I love buying and giving presents! To be honest nearly as much, if not more, than receiving them. There’s something about choosing something for a particular person. Thinking about what they might really enjoy or need & finding that something that you know they’re just going to love. I’m a firm believer that an amazing gift doesn’t have to cost the earth. It’s the time & effort that goes into choosing the right present that makes all the difference. I love if there’s a story behind a gift – something that gives it meaning – something that you’ll remember for years to come. In coming up with my Christmas Wishlist, I had a think about all the things that I would truly love and cherish and that would really hold some meaning for me.
1. Eva Dorney: I first met Eva about 3 years ago. Myself, Mark & Oisin had just moved back to Dublin & I had joined a local Enterprising Women’s group to meet some new people and to get myself “out there”! It was my first night to attend and I was feeling pretty nervous as I didn’t know anyone there. On my way in I met Eva (who had joined the group a couple of months before) and she was so friendly and chatty that I completely forgot my nerves and she made me feel right at home. It was only sometime afterwards that I found out she comes from Cork too! We’ve been friends ever since and it’s been great watching her business go from strength to strength. She is a very talented goldsmith & does amazing bespoke work including amazing engagement rings as well as remodelling your old gold into contemporary pieces. I love a LOT of her work but I have my heart set on this beautiful Peridot ring above. It shall be mine one day! She has a lovely showroom is Windy Arbour and you can also buy a lot of her creations online. You should check her out!
2. Cafe Paradiso: This is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to and it just so happens to be vegetarian too. I became vegetarian back in college thanks to first year Philosophy in University College Cork and the fact that my younger sister had become vegetarian shortly beforehand. It’s so lovely to go to a restaurant & know that you can choose anything from the menu. You really need to go there with people who aren’t averse to sharing, as seriously, you’ll want to sample everything on the menu! Also, you may not remember what you’ve had when you come out as each dish contain a plethora of very exciting & unusual ingredients (all locally sourced) – so be ready to take notes. This is somewhere you’d go to for a treat or a celebration – it’s not crazily expensive but it’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny! Next time you’re in Cork give it a try.
3. Image Interiors: My idea of a perfect Saturday morning is a lazy lie-in, snuggled up in bed with a big mug of tea & Image Interiors magazine! It doesn’t cost much but that feeling of having nowhere to go & having no-one to look after for a couple of hours is just heaven!
4. Holos: Niamh Hogan, is the creator of Holos Skincare – a range of natural & holistic skincare products. I first met Niamh in 2008 shortly after Oisin was born. We were living in Wexford at the time and I signed up to one of her yoga classes in an attempt to get back into shape post-baby. We hit it off straight away and her passion for everything she does is infectious. Her company has grown & evolved hugely over the years and it’s really great to see her do so well. Her company recently won the 2014 Bank of Ireland Start-Up Award for “Best home or craft based start-up”. She has some gorgeous skincare products, all of of which smell amazing but my current favourite is her anti-aging oil which contains Argan Oil with Rose, Palmerosa, Benzoin and Frankincense and leaves your skin feeling wonderful. Her products are stocked all over the country or you can buy online from her website.
5. Martin Finnin: This rarely happens to me, but when I saw one of Martin Finnin’s paintings for the first time I just couldn’t take my eyes of it. I was chatting away to a friend and my eyes kept being drawn over her shoulder to look at it. In the end I had to tell her what was going on as I couldn’t drag my eyes away from it! I didn’t know who it was by, but I managed to make out the signature Finnin and I googled him when I got home. He lives & works in Cork (there seems to be a recurring theme here!) but he currently only seems to show in London so I’ve never gotten to see any of his other work in the flesh. However, if I can manage a trip to London next year I might just time it around his next exhibition. If you want to find out more about him, you should watch this intriguing video – it’s brilliant!