I have been pretty hard on Dublin. I realise the general perception that you must all have is that I hate it here. I don't. In fact, I like the place. It has a charm, warmth (not in climate) and a gorgeous old-fashionedness about it. I have had 3 years of long walks, cappuccinos and play dates. I've had multiple trips to fabulous European destinations. We had lots of mishaps and disappointments (you'll remember the 4 months we waited for cable TV to be installed and now we've had 4 months with out a dryer)... But let me stay on track. I'm talking about the things I love about this town. So here they are, in no particular order:
1) Long walks on crisp, Sunny days - It rains a lot here and the rain goes sideways. I didn't know that was possible, but it is. These gorgeous dry days when the city is surrounded with a halo of restorative sunshine are what we LIVE for here. Bright days in Dublin make me want to walk for hours. I love the fresh air, the smiles on every one's faces, the buzz of excitement that comes with unexpected good weather... It's good enough to make me forget about sideways rain and endless days indoors.
2) Starbucks - Yes, Starbucks. Judge me if you must, but I love the place. I have had more coffees in the last 3 years than I thought was possible. I have been to Starbucks at least once a day every day that I have been in Dublin - aside from the 5 days I was in hospital having MacKenzie - but we did go there on Day 6. He was about the same size as a Venti Latte at that stage. Starbucks is where I have received fantastic news (of long-awaited pregnancies) and awful news (of passport delays which almost caused us to cancel a holiday). Starbucks is where I write, where I read, where I "regroup". It's my office, my lounge, my study. I will miss it enormously.
3) Herbert Park - Anyone with a child or a pet will know that a park is kind of essential. Basically, you'd settle for any square foot of grass nearby, but we lucked out. Herbert Park is 10 minutes from our front door and it is GORGEOUS. On top of being large, green, beautiful and close by, it has a playground AND it's near Starbucks (see number 2). My perfect day combines 1, 2 and 3.
4) The Brown Thomas Shoe Sale - This is a SERIOUS sale. None of this namby pamby 10% off rubbish. These are proper bargains on shoes ranging from Pied a Terre to Manolo Blahnik. Serious sale on SERIOUS shoes. I am just about superficial enough to forget about sideways rain when I can have a pair of Gucci pumps for under a 100 bucks. Juuuust about.
5) Herb Street - This is a little cafe near James' work which we've kind of commandeered as our personal property. They do really good coffee, sinfully good pancakes, great eggs, sublime French Toast... and they are over-the-top baby-friendly... it's like a little piece of mommy-heaven. Oh, and they do ridiculously good cupcakes. It's pretty perfect. If I time my day right, I could manage breakfast at Herb Street, a walk (1), coffee at Starbucks (2) on route to Herbert Park (3) and then pop into BTs for a wee look at the shoes (4). Awesome.
6) Ex-Pat Wives - My accomplices on these missions (1 - 5) are crucial to my enjoyment thereof. I have a few bloody amazing pals in Dublin. We're all cut from similar stuff, we all married men on missions to rule the world and none of us have jobs outside the home (I mean, we dabble, but nothing which distracts too much from 1-5)... which means we have time to hang out. I can't imagine that I will ever have this kind of set up again. I have found some GEMS in Dublin and even if 1-5 didn't exist, they would probably make it all worth it.
7) Travel - Dublin is ideally located to see the world. You can get to New York in 6 hours, London in 55 minutes... It's been a dream scenario for me. We've been to Paris, Hamburg, Charmonix, New York, Boston, Sydney, Cape Town, East London, Lincolnshire, London, Ludlow, Cheshire, Edinburgh, Kilkenny, Wales, Wexford, Belfast, Stranraer, Blackpool, Liverpool ... and more in the last 3 years. Not too shabby.
8) Full-Time Mommyhood - I have had the pleasure of spending every day and night with my son since he was born with the exception of my 48 hour jaunt in London. I am SO lucky to have witnessed every milestone, every knock and bruise, every word uttered - all of it. It has been intense, tiring and amazing - and I wouldn't change a second.
Other notable highlights of my life in Dublin include: sushi and cocktails at Ice Bar at the Four Seasons, High Tea at the Shelbourne, Salads at Milanos, Dundrum Town Centre, Waterstones Book Shop on Dawson Street, Mink Hand and Foot Spa, Donnybrook Fair and last, but certainly not least, Marks and Spencers...
So you see, I have had it pretty damn good. Is this the part where you all stop reading my blog and start to hate me? I hope not.