Derry Girls Afternoon Tea at the Everglades.

Last Monday night, I was invited to the Everglades Hotel in Derry to try their recently launched Derry Girls Afternoon Tea packages.

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Michelle joined us for tea!

So myself and Himself grabbed the opportunity to get a few hours alone and moved Granny in to mind the girls.

To celebrate the roaring success of Derry Girls, the Everglades Hotel team has put together a selection of special experiences giving fans of the hit show the chance to become a Derry Girl, dine like a Derry Girl and even visit some of the filming locations.

The afternoon tea is gorgeous. The sandwiches were made from lovely brown bread, (something that I usually have to ask for as most places still insist on serving white bread.)     Egg and onion hit the spot, with chicken caesar wrap bites.  The scones were warm, served with jam and fresh cream, and the treats ranged from lemon bread to little tartlets and mousse sylabubs.

There is SO much food, both hot and cold, and much of it is inspired by episodes of the show.  On top of the usual afternoon tea, there are cream horns, sausage rolls, hand cut chips and an incredibly tasty cocktail, inspired by the episode where Michelle has an accident with Sambuca.

 

The staff were incredibly friendly; chatty and pleasant without being too familiar. The hotel itself beautiful; spacious yet comfortable and decor is a mix of old fashioned class with modern twists.  I loved the mix of teals and golds with mahogony throughout the building.

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The hotel boasts a fantastic selection of dining options including The Grill Bistro which
offers a wonderful mix of traditional dishes with a twist made from the very best of
fresh local produce.

We were stuffed after the afternoon tea, and after having a few glasses of grapes in The Library Bar,  we simply ordered from the bar food menu at around 9pm.

Claire, who served us for the evening, was happy to let us order off either menu and we could have had food from the Bistro menu without leaving the comfy sofas we were perched on!

Our room for the evening was the Andrew Jackson Suite.

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It is GORGEOUS and huge.  Again, modern blues and teals mixed with mahogony and clever lighting, the suite was beautiful.  The bed was possibly the most comfortable bed in the world, it was literally like sleeping on a cloud.

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So much space

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The enormous bed

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Pure Luxury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next morning, we had breakfast, which is ALWAYS my favourite part of any hotel stay.  It was self service and had everything you’d expect from a hotel breakfast. Lots of options for all tastes and catered for dietary requirements with a separarte section if you are gluten free.

The porridge station had a bottle of Irish Bush Whiskey, something I haven’t seen in a hotel in a long time, and on each table was a booklet of all of the local suppliers who provide the food.

 

There is a deep sense of pride among the staff in this hotel, about their locality and their food suppliers and their menus and decor, to the beaming pride that they have hosted the cast during filming.  They see Derry Girls as another reason to celebrate the beautiful city that neighbours us in Donegal and rightly so.

The duck is a constant motif in the Hastings Hotel Groups, with two little “Walled Citty Ducks” perched on our bath, but the highlight was the Michelle Duck that comes with the tea.

Detail is everything for the team at The Everglades. They certainly have their ducks in a row!

We were invited guests and enjoyed the Afternoon Tea with Bed and Breakfast courtety of the team at the hotel. I am under no obligation to write this review and as always, it is an honet reflection of my experience.  All other meals and drinks were bought by myself.

Check out their website or call them on 0287132 1066.

EXPERIENCE 1:
DERRY GIRLS AFTERNOON TEA – £30pp. Enjoy sandwiches, freshly baked scones &
breads and pastry assortment but with a Derry Girls twist – sausage roll baps, fresh
cream horns, cone of chips and cocktail. You’ll also get your very own Michelle, the
Derry Girls duck to take home with you.

EXPERIENCE 2:
BE A DERRY GIRL from only £80pps – with luxurious overnight accommodation and
breakfast the following morning, themed Derry Girls Afternoon Tea with cocktail and
your very own Michelle, the Derry Girls duck to take home with you.

EXPERIENCE 3:
DERRY GIRLS TOUR PACKAGE from only £95pps – with luxurious overnight
accommodation and breakfast the following morning, guided Derry Girls Walking Tour,
themed Derry Girls Afternoon Tea with cocktail and your very own Michelle, the Derry
Girls duck to take home with you.
The Everglades Hotel has worked with

Rushe to Raise Presentation Time

We dropped off our proceeds from our ‘Rushe to Raise’ Fundraiser today.

The Donegal Hospice and the Children’s ward at Letterkenny University Hospital received €1050 each.

Maria & Emmet with staff from Donegal Hospice

The hospital are using the money to buy a respiratory machine to help little babies, and the Hospice are using it to help them do what they do best.

With the staff on our Paediatric Ward at Letterkenny University Hospital

Am a bit emotional if I’m honest.

Yes, we’re chuffed that we can help, but in the scheme of things, it’s only money. And there is SO much that money can’t buy.

What these people do every day is invaluable.

It goes beyond a wee cheque.

But we truly hope that the little bit helps.

Much love,
Us and our girls.

Xxxx

No is a Complete Sentence…Especially at Christmas

Remember

No is a complete sentence.

no

You can say NO to things without having to add explanation.   Add a thanks if you wish, but only if you want to,

  • Want to join in Secret Santa at work? No.
  • Do you want to go for after work drinks on Black Eye Friday? No.
  • Want to come visit Aunty Petunia on Christmas Eve even though she spends her time telling you you’ve put on weight/aged badly/need to change your hair? No.
  • Want to put in €10 for teacher’s present because someone else decides it’s a good idea. No.
  • Want to donate to Arthur’s sponsored swim? No.
  • Want to go to Smuffs in the busiest part of town at 4pm on Friday to do me a favour? No.
  • Want to invite Cousin JohnJoe over to burp at Christmas dinner? No.
  • Want to come watch little Japonica playing the unicorn in her 3 hour long school play? Nope.

Now, let me clarify.  I am NOT telling you, nor am I encouraging you, to be a selfish turbotwat.  Some things have to be tolerated.  Aunty Nancy’s silent but violent farts are not a just reason to leave her alone on Christmas. And you can’t refuse to go for dinner in your own house just because you fell out with your partner’s sister-in-law’s dog three years ago.  Some things need you to chuck it in the fuckit bucket and suck it up for the people you DO care about.

Christmas is wonderful, but it’s also a time of high stress and worry, where people and traditions and expectations are forced upon us.  And while of course, we must all buckle down and stretch ourselves to accomodate the people we care about, love or are responsible for, we are NOT OBLIGED to keep EVERYONE HAPPY.

If something is going to cause you stress, worry, financial strain or conflict, don’t do it. 

If something is going to make your life difficult and really, you are not harming anyone by refusing, don’t do it.

If something is going to have a negative impact on YOUR mental wellbeing, think long and hard about it. 

If you can’t afford it, don’t go/do/buy it.

If you can’t deal with it, don’t put yourself through it. 

If you can’t stand it, don’t do it. 

And while we’re at it, do remember that you don’t HAVE to do things a certain way. 

Want to eat curry or lasagne for Christmas dinner? Knock yourself out. 

Don’t want to put up a tree? Don’t.

Don’t want to/can’t afford to buy presents for Tom, Dick and Harry this year? Don’t.

Can’t be bothered putting on good clothes and a full face to sit in your sitting room all day? Stay in your Pjs. 

Hate “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Don’t watch it. 

There is no Christmas Fairy-Poppins who goes around looking in your windows to check that you’re getting your Hallmark on.

You do You.

And you DO have the right, and the ability, to say NO.

And as I said, NO, is a complete sentence.  It doesn’t require an explanation.

Someone asks why?  Simply answer with one of the following:

Just because. 

It doesn’t suit. 

I don’t want to.  

I said no.

And whoever it is that you’re worried that you’re going to upset, will get over it.  Chances are, they really won’t even notice.

And Christmas will pass and 2020 will start and we’ll all get on with our lives and whether or not you turned up to sing carols with Carol will be forgotten as quickly as the Strawberry Quality Street.

friends-thanksgiving

 

 

Santa at The Shandon; Giving Time and Memories

I know before I start to type that keeping this short and sweet is not really an option.

If you want it in a nutshell, here it is.  The Magical Winter Wonderland Experience at The Shandon Hotel and Spa is indeed a wonderful, wintery and magical experience.  From the moment you arrive until check out, it’s Festive Fun for everyone.

For us, it was a perfect family Christmas calm in the midst of all the madness of December.

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The Shandon Hotel and Spa outside Dunfanaghy

We booked this after a few friends recommended it last year.  Now, we’re big fans and regular enough frequenters of The Shandon, but we’ve never stayed with the girls before. 

We wanted somewhere this year where we could switch off, relax and fully enjoy a hustle or queue free Santa visit.  I also wanted to be warm while we waited for Santa and as it turned out, with all the flus and sniffles in our house over the past few weeks, this was a good Mammy-call.  There was no queueing or standing around freezing your tootsies off…Santa comes to your room at a prelocated time… perfection. 

We arrived at 4pm.  The receptionist checked us in but also made a fuss about telling the girls about the Elf that was missing in the hotel.  Excitement levels started to mount as the girls realised we were on a “sleepover!” 

We were delighted to be put into one of their Master Suites, on the 5th floor overlooking the bay.  These suites are huge and bright and new.  The bathroom was stunning with a jacuzzi bath at the window. (We didn’t get a chance to use this, but we shall be back!)

We got changed from our winter woolies (we’d just watched Daddy jumping into the River Swilly at The Polar Plunge in Rathmullen!) and went down to the bar for barfood. 

The food never disappoints.  I opted for a steak sandwich instead of my usual seafood platter and Himself had the steak burger.  The girls had pizza and nuggets and chips and all plates were cleared quickly. Not having to drive, we were able to have a drink with our dinner too, something which never happens when we’re out and about with the kids. 

At 6pm we headed down to the Winter Wonderland. It was so beautiful. Trees and bears and penguins and lights and ALL the pretty you can imagine, carefully created and perfectly pulled off.  Narnia was particularly impressive. Who doesn’t love a 6 foot polar bear eh?

Upstairs, Mrs Claus was awaiting with juice and cookies for the kids.  There were crayons and pictures and fairy wishes and Santa letters and a post box… lots to do and see.  Then Mrs Claus and her elf called all the kids over to her sofa for storytime. There was a collective wave and sigh by the parents as we all sat back to watch Mrs C entertain our minions!  There was even a glass of wine for the parents if you wanted one.  

Mrs Claus was fantastic; in character from the second we arrived, fully engaged with every single child and superb in her ability to entertain.  She took them all on a Polar Bear Hunt and every single child was captivated by her. (The Director in me would cast her in the morning! Bravo!)

After a photograph with her, we toddled up “to bed”.  Pjs went on and we all snuggled up on our bed to watch Arthur Christmas.  At 7.30pm, a knock came to the door and there he was; the main man himself; Santa! 

And not just ANY Santa.  This was without a doubt THE REAL SANTA.  He knew their names and everything! “Don’t be hiding Princess” and “My my Mini-Me! You are getting tall!” had their jaws dropping.  Also, he was able to tell them about how when their Daddy was wee and he had to wait for him to go to sleep before he could deliver his presents.  AMAZING! 

He spent 10 full minutes talking to them and listening to them and laughing with them.  Oh what a joy this was to witness. He sang Jingle Bells along with them and gave them their gifts before saying goodbye.   The gifts were excellent too; arts and craft stuff.  

Santa was just wonderful and gave one thing that no other Santa we’ve ever seen gave; time. 

The girls weren’t rushed or hurried and it was genuinely the most enjoyable ten minutes. Watching their wee faces as he told them tales about their Daddy was priceless. 

Well after that, there was no sleeping, so off we went back downstairs in the jammies. (them, not us. We’re not that bad!)   We had hot chocolate and dessert. Apparently the chocolate brownie was incredible. I didn’t taste it as I was tucking in to my Christmas pudding… boozy bliss I tell you.  And of course it was accompanied by a wee Baileys to officially kick off Christmas. Would have been rude not to. 

The hotel was filled with families of all ages and the atmosphere was electric.  The foyer was a forest of happy kids playing with their Santa gifts and happy parents smiling and talking as we headed up to our room.  

We eventually got everyone tucked in; I’m not sure how really as the excitement levels were immense by bedtime.  (Comfiest beds in the world by the way.)

Breakfast next morning was, as always, superb.  I always love how the bacon is properly cooked. There’s nothing worse that pink rubbery slices!  There is nothing you can’t have for breakfast here. Smoked Salmon, cheese, porridge, full Irish, cereals, smoothies and of course the pancake machine! 

We didn’t use the pool simply because our youngest has been a bit fluey all week, but we chilled out before having (one last) milk and cookies in the bar. 

Carolynne and Gert and and their team have made Christmas so magical here.  The receptionists, the elf helping Mrs C, Santa, Gary and his team in the bar, the breakfast team and waiting staff – all professional and smiling and brilliant at their jobs, we can’t praise you all enough. 

December is a manic month in our house.  We’ve always squeezed a Santa visit into the midst of the chaos, and while we always enjoy it, this year was different.  We stopped. We switched off and we spent 24 hours with our girls. We were relaxed and it was truly magical and we’ve both come home a bit more relaxed and ready for the final few days of the year. 

And the girls got to MEET SANTA, not just see him. 

I know that the weekends are fully booked, but there is still limited availability for midweek.  They’re also hosting Sunday lunch with Santa so check that out. 

I’ll let you all know once it goes on sale for 2020, (but not until after I’ve booked our room first!)

Carolynne and team, take a bow. 

You’ve created something magical and helped us to create magical memories. 

See you soon!

Mammy x

 

*reviewing because I want to.  I’m nice like that. You make me smile with your business, I’ll make it mine to tell everyone! 

It’s Rushe To Raise Time Again!

SAVE THE DATE

Sunday December 1st at 1pm

The S-Mum Blog and Rushe Fitness are delighted to announce that this year’s annual “Rushe to Raise” fundraiser will be the classic favourite, THE GRINCH, starring Jim Carey.

Myself and Himself are very much looking forward to our annual fundraiser, in association with Century Cinemas, to raise much needed funds for two very deserving local causes.

This year, all proceeds will go to the Donegal Hospice and to the Paediatric Ward at Letterkenny University Hospital.

Come and kickstart the Festive season on December 1st with a funfilled family afternoon and help us raise money for these incredible causes.

Tickets will cost €10 and will go on sale at Rushe Fitness next Sunday, the 3rd of November, between 1pm and 3pm.

You can reserve your tickets by messaging Maria or Emmet on social media or by emailing maria@rushefitness.ie

(PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are non-refundable and must be paid for and collected by 3pm on Sunday, 3rd November.)

Hope to see you there!

Maria & Emmet
🎅🤶🎅🤶🎅🤶🎅

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