WHY: I’m hoping for more good weather this weekend if only for the chance to get a rug out and pack a simple picnic to enjoy in the back garden. On the menu? Lots of cheese and fresh bread! And fortunately more bakeries are opening for deliveries around the country. In Galway, The Bakery Shop at The Twelve is open daily from 8am to 4pm, with fresh breads just out of the oven, pastries, wine and a really good cup of coffee to go. (www.thetwelvehotel.ie). While in Dublin, The Natural Bakery is now offering an online order and home delivery service with cakes, bakes, breads and more available for delivery to your doorstep. www.thenaturalbakery.ie. As for what to wear … I haven’t yet donned a ballgown for #DressUpFriday but I am tempted by this pretty Marrakesh Rose dress (main featured image, above) by Irish designer Monica Walsh of Cobbler’s Lane. It’s from her first official collection called Weekend in Morocco, which is filled with beautiful prints, delicate lace and vibrant colours. www.cobblerslane.com
WHAT: There’s still a couple of weeks to get your patio, balcony, window sill or garden looking picture perfect before Bord Bia’s Bloom At Home, on Sunday May 31. This year in partnership with RTÉ, Bord Bia is running a competition to encourage us all to share images and videos of our gardens and plants on social media, using the hashtag #BloomwithRTE. Show Manager Gary Graham has some ideas; “Try building a bug hotel and re-wilding an area for wildlife, or plant some pollinators and make some space for birds. We’re encouraging everyone, no matter what space they have available, to get out there and give it a go!” Advice and tips on how to get your garden or plants ready along with information on how to support some of the organisations and charities taking part in the annual event are on www.bordbiabloom.com
WHEN: Did you know it’s National Pinot Grigio Day on Sunday, May 17? While most believe this fridge staple originated in Italy, it was born in France where it is known as Pinot Gris. The good news is Aldi has a budget-friendly range which includes some award-winning vintages. Their in-house wine expert Tom Doorley recommends Castellore Organico Pinot Grigio €7.99, which won Silver at the 2019 Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards, and is good with seafood linguini or chicken dishes. Freeman’s Bay New Zealand Pinot Gris, €8.29, is perfect with appetisers such as smoked halloumi and won Bronze in the 2018 International Wine & Spirit Competition, while Pierre Jaurant Ferrandiere Pinot Gris, €8.49 is lovely with grilled fish and lemon. That’s some menu ideas and wine matching sorted! www.aldi.ie
WHO: Did you know The Shelbourne has a resident Genealogy Butler since 2007? No, me neither. Helen Kelly has assisted countless guests unravel the threads of their family history and now is available for virtual genealogy consultations by telephone or video call. In the course of an hour-long virtual advisory session, Helen will assess the available information on your ancestors and draw up a practical research plan for you to follow in some of the country’s archives. It’s a great at-home activity for all the family. An exclusive consultation with Helen is priced from €180. For bookings visit www.theshelbourne.com
WHAT: Floral fanatics may be interested in Netflix’s new TV show The Big Flower Fight which begins on Monday, May 18 May. It’s an eight-episode challenge to create ever more difficult floral installations and includes a team of Irish landscape architects, Declan and Eoghan (pictured). They will be judged by Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, Vic Reeves and Natasia Demetriou and the eventual winners of the challenge will have the opportunity to design a sculpture at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London. Declan and Eoghan met at University College Dublin eight years ago and now work together on residential and commercial landscape design projects; www.netflix.com.
AND … The International Literature Festival Dublin has been postponed until autumn and in its place the organisers have announced a series of conversations with six writers based across the globe, who were due to take part in the festival. Hosted by Caelainn Hogan, this series of podcasts begins on Monday and the short conversations give a virtual taste of the festival exploring books that shed new light on moments of crisis and radical change. The first is with author Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker‘s Moscow correspondent, who lifts the lid on Putin’s Russia revealing what life is like living under authoritarian rule. For a full programme visit www.ilfdublin.com.
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