Mother’s Day 2018 – A Gift Guide

If you’re lucky enough to have a Mammy that’s half as fabulous as my own, I really hope you’ve got this one sussed already. Although, hope as I may, I know rightly that in the lead up to the 11th of March, you’ll all be frantically running around like headless chickens looking for a box of Milk Tray and a bouquet of Tesco’s finest flowers. So, since we’re all house-bound by Storm Emma for the next few days, I thought I would magic up a list (most of which can be bought online) to help prepare you for Mammy’s favourite day of the year so you don’t have to go home with your tail between your legs this year.

A Trip to the Morelands Grill:

 

 

Alright, so this one only applies to those of you who have the luxury of living within travelling distance of Dublin city but for anyone who does, a trip to the Morelands Grill is so worth the visit, especially for a special occasion like Mother’s Day. I actually celebrated my birthday in this restaurant in August and to date, it’s been one of the nicest meals that I’ve had throughout my six years in Dublin. The staff are lovely and the atmosphere in the restaurant is casual and homely so it’s a safe bet to impress Mammy. Plus, if you can’t make it for their Mother’s Day Lunch Menu, the Morelands have lots of other menu options, including a “Gin and Jazz Brunch” on Saturdays. For some more info, you can visit their website here.

Replica “Beach Walk”:

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This perfume by Maison Margiela smells like summer in a glass bottle and it’s absolutely gorgeous. As with all perfumes, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if your Mum loves warm, fresh fragrances that aren’t strong or over-powering, I think she’ll love this one. With notes of lemon and pink pepper, “Beach Walk” smells like the Atlantic Ocean, rather than a tropical beach resort so it’s definitely not sickly sweet. Instead, it smells like ocean spray and the wild coast. It’s top of my own wish list for summertime beauty buys and it can be purchased here, from Brown Thomas.

Sass & Boho “Incense – Citrus Intense”:

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If you’ve been watching my Insta-stories lately, you will already know how OBSESSED I am with this candle from Sass & Boho. It retails at £29 which is far cheaper than the expensive Jo Malone candles that Sass & Boho have actually surpassed in terms of quality and burn time. This particular candle that I love is double-wicked so it burns evenly, regardless of how long you light it for and the scent is heavenly. Anyone who knows me personally will already be aware that I’m obsessed with everything “lemon-y”. I love the taste and the smell of lemons but unlike some of the other citrus candles I’ve purchased, this one from Sass & Boho offers a soft, luxurious citrus scent, rather than one reminiscent of bathroom cleaning products. The wax is infused with citrus oil, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and cedarwood so it offers a beautiful, rich and relaxing fragrance. I really can’t recommend this one enough and it’s available here.

Lauryn Rose “Gold Bar Necklace”:

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I think that a necklace from the Geometric Collection by Lauryn Rose is the ideal gift for any lady in your life. Recently, I had three of these necklaces engraved with mine and my closest friends’ nicknames as my “adult” version of friendship necklaces and I think that both girls loved the sentiment. Why not pick one up for your Mum as a Mother’s Day Gift? Or better yet, if you know any new Mums – wouldn’t it be gorgeous to get their first baby’s name engraved as a keepsake for their first Mother’s Day? The “Gold Bar Necklace” is my pick of the Geometric Collection and you can have a look at it here.

Clarins “Youthfully Radiant” Skincare Gift Set:

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Find me an Irish Mammy who doesn’t love Clarins, and I’ll tell her that she simply hasn’t tried the right products yet. I actually used to view the brand as one that catered exclusively to the Mammy/Granny target market until I tried a few products and realised that I was missing out on some absolute gems. The Clarins “Double Serum” is now my favourite facial oil/serum of them all. This stuff is what skincare miracles are made of and one of the very few products in my skincare collection that offers immediate, visible results. Clarins “Beauty Flash Balm” is another effective product that never lets me down so I reckon it’s worth buying the set which is better value and is also currently discounted online from Debenhams.

TheBalm “Nude ‘Tude”:

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If your Mum loves make up and would get a giggle out of theBalm’s cheeky packaging, then this palette is a fool proof purchase. The shades are pigmented and silky smooth so they’re easy to blend. They’re also universally flattering colours that can be used to create both soft and extra-glam looks. Again, this product is currently discounted here from Debenhams.

Charlotte Tilbury “Pillow Talk” Lipstick:

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There are very few ladies out there who don’t appreciate the power of a good lipstick. I recently published a full review of Charlotte Tilbury’s “Pillow Talk” lipstick which you can find here but it’s safe to say that this is a fool-proof purchase because the shade is universally flattering and fabulous. It’s available to purchase online here.

 

And there you have it, my complete Mother’s Day gift guide. Now, do share and tell us what you’ll be buying Mammy in the comment section.

Rouge x

“Le Drunch” at the Marker Hotel – Review.

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I’m the Queen of brunch. Almost every Sunday, I will drag myself from my cosy nest of blankets and pillows and traipse across town in search of a yummy “Eggs Benedict” or my all-time favourite “Coco Pops French Toast”. The only issue I have with this is that, the odd time, I’m feeling a little fragile after a night of partying and getting up at 10 am for brunch becomes a little less appealing. However, the Marker Hotel know what’s up, and they’ve come up with a solution to my little problem. Let me present “Le Drunch”.

“Le Drunch” is a combination of dinner and brunch and it is served from 2pm on Sundays, out in the very picturesque setting of Grand Canal Square. A fortnight ago, I ventured out to sample some of the dishes, with the help of my lovely Mum, in celebration of completing my final exams. My mouth is currently watering just thinking about it…

We kicked the celebrations off with a thirst-quenching cocktail. In the Marker, they present you with the option to “build your own” Mojito. So divine… This one was my choice and was infused with strawberries. Mum had the cocktail pictured on the right. This one is the “Marker Dream” and was infused with Beefeater Gin, Chambord, elderflower, grapes and lime juice. She loved it, and may have had another one over the course of the meal but ssshhh..

In order to make complete pigs of ourselves, we decided to order three courses during “Le Drunch” and pictured above were our “Start Plates”. I had the “Chipotle Spiced Chicken Wings” while Mum tried the “Tiger Prawns”. Now, of course I sampled both.

The chicken wings were the most unusual that I’ve ever tasted. Whilst I am very dedicated to my generic “hot sauce” style wings, the Marker’s wings were a refreshing change from the ordinary. These wings were glazed to perfection and tasted spicy, while retaining some sweetness with the sprinkle a pomegranate.

Of course, Mum the star dish. Her prawns were the highlight of the entire meal. The prawns were served with garlic, shallots, chilli & French baguette. And, oh my goodness, they were amazing. The meat was tender, succulent and cooked to perfection. I would return to “Le Drunch” at the Marker, even if this dish was the only one on the menu.

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Next up was the main course. When we entered the Marker Hotel, we decided to leave the diet at the door so, we ordered from the “Comfort” section of the menu. There’s also a “Equilibrium” section that offers healthy alternatives and would be a great option for any one who considers themselves to be “fit fam” material. This time, I ordered the “John Stone’s Butcher’s Secret” dish while Mum had “The Marker Charolais Irish Beef Burger”.

The “John Stone’s Butcher’s Secret” was essentially a really tender cut of meat, served with champ, roast shallots, mushrooms and peppercorn sauce. The meat could be described as “melt in your mouth”. I’m starving just thinking about it! Also, I’m a stickler when it comes to any kind of mashed potato and in this instance, the champ was completely “lump-free” and creamy. I cleared my plate..

Mum said that her burger was really well cooked and juicy. She enjoyed the Parmesan truffle fries and, the homemade tomato relish was gorgeous. However, if we had to pick a winner in the main course department; my choice comes out on top.

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I can barely breath thinking of it, but there was no way we could have left without sampling the dessert on the “Le Drunch Menu”. If the truth was told, I would have to admit that I would have gladly eaten every dish on the menu.. Yes, I do have a sugar addiction. So, to finish, Mum had the “Baked Alaska” (pictured above) and all I can say is; why on earth isn’t this dish served everywhere? It was essentially a plate of fluffy, meringue and ice-cream goodness. I was raging that I didn’t order this dessert myself!

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I decided to try the “Banoffee” which is my absolute favourite dessert. Now, don’t get me wrong; it was absolutely delicious but, I was so full that I only managed a few bites before admitting defeat. Banoffee pie is always a very heavy dessert so, I would only recommend ordering this one if you haven’t just eaten your weight beforehand. Still worth it though!

Overall, “Le Drunch” at the Marker Hotel was one of my favourite dining experiences in Dublin, to date. The staff were lovely, the setting was stunning and the food – well, the pictures speak for themselves.

If you want to take a look at the food menu you can do so here. You can also take a sneak peak at the cocktails/drinks menu here. It is a little on the pricey side but as they say, “treat yo self” – it’s definitely worth it!

If you have anymore dining recommendations in Dublin, I would love to hear them. You can let me know here (in the comment section) or over on Instagram (username: rougewritinghood).

Rouge x

Catch 22, Dublin – A Foodie Review.

It is notoriously difficult to find great quality food, at affordable prices around the Grafton Street area. This is mainly because the well known shopping district has developed into a tourist trap, littered with chain restaurants and fast food joints. However, I am delighted to announce that I recently stumbled across a diamond in the rough. Let me introduce Catch 22.

Catch 22 is located opposite Kehoe’s on South Anne Street and they pride themselves on their simple, yet delicious seafood menu. The décor which consists of tiled flooring and bleached timber panel walls screams ‘sailor’ and, I am delighted to report that there’s nothing pretentious about the atmosphere of the restaurant.  Alas, a word of warning: this place is tiny and they operate on a “first come, first served” basis so you can only reserve tables for parties of 5+. But, if you are lucky enough to snatch up a table on arrival – you are in for the most delightful treat.

I have been to Catch 22 on two occasions now and I’m happy to report that they have my full seal of approval. On my first visit to the restaurant, I ordered a portion of calamari with hand-cut chips. More often than not, Irish eateries get it wrong when it comes to squid – we’ve all had the over-cooked, rubbery type. However, the deep-friend calamari in Catch 22 was soft and succulent, and I have to admit, surprisingly fresh. The calamari was served with chilli mayo which was tangy, rather than spicy – delicious.

  

The menu at Catch 22 provides for the addition of two specials, sourced and cooked fresh everyday. So, on my second visit to the restaurant I opted for one of these specials; prawns tossed in Marie Rose sauce, layered over home-made brown bread. The prawns themselves were moist and bursting with flavour and freshness. I expect that they were sourced directly from Dublin bay – no phoney frozen fish here! The sauce was simple, yet tasty and complimented the fresh seafood perfectly. And as an added extra, the hand-cut chips were cooked to perfection – fluffy on the inside with perfectly crispy skin.

  

And there you have it – unpretentious, wholesome comfort food at surprisingly affordable prices! 
What do you think? Worth a visit? Let us know in the comments!

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