Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Five reasons to love French supermarkets

My God, do I love a French supermarket. I may adore ambling through the actual markets, or starting the day in a patisserie, but there's something about the hypermarché that gets my tummy all of a quiver. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Hotel Review: The Cliff Townhouse, Dublin

Where: The Cliff Townhouse, Dublin

Why: Have you ever finished an amazing meal and wished that your bed was just that bit closer? This Dublin hotspot may be the answer. The Cliff Townhouse is a “restaurant with rooms”, combining incredible seafood in the elegant restaurant with comfortable and chic bedrooms upstairs. All this in a beautiful Georgian building on the edge of Stephen’s Green.

Highlights: The food is as great as I had hoped it would be, with a predominantly seafood menu offering up the best ingredients Irish waters can produce. We feasted on perfectly cooked scallops with pork belly, creamy risotto, rich and tender monkfish and juicy lobster. The townhouse itself is stunning, with a grand staircase, tall sash windows and ornate furnishings creating a homely feel. In a world of high tech bathroom gizmos and hotel room wizardry, it was a relief to be in a bedroom which just worked – proper taps in the bath, windows you can open and a cosy Donegal tweed blanket on the bed.

Lowlights: The listed building does have a lift, but the rooms aren’t wheelchair accessible.  

Best for: Serious foodies, looking to satiate their appetites in a charming setting.

Concierge’s Choice: The Little Museum of Dublin is just a few doors down, and came highly recommended by the team at reception, who sometimes have complimentary passes for guests. Other recommendations included the new bar Peruke and Periwig on nearby Dawson Street, as well as The Hairy Lemon.

Ask for room number: There are only nine rooms in the townhouse, some overlooking the green and others facing the back. All have their own quirks and vary in terms of size and shape. Room 205 is a particular stunner, with a park view and an ornate fireplace.

Guests of honour: Samuel Beckett is one of the most prominent former guests the building has seen, choosing to write in one of the stately rooms, presumably by a roaring fire.

Rates: The ‘Cliff Townhouse Experience’ includes dinner for two in the restaurant, an overnight stay, full breakfast and a welcome glass of champagne. Rates start at €233 for a midweek stay in a townhouse room, in the winter.  For accommodation only, a townhouse room starts at €143 per night, midweek.

Contact: theclifftownhouse.com / 01 638 3939

This review originally appeared in the Irish Independent. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Travel Pennies wins Best Travel Blog at the Image Blog Awards!

My lovely trophy
On Wednesday, I headed to Fade Street Social for the IMAGE Blog Awards, where I was nominated in the Best Travel Blog category. You know how people always say that they weren't expecting to win? I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I wasn't. I even had an awesome GIF planned for when I lost...

I thought I'd pop along, have a glass of bubbly and meet some of the brilliant bloggers I only know online. I did those things, of course. After a brief period of time standing like an absolute lemon at the bar, I spotted Karen and Joanne of Lovely Girly Bits, grabbed them and forced them to babysit me for the rest of the night. Hurrah!

I met some other wonderful bloggers too, which was really nice. But the highlight was...


I was completely chuffed.

Congratulations to all the other nominees and winners, and my apologies if you had to listen to me talking about Bondi Rescue (again).

Thanks a million to everyone who voted and to all of the wonderful people at IMAGE.ie!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What I ate in London

I'm a huge fan of the Grub Street Diet posts from New York Magazine. Each Friday at 2pm, I log on to see who's been featured, and what they've spent the week eating. Usually, it gives me extreme New York based food envy - whether it's sandwich cookies from Jenny Slate, two Thanksgivings with Jessica Seinfeld or Chrissy Teigen's Starbuck's cup of red wine.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hotel Review: Posada del Organista in Santallana del Mer, Spain

There's something to be said for staying in a tiny, family style B&B. There's all the quirks that you'd expect if you were, say, staying with an eccentric aunt somewhere in the countryside. There's the one stair that creaks, the rooster crowing at dawn, and the food that you would give your arm to have made for you every day. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Image.ie Blog Awards 2014

Well, how about that? Travel Pennies has been shortlisted for the Best Travel Blog in the Image Blog Awards 2014, and I'm thrilled! I'm in good company too, there are some fabulous blogs in the travel section. 

If you like reading the blog (or owe me a favour) do go and give me a wee vote. You just need to click on the link below, click for me under the travel category, and you're done. You don't have to vote in all of the categories if you don't want to. 

Thanks a mil!

The Fuente Dé cable car and climbing Picos de Europa in Cantabria

There's something so exciting about mountain air in the morning. I think it's because it feels like you're about to do something - you're hiking, or you're cycling, or you're skiing. It feels like the start of a day when you're going to accomplish something.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Making cheese in Switzerland

Can I admit something? I'm not super into cheese. I mean, I like it when it's melted, and oozing out of a grilled sandwich or a fondue pot. But when I'm just faced with a cheese platter? Eh, I'm left cold. And I will never, ever understand getting cheese as dessert. NEVER.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Memory Dish: Baked Garlic Camembert, inspired by France

There's no lunch I love more than a proper French affair. Crusty, warm baguettes picked out from the bakery that morning. Slabs of cheese on a wooden board, free for everyone to rip chunks from. Salami, jamon, chorizo and saussicon, all waiting to be torn up and smooshed together with a bit of mustard, sea salted butter and as much bread as you can manage. 


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