Tag Archives: Irish


27 Aug

I love a good beauty product and I have been known to go totally nuts buying, use a couple of times and leave to gather dust while I continue to use what I already had! I don’t think I am alone in this, am I???

However, my recent long term unemployment put a total and abrupt stop to all purchases of the luxury sort and to my horror I had to survive with what I had plus the extras my lovely sisters would send me … if you don’t have sisters like mine you are missing out, they are amazing (and hopefully reading!). I of course did survive but a little bit of me died not being able to have shiny new things to make me pretty, but I suppose I did have a tan pretty much all the time which helps!

Now that I am once again financially liquid I can have the odd splurge/investment but I have to say unbeknownst to myself I’ve become more risk adverse when it comes to new products … I am researching lots before buying and impulse purchases no longer seem to be in me! It was a shock to me too but perhaps its old age combined with experiencing a recession? Or am I just getting boring? Oh GAWD!

Anyways … I came across this great post from new Irish website Frillseeker yesterday and it really is packed full of great reccomendations for all types of beauty products from Irish Beauty Bloggers. What I really like about this is that you can see the lady in question so for the lipsticks in particular you can judge if you have the same colouring/skin tones and whether that particular shade might suit you.


Some of my own favourite products and brands are listed here such as:

La Roche Posay. You all need to get the Cicaplast Baume its a wonder product for everything from dry skin to chaffing/heat rash from exercise! Also great for nappy rash I believe so a family friendly one.

MAC lipsticks. MAC in general is a love of mine especially their blushes and brushes. I have Rebel and now Lady Danger lippies on my wishlist.

Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks. These are cheap and really good! They don’t make you skeletal like Kate herself which was such a relief 😉

Benefit They’re Real mascara. I just adore this product, I always feel my eyes look so much better with it on. The brush took me some time to get used to and I stabbed myself a few times but now I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else.

YSL Touche Eclat foundation. This is a beautiful foundation, it makes my skin glowy and isn’t too heavy (freckles are still visible through it which I like). The bottle is huge and lasts for ages.

Products I need to get after reading this article:

Seche Vite – this is a top coat for nails that dries really quickly so fantastic for silly billies like me that start painting their nails after they have called a taxi or just before they need to find something in a handbag or go to bed hence ruining all the good work!

Cocoa Brown tan – this has been developed my Irish beauty therapist Marissa Carter and everyone is raving about it, I will be picking up a bottle when I am home in December to try next Winter. Its really affordable and can be washed off a couple of hours after application so no need for smelly sleeping! There is an accompanying scrub called Tough Stuff that also sounds right up my street. I love a good scrub and have been body brushing with vigour lately in anticipation of 7 months on the beach. Yes I did that on purpose. Emigrants are soooo annoying aren’t they?

I’ve been using some lovely Australian products lately too so I might do a post on some of them soon too …. give the blog a little break from food!

Ok peeps have a good look at this and tell me what you think? What are your favourite beauty products? What can you not live without? Please comment as I love hearing everyone else’s opinions and I hate missing out on wonder products!



Cottage Pie with leftover Roast Beef

23 Apr

There has been a really noticeable drop in temperature here in Perth this week, its bbrrrrrrrrrr at night and not so warm during the day either. As much as I adore the heat the cold does have its advantages .. food advantages like hot brothy noodle soups, steaming hot dinners, drinking chocolate, hot ports .. non food advantages like snuggling up in hoodies on the couch watching movies and not feeling guilty about spending a whole day inside!

Yesterday we had a lovely Sunday Roast beef with roast potatoes and gravy, not a patch on an Irish Mammy dinner but good enough to warm us up!
I was at a loss for what to do with the leftover roast beef as during my childhood there might be enough left over to have toasted roast beef sambos on Sunday evening with tomato,mayo and a steaming cup of tea or in fact, as was usual, there might only be a bone that even the dog would reject for lack of meat. We are a big family and although 6/7ths  female we can eat!!

As my primary school teacher taught me “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” so I decided to try one of my favourite comfort foods using the beef instead of the usual mince .. Cottage Pie .. it turned out really well and actually I think the texture is nicer than making it with mince.  I still have some more left so I might try my hand at a curry with the rest tomorrow … any other suggestions?

Cottage Pie

1 large onion finely chopped
2 carrotts finely chopped
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
Handful of frozen peas (its not Irish comfort food without frozen peas)
500g left over roast beef in small cubes
stock/leftover gravy/meat juices + water = 350 ml
splash of red wine (make sure to thoroughly taste test the wine!!!)
grated parmesan 
4 large potatoes cooked, mashed with butter
as in my case I only had 2 spuds left so I added in some pumpkin to the required amount. Butternut squash or sweet potato would also suffice and cauliflower can make a great topping for pies if you’re watching your carb intake.

Preheat oven to 180
Splash of oil + knob of butter in a saucepan on a low/med heat .. fry the onion, carrotts, celery and garlic until soft and transparent, not brown
Add in the meat and half the stock, turning up heat to a simmer
To thicken the sauce either add a tablespoon of cornflour to the remaining stock and stir in
I used Bisto as I came across it in a shop here last week and got very excited!
The sauce needs to be quick viscous so add more if needed
Add in the red wine, don’t be tempted to add too much as it can overpower so if unsure of amounts measure 3 tablespoons
Throw in the peas
Leave meaty sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes before assembling in an oven proof dish
I like to add the topping in a rather haphazard manner of lumps and peaks as then all the pointy sticky uppy bits get lovely and crispy and browned.

In the oven for 35 min or until its all browned ..

Sprinkle generously with grated parmesan, back in the over for 5 min or until all melted (if you prefer you can add parmesan to the mash along with the butter but I like melty cheese)

Eat with steamed veggies, baked beans or tomato ketchup for a childish treat


SJ x

Finnegan’s St Patrick’s Day Super Sambo!

13 Mar

Finnegan is my Irish Leprechaun companion, he was gifted to me in Ireland by my sisters who feared I would not survive alone on my trip to Australia and he has kept me company while I’ve been here!

With St Patricks Day approaching he is getting very excited (& a little homesick) so has thrown himself into all things green and/or Irish.

Not allot is known about a Leprechaun’s diet (although green features allot see the M&Ms above) but they would have a tendency towards over indulging on porter and whiskey especially on a big occasion. With this in mind I have devised the ultimate stomach lining sandwich to help Finnegan and all us Irish enjoy St Patricks Day to its fullest.

Its just so happens that Collette (@Katzwizkaz ) tweeted me about a lovely competition she is judging here on Very Good Recipes  so I’ve decided to enter! The dish has to contain a green ingredient, no problem to me as I have waxed lyrical since I arrived in WA about the delicious avocados. The recipe  is inspired somewhat by the French Croque Monsieur but mainly I made it up myself!


Finnegan’s St Patrick’s Day Super Sambo! 

The exhaustive list of ingredients

1 egg (beaten)

Avocado (sliced or mashed)

Tomato (sliced)

Cheese (Mozzarella or cheddar/tasty has worked best for me)


The intricate method 

Take bread, spread or place avocado on one slice (as much as you want), place slices of tomato on top followed by cheese.

Close sandwich.

Beat egg (season with s&p)

Heat a little oil in a pan.

Dip sandwich in beaten egg, turning over to ensure both sides are soaked in the manner of french toast.

Fry sandwich on pan about 4 min on each side or until toasty brown.

Cut in desired shapes and eat.

Its really good with a cup of Barry’s Tea.

Happy St Patrick’s Day


SJ & Finnegan x


12 Mar

Its never easy to leave home, your comfort zone, much less when you thought your travelling days were done and had your sights set on a picket fence!

But every cloud has a silver lining and there is much to love about a hotter climate, gorgeous food, a more outdoorsy healthy lifestyle and being 6 weeks ahead in Home&Away 😉

Attached is a lovely short film/docu made in association with Toronto Irish Film Festival. It echoes many of the responses we would give .. I miss my friends and family and he misses his football. No one misses the rain or the negativity.

My good friend is the guy who misses Irish bread and has a refined Wexford accent!

What to buy for Christmas?? Buy Irish of Course!!

1 Dec

As it’s the first of December it’s ok with me now to talk about Christmas ..

When we were young I don’t remember the run up being so long, there always seemed to be months between Hallowe’en and Christmas. However I do remember standing on the table in our kitchen being helped into my pyjamas (All dressing was done on that table, until now I have never realised it might be odd!) and being so scared that Santa would look in the window, realise I was not good-as-gold and bring me a bag of coal!

Oh, the incredible excitement of Christmas morning, being barely able to get down the stairs with anticipation! While the presents were amazing, for me,  it was seeing had Santa eaten the mince pies and more so had Rudolph had the carrot! The half eaten mince pie and teeth marks in the carrot would bring squeals of delight from us. The year we found reindeer hair/fluff left on our fireplace was without doubt a highlight of my childhood. Imagining how magic Santa must be to not only get himself and all the presents down the chimney but also a Reindeer!! Santa truly is amazing but my parents must have loved Christmas Eve and morning a lot too, good thing there was the odd red cow among all the black & white ones eh?

I have listed below some Irish companies that I love and have purchased gifts from throughout the year as-well as for Christmas. I won’t be too specific with what I have bought for fear of ruining some surprises. It’s nice to have that Christmas morning anticipation even when we are all growed-up!

Firstly, if you want a daily giggle follow Tara and her company on twitter or like them on Facebook. Trust me, you will laugh!
Beautiful slate products from coasters (which can also be used to serve butter!) to table runners, memo/chalk boards to plant markers. All functional,  pretty and reasonably priced they come beautifully packaged too.

Garrendenny Lane – I have loved this site and blog for a long time but only recently made a purchase. I sent this lovely map of Ireland to a friend living in Canada who won’t be home for Xmas. It was delivered straight from the site and arrived within a week! An ideal present for someone who won’t make it home this year.

Green Saffron – I adore these spice mixes! Sirak Masala (available online or from farmers market) and Murgh Tandoori are my favourites but the Balti, Rogan Josh and Tikka Masala have all gone down really well! Each pack comes with easy to follow instructions and tips.  I am looking forward to trying the Christmas Turkey Delight around December 26th.

Donegal Rapeseed Oil – Healthier than alternatives and tastes really good! There are other Irish rapeseed oils around now too which I have not tasted, we have no need to buy all foreign oils any more!

Sleek.ie – this might seem like a treat for yourself but once Lorna sorts you (or me anyway) out with some fantastic control underwear the sight of you in your party dress will be a treat for everyone’s eyes!! Great customer service and fantastic products.

Danucci Chocolates – Salted Caramels. Have to be tried to be believed

8Degrees Brewing Beer – Brewed in Cork by a Kiwi and an Aussie, a lovely present for a beer lover and a good addition to your christmas puddings, cakes, mincemeat or accompaniment to your cheese board (any excuse!).

Funky Christmas Jumpers – Lots of fun to wear one of these on the big day and also really popular for the annual 12 Pubs of Christmas fun!

Hairy Baby – T-shirts, aprons, bags and baby clothes with hilarious graphics and slogans! My Mam’s name is Mary so have been thinking of getting this one for Dad .. hee hee!

Cookbooks are always appreciated by cooks and food enthusiasts alike. Here are my favourites from this year.
Edward Hayden: Food to Love

If you are not familiar with Edward you are in for a treat! He is a lovely personable and really funny guy who I first met when I did a cookery course in Dunbrody House with my sister, Mam and Aunties,  everyone fell in love with him. I have since attended lots of his classes and met him at various shows. His book has lots of great recipes & ideas and I have used it many times since getting it for my birthday in September.

Niamh Shields: Comfort and Spice

A Waterford girl living in London cooking up a storm and making my mouth water on regular occasions with her blog. Slow cooked pork is her signature dish her book is not only beautiful but packed full of great recipes you will want to try immediately.

Lilly Higgins: Make, Bake, Love

This is one book I am hoping will be bought for me rather than me buying for someone else. Lilly’s blog is so aesthetically pleasing that I cannot wait to drool over the pages of her book, which she styled herself! WANT.

Only 24 more sleeps …

SJ x