loads of fun for the kid, but a bit tedious after five minutes for mummy.

So, mummy came up with the brilliant idea of downloading a book from itunes to listen to on the car rides! Yeah for audio books! We’ve been listening to Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I loved the story when I was young, and the kid loves it too. And it certainly makes the time pass while driving.

March Break Day Three

We did something special for our day together. My daughter and I went to our first movie at a theater on our own. We’ve been to the movies together before, but all the movies we’ve seen have always been a family event. All of us trekking out to the theater, trying to agree on a movie, trying to find enough seats for all of us.
Today, it was just us. And we had a wonderful time. Even if it was packed with tons of other kids who were off for the break. Even if they were all whining and screaming. Even if we had to wait in line for twenty minutes, though we had already purchased our tickets on-line the day before.

We went to see The Lorax.

One of the kid’s favorite Dr. Seuss’ stories. We’ve been reading this story for many years thanks to my sister. When the kid heard the movie was going to be out this week, she asked if we could go see it together. At first, I tried to figure out when it was playing on the weekend so everyone could go see it…. then I thought, “Why not go just the two of us?”

So we did. And she loved it! It was a great movie. Expanded a bit from the original story, but it needed it in order to get to the places the book didn’t touch upon. We find out why the Onceler was telling the boy what happened to the truffula trees, and what happens after the story is done. It was a satisfying adaptation of the book.

Also, everyone in the theater seemed to enjoy the preview for the Despicable Me 2 movie coming out in 2013. Even I think it looks cute. Too bad we have to wait until 2013!

Half way through the break, and I think we’re having a pretty good time so far. Today she told me, “this March break has been a big thumbs up. Last March break was a big thumbs down.” (Last year we both had horrible colds and never left the house for the week. So she’s right, it did totally suck).

Did I mention that the weather today is super beautiful? Took advantage of the great day, and enjoyed some jump rope too!

March Break Day Two

Day two of keeping the kid entertained involved traveling to Cote St. Luc to a recently opened pool. It was a great place for the kid to hang out for an hour. It was quiet and still clean with its shiny newness. Not many people know about this hidden little jem! If you get a chance, you should check out the Aquatic and Community Centre…. they also have a gym and a library.

Checking the place out

March Break Swim Day!

March Break Day One

March Break for the kid. That means trying to fill the days making sure the kid is not too bored. Since today was crazy cold out, we opted for making raspberry shortbread cookies. Wonderful purple coloured cookies in the shape of flowers and hearts! Is there a better or more delicious way to say we’re ready for spring? I don’t think so.

Pretty Cookies…

Good enough to eat!

The recipe is slightly adjusted from one of my favorite sites. Weelicious.

Snowtacular in February

Last winter in MontrĂ©al was a brute. After two years of living in the Bay Area, where the coldest day was a whopping 3 C, a full winter in MontrĂ©al left me feeling like I was a human popsicle. I was completely unprepared for how bitterly cold it could get here. (And in denial that I was going to be staying here for any significant time). The wind could blow right through you, the snow kept falling, and it felt like the sun was always behind big snow clouds. You’re left wondering if the winter ever ends here. It eventually warmed up. In June!

Thankfully, this year I was much more prepared. Big comfy parka, wooly hat, thermal underwear and super tough warm boots. Of course, because I was fully prepared, this winter was much tamer with warmer temps and way less snow. A couple of weeks ago we finally received our first major snowfall. The trees were heavy with the white stuff, and looked beautiful, if not a bit scary. There was some fear the weight of the snow was going to bring down the tree in our back yard. It didn’t help when we could hear the creaking and popping of the branches as the snow kept piling up.

The tree in the back didn’t crash down, but I do have some wonderful shots of February’s Snowtacular (as my daughter named it) event.

 

Heavy Snow

Close up!

Snow-light

Garden of Snow