Dealz Winter Wonderland.

Maybe Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to preview the Dealz Christmas collection. Now I know what you’re all thinking – Christmas in October, really? However, as the saying goes; fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Now, I didn’t know much about Dealz before I attended the event other than the fact that everything costs €1.49 and that my mother absolutely loves the store. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an array of bargain buys – sure, I could fill a basket for under €20. What’s not to like? Whether you’re looking for decorations or stocking fillers, check out these Christmas steals!

Christmas Gift Bags

Every single Christmas Eve, I find myself running around the house in a panic, searching for gift bags. Usually, after all the shops have shut. Dealz have some really cute options such as the duo pictured above. Two gift bags for €1.49? Sure, that’s practically making money.

Christmas Red Wine Glass

If you have lots of visitors in your home over the Christmas season, your dishwasher will be in over-drive. Dealz have lots of home-ware options so why not stock up on some extras? These festive wine glasses are my personal favourite. Red is my self-declared power colour so I think I will be using them all year around.

Christmas Sack

If you have children in your home, you need to run to your nearest Dealz store and purchase as many of these sacks as you possibly can. My inner child is squealing with delight at the notion of personalised sacks, straight from Santa’s workshop.

Dealz Candle

Festive candles are a must in my household, and my mother’s scent of choice has always been cinnamon. Now, usually we purchase a few luxury candles, ranging in price from €15 to €40 but after smelling the candles which were burning in the Dealz Christmas showroom, I will be saving my money for other treats instead. Available in a few different scents, these candles are really fragrant and long-lasting – SOLD!

Jewellery Gift Box

If you’re on a bit of a tight budget for Christmas, a great option is to purchase some affordable accessories in high street stores, remove them from their plastic packaging, and deposit them into swish jewellery boxes. Nobody need ever know that their gorgeous necklace came from the sale section in Penneys. This two pack of jewellery boxes is available in stores nationwide for €1.49.

Frozen Santa Stationary

The reality is that Christmas is all about the kids and at the moment, almost every child in Ireland seems to be obsessed with Frozen. I know a particular baby brother who would be delighted with this Frozen stationary set for writing his letter to Santa.

Frozen Anna and Elsa

Alright, I know I said “kids” but you’re never too old for Disney, right? Could I please have these baubles for my Christmas tree?

Minion Cracker

I thought that these individually packaged Christmas crackers would make fabulous stocking fillers.

Peppa Pig Advent

And, it isn’t Christmas without an advent calender. I have very fond childhood memories of scoffing all 24 chocolates in one go, only to mourn the loss for the remaining 23 days so maybe it is wise to purchase a few back-ups for any greedy chocolate monsters.

Freddo

And, if that wasn’t enough chocolate for you, Dealz have a huge range of Christmas sweet sets. Smarties, Freddos, Malteasers – calories don’t count at Christmas!

Everything pictured in this post goes on sale in Dealz in November for €1.49. Will you be stocking up on any of the goodies?

Rouge x

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My Deliveroo Review. 

Everyone knows that dining out is the ‘Holy Grail’ of my hobbies. So, imagine my joy when I heard that I no longer have to leave the house in order to source ‘restaurant quality’ food. The food delivery app ‘Deliveroo’ has launched in Dublin and promises to deliver from many major eateries across the city, straight to your door. Yes you heard me – restaurants such as Nandos, Aussie BBQ and many more straight to your door!

Last week, my friends and I decided to give the app a trial run by hosting a foodie party. In the mood for pizza, we chose to order from McGarry’s Pub and Restaurant in Harold’s Cross, Dublin. €50 supplied three large pizzas, two portions of chips, one portion of wings and a side of garlic bread topped with mozzarella. 

  

The service was super fast with the food arriving within 35 minutes of ordering online. The food was delicious and travelled well, tasting just as it would had we eaten it in the restaurant. The app itself is really easy to navigate – suitable for technophobes city-wide.

  
I can’t wait to see what else ‘Deliveroo’ have to offer. Considering we fed five people on €50, I don’t think I’ll be cooking next time I host a dinner party. 

For more info you can check out the website here

Let me know if you love it!

Rouge x

The Gotham Cafe – Foodie Review.

If this blog isn’t making you gain weight, you’re not reading it properly. Today, we’re taking a trip to The Gotham Cafe on South Anne Street, Dublin. A hidden gem, located just off Grafton Street, this place is definitely worth the visit. You will be greeted with quirky, retro decor and a big welcome from the really friendly staff. The Gotham Cafe is bustling with shoppers, natives and tourists alike so it’s the perfect place for a break from reality.

gotham

Myself and my fabulous friend Tanya had the good fortune to visit The Gotham Cafe on a gloriously sunny day. Therefore, we sat outdoors to enjoy the buzzing ambience of the city. Opting for the lunch menu which is great value, I selected the “Chargrilled Herbed Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich” while Tanya had the “Chargrilled Steak Ciabatta Sandwich”. Both were equally flavoursome and delicious!

First up, we have the chicken sandwich. This treat  was layered on ciabatta, smothered in sweet chilli & basil crème fraîche and served with homemade fries and mixed salad. A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips but worth every second. The chicken was succulent, the dressing was tangy and full of flavour while the bread was fresh and crispy.

So, what about the steak sandwich? Personally, I’m not a huge fan of steak sandwiches – I always find that the steak is cut too thinly and usually overcooked. However, I had a little taste of Tanya’s dish at The Gotham Cafe and can vouch for the fact that it was nothing short of delicious! The sandwich was accompanied with garlic mayonnaise, rocket, tomato, relish and homemade fries. Thinly cut, yet cooked to perfection – the steak was of the ‘melt in mouth variety’ and like my own, the fries were crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy on the inside.

All this food came in at under €20, so you won’t feel too guilty about treating yourself.

Let me know if you try it – I love hearing your feedback!

Rouge x

The Brunch Of Champions.

A Manhattan ritual, Sunday brunch is my favourite meal of the week and as it becomes more and more popular in Dublin, I’ve resolved to discover the best and reveal it to the masses. This week, we popped into San Lorenzo’s on Georges Street. Famed as a NYC style eatery, I had high expectations of this establishment. So, did they deliver?

 

You bet they did! Credited by Dubliners as “The Brunch of Champions”, the fry-up was nothing short of divine. A huge portion to satisfy even the worst of hangovers – this is a treat to the taste buds!
   

Forever a slave to my sweet tooth, there was one dish in particular on this menu which caught my eye and stole my heart. San Lorenzo’s have created “Coco Pops French Toast” – an exciting mixture of French toast, coco pops, caramelised banana, peanut butter and Belgian chocolate sauce. Heaven on a plate is an understatement!

 

No brunch is complete without cocktails and San Lorenzo’s do not disappoint. I sampled the ‘Boris Karloff’ which was a combination of gin, elderflower liqueur, lime, egg white and club soda. The cocktail was expertly mixed with a fabulous zingy citrus flavour – perfectly refreshing after a night of clubbing! Also, a thank you to the lovely barman who welcomed us at the door and chatted with us about his recommendations, regardless of the fact that he was rushed off his feet. 

Let me know if you have any more brunch suggestions!

Rouge x

I have the Simplest Tastes, I am Always Satisfied with the Best. – “Taste of Dublin” Festival 2015.

Article brought to you by Jessica Wilkie, otherwise self-proclaimed ‘Silkie Wilkie’ – best friend, ticket taker and now, beginner blogger.

As a first time explorer at the “Taste of Dublin” festival, I can wholeheartedly say I was not disappointed. Thanks to Evoke.ie, we were lucky enough to visit on Thursday afternoon and as pale and light-lusting Irish folk, we were delighted to experience a beautiful sunny day for this annual outdoor event. A taste of Dublin which is hosted in the Iveagh Gardens, is a delicious array of marquees offering food and drinks from bars, cafes and restaurants around Dublin. As we wandered through the gardens, we were greeted with tent after tent of mouth-watering delights inviting us to graze at will like gastronomic dinosaur with insatiable appetites. If you are sceptical about whether or not this event is really your scene – I can assure you that “Taste of Dublin” has a little something for everyone.

Have you got a sweet tooth? If so, walking past stalls like that of the “Dublin Cookie Co.” without having an irresistible urge to grab all the cookies and run for the nearest escape will be next to impossible. How can any girl walk past a tray of macaroons without sneaking over for a nibble in true Blair Waldorf fashion? Or, if like me, your heart starts melting at the prospect of melting chocolate then “Choc Allure” is the place for you. A cup filled with strawberries, toffee and marshmallows, smothered in milk chocolate needs nothing other than some peace and quiet to selfishly indulge yourself in it.

If, your taste buds tickle for food of the savoury variety then the world is your oyster. I decided to take this phrase quite literally and sampled the oysters from “Lobster Rock”. For some it’s an acquired taste and for me, the experience was a little more ‘Mr Bean’s Holiday’ than the ‘Birth of Venus’ – I can safely say that I’ll stick with chocolate as my preferred aphrodisiac.  We followed the oysters with some lobster rolls which were delicious lobster cocktails packed inside brioche baps.  The lobster was soft and fresh, cushioned by the sweet bread of the brioche. It was as tantalisingly tasty as it was well cooked and left me content in the knowledge that Sebastian hadn’t been sacrificed for nothing.

The reality was that “Taste of Dublin” had a food for every mood.  There was a great spectacle of restaurants catering for every taste; moving from the oriental “Asian Market”, to gastropub “Chophouse”, to modern day bistro “Pichet”. And with chefs such as Rachel Allen and Edward Hayden appearing in the “Tattinger Tent” and the “Electrolux Taste Theatre” I got a real sense that these people are passionate about what they do and it really translates into their cooking.

If you enjoy a liquid lunch, then brace yourself for some tough decisions as you move around the market. “Taste of Dublin” has it all from craft beer and cider to champagne and prosecco. The cocktails from ‘KOH’ were so vibrant and creative that macho men scattered through the market were left ‘minding them’ for non-existent girlfriends, in the hope that nobody would notice that they were secretly enjoying them themselves. I personally loved the “Prosecco Bar” which is a travelling company that sets up at “Taste of Dublin” each year. There you had lip-smacking options of ‘Bellinis’ and ‘Kir Royales’ to name just a few. I opted for a “Raspberry Sparkle” which was light and fruity and contained all the essential bubbles, making it my top choice as summer drink. We were shown how this drink can be easily created by adding some light raspberry cordial to your prosecco – perfect for summer parties and nights in with the girls.

Not a fully-fledged foodie? Fashionistas behold! As an essentially daytime outdoor market, the trending fashion was smart-casual. I wore a light, summery, lace dress from River Island, paired with black and silver sandals from Topshop. Bold colours and floral print playsuits were a popular choice at the festival, often paired with wedges and either statement jewellery or a belt.  The general vibe was summer chic – clothes that were light and summery but comfortable. Seeing as a lot of the walking is done through grass or cobbled stones and footpaths, comfortable flats or a small wedged heel is a fashion must. I’m ever appreciative of pain being beauty but when you are tottering precariously across the stones or stomping across the grass, your stilettos creating more holes than a small family of gophers, you are quick to concede that comfort and leisure are vital ingredients in enjoying the whole experience. Overall, I got the feeling that this summer’s main theme would be “Sixties Hippie” with flared trousers and colourful camisoles making frequent appearances. I for one, will be embracing the look this summer. Groovy baby, very groovy!

On my journey, I had the pleasure of meeting model Rozanna Purcell who nailed the fashion look of the day wearing a pretty, white summer dress paired with black leather boots and a black leather jacket. She vamped up the summery glow and polished it off with a seductive smokey eye and nude lip make up look. I am definitely in favour of the ‘girlie-girl’ meets ‘rock chick’ combo.

To top off the enjoyment of the whole experience, live music reverberated through the market as a number of stages were set up around the gardens. There were grassy areas to chill out and relax and tabled, seating areas to allow you to eat and drink and settle into the music. The great thing about the music was that it added a sense of occasion to the festival and contributed to the over-all buzz.  A festival with mouth-watering nibbles at your fingertips? Sounds like heaven to me.

So there you have it, my first trip to “Taste of Dublin “and I can genuinely say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. And, since studies are showing that people who invest in experiences are happier and more socially interesting than those who invest in material things – I would highly recommend “Taste of Dublin” as the perfect place to start .The great thing about festival is that it allows you to achieve the best of both worlds; enjoying culinary delights while basking in the ambience. I’m a firm believer that eating out is still one of life’s most treasured pleasures and we are lucky in Dublin to have such a vast variety of high quality bars and restaurants to choose from.  I’m going to quote Flo Rida on this one and conclude that “I don’t like it – I love it, love it, love it”.

P. Macs – Foodie Review. 

Earlier this week, a friend of mine introduced me to one of her favourite food spots in Dublin. P.Macs is situated just off St. Stephen’s Green and is a hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of the area. I was majorly impressed from the get go because the decor of this charming pub is hipster and cool, without being too in-your-face ‘alternative’. 

  

So, what about the food? Delish! I sampled the pulled pork burger while my friend had the chicken wings. As per usual, she drew the better straw. Even though my burger was great, her wings were in a league of their own. Dressed in a nice homemade sauce, they offered an alternative flavour to the “buffalo” dressing most commonly associated with chicken wings.

 

The pulled pork in my burger was fresh and flavoursome – I would definitely go back for another. Portion sizes were really generous too! 

 

And, all of this yummy food only cost a grand total of €20 (lunch menu). The staff were lovely and really welcoming. I can’t wait to visit again!

Rouge x

Becoming a Vegetarian is a Big ‘Missed Steak’.

Last night we ventured to the Whitefriar Grill on Aungier Street for some birthday celebrations. This steakhouse comes highly recommended, with food critics all around the city praising the cuisine and the atmosphere. We opted for the early-bird menu on this occasion which is great value at €19.50 for two courses or €24.50 for three.

Providing a fun, ‘cool as cucumber’ atmosphere for diners, the Whitefriar Grill is the perfect place to relax with friends after a long week at work. We really enjoyed the cosy interior and buzzing ambience. So, what about the food?

To begin with, I had the curried crab and lychee salad with asparagus and it was simply divine. Crab meat is an all time favourite of mine, and a great alternative for prawn lovers who would like to shake up their dining habits. The meat in this dish was succulent and flavoursome while the salad and asparagus was perfectly fresh.

Next up, I had the rump steak with fries, tobacco onions and pepper sauce. This dish left me with serious sympathy for vegetarians all over the world. It was quite simply ‘melt-in-mouth’ quality. The steak was tender and juicy, cooked exactly to my liking. The onions were crispy and full of flavour while the chips were chunky with a fluffy texture.


And finally, it’s all about the dessert. Chewy meringue with strawberries and cream – basic but brilliant. This dish was nice and light after a filling main course. It rivalled my mother’s receipe for meringue and that’s a serious compliment.


A huge thanks to Sarah, our fabulous waitress, who made the night really enjoyable with 5 star service. I’ll be back again soon – that brunch menu needs sampling!

Rouge x