Christmas bar cart

Christmas officially arrived in full swing this week in our household and I couldn’t be happier. We prematurely decorated a couple of weeks ago for an exciting Christmas photo shoot {more on that soooon!}, but I knew if we kept the tree and decorations up that long, I’d end up getting tired of them. I love Christmas so much so I didn’t want to overdo it. So my lovely assistant husband tidied the {fully decorated} tree into our spare bedroom for a couple of weeks, and out she came on Sunday for reals.
As part of the photo shoot I had the idea to fancy up a Christmas themed bar cart. I redecorated it this week to cater to our 3 main Christmas drinks – Irish coffee, hot chocolate and mulled wine. Yes and please. I dedicated one shelf of our cart to each drink and decorated accordingly …

Husbands signature drink at Christmas is Irish coffee. He really hits the nail on the head. This year our household is rolling not one, but two Baileys deep. If you can, I would highly recommend the new Baileys Chocolat Luxe. I also included whiskey for old school Irish coffee, along with our favourite over-sized mugs ready to go. A perfect way to wind down at the end of a cold day.

The middle shelf is dedicated to hot chocolate. Mmmm. We splash out and go for Green & Black’s organic hot chocolate, which is well lush. Want to be a extra naughty? In stead of adding milk or cream to your mug of hot stuff, try a scoop of ice cream. Husband came up with that one last year, and it is heaven in your face. You will never be the same.

And last but not least, mulled wine. Husband was first introduced to mulled wine at my cousins wedding reception and loved it so much that 5 years later when we got married, we had a mulled wine reception. Every year when we decorate our Christmas tree, our tradition is to crack out a bottle of red to accompany our decorating. We do cheat and use those mulled wine tea bags with a couple extras {orange peel, brandy etc} when it’s just the two of us, but when we have guests, we go whole hog and make it from scratch. 
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of our cork collection while I was down there. Whenever we visit a new country or have a special occasion we always keep the cork, write on it and add it to our collection. There are a lot of special ones in there – our engagement cork, new years corks, our honeymoon in St. Petersburg, Russia, and ones with cheeky stories … 
So what are your favourite winter drinks? Are you old school like us, go for the usual beer or wine, or do you go for fancy cocktails? Eggnog is another one of my favourite Christmas drinks but a tier of eggs and cream wouldn’t really have looked very Christmassy on our cart. xx A

Window woes

If you can see the sun and/or you don’t have to wear three layers of clothes at the moment, count yourself lucky. Here in Ireland we skipped spring and summer, and headed straight into next winter. Grey skies, biblical downpours, freezing temperatures and snow. Thanks to the reminders going around social networking sites, this time last year it was 16 degrees in Dublin. I didn’t even bother opening the blinds last weekend …

They remained closed for two reasons. We’re renters, so there is a limit to what we can do when it comes to fixing minor issues – our dining room juts out from our apartment and consists of three floor-to-ceiling windows. In the summer it’s amazing, but in the winter = ice box. We close the blinds as our first defense against the cold. Our second defense was to hang a curtain rod across where our living room meets our dining room, to close and isolate the dining area at night in the winter months {mad props to handyman father}.

Unfortunately, they only keep out so much. I found a type of blinds over on the VELUX® website that offer the perfect solution – Energy Blinds have a special layer of insulation to keep in the heat and improve the temperature of the room. Absolute perfection. Except there is one massive set back – VELUX blinds can only be applied to their own brand of windows, and our existing windows don’t compete. Massive sad face. But hey, a girl can dream.

I also spotted on the VELUX website something I was pretty surprised to see this side of the Atlantic – insect screens. I’ve been saying for years that I don’t understand why houses over here don’t have them. If any of you have VELUX windows installed in your home, I’m mad jealous. More info of course can be found over on their website –

So until the summer time when it’s warm enough to use our dining room again, hubby and I have found dining a la coffee table a completely acceptable alternative. Although I am starting to show my age when I try and stand up after a full meal …

Image 3 cred. 
VELUX were kind enough to sponsor this post about my winter window woes, which I’m pretty excited about. Excited about the sponsor bit – not the cold state of our dining room. In case that needed clarification. All views are my own.

Charcoal rain

Inspired by local Dublin graffiti artist Maser, I crafted this drip painting last summer. It’s really straight forward and the paint does all the work. I originally made it bright green drips, but it was too bright for me, so I repainted it in charcoal to better suit my living space.
Also shown is our Dandelion Urban Gnome we picked up at a fancy Interior Design opening evening where the {pre-recession} champagne was flowing and this is the result of our drinking. Money well spent.