Irish writer and blogger, Nicola Cassidy, writes beautiful historical fiction. I remember reading December Girl when it was released in October 2017 and devouring it, so I was really looking forward to her second offering this year. I don’t think it breaches any spoilers to say that I was not disappointed in any way by The Nanny at Number 43. I’ve received a copy for my Kindle to review (thank you very much, Poolbeg), and got through it in two nights – not wanting to put it down. Here’s my review of The Nanny At Number 43.
It’s the last day of April, so I’m definitely late to the parade on this challenge, but I thought to compile the whole month as a blog post would be a nice way to put all these recommendations and listings together! This challenge on Twitter was initiated by @Jabberwocky808 and has been joined in by a multitude of readers with thousands of suggestions. Here’s my addition to the Reading Irish Women Challenge.
That time of year is rolling around again. The leaves are on the ground in gorgeous colours, the weather is getting colder. I’ve taken to ignoring the Christmas decorations popping up in the shops because Hallowe’en gets to come first! This year is Eliott’s first year properly getting into it (thank you montessori), we’re even making a big deal and decorating the house in spooky decorations! In the spirit of all things spooky, Netflix has a huge selection of scares for all ages. Here are 27 options for watching while hiding behind a cushion – a mixture of movies and series to get stuck into in the run up to Hallowe’en.
I’m a big fan of podcasts for when I’m driving or just pottering around the house. I listen to a variety of things, lots of true crime, some political and some just inane. Other posts I’ve written about podcasts I listen to seem to have been popular on here (especially my true crime podcast posts), so I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of what I’ve been listening to of late, in the hopes of passing on some of the ones I’m evangelical about recently! I’d also love to hear recommendations from others. I am always looking for something new to listen to on my travels.
So, where to begin?
I’m a big fan of brunch. Often I find that I don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning, but still in the mood for something breakfast-y later on. We have a weekend tradition of heading for brunch and have been trying different spots around Cork City to see who does the best. One of our favourite discoveries is Ali’s Kitchen on Paul Street.
It opened in 2016 in the building which used to house Connolly’s Bookshop. It’s a beautiful red brick building. I was intrigued to see what would go in its place, as the building itself to me was worth really working with. Ali’s Kitchen doesn’t disappoint. The decor makes the most of the beautiful red brick walls. The bare minimalism leaves the focus where it should be: on the food.
Ali’s Kitchen describes itself as a bakehouse, and the baked goods are definitely what will keep customers popping in.
So, let’s get down to the brunch menu.
We’ve been there quite a bit over the last two years. I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, and generally, I opt for the french toast. Himself normally chooses the Eggs Benny. It seems that every table around us is the exact same – one person goes sweet, the other goes savoury. I honestly have never seen a french toast like this. (So obviously, here’s an array of the french toasts that have gone before).
The Eggs Benny is served with Durcan’s Ham from The English Market and is absolutely delicious. I tend to order it when I’m feeling I can’t justify my dessert-for-breakfast selection of the French toast.
There’s also the beauty of the Florentine which can’t be ignored – the hollandaise is DIVINE.
What About Kids?
We have always found Ali’s Kitchen to be extremely accommodating of kids. While the size of the place isn’t super buggy friendly when it’s busy, for older toddlers and up they’re very friendly. Although there isn’t a designated children’s menu, we have found that they’ll either give a smaller portion or serve up something kid friendly. Eliott is a big fan of their poached eggs and sourdough, while when I’ve been with friends they’ve served up porridge, half portions of french toast and excellent kid friendly eggy soldiers. If kids have leftovers or don’t feel like eating right now (but you know they will later), Ali and her team are more than happy to pack up the leftovers for you to enjoy at home.
How About The Coffee?
Ali’s Kitchen serves the most gorgeous coffee I’ve had in ages, an Italian blend that I could stay drinking all day (and then jitter all night and feel like it was worth it). Make mine a flat white – I like to grab mine to go when I’m wandering around town even if we’re not in for a sit-down meal.
Even if the food wasn’t as delicious as it is, I would recommend going to Ali’s Kitchen for the service alone. We have never once had anything but a stellar experience here – and we’ve been here a lot, on a variety of different days. The staff are enthusiastic and pleasant and so happy to help with anything we have needed, whether it be a different chair for the four-year-old, menu selections or simply exchanging pleasantries. It gives it such a family feel in what can be a rather distant city centre location, and it’s the reason we keep coming right back.
I highly recommend getting there early. It isn’t the world’s biggest cafe, and with food this good, demand is high at the weekends. Even if they’re full though, it is worth the wait – and few places are that good when you have a hungry four-year-old in tow.
During the week, their breakfast menu runs from 8.30-11.45 Tuesday to Friday and is definitely worth trying out if you’re not able to make it at the weekend. I’ve not been in yet for lunch (it’s on my to-do list) but have heard great things. If it’s anything like the morning feasts, I’m in for a treat.
It’s one of my absolute favourite places to go in the city, whether for a bite to eat or just a coffee and cheeky pastry. For a look at more of their menu, check them out on Instagram – it’s definitely what I would class as food porn. I definitely recommend heading along to see what all the fuss is about, you’ll become a firm fan. Just make sure to save me a seat!
BadMammy is on Facebook and Instagram, come over and say hi!
This isn’t an ad, nor has Ali’s Kitchen asked me to review or offered any benefit to me for doing so. I’m simply a massive fan of the place and think that my readers will definitely benefit from checking it out!
It’s officially Autumn and our heatwave, for the most part, can be declared dead and gone. We can’t say we didn’t get a Summer! It’s not every year that we can say we got a proper Winter (remember Snowmaggedon?) and a drought in six months in this part of the world. Personally, I’m glad that the majority of the humidity seems to be taking a reprieve. I’m simply not built for the sticky hot weather above 25 degrees! It’s not to say I don’t love the heat, but let’s just say, it takes some getting used to. Now that we’re back to status quo, which in Cork is rain, I can guilt free stick on a Netflix series and binge to my heart’s content, without the FOMO that came with sunny weather! So, what have we been watching, and what have I got lined up?
Podcasts are one of my favourite ways to unwind. I’ve written before about my love of true crime podcasts, but lately, I have extended my interests beyond the dark and dreadful. Not that they’ve got anywhere (as you’ll see in my list), but having lots of light in there too helps me to get an upbeat side to life! Here’s what podcasts I have been listening to most of late – unless stated otherwise, they’re available on most of the podcast apps so you should find them wherever you listen to yours.
If you’ve been here any reasonable amount of time, you might have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for true crime documentaries, podcasts, reconstructions, the lot. It’s been somewhat of an interest of mine since I was a young teenager, sitting up late with my grandmother watching Forensic Detectives when I probably should have been gone to bed. The advent of podcasts, Youtube and Netflix has made it all the easier to pursue my not-as-creepy-as-it-sounds hobby. (I should really get to writing the crime novel so that I have a fully fledged excuse for all of it…). In the meantime though, I’ve been catching up on lots of documentaries on Netflix. They’ve just added a lot more true crime documentaries, including the much acclaimed The Staircase. A previous post last year went down well, so I thought I’d compile an up to date list of 24 True Crime Documentaries available on Netflix UK in July 2018.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a proper book post, aside from the odd review. It’s not that I haven’t been reading much – thanks to a holiday and late night not-sleeping-what’s-on-my-kindle the to-read list has been diminishing rapidly. I’m feeling rather proud of the level I’m getting through my yearly challenge to read 30 books. As it stands, with 29 weeks of the year down, I’m at 25 books. Given that I managed 25 in the whole of 2017, I think that’s pretty good going! So, what have I been reading lately, and what did I think my Summer Reads?
I was very excited to receive an email last week inviting my family to a preview screening of Incredibles 2 in The Gate Cinema in Cork. Held by Vodafone Family Firsts, the event was screening the movie a week before the Irish release date of July 15th. Needless to say, we jumped at the chance and headed along to the screening at 11.30 on Sunday morning. We’ve watched the first Incredibles movie with our four year old, and he is mad about all things superhero so the going was good. He’s also a happy cinema goer, which is always a bonus.
I like a good psychological thriller novel, and this is an arena that female authors are knocking out of the park in recent years. Increasingly, I am seeing Irish authors popping up in this category and one of them was a name familiar to me, Andrea Mara, a fellow parenting blogger who writes at OfficeMum. Having read her debut novel last year, The Other Side Of The Wall, I was excited for what was to come from her followup thriller, One Click, when it was released this May. I pre-ordered it onto my Kindle so it popped up late at night and I was hooked. Having read it, I thought it was something my readers on here may find a good addition to their Summer bookshelves, so am sharing my review on here – as well as a competition if you get to the end and feel intrigued!
So, what’s it all about?
When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.
Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.
She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.
Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.
So, what did I think?
One Click, Mara’s second novel published by Poolbeg, is a proper page turner. I couldn’t get to the end fast enough to find out the twists and turns. As someone who takes a lot of photos to share on social media and on my blog, the concept is definitely something which caught my eye – and the far-reaching power of the internet is always a worry, particularly as a parenting blogger. This is a realm that Mara knows well herself. Little things like the points being made by family and employers about social media use definitely sounded very familiar and gave the story a good sense of grounding in reality.
The inclusion of an online troll, or multiple trolls, as it were, in the story is definitely something which most people with an online presence can relate to. Combined with pressures going on in Lauren’s life, you can really get a clear picture of how these things can escalate and impact on your mental state. The lack of understanding from those who are not in that same arena – in this case, Lauren’s ex-husband, is also something that I have experienced – it can be easy to forget when your world is based around online people that the real life people around you may have no clue what the big deal is to you.
Cleo’s story intertwining with Lauren’s adds an extra element to the story and a few red herrings along the way which kept me on my toes.
There is a whole lot going on in this story but I powered through it in a day – testament to how much I wanted to figure out every twist in the story. There are a lot of back stories to keep track of, and I did have to re-read one or two sections to make sure I was definitely on the right track, but it was compelling writing and I couldn’t put it down.
I’ve seen others describe this novel as a precautionary tale, and that it certainly is. While we can easily base our lives online and not see any harm in it, opening ourselves up, in particular to a world of people who may not be who they say they are, is something that we shouldn’t walk blindly into. While I am hopeful that the real life consequences aren’t as mad-cap as they are in this tale, it definitely gave me food for thought afterwards.
If you’re into psychological thrillers, this is definitely one I recommend picking up this Summer. You can pick it up on Poolbeg for €14.99, in Easons for €11.24 or over on Amazon for £7.99 (paperback) or £3.99 (Kindle).
Alternatively, the lovely folks at Poolbeg have given me a copy to give away, a signed copy no less! If you’d like to be in with a chance to win, leave a comment either in this blog post or on this Facebook post and let me know what was the last book you just couldn’t put down – I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been reading! I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday 6th June at 6pm and will organise for the prize to be sent out to you ASAP so you can get your Summer reading on!
I wrote this review off the back of reading Andrea Mara’s One Click which I purchased myself, I have not received any payment for this review and all opinions are my own. Poolbeg have very kindly offered the prize of one signed copy of One Click. This post contains some Amazon affiliate links, which means if you purchase the book on there, I get a few cents thrown my way, but I only ever use these links for products and books that I really do recommend.
In my inbox, this week, came some great news – the announcement of Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why. The show made a big bang last year when it hit our screens with hard-hitting scenes telling the story of Hannah Baker and the tapes where she recorded the “reasons” that she was no longer here from beyond the grave. With that in mind, I’ve been inspired to write my own 13 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Netflix this May – and the weather is an extra one (where is all that sunshine gone?).
The Beast from The East has been making its way across Ireland. The street value of a sliced pan is high, motivation to go into work is low, and there’s talk of red alerts meaning nobody is going anywhere. Which means the schools are closed, and it’s debatable as to what the escape options are over the next few days. If you’re at home with the kids, this all sounds brilliant for the first 24 hours (or if it’s a threenager, 24 minutes). However, after a while, cabin fever may well kick in. I’ve asked other members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers what they’re planning to do to stave off the crazy cabin fever over the next few days of Snowmageddon – here’s what they’ve come up with.
Since Valentines Day falls midweek this year, it’s possible that any plans, if you’ve got them, will be centred around the weekend. Alternatively, you might just be planning a lovely quiet evening at home. Either way, Netflix has you sorted out with a menu of love stories and romance to snuggle up to this Valentine’s Day. Who knows, the kids might even stay asleep for the whole date night! Grab some microwave popcorn and chocolate, and get stuck in. Here are 21 romantic date night movies on Netflix, ready for your choosing this Valentines Day. Read More
I’m a big crime fan, I have been for years – factual or fictional, I lap it up. What that says about me as a person is another question altogether, but the genre completely fascinates me. I’d love to study Criminology, but thanks to knowing full well I haven’t a hope of ever passing a Garda medical, the practical side of me has left it as an armchair hobby for the moment. The genre has grown massively in popularity in recent years, in particular with documentaries and podcasts. I’ve been enraptured by True Crime podcasts for the last few months, they’ve drawn me in with eyes wide open. I guess everyone is an armchair detective at heart!
Here’s a look at True Crime Podcasts that any fan of the genre will love.
I’d like to start a regular book nook section on this blog of mine. I’m an avid reader, when I’ve got the time, and each year I resolve to make a bit more time of it. In the last year, I’ve joined websites like NetGalley, which has given me more of an impetus to read more. I’ve also started buying EVERYTHING Kindle Deals have to offer – meaning my To Read List is often much larger than my abilities to read it all! So during 2018, I’m going to have a dedicated Book Nook post – the things I’ve been reading, what is next on my list, and other thoughts on reader-y things. There may be other book review posts in between, but there will definitely be at least one a month. So, as always, it’s best to start at the beginning – what have I been reading this month?
Organisation is not something that comes naturally to me. I look at Pinterest accounts of people with perfect bullet journals, schedules they stick to and houses so clean they gleam, and then shrink back into my own life and wipe away the crumbs and stare at unfolded laundry. Every year I resolve that this year is to be the year of organisation. I download the apps. The lists get written. I even manage to keep a handle on the laundry for oh, about a week. I do find writing things down tends to help with this, so I was thrilled to receive a Busy B Busy Life Diary in the post last week to help me get on top of my resolution.
Being a mother is hard work. It’s one of the toughest, and yes, most rewarding, jobs out there. It sounds cliched, but it really is one of those things that you’ve got to be down in the trenches to really understand what it is like. It’s a whirlwind of emotions all wrapped into one tiny human who you are SO AFRAID FOR and SO IN LOVE IT all at the same time (while you’re hiding in the kitchen, shoving biscuits into your mouth before their supersonic hearing detects them). It’s a variety of feelings summed up so well by artist Anna Lewis, who has recently released her first book, Sketchy Muma: What It Means To Be A Mother. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy for review by the lovely people at Quercus Books, and have one to give away!
As the last posting day is drawing closer, and shops are starting to fill to bursting with last-minute shoppers, the pressure is on to buy THE PERFECT GIFT. While some people have been prepared since August (I am DEFINITELY not in that category), some of us have gone against our resolutions to be more organized in 2017 and are faced with finding the perfect gift in a short amount of time. As lovely as online shopping is, the chances of things getting here on time and in one piece diminish over the festive season, so sometimes brick and mortar shops are the only options left. While Cork City is full of the regular high street shops (Debenhams, H&M, New Look), it’s also home to some wonderful homegrown small shops with thoughtful gifts you’ll not find elsewhere. Here’s a look at 8 of the loveliest spots to pick up thoughtful gifts in Cork City this festive season.
Christmas is a time of spending time with family, eating far too many nice treats, and hopefully watching some classic movies. These days there’s no need to hope that the television networks put on our favorites to celebrate the season, they’re all at our fingertips through streaming. Netflix has got you covered this Christmas with a selection of Christmas Classics – both festive themed and ones you may associate with crowding around the tv with the family to watch. Here’s a look at the best of Netflix for Christmas 2017.
What if your child was stolen? The tagline of Nicola Cassidy’s debut novel draws the reader in and plays on their emotions immediately. Her book, December Girl, is a historical fiction novel, based in the 1800s in Drogheda. I was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy to take part in the Blog Tour to launch this wonderful book, and have been devouring it over the past few nights. So, what’s the book about, and is it any good?
One of the best parts of Hallowe’en is getting stuck into the scary movies while tucking into some pilfered treats, right? Thankfully, Netflix has lots of content fit for the perfect Halloween movie binge, with stuff for all ages and tastes. What will you be watching this Hallowe’en? Here’s some of the best of what Netflix have got for you to stream.
Our family holiday wasn’t exactly a lie back on the beach with a good book type of break, but that didn’t stop the reads from accumulating. Long flights will do that for you – the Kindle app on my iPad was definitely kept busy. Here’s a look at my October reads, the books I dove into over the last month, and what I thought of them.
I’ve been getting back into reading lately, having failed for quite a while on my earlier resolution to read 40 books this year. On suggestion of some other bloggers, I signed up for NetGalley, and as a result have been lucky enough to receive advance review copies of books. These make up a substantial amount of the books I’ve read lately – and my to-read list grows ever longer, as I’ve gotten a bit request-happy! Here’s a look at what I’ve been reading lately.
The kids are back to school, the evenings are getting shorter and it might be time to think about putting the heating on once in a while. September is here, my favourite month of the year. I’m looking forward to getting to snuggle up under fluffy blankets and watch my shows, without feeling like I should be outside enjoying the sunshine! Here’s what I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this September over on Netflix (blanket at the ready!).