Reflecting on “32”

Here we are again: my annual birthday post. How has it been a full year?! I was hopeful that the second half of 32 would be, overall, better than 31. Unfortunately, it was not a good year; however, it wasn’t all bad.

Pros: I started a new job!; I fell in love with San Diego; I enjoyed quality time with my family & friends (an extra blessing in Covid times); I drove from San Diego to Colorado with my sister and stopped to finally visit the Grand Canyon; I was fully vaccinated in April; I got two tattoos

Cons: I found out I needed, and then had, liver surgery; I had to pack up my life and leave San Diego; My car’s catalytic converter was stolen at the end of January and I was without a car for 3 months; Still living in Covid times

It’s always hard to accept that another year has passed. I think this may be the last time I am okay with my upcoming new age. 33 (tirty tree) is the ‘most Irish’ of ages, so I will embrace it! I am incredibly hopeful that 33 really and truly will be much better than 30, 31 and 32. I’m ready to put the ish of 2021 thus far behind me! My surgeon gave me permission to have one pint of Guinness tomorrow to mark my Irish birthday… sláinte to 33!

An Ode to San Diego

A classic San Diego view in late spring – palm trees and jacarandas!

This is a reflection on my last month in San Diego (June 2021). I still cannot believe SD is no longer home, at least not at this present moment. In mid-late March, I found out that I needed to have open liver surgery to remove a tumor caused by birth control. This is something I want to raise awareness on, so more on that later. I quickly made the decision to leave my apartment in San Diego and have the surgery in Colorado, to be with my family for surgery and recovery. This would have been a very easy decision before November 2020, as I hated San Diego for the first twenty months I lived there (an unpopular opinion, I know!). I am so very happy to say that something changed in November, and I truly loved (and still love) San Diego for my last eight months there.

I truly feel that I made the most of my last few months in San Diego, but lived it up a bit extra during my final month. I am so blessed that my sister was able to spend my last month with me, and it was great to have her by my side for every last moment and memory. I could not have survived the stress of moving and everything leading up to the move without her mental and physical support.

Living our best lives at Better Buzz La Jolla – definitely one of our favourite places to chill

We also spent as much time as humanly possible with a dear friend. I love my friends and love being social occasionally, but my natural state is definitely a homebody who likes to be alone. I’ve never spent so much time around two humans, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Every moment spent together is a special memory in my mind and I want to hold on to each of these forever.

Sunsets and laughter

Why do I love San Diego? (1) I adore (and desperately miss) the Mexican community – living in a city located so close to Mexico, with a large population of people from Mexico and a city that honours and adores the cuisine – this was always a comfort to me. Mexican culture is beautiful and I always felt inspired being surrounded by it. Not to mention the fact that it’s basically an expectation that you will eat Mexican cuisine as much as humanly possible – this suits me down to the ground. Taco Tuesday EVERY Tuesday, without fail. (2) Although I love true winter and very cold temperatures, winter in San Diego is beautiful. It was nice knowing that almost every day from November through June I could happily spend the day outdoors. It was hard for me to not have seasons, though. (3) Spring in San Diego in stunning – the flowers, plants, orange blossoms. (4) Each neighbourhood is so different and has something wonderful to offer. I equally love North Park, South Park, La Jolla, Mission Hills, Barrio Logan, Bankers Hill, Golden Hill, University Heights, Kensington, Coronado, Old Town, Point Loma, Mission Bay, Clairemont, National City, Del Mar, Poway, Rancho Peñasquitos, Encinitas, Carlsbad… and I’m honestly probably forgetting a fav! (5) San Diego is a large outdoor “playground for adults” and there is an endless list of free activities to take part in. Beaches, coastal walks, endless hikes, nearby mountains (Julian is a gem), epic sunsets, water sports, farmer’s markets seven days a week, 365 days a year (!). (6) I LOVE SD Airport. It’s small and not overwhelming and I will forever be in awe of its location downtown. (7) The relatively laid-back lifestyle – at least in comparison to other cities in the U.S. (8) I know I already mentioned Mexican food, but also – the general food and coffee scene in San Diego. Ugh. I miss the beautiful cocktail and brunch scene. (9) How dog friendly the city is. (10) The fact that San Diego forced me to learn how to parallel park (self-taught). I’m grateful! (11) The Coronado bridge – for some reason, driving over this bridge (sometimes daily, just for fun!) always brought me so much joy and feeling of freedom.

I fit in a lot of paddle boarding in my last month, which is the most effective way to clear my mind and be with my thoughts in a healthy way. Next goal: buy my own SUP!

Street art appreciation:

La Jolla
Barrio Logan
La Jolla
Barrio Logan
Barrio Logan
The famous Communal wall… I had to! coffee, flowers (+ tacos, please) // side note: their rosemary + orange blossom latte must be had in the spring!!!

Another highlight of June was spending sweet quality time with my neighbour’s dog, Peanut. Peanut and I fell in love with each other at the start of Covid and have spent as much time together as possible ever since. She’s my best girl in the world, and I miss her loving kisses and hugs too much.

Coachella with my girl (jk)
One thing I can say for sure: I always appreciated the natural beauty of San Diego

San Diego led me to so many wonderful people and life lessons. If I could turn back time, I wish I could have appreciated SD in my first twenty months, but I guess this is an important lesson: sometimes it takes time (even if more time than expected) to settle into a new city and appreciate it for what it is. I always appreciated the beauty and the food scene, but unfortunately chose (even if unconsciously) to focus on what I hated about SD instead. I am endlessly glad I changed my mindset before it was too late. I am also grateful to my sister for visiting a total of four times (including two long stays!) and helping me to see the city through the eyes of a tourist, which helped a lot.

My favourite “alley” in La Jolla that will forever remind me of Italy

One last (for now) time together at Kairoa, where K & U first met and we became the BB Club/trio. Kairoa even partially inspired my newest tattoo, which is also (partially) an ode to San Diego.

One of the top three things I miss the most: living a 45-second walk away from this coffee shop, Moe Coffee North Park, aka my second office/home. If you find yourself in North Park, give Moe some love because they are the best! The walkability in my neighbourhood was very special to me, especially in a city that is so spread out and generally the opposite of walkable. It’s funny to me when I think back to before I moved to SD: I had a vision in my head of a smallish, cyclable beach town (ha!)… certainly not a super spread out, large city with bad traffic.

A night to remember — view of the downtown skyline from Coronado
I could say that my last month was filled with the best eats San Diego has to offer, but this is hopefully obvious. If I’m being very truthful, the entire twenty-five months I lived in SD were filled with the best eats aka ALL.OF.THE TACOS, burritos, chilaquiles, aguachile, brunch, food truck fish tacos (a specific shoutout) and the list goes on and on. This is something I am very proud of.

I’m not much of a beach person, probably because I grew up near the beach and have always lived near an ocean (not necessarily by choice, but I am blessed) and burn in two minutes even with 50+ SPF. My last months in San Diego made me appreciate the beach, though time with my sister on Coronado beach always makes me happy.

My love for orange blossoms!!! Definitely my favourite Southern California spring smell.

June was jam-packed with adventures, including snorkeling in La Jolla Cove where we had a moment of stupidity and almost got severely injured by getting body-slammed into some massive rocks and where a shark was spotted near us and the lifeguard called out to let us know we should head away from the shore (even though we were exhausted and were ready to be out of the water). Ah, sister adventures.

Not my most blog-worthy photo of my fav taco truck fish tacos, but c’mon – doesn’t this make your mouth water?!

Packing up my life was a nightmare, mostly because I’m the biggest procrastinator you’ll ever meet in your life and I quite literally waited until the last moment to start. I wouldn’t change a thing (mostly because I do not know how to not procrastinate on a thing like packing), but my goodness, it was stressful. And sad. Moving sucks, especially when your sole reason for moving is to have major surgery. Side note: this is the first time I slept on a mattress on the floor (for our last two nights, as I donated my bed frame) and I DO NOT KNOW WHY I DIDN’T TRY THIS SOONER. My mattress was so much more comfortable this way!! The above photo is not me being comfortable, however; this is me nearly passing out from stress and exhaustion the morning of our move.

It wouldn’t be a complete month in San Diego without multiple sunsets at Sunset Cliffs. The above photo was taken on my final night in San Diego… always magical. I always felt so at peace here.

A genuine candid of me taking in my final (for now) San Diego sunset. I remember my “life in SD” was flashing through my mind in this moment.

Home is still a funny thing for me since my true home (Ireland) cannot (at least currently) be my physical home. I never felt connected to the state/community I grew up in. Of course being with my family feels like home, but only because of them. My family doesn’t live in a place that has ever physically been home to me, although I love and appreciate where they live so very much. Maybe home is a mindset for me, but that isn’t exactly a comfort, as I ideally want my “mental” home to also be my physical home, the place I feel most alive and like I belong. Maybe I’m meant to have multiple “homes”? Whether or not I choose to move back to San Diego after recovery or sometime in the future, I am grateful I was, and will always be, able to call San Diego one of my homes. Forever. Thank you, San Diego. For all of the good and bad moments. For being my home during quarantine, where I was blessed with (almost) year-round weather that enabled me to be outside. I am endlessly glad that you embraced me and that I was able to fall in love with you.

Reflecting on “31”

My annual day-before-my-birthday post. Somehow, 32 feels different. When I turned 30, I was in denial that I was “in my thirties”. When I turned 31, I felt like “ehhh, I’m easing into my thirties”. Now, I cannot deny it any longer – I am officially in my thirties.

Also, 2020. Enough said. It’s hard feeling like I lost half of my 31st year. I truly am hopeful that 32 will bring new and wonderful things and am hopeful that the world will be a much more positive place the second half of my 32nd year.

One Year in San Diego


One year ago today (31.05.2019), I moved to San Diego. I don’t remember the flight at all, but I remember my first evening in SD. I had four large suitcases and a carry-on suitcase, somehow managed to get them all in my rental car, sat in my car and got an instant migraine. The stress was too much. I’d recently moved back to the U.S. from Ireland and had, once again, moved to a place I had never visited before. I had exactly one week to find and buy a car and hopefully secure an apartment before I started my new job. I purchased my car (Sam) on the 6th of June in Ramona (after six full, exhausting days of car shopping) and started my job on the 10th of June. Today, I celebrate one year in San Diego, a place I never imagined I would live. I also celebrate how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown and changed.

This morning, I went for a walk in PB (photo above) to appreciate the beauty of SD – something I do very often. As we all know, it has been an interesting time these past few months. My first day working from home due to COVID-19 was the 17th of March (what a Paddy’s Day to remember!) and we are likely working from home until mid-August. It certainly is a very interesting (and scary) time to be working in the field of International Education, to say the least. Cheers to new adventures and to San Diego for the many life lessons I’ve learned over the last year (and for endless tacos!).


Sisters in San Diego


I feel incredibly blessed because my sister was able to visit me in San Diego twice: in early November for her birthday, and again in early February. My sister is my best friend and there is nothing like a C&K sister adventure!


What better way to start trip #1 than with San Diego’s number one breakfast. God bless American-sized portions…


Guac & margs with a view at Coasterra


Onto K’s birthday lunch at none other than Las Brisas in Laguna Beach – what a treat! Chorizo torta and carne asada tacos. Such a beautiful, relaxing dining experience from start to finish.


My kind of marg


Birthday girl with a gorgeous tres leches cake


Not a bad view of Laguna Beach from Las Brisas’s patio


Heaven in taco form @ City Tacos


We watched the sunset at Sunset Cliffs both times K visited – unbeatable.



Balboa Park


Heaven in taco form @ Taco Stand


The only face to make when about to eat/eating tacos (especially in SD)


K bonding with a hippo at San Diego Zoo


There is nothing in the world like laughing with my sister. We love the open air set up of Better Buzz in La Jolla!


La Jolla


Our sleep inspirations



City Tacos all day every day!!!


Little Italy


Coronado Island (with a view of downtown SD)



On K’s second trip, we decided to cross the border to Mexico just because!



Beautiful Mexican brunch @ Mission


We love wandering North Park (and I’m happy to call this my neighbourhood!) 🙂 

I’m happiest when my sister is here – all we do is laugh and eat (pretty much only tacos) and somehow find ourselves in ridiculous situations. I am so grateful to have these memories with my best friend.

On a personal note: my only New Year’s resolution for 2020 is to eat more tacos (and yes, I am serious).

Reflecting on “30”

Today is my last day being “30”. I simply want to take a moment to reflect on my 30th year…

30 challenged me in ways I never, ever expected. I had to uproot my life unexpectedly and leave the place I consider home, just days after turning 30, and rebuild my life. Some highlights of the year include:

– Celebrating my birthday in Copenhagen with a very dear friend
– Spending quality time with my family, something I hadn’t had in years
– Being present for my Gram’s celebration of life
– I got to enjoy going to yoga classes with my Dad for 9 months, which was the coolest experience
– Enjoying tubing down Rainbow River and swimming in the springs
– Reading the Harry Potter series – FINALLY!!
– Seeing my sister perform in Universal Studios’ Holiday parade
– Seeing my life wife get married (and visiting her hometown)
– Assisting my parents in moving out West – goodbye Florida!!
– Career shift – successfully beginning my career in International Education
– Moving to San Diego
– Successfully completing my first business trip/coordinating my first program abroad (in London)

I have not had any time to process the fact that I will be 31 tomorrow. It absolutely blows my mind that I’m this age and I don’t know how it happened! My greatest goal for 31 is to explore San Diego and to hopefully feel settled in the next year.

First Impressions of San Diego

I have officially lived in San Diego for one week, as of tonight. Prior to moving here, I had not visited. I truly had no idea what to expect. I’m publishing this post so that, in six month’s + time, I can look back on it and laugh at my preconceived notions and first observations.


  1. Where is the sun?! I arrived on Friday evening, 31st May. I did not see the sun until Wednesday afternoon – and it was only out briefly! Thanks to my life wife driving down to see me on my second day, I learned about “May Gray” and “June Gloom”. I had never heard of this before and was/am shocked that San Diego has looked more like Ireland during my first week here.
  2. It is MASSIVE. Before arriving, I looked at maps of San Diego many times. I knew about the many neighbourhoods, but I still thought SD was fairly small. It is so spread out and has, so far, coming from Ireland, overwhelmed me! I pictured loads of people cycling around, not driving around! (On the same note, I did not picture this many highways!!)
  3. TRAFFIC!!! Traffic, traffic, traffic! Anyone from Los Angeles or any of the other bigger cities, please don’t laugh at me… I absolutely realise SD traffic is nothing in comparison, but for me, coming from Ireland… this has been my greatest shock. I’ve driven a lot in my first week and have spent a lot of that time sitting in traffic. On the same subject, SD is a lot more crowded than I expected.
  4. I haven’t yet seen the “relaxed” atmosphere SD is so famous for. Granted, I haven’t had time to get to the coast and relax myself (I spent the majority of my first six days car shopping, ugh), so that’s probably why. Time will tell!
  5. Where is the dry air?! I grew up knowing SD was known for having dry air. So far, it’s been quite humid. Nothing in comparison to Florida of course, but still! I was looking forward to not having frizzy hair, but I still do!
  6. Petrol is so expensive.
  7. The taco shops and Mexican food in general are/is going to spoil me for life. I love cooking and pride myself on cooking most of my meals, but I’m thinking I’ll probably be cooking less in SD!!

I’ll edit this as I think of more!

Food, Friends & New Adventures

Part 4 of my “photo diary of the best summer of my life” series (Summer 2018) … featuring food, friends and new adventures in Dublin. This isn’t so much a blog post as it is a photo diary and memory record for me. This is the final post of this Summer 2018 series.

As you know, I went on a spontaneous trip to Italy (Roma and Verona) in June. I decided on this trip for three reasons: 1) to see a very good friend I hadn’t seen in years, 2) to explore a region of Italy I’ve never been to (Verona) and 3) to eat.



Eight years of friendship! I first met A on my very first trip to Italy in April 2011.


Amorino opened in Dublin in early summer


I enjoyed numerous dinner picnics in Stephen’s Green (and yes, I often bring my own hot sauce!)


The picture of summer in Dublin! Can’t beat the Dublin light. St. Stephen’s Green


Greystones in April


I had the pleasure of seeing my best friend / life wife graduate with her PhD! An incredibly perfect day for us, and a memory I will always treasure.


Teddy’s 99!


I ate a record amount of ice cream in summer 2018.


Pure happiness at the Happy Pear


We went all out for breakfast at the Happy Pear


One of my favourite brunches in Dublin… peanut butter avocado toast at Two Pups Coffee! Trust me, it’s delicious.


An incredible newcomer as of last summer… my beloved Nutbutter!! I had the pleasure of catching up with a friend I met on the train to Aguas Calientes, Peru at Nutbutter.


I’m a Bunsen fanatic and it will always be my #1, but BuJo is a close second!!!


Vietnom @ The Glimmer Man Pub – fabulous!


Yet another Happy Pear breakfast


One of the best flat whites I’ve had in my life @ Noshington. 


My second to last night in Dublin – celebrating the best way I know how: with “I” at Cirillo’s, my greatest pizza addiction! (the best Neapolitan pizza I’ve had outside of Napoli)


Countless walks (at least once every day) through Stephen’s Green


Making new friends


I started boxing in May… went a little bit crazy on this day and had to casually ice my knuckles while walking through Grand Canal (this was the smallest bin bag the bar could find, ha)


I got to appreciate so many sunsets in summer 2018.


I treated myself to Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre for the second time – this time alone!


I happened to be walking by the Taoiseach’s house when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were getting ready to leave


St. Patrick’s Cathedral


An average sight in Dublin


Beautiful Victorian Dublin


Appreciation for Dublin’s architecture


Can’t beat a Dublin summer sky! This was taken from my flat window


… so was this!


Dublin street art


Fascinating tour of the Freemasons’ Hall


The sight of these stairs instantly relaxed me every single time!

The single greatest decision I made in summer 2018 was to sign up for one month of unlimited yoga classes at Yoga Hub on Camden Street. I took my first yoga class in college and hated it, because I had the unfortunate experience of having an odd, over-the-top instructor. I unfortunately carried this hate with me for 10+ years. In July, I decided I wanted to force myself to like yoga, which is why I signed up for an unlimited month of classes. Luckily, Yoga Hub was only a 5 minute walk from where I lived and it became my haven, my escape, my happy place. I completely fell in love with yoga during this month and my discovery of my love for yoga was the greatest blessing, especially at that particular time in my life. This just shows you sometimes need to give things (and people) a second chance in life. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have discovered my love for yoga.


Combining my two greatest music loves: orchestra and traditional Irish music at the National Concert Hall


“I” showered me with mermaid gifts for my 30th… to my absolute delight!



30th Birthday Celebrations in Copenhagen

Part 3 of “the best summer of my life” blog posts … featuring my 30th birthday trip to Copenhagen!


I chose to celebrate my 30th with one of my closest friends, H. We’ve travelled together before: we visited her hometown together in Germany to visit the Christmas markets in December 2016 and we knew we were/are the perfect travel companions. We have exactly the same travel style and the same tastes and similar personalities. Befriending her and getting to know her is, to date, one of my greatest accomplishments in Dublin, so I knew I wanted to celebrate with her. She’s also an extraordinarily loyal friend, so she didn’t hesitate to say yes when I asked. I chose Copenhagen for a few reasons: 1) I’ve wanted to visit for many years 2) I’m the world’s greatest fan of “The Little Mermaid” and Hans Christian Andersen, so… enough said. I had to visit the little mermaid statue and my 30th seemed like the perfect occasion to do so. 3) My birthday is at the end of August, meaning it is quite hot across most of Europe… and, well, I hate the heat. Copenhagen’s weather turned out to be absolutely perfect when we were there (apart from the fact that it lashed rain pretty much non-stop on my actual birthday, but I am grateful that we had the most perfect weather imaginable the day before and we really made the most of it!).


We stayed in this amazing Airbnb in central Copenhagen. It was perfect for us: it was spacious, modern, decorated beautifully, comfortable, in the perfect location (we were able to walk everywhere easily) and we were able to enjoy coffee and drinks on the adorable balcony in the mornings and evenings.


Days 1 & 2


Day 1 didn’t consist of much apart from a late lunch/early dinner at RizRaz (their salad bar is AMAZING!!!! and will forever be remembered as one of the happiest experiences H & I shared together); the weather wasn’t great and we were fairly tired from travelling. We took the time to get our bearings and plan the rest of our time in Copenhagen. On Day 2, we decided to stop for breakfast on our way to Nyhavn – Cafe Norden caught our eye and it really did not disappoint! Breakfast was as delicious as it was aesthetically pleasing. Their homemade rye bread was some of the tastiest bread I’ve ever had!


Nyhavn did not disappoint – yes, it is touristy, but for a reason. It is incredibly charming and is a wonderful place to wander around.


I’ve read a ton of reviews by people saying that they were disappointed in the little mermaid statue. I was NOT one of these people. Yes, it was overly crowded around the statue, but I still managed to feel like I had my “moment” with her… and it was worth it!


Next, we walked through Freetown Christiania.

Christiania is a former military base that sat abandoned for many years before becoming the neighborhood we know today. In 1971, a group of hippies broke down the barricades and began squatting there. Nowadays, approximately 900 people live in the area, comprising a community that has its own rules and regulations completely independent of the Danish government. Source

I simply cannot describe the feeling of walking through bohemian Christiania other than… it is one of the most unique experiences I have ever had. We saw some very interesting sights, people and houses. If you visit Copenhagen, I would absolutely recommend visiting Christiania. It’s an experience unlike any other.


We then visited Tivoli Gardens, but we only paid for entrance, not the rides. It was absolutely worth it – it’s an incredibly beautiful park with so much to see and do. We watched a ballet, played a couple arcade games, had lunch and watched a dog show. Tivoli is what inspired Walt Disney to create Disney World and, being from Florida, this was a pretty cool experience for me. If I lived in Copenhagen, I think it would be worth it to get an annual pass as they host so many different events year round. We noticed lots of locals hanging out, spending their Sunday with friends and family at Tivoli.


Ice cream in Copenhagen is an absolute MUST!!! Iceland is also known for their ice cream, which I thought was good, but this is quite possibly the best I’ve ever had. Again, I don’t know how to describe it – it was unique in every way!

Day 3


We began my birthday by eating one of the most incredible breakfasts I’ve ever had in my life – in one of the most beautiful cafes I’ve ever been to. Paludan Bogcafe… a stunning bookstore and cafe, all in one. The staff was very friendly, the space was so cozy and inspiring and their menu offered high quality food and drink for great value. I’m pretty sure breakfast took us over three hours to consume – it was the perfect way to begin my 30th year… a leisurely breakfast in a beautiful space with a dear friend. What more could I ask for?


This is the “vegetarian brunch”: scrambled eggs with chives, hummus, yogurt with fresh berries and muesli, pancake with maple syrup, cheese and fresh fruit, served with either fresh orange juice or a small smoothie… all for only 109 kr (approximately $16 USD)!! INCREDIBLE value for money. Copenhagen is notoriously expensive, but I would consider this cafe to be so well priced. This meal literally kept me FULL until we had dinner at 8:30pm (and I am usually the type of person who requires more than three meals per day).


Unfortunately, it rained all day on my actual birthday. However, the rain did not deter us. H surprised me by treating us to a “couple’s” (friends!) full body massage followed by champagne and relaxation in the spa, which was so appreciated. We didn’t book a couple’s massage, so that was a bit of a surprise; however, it ended up being that much more fun and enjoyable, because it was an experience we were able to share together. We also visited the Rosenborg Castle between rain showers.


I chose Llama for my birthday dinner: a Latin American restaurant inspired by Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Mexico – AKA my dream come true. It was pricey, but worth it for a special experience. Not an obvious choice of food while in Denmark, but I have no regrets. We shared a variety of unique (seemingly my favourite word to describe our trip to Copenhagen!) dishes and enjoyed a smokey margarita to toast to our friendship.


Llama’s bathroom floor

Day 4


I had to visit Brødflov, mostly because of the name (bread love), but also because their cafes are beautiful and I read about their delicious pastries. We had so much to fit in on our last (half) day, so this was breakfast #1 for us.


Breakfast #2 was enjoyed at Cafe Dyrehaven – a super cool spot with extra friendly staff. We went for the open-faced sandwiches, but unfortunately, due to our flight time, we were too early and chose a breakfast item instead. Avocado toast with beetroot cured salmon – absolutely amazing!


HOT DOGS, glorious hot dogs – OMG. Shortly after breakfast #2, we had to fit in one last hot dog. Just like ice cream, Iceland is also known for their hot dogs… and they were truly amazing; however, I’ll go out on a limb and say the two hot dogs I had in Copenhagen were even better. For our last meal before heading to the airport, we opted for a spicy hot dog from a street vendor and it was, quite possibly, my favourite thing I ate all summer. Yep, I said it.


Our trip to Copenhagen was perfect in every way and was everything I could have asked for my birthday. I wanted to be able to look back on my 30th birthday with a fond memory, despite going through a difficult time, and thanks to H, I will forever be able to do just that. Thank you to Copenhagen for being everything I needed at that time. H and I both agreed we could happily live there – it’s everything we love in a city: so friendly, clean and beautiful.

Insider’s Guide: Dublin

My dear friend Gigi kindly featured me on her blog, The Global Organizerhere. I am posting my featured post below, but I highly recommend checking it out on her blog – because the format is much better (and there are more photos!).


I’m Chelsea; my passport says I’m American but my heart will tell you I’m Irish. I grew up in Florida, but have known my entire life that I’m meant to live in Ireland. I moved to Ireland in September 2010 (Cork for 6 months, then Dublin) and I genuinely fall more in love with Dublin every single day. It is by far my favourite place in the world and even though my favourite hobby is travelling, I am always happy to come back to Dublin. Dublin has everything: the sea, mountains, beautiful parks and is a city that can either feel like a bustling capital city or a tranquil town, depending on where you are. I even like the Irish weather, which is especially funny coming from someone who is from Florida.


When people think of Ireland, they usually don’t think of food. Or if they do, they think of meat and potatoes and maybe Lucky Charms. This is changing hugely! When I first moved here in 2010, the foodie scene was non-existent. I am now convinced Dublin has one of the most amazing foodie scenes in the world: I actually think it’s even better than London’s, though I’m a bit biased. We have some incredible restaurants here and you can have top-notch cuisine from just about everywhere around the world. Dublin really knows how to do brunch! P.S. Lucky Charms do not exist here. Well, they do… you can buy a box for 10 euro from one specialityshop! I’d say Ireland produces the best beef, butter, milk and strawberries in the world.

  • Bunsen– Nothing compares to Irish beef. You must try a Bunsen burger: melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Bunsen has a cult following and luckily, there are four locations.
  • Full Irish breakfast – Surprise, potatoes are not generally part of a full Irish! A full Irish usually consists of eggs (usually fried, but you can request otherwise), rashers (bacon), sausages, baked beans, black and white pudding, fried tomato and toast. Make sure you try some incredible Irish butter on your toast… even better, if you have an option of having brown bread / brown soda bread, choose that!!
  • Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse or most pubs (it’s debatable who has the best Guinness!) My vote would be for a pint at the Cobblestone because of the atmosphere – you can listen to live traditional Irish music if you’re there in the evening.
  • Brunch is a way of life in Dublin. I have many favourite brunch places – one of them is Two Pups Coffee, in a great old neighborhood called The Liberties. They have great coffee, unique food (avocado toast with peanut butter!! Trust me, it’s fantastic) and the staff is super friendly.
  • Modern Irish (Whitefriar Grill and The Winding Stair) – Irish pub food (L. Mulligan Grocer in Stoneybatter / O’Neills / The Hairy Lemon) –Fish & Chips (Beshoff Bros or Leo Burdock) – Neapolitan pizza (Cirillo’s) – Sushi (Musashi and Kokoro) – Indian (Pickle) – TexMex (Boojum) – Ice cream (Murphy’s or a 99 cone from Teddy’s in Dun Laoghaire) – Vegan (The Happy Pear and Cornucopia) – Salads (Sprout) – Lebanese (The Cedar Tree or Damascus Gate) – Vietnamese(Pho Ta and Aobaba) – Michelin Star (Chapter One) – Tapas (Las Tapas de Lola or PortHouse) – Pasta (DaMimmo and Rosa Madre) – Unique fine dining experience(Taste at Rustic – Peruvian and Japanese fusion) – Best Egg’s Benedict (Wuff) – Best scones (Emer’s Kitchen and Brother Hubbard) – Favourite newcomer(Nutbutter – healthy food) – Sandwich (Green Bench Café) – Amazing views (Sophie’s at The Dean) – Dessert (Nutella Cheesecake at either Taco Taco or San Lorenzo’s; though unfortunately, you cannot go only for dessert) – Donuts (Rolling Donut) – Coffee (Proper Order, Clement and Pekoe, Il Valentino, Butler’s)


  • Cliff walk: Either Bray to Greystones and lunch at The Happy Pear if you feel like eating healthy or Howth cliff walk followed by fish and chips
  • Guinness Storehouse
  • On your way to Trinity College to see the Old Library and the Book of Kells, wander through St. Stephen’s Green park and then down Grafton Street, stopping to listen to various buskers.


This is something I can’t really comment on, seeing as I’ve only ever lived in Dublin. I’ve never been here as a tourist. However, I know if money were no object and I could stay anywhere in Dublin, I would choose either the Merrion or the Shelbourne. For someone on a major budget, I know the Generator hostel in Smithfield is great as far as hostels go.

The best areas in Dublin to stay in are: Dublin 2 (safest and nicest part of the city centre), Dublin 4 (just a bit outside the city centre and very posh), Dublin 6 (very local neighbourhood), Smithfield/Stoneybatter in Dublin 7, Dublin 8 if you want to be near the Guinness Storehouse and Phoenix Park. Stay away from Temple Bar in Dublin 2 if you want any peace and quiet.


Ireland is the land of a hundred thousand welcomes (Céad Míle Fáilte) and is, in my humble opinion, the most magical place on earth.

“It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what that love is for; for some it’s the friendliness Irish people are famous for, or the beautiful landscapes or the incredible produce we are becoming renowned for. Or perhaps it’s something a little less tangible. Perhaps that love of Ireland is more an emotion, a moment, an elusive feeling that we know intimately well but might find hard to describe. It’s what makes us love this country no matter the weather, it’s how we feel landing in Dublin Airport after a stint away. It’s the taste of a proper strong cuppa, it’s the craic, the kindness and the bold humour. It’s the thought of holing up in a cosy pub with a creamy pint of Guinness and the deep conviction that when the sun shines there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. It’s the sight of the Phoenix Park in the autumn when the trees are molten amber and the deep, burgeoning pride when our county takes home the Sam Maguire cup.” ~Author Unknown



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