Pretty Presents

Some great ideas for DIY decoration of presents this season via the lovely – poinsetta, orchids and papers bows – whatever you fancy so get those crafty minds ticking over!Paper Napkin Poinsettia Tutorial

These orchids look so gorgeous too….

DIY Paper Orchid Tutorial



National Book Award Winners 2012 Announced #nbaward12

Competition was so stiff in 2012, the finalists alone read like a Pulitzer Prize Hall of Fame and the competition was described as “unusually competitive”. Finalists included Junot Diaz who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which I read and really enjoyed. He got into the finalists gang this year with his latest work This Is How You Lose Her.

Also on the finalists list was Dave Eggers, frequently cited as one of the most gifted writers in American contemporary literature. I have read just one of his books Zeitoun about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and it is so powerful, he was up for his latest book A Hologram for the King. It’s set in Saudi Arabia and concerns an American businessman who’s travelled to the country in an attempt to revive his flagging career. The full list of finalists is available here

But onto the winners for this year – some good book club picks and Christmas present ideas below.
FICTION: The Round House by Louise Erdich
The Round House is a novel about a teenage boy’s effort to investigate an attack on his mother on a North Dakota reservation, and his struggle to come to terms with the violence in their culture. She accepted the award in part in her Native American language and said she wanted to acknowledge “the grace and endurance of native women.”
Pretty impressive result for Katherine Boo considering this is her debut novel however this is the same Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Katherine Boo who writes for The New Yorker so maybe not so surprising. It is described as a deeply affecting account of the life of families living in the slums around Mumbai.
YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE: Goblin Secrets by William Alexander
Another great result from a debut novel. Goblin’s Secrets is described as ‘breaking the mold’ in chikdren’s books. The story is set in the town of Zombay and centres around Rownie, a little boy who joins a theatrical troupe of goblins to find his missing brother Rowan. Aimed at ages 8+
The 88-year-old Ferry, whose collection swirls around the questions — both essential and superficial — of our mortal lives, teared up as he accepted his award, admitting that he didn’t think he had a chance to win because of his age, and calling the award a ”pre-posthumous” honor. The judges praised his work as ”singing about the human condition as casually and ferociously as it is lived.”

Honourary prizes were given to New York Times publisher and chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr and novelist Elmore Leonard.

Each winner receives £6,300 and were chosen from a list of 1300 books on the original submission list in the 63rd annual National Book awards.

Winter Essentials

Thw weather has turned, it is getting cold, the rain is lashing down and it’s already dark by 4pm! There are a couple of essentials I have dug out of the back of my wardrobe over the last week and it is with joy that I am rediscovering their benefits! Here are my winter picks below ranked in no particular order, let me know what yours are!

1. OnePiece

The cream of the crop when it comes to onesies, these Norwegian made bear suits are impenetrable to the cold draughts which nip at my heels at home. We received them as presents and they have become firm favourites in our house! (thanks again Gerry and Emma xx)

2. Emu Boots

So wonderfully, magically soft and toasty. I recently picked up a grey pair and they are just ever so slightly impossible to get out of (although I try not to pair them with the above one piece…too much).

3. Carmex

In truth I use this all year round but the application of it becomes slightly more obsessive, to say the least, in the winter months. I have yet to find a better lipbalm..

4. L’Occitane Shea Butter Cream

Another essential to keep hands from getting dry throughout the winter, this is very rich and luxurious but good value and lasts forever as a little goes a long way!

5. Le Roche Posay Lipikar & Trilogy Body Oil

This is a particularly great body moisturiser for every day and even better when used along with its shower cream product.

This Trilogy oil is more of a treat product, it doesnt last as long and used everyday would run out in no time but it smells gorgeous and used sparingly on weekends is a luxury for skin. Another oil I am dying to try is REN Morrocan Rose Body Oil, I have heard good things.

6. Clarin’s Blue Orchid Facial Oil

My mother has been using this most of her life after her friend, a lifelong make up expert raved about Clarins Oils being elixirs among ‘those in the know’. Also used by a dermatologist I know so it must be doing something right. Great for dry skin applied at night, I love it as it leaves skin so soft and refreshed.

7. Origin’s Clean Energy

As you can see I’m a huge fan of oils as they really suit my skin. I swear by this Origin’s oil cleanser and in fact really love this range of skin products which are so natural and sensitive.

8. Origin’s Make a Difference

I wouldn’t normally include two posts on the one brand but the Origins Make a Difference moisturiser deserves its own. Designed to combat the really harsh effects of cold windy weather on the skin it is one I go back to every year for its results. It does exactly what it says on the tin!

9. Hot Chocolate

Nothing is quite so comforting as hot chocolate at any age and any time of the day. My favourite brands are Cadburys and Butlers but there are so many out there to try out so find the one you like most, half the fun is in the testing.


The New Yorker just keeps on giving


I know it’s early to mention Christmas but I just thought for any of you contemplating what to get someone, particularly one of those ‘she/he has everything type of person’, I hit gold last year when I bought my mum an annual subscription to The New Yorker magazine.

There are 47 issues per year for $120 which works out about €94, not bad when you consider that is €2 per issue. The quality of writing is amazing and a lot of highly accomplished authors road test their new work out in it. The issues arrive every week in the post so a great Christmas present and they can be shared around and recycled to family, friends and neighbours.

Other subscriptions I would personally like would be Vanity Fair and National Geographic, oh and the National Geographic for kids is I think a really amazing present when they are still teeny and should solve the problem of the constant ‘why’ being asked around the busy Christmas period.

Get in touch if you know of any other good subscriptions would love to hear it!