Derry Derry Londonderry LEGENDERRY

I am sure it hasn’t escaped your attention that I have recently visited Northern Ireland as part of a press trip with Tourism Ireland. The main focus of the trip was on Game Of Thrones locations but we also explored some other areas of NI and well it would be just plain rude if I didn’t tell you all about them. We actually ended our trip in Derry, where you can take a Game Of Thrones tour from or end it there and it is a pretty cool place to visit.

Derry Derry Londonderry Legenderry.. so first up what is the deal behind the names? I mean is it just plain old Derry? County Derry? Londonderry? Well. On the first day we spent in the wonderful walled city we had a tour around the city and we were told a little of the history behind the name and the city.

The names of the city and county of Derry or Londonderry in Northern Ireland are the subject of a naming dispute between Irish nationalists and unionists. Generally, although not always, nationalists favour using the name Derry, and unionists using Londonderry. Legally, the city and county are called “Londonderry”,[1] while the local government district containing the city is called “Derry and Strabane” ( source Wikipedia ).

This is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The Walls were built during the period 1613-1618 by the honourable, the Irish Society as defences for early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland ( Source: Discover NI )

On our tour with Visit Derry:

derry londonderry

Before we had our tour of the city we headed to Brickwork Derry a really cool restaurant in the city centre.  The food was every bit as good as I had come to expect in Northern Ireland and the cocktails were a bit special too. Here are a few photos of our meal:

The tour took us around the city, checking out the various wall art and some really interesting buildings before ending up in an Irish Coffee Demonstration. Yep we learned how to make Irish Coffee from a master Irish Coffee Connoisseur. Then they give me the remainder of the bottle of whisky to take away and the rest is a blur.. ok that is such a brazen lie. I have the half bottle of Whisky on my liquor shelf. I really am all talk.

We checked into The City Hotel which overlooked the water and I of course hit the bath and enjoyed a brief break before we got ready for a night out in Derry. We had our evening meal at Browns in Town, I had the lamb which was just mouthwateringly tender. Also a cocktail because you just have to when they are as perfectly pretty as these were.

After our meal we visited some traditional pubs in Derry where I was really pleased to find pubs just as I imagined they would be in Ireland. Live music, random dancing and well shall we say some funny chats were had. We also played the Game Of Names…only the best drinking game ever. It would take too long to explain the rules ( which were fairly flexible ) but I think we confused many people that night. We ended up back at our hotel bar for one last drink before getting some sleep before our final day.

An Irish breakfast at The City Hotel set us for the day ahead and what a day we had.

We joined up with Daragh from Far & Wild Adventures for some longboarding lessons. I have to tell you that I was more than a little apprehensive about this. I have always had a terrible sense of balance, I tried surfing years ago and well it was quite funny for observers. BUT I loved it.

I mean … how cool do I look?

I felt like it came naturally which was weird but I felt kind of addicted from the moment I started and I just wanted to go a little faster, a little further and I didn’t want it to end. We even came across a professional photographer in the town square who asked if we would try skating through the water fountains so we did and it was so much fun. Check out this pic from Gavin Connolly below:

After the whirlwind that was learning to longboard we ended up at The Walled City Brewery, now this really is a MUST visit if you are in Derry. It is a beautifully cool and modern building with the most amazing drinks. Obviously it’s a brewery so the beer was fantastic but we also sampled some of their cocktails too and they were a treat.

 

Favourite drink was Ready For The Hills, a heady mix of rum and lavender syrup.

It really was kind of hard to tear us away from the Brewery and had we not been heading to catch a flight home I think we would have lingered for the day.

We were flying home from Derry Airport on one of the new flights which go direct to London Stansted with prices from £44 one way with BMI  with complimentary tea/coffee and snacks. I love small airports where check in and security is so straightforward and you aren’t walking for miles to find your gate. It was also a bit of fun to be on a small plane where you can virtually see into the cockpit and myself and Kim managed to get the front seats.

Bye bye Derry Derry Londonderry.

I have to say that I highly recommend a trip to Derry and I find myself already wanting to return to explore some more.

A huge part of the enjoyment on this trip was the company I had and I recommend you go check out their posts about our trips, links below:

Kim over at Kimou.co

Lauren at A Bird In The Hand Travel

Pip at Pip In The City

Steph at Scouse girl Problems

Joanna at The World In My Pocket

  • I was invited on this trip as a guest of Tourism Ireland.

 

 

Lavender Simple Syrup

I have an abundance of Lavender in my garden and it is a wonderful thing. There are constantly bees buzzing around having a ball amongst the vibrant purple strands and it smells glorious. Every year I cut bundles of it and have it in various glasses and jars around my house, I give some to friends and family but there is always sooooo much of it. This year I decided to try using it in my kitchen in some bakes and other concoctions and the first one I want to share with you is this Lavender simple syrup.

What is simple syrup I hear you say? It is a really easy ( or simple ) liquid mixture made from water and sugar with perhaps a flavour element added. It can then be used in many recipes, most commonly in cocktails where sweetness is needed with a smooth texture. It is basically like adding sugar to a recipe but without the grainy texture the t you would often get when adding sugar to a cold drink

So..readers I thought I was being very clever creating this lavender syrup. I hadn’t seen it anywhere else and I thought it was a genius idea. But you know that it is very hard to actually have an original idea these days right?

Anyway. I made a few jars of this simple syrup and the following week I went on my press trip to Ireland, whilst there I found Lavender syrup being used in two different cocktail mixtures in super cool bar/ restaurants. Firstly in Belfast in Sweet Afton’s and then at the incredible Walled City Brewery in Derry.

So perhaps not such an original idea.. it does however still taste incredible and can be used in various ways BUT best of all with rum or gin as most things in life.

My friend Jamie from Explore With Ed went exploring Lavender Fields in The Cotswolds recently which I am desperate to do myself and he kindly let me share one of his pics from his trip here, isn’t it just so pretty?

Anyway without further ado here is my recipe for Lavender Simple Syrup.

Lavender Simple Syrup

You will need:

2 cups of Lavender heads/buds – the tightly closed ones are better

2 cups of granulated sugar

2 cups of cold water

Place your sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it has boiled and the sugar has completely dissolved add the lavender and remove from the heat.

Cover and allow to steep for a few hours. Once cooled transfer to sterilised jars and refrigerate.

You can use this in lots of different food and drink recipes. It works really well just added to cool lemonade for a refreshing drink and of course added to Prosecco it is is pretty good but my favourite way is with Gin, Soda and crushed ice. I am not going to lie it is an unusual taste and if you don’t like that floral flavour, for example the flavour from rose water, turkish delight or parma violets you probably won’t like this. BUT I love it and I hope you will too.

Beach Book Ready With The Kobo Aura H2O

From 14th – 25th July 2017 Kobo are hosting a pop up beach e-reading event on Smart street in London to launch the new Kobo Aura H20. Smart Street is an alleyway off Oxford Circus which amongst other things boasts an electricity generating pavement, yep the hub is powered by the heavy footfall in London, pretty cool right? Anyway that is where the event is but what is the event actually about? Well as I said it is to celebrate the awesomeness of the new Kobo Aura H20 in a pop up beach area, if you head along to the event – which is free, you could win yourself one of the Kobo’s.

   

I have been trying out one of the gadgets at home, and my favourite part about is that you can literally drop it in water and it will be just fine even if you leave it there for up to an hour. Anyone who is a regular reader or social media follower of mine will know I am obsessed with long soaks in the bath so it is just perfect for me. It arrived late afternoon last week and by early evening I had run a deep bubble bath and climbed in with my Kobo..for research purposes of course. It felt so much more relaxing knowing that if I slipped I wouldn’t have a soggy book or destroyed electronic device on my hands.

kobo aura h20

Here is a little more info on the Kobo itself:

*Light-weight and easy to carry around – 161g
*No need to strain your eyes as the device has a 6.8 ” E ink touch screen and allows you to read in direct sunlight – no screen glare!
*Waterproof for up to 60 minutes in up to 2m of water so useful whether you are in the bath, by the pool or on the beach
*Blue-light reducing front-lit display that mimics the suns natural light, so you can enjoy night-time reading without impacting on sleep
*Storage: 8GB eMMC, storing more than 6,000 eBooks
*Won’t break the bank as it’s available at a price of £149.99

I visited the “beach” myself and had lots of fun relaxing and pretending I was far away from the streets of London:

It was actually a really fun pop up and it really does feel like you are a million miles away from busy Oxford street. I recommend checking it out.

Event details:

The Kobo #BeachBookReady pop-up will be open from 14th July until the 25th July 2017:

Monday – Saturday – 10am to 8pm
Sunday – 11am to 7pm

Smart Street is located on Bird Street (near Selfridges), off Oxford Street, WC1. It is free to attend and open in all weather conditions.

 

* This is a paid collaborated post with Kobo.

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