I Gained the Gift of Eloquence…Apparently

After our hiking adventure we chose to spend the rest of our holiday being traditional tourists and visiting the sights that Cork had to offer.

We were staying at Sheila’s Hostel for a couple of nights to save ourselves a little bit of moolar. It wasn’t as fancy as the brochure makes it look but it did the job. It was in a good location, close to the centre of town and the staff there were friendly and really helpful. We again had a shared room but it ended up being just us two, which was lovely. The place is great for travellers but if you’re looking for somewhere to have a good nights sleep, this isn’t the place for you. The big heavy doors need some kind of mechanism on them to stop them slamming because that is all you hear through the entire building. The only other problem was that our room was windowless, which meant that it got very very warm in there. Oh well…for £15 each, a bed is a bed and we didn’t spend that much time in there anyway.

For our first full day in Cork we decided to catch a coach to Blarney Castle. Nick’s grandparents told us about this earlier on in the year and said it was a must see. It wasn’t too far on the coach, even though my feeties were more than happy for the journey to last longer. It was a glorious sunny day so this was perfect weather to do a bit of sight-seeing. The Blarney Castle was built around 600 years ago and is situated within the most beautiful gardens that you can wander round. As you follow the path up towards the castle, its structure just seems to appear from behind the trees and looks like a scene out of a movie. The path was lined with trees that were wrapped in knitted covers, which was super cute and added a little quirky colour to the surroundings.

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This castle is a partial ruin but you are still able to visit the various rooms which gives you a good idea of how large and grand this building must have been when people were living there. Now the main thing to do when you come to visit the Blarney Castle is kiss the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that if you kiss this stone you will be gifted with eloquence. Now I must confess that I had to google this afterwards as I didn’t have a clue what this word meant, but I went and kissed it anyway as the word sounded pretty positive to me. Did they put this stone at the bottom of the castle at an average person’s height? Noooo don’t be silly, they aren’t going to just give this eloquence away. This stone is placed at the top of the castle, but low enough that you have to lie on your back, hold on to two bars and lean yourself back down a hole and stretch your neck out to kiss this smooth rock. Now I’m not the greatest with heights. I’m not terrible, but you know when you get a little wobbly and butterflies in your stomach. I went first whilst Nick had his GoPro rolling. A guy who works there tells you what to do and holds on to you gently as you lean yourself over the edge. I stupidly looked down towards the ground waaaayyyy below me before I kissed the stone. I didn’t realise I would have to stretch so far for it. Now Nick’s turn, he passed me the GoPro and I pointed the camera towards him as he kissed the Blarney stone. Here is where I may have made a little bit of a mistake. I assumed that when Nick passed me the camera that it was still rolling from my stint. Errrr turns out it wasn’t! DOH!

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“crap bags!”

I think I’ve done this before on our travels on one or two occasions and I felt so guilty that I decided to purchase the over priced touristy pictures that were taken. It was the least I could do for missing him in action. I’m pleased I got them though, how cool are they!!!

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For once we weren’t in a hurry to be anywhere or to reach a destination at a certain time so we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and went on a little stroll around the surrounding gardens.

I would definitely recommend a visit to the Blarney Castle if you are ever visiting Cork. I bet these grounds look breathtaking in Autumn when all the leaves have changed colours and the sky is clear.

Hope you enjoyed my little post.

-MooFace-


Links

Sheila’s Hostel – We had a 4 bed room (bunk beds) with an en suite and this cost us £15 each per night.

Blarney Castle – This cost us about £10 each for entry to the Castle and the grounds.

What’s That I Hear You Say? I’ve Been Back From Ireland For Ages and STILL Haven’t Finished These Blog Posts?! Yes I’m Rubbish!

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The Last Leg of The Wicklow Way

With our tents packed up we couldn’t quite believe that this would be our final day of hiking. By the evening we would have completed 100 miles, The Wicklow Way, in just 5 days! For two inexperienced hikers this would be a massive feat. I’m really glad we got to stay in this beautiful little town. It was so quaint with the bunting everywhere and the small local shops.

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We headed off in the direction of our final destination, Clonegal. Just 15 miles to go. The sun was shining and the path was mostly flat, which was lovely. However, even with such flat terrain, after 4 days of intense hiking our bodies were struggling. Every sign we passed we were counting down the miles and trying to predict how long we had left. After the first 5 miles we took cover from the midday sun and let our feet breathe. The thick socks and crazy heat had caused my feet to break out in heat rash. Grim! I let my feet enjoy the breeze and wriggle room for a while until the sun started its long decent. As much as I didn’t want to I had to put my poor feeties back in their boot cages ready for the next 10 miles. Just 10 miles to go!

We hit a long straight road, it was so long that we couldn’t even see where it would end. These past two road walking days were very different to the earlier days. Not only because of the terrain, but the effect that this terrain had on our motivation and our moods. The paths were easier on our bodies, but the views were not as breathtaking and distracting from the task of hiking. My feet were happy for the Tarmac below them, but my brain missed the valleys, the breeze whipping my hair across my face and the challenges of getting across to the next map marker.

About half way down this long old road a car passed us and pulled over just ahead. A very kind lady offered us a lift to the next town. We looked at each and then back at her, our heads slowly turned to the comfy empty seats that lay just behind her. It was so tempting but we had come too far to bail now. We thanked her but declined the offer. As she drove away we wondered whether we had made the right decision. I’m happy to say we did.

At the next junction we decided to have a little lunch break. Gas cooker, flavoured rice, water…done! I lay back on my bag, just listening to the sound of the world go by, staring at the sparse clouds that littered the sky. I was actually starting to enjoy this outdoor living. I kind of felt like I did when I was travelling round Asia. Nothing to worry about but getting to our next destination. I am really looking forward to planning our BIG travelling adventure. We still haven’t ironed out the details…but we will be very soon.

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After packing up our lunch things, we headed down the road and reached a cross roads. Were my eyes deceiving me?! Could it be? There was a sign for Clonegal and it actually said “1 mile to go”. If we could have sprinted there we would have. We did pick up the pace a little though…well as much as our legs would actually let us.

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Before we knew it, there it was “Welcome to Clonegal” We hugged the sign with such excitement! We’d only gone and bloody done it!! 100 miles in 5 days! We had completed The Wicklow Way!

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With no pubs open, what with it being in the middle of the afternoon in a tiny village we parked up on a bench next to this gorgeous river and admired our surroundings. Such a lovely little place to finish our hiking adventure in.

We were informed by some fellow Wicklow Way hikers that the only place where we would be able to catch a coach to Cork, was in a town 4 miles away! The thought of walking another 4 miles sent shivers through my body. The two hikers were staying over night in Clonegal and getting up early to head to Bunclody. We couldn’t face getting up super super early for another morning of walking and we just wanted to kind of get it out the way. So with our bags and boots back on we headed south. This time however we wouldn’t be turning down any lift offers and actually stuck our thumbs out to hitch a ride. I have never done this in my life and never thought I would!

After about 10 minutes of cars passing us by I gave up on the idea of this actually working. I kept sticking my thumb out though, just in case. As we struggled up a steep hill a small car passed us….and actually pulled over at the top. It had only gone and bloody worked. Irish people…you guys rock!!! This guy, probably around my age, was also heading to Bunclody and said he was happy to take us! YES! So we all got chatting…you know, the usual conversation questions. Where have you been? Names? Where have you come from? When I mentioned Essex he looked back at me in the review mirror:

“You don’t live near Bas Vegas do you?”

Now only people from Essex seem to know of and ever call Basildon Festival Leisure Park, Bas Vegas!

“Er…I actually don’t live that far from there. How do you know of Bas Vegas?”

It turns out he had lived in London and Kent for years and had often visited friends in Basildon. I mentioned I went to university in Kent and…small bloody world…we had both gone to the same art institute around the same time.

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He was a wicked guy and told us the best places to head to for dinner and areas to avoid when he dropped us off. Driver man, who ever you are, I thank you dearly!

After dinner the guy behind the bar told us of a park that we could camp in that wouldn’t be any trouble. This was my least favourite wild camp of them all. It wasn’t like a foresty park, it was a football/rugby park where a lot of people walked their dogs and carried out their evening jogs. I didn’t feel sheltered from prying eyes and felt very uneasy as I got into my tent. Nick kindly gave me some weapons to help me feel safer. A mini shovel and a swiss army knife that looked like it had come out of a Christmas cracker, I think it did actually come out of a cracker last year. It would have to do! I fell asleep hugging my defensive weapons of choice.

I felt much better in the morning once all my stuff was packed up and my wild camping days had come to an end. The next part of our holiday was much more traditional in the way of a city break. A coach to Cork to take in the sights, the food and the local booze!

Hiking mission – DONE!

-MooFace-

Day 3 & 4 – A Tough Old Slog

Sorry for the delay in my blog posts, I know I said I wouldn’t drag these out but these last couple of weeks have been just plain crazy hectic! Still trying to find the balance between working, socialising, blogging and I now have two new skills I want to learn but I will reveal these in another blog. Ooooo intrigued? So to continue with these Irish adventures…

Day 3: Lough Dan – Glenmalure

I awoke slightly groggy, cold and keen to get packed up and back on the road. I accidentally didn’t zip my sleeping bag up fully, so the chill woke me up during the wee hours of the morning. I also made the mistake of placing my backpack at the bottom of tent so I wasn’t able to stretch out fully. Something I duly noted for my next wild camp. Once up and packed away and with our tummies rumbling we decided we wanted some proper grub for brunch so we headed off in the direction of Laragh. After some food we would then continue onwards to Glenmalure. The flies returned with a vengeance and tormented us for the first hour of up hill climbing. It was safe to say that I wasn’t in the best of moods.

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After the climb we steeply descended into a little forested area just outside Laragh. A quaint wooden bridge crossed a pretty little river and we decided to explore this beautiful spot and clambered over the rocks for a cheeky photo opportunity.

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Laragh is a small picturesque village with only about 360 residents along with many Wicklow way hikers coming and going. Not far down the road we found a lovely little restaurant with outdoor seating so chucked off our bags, took a seat and ordered two pints of Guinness without even perusing the menu. Our first genuine Irish Guinnesses and my god did they taste good. I ordered lasagne, garlic bread and chips for lunch and it tasted like the best food I’d ever eaten. Screw you Nutrigrain bars!!! I sat there with a gigantic grin on my face as I enjoyed my gorgeous carbtastic meal.

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Content in the moment, chatting away about the journey so far and enjoying each sip of the stouty goodness, we soon forgot where we were and our mission for the day. We still had 15 odd miles to cover before the sun went down. We begrudgingly downed the remainder of our pints, paid the bill and got back on the road.

I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep, my achy legs or my belly full of Guinness but I struggled! It may have been all these things?! The Wicklow Way crosses the main valley floor in Glendalough and the gradual incline soon turns into a strenuous steep climb up large stone steps along side the Poulanass waterfall. I didn’t even have the strength to admire this view, which was such a shame. I just kept my head down, the sweat joining my tired tears as they dripped off my nose. I had to really push myself up to the top. Once past the waterfall the path continued to climb but not at such a dramatic gradient. Nick saw my tear-stained face and suggested we took a break. He asked me what was wrong and I literally just burst out crying. I had no energy, no drive and the number of miles we still had to cover over the next couple of days was really playing on my mind.

“I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this. I’m so tired and my legs and feet are killing me”

After a cuddle and a nutrigrain bar I had calmed down enough to carry on. This was a tough day. The path just continued to climb, weaving back and forth, snaking up the mountain side. The gigantic trees seemed to home in on us, blocking any form of view and restricting any glimpse of a potential peak. I could see that Nick was starting to struggle too. We were so tired and the lack of view and conversation meant we only had one thing to think about and that was walking. One foot in front of the other. With the silence that surrounded us, our footsteps sounded like a marching beat. We tried to keep to this rhythm and pace to keep us going. Left, Right, Left, Right, Keep, Going, Keep, Going!

After what felt like a lifetime the trees started to thin and eventually gave way to the most refreshing chill and the breathtaking view of the valleys far below.

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At the beginning of this climb, down in the valley, we were surrounded by hundreds of day walkers, bagless and carefree. As we ventured further and further up the numbers dwindled and people were replaced with sheep. Greeting us with their baaass and one even decided to follow us for a bit. This brought back memories of going to Wales when I was younger. My auntie and uncle lived in a small seaside town, but they lived further up a mountain track. After dinners we would often take walks up into the mountains to walk off the yummy food and feed the local sheep.

My silent prayers were answered and the path started to descend down these giant stone steps. I let gravity do its thing and let the weight of the day carry me to the bottom of the next valley. Suddenly we came across a road and that meant only one thing…we were close to Glenmalure, our stop for the day! We were meant to be wild camping that evening but we both had had such a strenuous day that we caved as soon as we saw the sign for the Glenmalure Lodge.

“I don’t care what it costs, I will put it on my credit card. I just need a shower and a nice comfy bed for the night” I said to Nick

It was the cutest little place and our room was actually rather large with a power shower and a bed so comfortable I almost forfeited going to dinner to just lie there. I’m glad I didn’t though. This image below was my burger…..how awesome is that?! Not just a normal burger, a burger with all the tasty trimmings piled on top. We spent the evening eating, drinking and celebrating finishing such a tough day.

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Day 4: Glenmalure – Tinahely (The Big One)

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I slept soooooo well and felt 100 times better about what lay ahead of us. After a lovely breakfast we headed out into the sunshine and made our way…UP! aw man you had to be kidding me!! Yep we headed up hill to our first peak of the day. This was also another scorcher of a day (I thought Ireland was supposed to be rainy and cold). There wasn’t much shade about so any we did come across we would take shelter and rehydrated.

This climb only lasted about 45 mins which was very short compared to yesterday. A breeze decided to join us and I felt in good spirits. I eyed up the path ahead and knew today would be a beautiful one.

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I looked over to see Nick’s head down and pain on his face. His boots had caused many blisters from the previous days and even though they were bandaged up the pain was obvious. I tried to keep the conversation light to take his mind off it until I knew he just wanted some peace and quiet to push through. I popped my headphones in and just passed through the miles, walking in time with the tunes.

At around 1pm we came across a little patch of grass next to the road with little boulders to perch our bums on. We thought it was probably a good idea to get out of the sun and refuel for the second half of the day. Nick seemed to perk up as his feet gave up complaining so much, knowing they would not be getting any rest any time soon. After a little Irish jig in the road, no kidding, we thought best to carry on.

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I love the homes they have around this area of Ireland. They are either these perfect, American looking houses with massive drives, show home style gardens and panoramic views or they are these cute cottages painted in cray cray colours. Look at the one below. Now I love the colour green but I would never think to myself…I’m going to paint my entire cottage and surrounding walls bright green. Hats off to this home owner though. So many different colours were dotted around the tiny villages, I loved it! It reminded me a bit of The Wizard of Oz.

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After we hit the 20 mile mark I realised that this was the furthest I’ve ever walked in one go. The pain in my toes and my shins was getting worse but I continued to hobble along knowing I only had a couple more miles to go! I could just about lift my feet off the floor. When I saw the sign for Tinahely I almost cried. When I saw the pub I actually did cry. These were tears of joy and pain at the same time.

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The barman in the pub was such a gem, he showed us to a table and brought us two big pints of water straight away along with 2 menus. I ordered Guinness and beef stew and Nick ordered fish and chips. It was GORGEOUS! It was so rich and filling. Really perked me up after completing this 22 mile day!

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The barman asked if we already had somewhere booked for the night. When we told him we were looking to camp he very kindly informed us of a field near by that a lot of Wicklow Way hikers stayed in with no trouble at all. I’m still taken aback by the kindness and generosity of the Irish folk. I can’t imagine being able to wild camp so easily in England. As the sun started to descend we pitched our tents and got ourselves ready for bed. It was a little weird camping in a field where people could see us so easily. The sound of cars passing over the bridge reminded me a little of home and it wasn’t long before I curled my tired achy feet into my sleeping bag (backpack at the side of me this time :p) and drifted off into the land of nod.

Only 1 more day of walking to go…1 more day.

To be continued…

-MooFace-

Day 2 – I see pride, I see power, I see a badass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody

I woke up pretty much in the same position I fell asleep in, I was that tired. It took a while for my brain to re adjust and remember where I was and what went on the day before. As I stretched, my achy muscles soon jogged my memory of the 20 miles we’d completed previously. Instead of getting up straight away, I decided to just lie back and enjoy the feeling of being stationary and relaxed. I knew today was going to be tough with my already achy limbs.

The grey clouds soon dispersed and left us with a glorious sunny start to the day. With our bellies full and sunscreen applied we headed downhill to pick up the Wicklow Way where we’d left off. We were told that day 2 of the route was the most beautiful and this seemed to be true from the get go.

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Our route took us through a leafy forest path down a very welcoming hill. With the sun on our faces and a gentle breeze keeping us cool, we were both really excited about the day ahead. We knew it would get tough but with such a beautiful start it made us realise why we chose to take on this challenge.

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As we took on our first winding up hill climb of the day, we paused to look back over where we had come from. Down in the valley we could see the Knockree Hostel below, planted in the hillside amongst the greenery. Even after only an hour of walking, we had come so far already. We rounded a corner and the path levelled out. The cliff edge slowly revealed a secret as we drew closer to the edge. An amazing waterfall lay in the valley. I could see people milling around it, having picnics and dipping their toes in the icy water. We were really hoping the path would take us down to it, would have been such a lovely stop for lunch. Sadly the path crept around it, keeping us high in the mountains.

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We headed down our next rocky hill and came across this beautiful spot for a quick lunch break. If we had known the day before that this area was here we probably would have carried on a little bit further to reach it. It would have been the perfect wild camping spot, and there was evidence that people had had the same idea. It was a grassy area, flat enough for the tents and was right next to the Glencree river. It was really picturesque. With my bag off my back and my shoes off, I let my toes wriggle in the breeze. I leaned back, with a Nutrigrain bar in hand and my eyes closed. I was content in the world at that very moment.

Before we left, we took the opportunity to fill up our water bottles. Being such a warm day, we seemed to be racing through our supplies. It was lovely and cold and crystal clear. We did add a chlorine tablet though just to be on the safe side, didn’t want to risk any dodgy stomachs whilst out in the middle of no where, hehe. Feeling refreshed and stocked we continued on our path. Our next challenge: getting up through Powerscourt Paddock and up Djouce Mountain. Not quite to the 700m peak but close at about 650-655m.

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As we hiked, we chatted. We chatted about all kinds of things along the way: from future travels plans, to films we liked, food, friends and family…but we kind of got distracted. It wasn’t until we reached the bottom of a hill that we decided to check the guide book. Silly Sallys! Our surroundings didn’t seem to match what we were reading in front of us. Luckily we came across a couple who pointed back up…way up, where we had just come from. We had missed out turning and was forced to bow our heads and struggle back up the hillside. We had added 2 miles onto our day. This may not seem much but when the next part of the trek is up a 650m steep gradient, those 2 miles feel like 10 :p

We found that shouting out a bit of Cool Runnings helped us get to the top. We’re so weird sometimes ha ha.

I see pride, I see power, I see a badass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody

We did make it though, we may have been over taken by mountain bikers (how did they do that?!) but we made it. We quickly dumped our bags and fell into a heap on the floor. My god was it beautiful up there! We could see for miles. The peak had been conquered. Errr or so we thought….

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…we turned the corner of the mountain to see that the path was continuing to climb. Shit! We still had about 100m to climb. ha ha. This path was very thin and hugged the mountain side. Sheep stood on tiny rock platforms, hopping around making it look so effortless. We could hear the sound of water running and checked our depleting water bottles. We’d stumbled across the source of a stream, coming straight out from the rocks. Again it was crystal clear and so refreshing to drink, no need for a purifying tablet this time.

The path became a lot easier once it turned into wooden sleepers that carved our path ahead. They trailed off over the edge of the mountain and out of sight.

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These sleepers took us all the way to the other side of Djouce Mountain to a spectacular view overlooking Lough Tay. Perfect photo opportunity as you can see. Poses at the ready…

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We took a short break here, the sun was warm but luckily we had the wind flowing up over the mountains to keep up cool. We took a seat and admired the gorgeous view. Peace and quiet, just the sound of the wind rustling our hair. Sadly this lough was a little out of our path but we were hoping to reach Lough Dan to pitch our tents beside that night. It had been a long day and we were looking forward to getting our shoes off and eating a ‘cooked’ meal.

It was surprising to see how much deforestation was going on within the Wicklow way. We were often passing acres of stumps, which was sad to see. The next description of our route instructed us to follow the sleepers down the hill and through a forest until we reached the road. We could see down the mountain side, see the sleepers, see the road but there wasn’t a single tree either side of this path. Even though new trees had been planted in the empty patches, it would take decades before the forest would be restored to its former glory and then I’m guessing these would be cut down as well. Just seems such a shame.

As we hit the road the tiredness started to kick in. My feet started to burn and my muscles were pleading for the end of the day. We had the chance to follow the road and head straight to a campsite in Roundwood, however we both agreed that we had come that far and we might as well stick to the route and wild camp as planned. I was rather nervous about my first experience wild camping. I was worried that we would get woken in the early hours of the morning by an angry farmer kicking us off their land (understandably of course). Nick pointed out possible locations along the way, but I was nervous by neighbouring houses so we carried on in the direction of Lough Dan.

As we passed through a field on the way to the lough we found ourselves in a large open space with what looked like faded patches of grass caused by tents. There was a water tap and even a pub style bench. This was a campsite…but with no one around. It wasn’t long before we realised we had stumbled across a campsite used by girl guides and boy scouts but was evidently closed for the week. With no one around we picked a spot near the back. Even though it was clear that nobody was going to come across us, I still found myself talking in a whispered tone.

Nick was keen to pitch the tents first but I was still nervous about being found so we agreed to wait a little longer for it to get a little darker. It was dinner time. A gourmet meal of super noodles. It may not look like much but my god it hit the spot. After a day of Nutrigrain bars, noodles was a welcoming dinner.

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Now the only problem with this campsite was the midges. Loads of them, and flies…everywhere. I tried covering my face with my checkered shirt whilst I pitched my tent but I couldn’t take much more of it. As soon as our tents were pitched and our belongings were slung inside we dived in to escape the hordes.

Me and Nick decided (much to my dismay) that we would take a 1 man tent each. They were lighter to carry and evenly carried between the both of us. Luckily, pitched right next to each other, we could still easily chat. Not that the conversation carried on for long. We were both so exhausted from our brilliant day that our voices soon descended into silence.

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“Nick do you think someone is coming?! What if they find us? What if they mug us?”

I woke Nick up. Whilst clutching my sleeping bag, I tried to listen out for footsteps approaching but I could only hear the sound of my heart beating fast in my chest.

“Don’t you worry, no one is coming, no one will find us here. Go to sleep, sweet dreams”

I soon relaxed and the tiredness swept over me. Before I knew it I was fast asleep. Nick on the other hand was then kept awake for the next 10 minutes by my snoring. Oops!!!

To Be Continued…

-MooFace-

Day 1 – Forests, Flies and Up Hill Climbs

“We are now approaching Dublin Port”

I felt like I’d only just closed my eyes when I heard the tannoy blare out above our heads. After a frosty four hour power nap we were up and ready, kind of, for the first big day ahead of us.

Dropped off in Dublin city centre we searched around for a source of nourishment. Something that would be open at 6am, that would help give us energy for the mountains that laid ahead and keep the hunger at bay. Of course the only thing open at this time in the morning was McDonalds. Ok not quite what we needed but it would have to do. With our bellies full and my heart warmed with a cup of tea, we set off in the direction of Marley Park. This was the official starting point of the Wicklow Way. Our start was just under 6 miles away. Just 6 miles.

With the excitement of what lay ahead of us, we had a spring in our step as we followed our guide book. We were so pleased with ourselves when we found the next part of the route that was noted down. The day was overcast but surprisingly warm and it wasn’t long before we had shed our coats and long sleeved tops.

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After about an hour we found a little park that had some toilet facilities that we could freshen up in. As we approached we parted ways. Myself into the side marked ‘Fir’ and Nick walked into the side marked ‘Mna’. It wasn’t until I saw (well I actually smelt them first) the urinals, that I realised why a passing woman had looked at us with such a bemused expression. Note: Fir and Mna isn’t as easy as male and female. Something we duely noted for the rest of our trip.

Before entering Marley Park, we stocked up at the local Lidl with extra bottles of water and a few cheeky snacks to pack into our pockets so we could pick at them along the way. This was it, around 10:00am and we were starting the Wicklow Way. 100 miles were stretched out ahead of us and we were ready to rock. Small snag…longitude festival was setting up, so the first mile of the trek was slightly detoured around the edge of the park rather than going through it. We hoped this wasn’t a sign of things to come. We had been following a path with a gradual incline since we left Dublin centre but the gradient got visibley steeper. The people and busy roads fell away behind us.

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After another couple of hours we paused for a quick, but the first of many, nutrigrain bar breaks and to admire how far we had already come. It was weird thinking that only that morning we had stared at this mountain, slightly worried that it would take us forever to get up there. But here we were, looking down at our starting point, way in the distance. We beamed, proud of ourselves, even though our lack of experience hiking was apparent with our sweat sodden clothes and glistening faces. Many older walkers past us, beaming smiles and bone dry hiking ensembles. It was because we were carrying large heavy bags, that is what I kept telling myself anyway.

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Steeper and steeper this first Wicklow Way mountain grew. The giant stone steps protruding from the hillside seemed to be never ending. It felt like its summit was unreachable. But before we knew it, the ground levelled out and we had made it to Fairy Castle. I knew we had higher mountains to climb over the next week, even that day, and I started to doubt my abilities to complete this massive task I’d taken on. Luckily, for the first time that day, we had the joyous task of heading down hill. Now I was able to appreciate the views more, rather than looking down and willing my legs to keep going. As the route levelled out and our path lead us down a mountain hugging road, we watched as cars whizzed past us in a blur. The breathtaking scenery did not. It slowly met us, allowing us to admire it and take it all in. The colours, the smells, so fresh compared to every day London living. City living where even a bike ride is consumed with chaos, pollution and the need for speed.

The peak we had conquered before was just the beginning. We reach the start of Prince William’s Seat…a 550 metre up hill battle. Unlike our first climb, we didn’t have the same Dublin views. This winding path was thinner and lined with thick fir trees. Our only view was the sandy gravel as we bowed our heads and pushed through the thick heat. Now because we were in a forest area and we probably didn’t smell the best at that moment in time, we were being tormented and followed by hundreds of flies. It was like something out of a cartoon. Me and Nick continued to smile and chatted about the day so far. This also helped distract us from the dull ache in our legs and the buzzing in our ears.

We heard a rustling coming from the path up ahead of us. As we looked up we were faced with the beautiful sight of two large deers staring at us. They were as surprised to see us as we were them and they quickly carried on across the path and darted out of sight. As fleeting as our encounter was, it definitely made the day.

At the peak of this mountain I decided that a night of wild camping just wasn’t going to make tomorrow a good day for either of us. A fellow hiker we met informed us of a hostel in the tiny village of Knockree. This hostel was right on the Wicklow Way path and was a well known stop for hikers. This sounded perfect.

After 20 long miles we came across the Knockree Hostel, a “5 star” converted farmhouse overlooking the Glencree mountains. It had 5 star prices for sure but I wouldn’t say this was exactly 5 star accommodation. However the bunk beds and showers were a very welcome sight after our long day. We were also lucky that nobody else was booked in or turned up to share the room with us. We had our pick of the beds.

After a gourmet meal of a self catered rice dinner and packets of crisps for dessert we curled our achey legs into bed and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was still slightly worried about whether we would actually manage the next 80 miles but I was sure proud of our achievements for that first day. The day of forests, flies and up hill climbs.

To Be Continued…

-MooFace-

 

I’ve Fallen in Love…With More Clothes!

Yes I know I haven’t finished the rest of my Ireland blogs yet, I’m easily distracted. Distracted by sheinside.com *swoons*

I stumbled across this clothing website and I’m just in love with their stuff and the prices are…actually not too bad after the shipping fee has been added on! I thought I would put together this little blog post to show some of the things I am rather fond of on here right now. They have a nice variety of styles from casual to adorkable to dainty prettiness and a lot of the designs I haven’t seen before. I have found lately that most of the usual sites I check out have the same stuff across the board. I won’t chat about everything you see as, even though I love a good waffle, it may be a bit much for one post. So I will just chat about a few pieces but I will leave all the links to each piece at the bottom for your browsing pleasure.

Oooo check me out and my collage skills…

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“Oh it’s all so pwiddy!”

Short Sleeve Cartoon Dinosaur Print T-Shirt

Yes dinosaurs are beautiful too. Who doesn’t love a good dinosaur based piece of clothing?!? I sure do and I just love their cheeky faces. Being in the industry I’m in I would happily rock up in this with a pair of skinny jeans and my black converse. ROAR! This cutie is only £8.20. Say what?!?!

Apricot Short Sleeve Deer Print Loose T-Shirt

This little bargain is a steal and I was just drawn to the soft floral sleeves and the beautiful deer illustration on the front. I would either wear this with skinny jeans and ankle boots or tuck it into my black quilted skater skirt with booties/converse.

Blue Lapel Short Sleeve Floral Pleated Dress

Now I love a good peter pan collar look whether it be a top, a dress or blouse with a layered jumper. I was lured in by the beautiful blue print and the detailing on the collar. I actually do not own a collared dress but I would love to add one to my collection. I would keep this simple with mid heeled open toes shoes and minimal accessories. This dress speaks for itself without needing extra bling (do people still say bling?!). Loving the hair style on the model as well.

Mint Green Lapel Double Pocket Longline Wool Coat and Black White Notch Stand Collar Long Sleeve Oversize Houndstooth Coat

I have two very similar coats in this post. I love love love an oversided longline coat. I tried getting one last winter but I struggle getting coats that fit me. I’m a size 10 and 5’7″ but I always find that I have to go up 1-2 sizes just to get the sleeves to reach past my wrists as well as fitting across my back without feeling the stress of the arm seams wanting to split. Me Hulk! However getting the bigger sizes means they usually swamp me in the waist region. Anyone else have this problem? Or just me? These coats are so versatile and can be worn with both casual and smarter ensembles. There have been many pastel versions of these coats this past Spring, especially pale pinks but I do love this mint green version to brighten up the day.

Grey Black Long Sleeve Mickey Hooded Sweatshirt

I know I’m not supposed to be spending money *she says staring at an unopened ASOS parcel on her desk* but I really really would love to own this. I’m a massive Disney/animation/film fan and have been ever since I can remember. This just looks so comfy and I adore the little ears on the hood. I would wear this with skinny jeans/leggings and my flats/converse. It has a very unusual zipped pocket along the front too which would be so handy for keeping a tiny purse and your phone in rather than carrying a bag. Want want want!

Black Vintage Floral Chiffon Kimono

All I have to say about this is:

“I bloody love a good kimono jacket”

Black Spaghetti Strap Lace Chiffon Playsuit

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*wolf whistles*

Just wow! Isn’t is beautiful. I would have to pluck up the courage to go out in this as the lace makes it look a little more like lingerie but my it is gorgeous. As it looks like it would be quite short I would probably wear this with my black flatform midi heels and maybe team it with a floral kimono, like the one above. This would be a great for summer drinks or a BBQ party.


I hope you liked my Sheinside favourites post today and enjoy perusing through the site yourself. It’s an American based company so if you are from the land of foreign like myself they have delivery options here.

Speak to you guys soon

-MooFace-


Short Sleeve Cartoon Dinosaur Print T-Shirt – £8.20

Apricot Short Sleeve Deer Print Loose T-Shirt – £7.32

Blue Lapel Short Sleeve Floral Pleated Dress – £18.45

Green Double Pockets Waffle Knit Longline Cardigan – £17.42

Mint Green Lapel Double Pocket Longline Wool Coat – £28.23

Black Long Sleeve Zipper Split Slim Blouse – £12.30

Grey Black Long Sleeve Mickey Hooded Sweatshirt – £12.19

Black White Notch Stand Collar Long Sleeve Oversize Houndstooth Coat – £27.96

White Contrast Lace Long Sleeve Loose Blouse – £10.25

Black Vintage Floral Chiffon Kimono – £9.22

White Batwing Sleeve Polka Dot Chiffon T-Shirt – £11.07

Black Spaghetti Strap Lace Chiffon Playsuit – £11.27

Candy Coloured Nails

Well hello there,

I fancied doing something a little more weird and wonderful this week. I’m still trying to get perfect crisp lines using scotch tape so I thought that I would continue to practice and incorporate this into an edged design. I’ve gone for a bright, contrasting colour palette with a touch of sparkle.

The colours I have gone for today are:

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After giving my nails a little tidy up with a nail file I gave them 3 good coats of the Seventeen’s Lemon Tart. Because of it’s light colour, I found I needed to add that extra coat to give it a nice solid look.  I let my bright summery nails dry whilst I caught up on a cheeky bit of Hollyoaks (don’t judge me!) and a quick cuppa.

Once these coats had dried I generously applied the Barry M glitter polish to my ring fingers. Man I do love this polish! The bits of glitter are random sizes and shapes which creates this awesome mosaic effect. These pieces really catch the light. You may also need a couple of coats of this to get a full glittery coverage.

Make sure the yellow coat is completely dry before applying strips of scotch tape. If it is still slightly damp, you risk ruining the yellow side of your nails. With small strips of tape, I applied them to alternate sides of my nails. So each nail would have the yellow and purple of different sides. Apply the Parma Violet polish to the uncovered side of your nails, make sure you go right up to the edges and along the tape. With two coats applied, use tweezers to remove the tape whilst the polish is still wet. This should give you nice clean edges. My tape sadly wasn’t stuck down 100% in certain places, so parts of my lines are a little wavy. Practice makes perfect.

Allow this new purple coat to dry before applying a top coat of matte polish. I’m still addicted to this mattifying top coat. It just creates a lovely soft finish to your nails. Ta Da…

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There you go, crazy candy coloured nails for the week ahead. Rain or shine, these digits will sure brighten things up a bit.

Hope you have enjoyed my colourful nails for this week :D I have included links of where to buy each of the polishes I have used today. Apologies for the lack of a Parma Violet link, this polish isn’t available anymore but there are many other brands that are selling similar colours.

-MooFace-