Monday, July 6, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS ON REAL COFFEE, MOVING AWAY FROM THE CHAINS AND THE PERFECT BREAKFAST SPOT IN THE CITY

My love affair with coffee started several years ago. I'm not even sure what sparked it all but I do recall it was sometime around 2008 and I was living in London at the time. Back in those days, the independent coffee shop was not the place to be going, it was Starbucks all the way. I would sip on skinny caramel macchiatos all morning long, unaware of just how bad they were for you and how, looking back they didn't really taste of coffee at all. 

That all changed in 2012 when I moved to Melbourne, eventually living there for four years. At the beginning strolling into work with my usual venti sized coffee, the looks of disgust hit me in the face each and every morning. Let me tell you it didn't take me long to learn that Starbucks, no matter how much they protest - is not real coffee & especially to Melburnians. Melbourne awoke something in me that, for the first time really made me appreciate just how wonderful coffee could be and over time each morning I ventured to a new independent coffee shop to taste various blends, roasters and styles. 

Living in Melbourne, known to many as the coffee capital of the Southern hemisphere; I was educated in what good coffee was and just how to experience it. 

Knowing that I was moving back to Ireland in December, I threw my eyes over a few of the Dublin food blogs such as Lovin Dublin and French Foodie In Dublin; keen to see what was happening and if by some miracle Ireland was going through its own coffee revolution. Ireland indeed was going through its own food and coffee revolution and with the Celtic Tiger taking its last breathe, tonnes of independent businesses were shooting up all over the country serving quality food and coffee to those eager to move away from the giant chains that had defined what coffee was over previous decade. 

One establishment that really stood out amongst the crowd in Dublin was Brother Hubbard. Situated on Capel Street, Brother Hubbard's aim from the get go was to serve people food and drink that was made using the best ingredients and served in a relaxed, casual environment. Excellent reviews and accolades started to pour in and the likes of Lovin Dublin, French Foodie in Dublin and the Irish Times couldn't get enough of this place and it seemed like the public couldn't either. Moving back in December last year, one of the first spots I visited was Brother Hubbard and top of my list to try was a) the coffee and b) their pulled pork sandwich (which is consistently voted one of the best sandwiches in Dublin). It was indeed one of the best sandwiches I'd eaten and the coffee was spectacular. 

Serving their own special blend in conjunction with 3FE, I let a sigh of relief out after the first sip. Yes, yes, yes, they serve real coffee. Hallelujah.  

Over the next couple of weeks, as I moved to Ranelagh; I became more acquainted with Brother Hubbard's little sister; aptly named Sister Sadie. 

Sister Sadie opened last year on Harrington Street and is the perfect weekday morning treat on the way to the office. Like Brother Hubbard they serve delicious scrolls, scones and my personal favorite; their granola. Served with Greek yogurt, a rose & berry compote and fresh mint; its absolutely delicious, moreish and thankfully its available to buy in little packs to bring home. 

Other items on the menu I've tried over the last few weeks include the raspberry, apple & rose juice, the ginger and lemon punch, the toast with homemade preserves (and when I say homemade I actually mean homemade), freshly baked scones and the pulled pork sandwich. All of which are borrowed from the menu at Brother Hubbard and taste equally as delicious.

The cafes minimalist interior was designed in partnership with Design Goat, with a mixture of copper lighting, neat wooden benches and oodles of natural light filling each of the main rooms. And outside, an extensive seating area can be found; perfect for the summer months. 

Sister Sadie opens from 7.45 each morning and closes at 4pm during the week. A full menu including  brunch is served from 10am to 5pm on weekends and you can keep up to date with all things Sister Sadie (or Brother Hubbard) by clicking through to their website here

Sister Sadie
46 Harrington Street
Dublin 8

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE AUGUST ISSUE OF VOGUE AUSTRALIA FEATURING VICTORIA BECKHAM

Happy Monday everyone. What a wonderful weekend I've had and to top it all off, this cover image just arrived in my inbox. Looking amazing in Louis Vuitton, Victoria Beckham was shot by legendary Photographer Patrick Demarchieler for the August issue of Vogue Australia. Released on the 13th July, I really cannot wait for this one to land in my letterbox.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS ON THE QUEST TO GETTING THAT FIVE A DAY & THE TOP HEALTH FOOD DESTINATIONS IN DUBLIN CITY


God I feel rough at the moment. The Christmas binge seems to have stretched to the middle of the year and now with the summer here, I find myself asking what the hell was I thinking eating all those Marks & Spencer's cookies over the last few months. My former life in Australia was one of constant improvement. I was a constant work in progress and despite all the eating and gluttony I experienced over those four years I really made the effort to include regular exercise and the sporadic bout of restraint when it came to eating badly.

Over the last few weeks I have been checking out some of the best healthy snacks, brands and stores here in Dublin and I wanted to share these with you as I’ve found them to be perfect for when I’m time poor and in need of something tasty and easily accessible.

Sprout & Co Juice:
Sprout & Co. juices, set up by friends Jack Kirwan and Alex Thompson; saw a gap in the market for premium cold pressed juice here in Ireland and have been seen in the hands of Elle Macpherson and Daisy Lowe to name but a few. Jack, who started as a chef at Avoca, came up with the idea after the opportunity came up to take over a concession at the store and Sprout & Co. was born. The brand aims to provide the most nutritionally dense, cold pressed juices and smoothies and I love grabbing a few bottles whenever I take a trip to Avoca or grabbing brunch at Bibi’s in Portobello. 

Green Beards Juicery:
Along with Sprout & Co., Green Beards is another one of my go to places for fresh cold pressed juices and smoothies. Located just around the corner from my home, in Ranelagh; these guys also offer a selection of health foods perfect for bringing home to make your own healthy concoctions. I’m a huge fan of their shop on Dunville Avenue and often go in for The Boss which is made up of cucumber, lettuce, parsley, spinach, chard, kale and wild nettle. Another one to check out is the The Healer. Perfect for the summer, this smoothie includes spirulina, young Thai coconut water, pineapple, mint, frozen banana, filtered water and lemon juice. Delicious and believe you me you will become addicted just like all my finds and I.


The Super Elixir:
Developed by co-founders Elle Macpherson and Andrea Bux, The Super Elixir is a highly specialised alkalising greens supplement with vitamins, minerals and trace elements to assist wellness and vitality. Containing a balanced blend of 45 powerful ingredients including biovailable alkalising super greens, Chinese herbs, digestive enzymes and members of the maitake mushroom family – all are carefully combined in calculated ratios by one of the world’s leading nutritional experts and disease prevention specialists, Dr Simone Laubscher. I’ve included this in my morning smoothies for a while now and having come to end of my batch – I’ll be grabbing another bag of this as soon as possible.
Website: www.welleco.com

SuperLife Original Superfood:
This is a great combination of eight raw superfood's that really gives you an energy boost for the entire day. I use this every now and then instead of the The Super Elixir and it's great I believe for balancing sugar cravings, uplifting the mood, clearing the head, boosting metabolism and strengthening your immunity. It contains large amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and other nutrients, all in natural plant form, and in a powder form for easy digestion and absorption and its beneficial before and after any form of physical activity, due to its high protein content.

The Happy Pear:
The team behind The Happy Pear want to live in the society that's happy, healthy & ethical and that really shows with the little haven that they have built in the beautiful seaside spot of Greystones in County Wicklow. For these guys, food is an amazing thing that connects people from different cultures and make communities lively and joyful; and that was evident to see when I finally took my first trip there earlier this week. Crowds of locals (and visitors from afar; like myself) could be seen interacting with the lovely staff and there was a real sense of passion behind everything going on. Together with the shop, online store, cafe, & the various courses they've created - you can see that they are trying to make healthy eating more mainstream & it certainly shows that they are succeeding with their book topping the bestsellers list over the last few months. Take the trip out and please, please make sure to grab a snickers slice for me. They're divine. 


Urban Health:
Located just beside the triangle in Ranelagh village, Urban Health is co-owned by a newly married couple Dee & Darragh Buckley who both have long standing backgrounds in sports, fitness and nutrition. Urban Health offers healthy breakfast and lunch choices, supplements, herbal tea's, organic coffee and a fresh juice bar which I've been checking out a fair bit over the last few months. Perfect for grabbing that S’more flavor Quest bar and bottle of coconut water mid-morning, this spot is the perfect addition to Ranelagh village.
Website: www.urbanhealth.ie 

Fallon & Byrne:
I've always been a huge fan of Fallon & Byrne and why wouldn't I be; what with that incredible selection of fruit, vegetables and baked goods that greet you upon entry. Its an absolute pleasure to pop in here any time of the day as the place is kept in fantastic condition and the staff are incredibly friendly and eager to help out with any questions or recommendations they may have. I've been picking up some of their super pre-made salads for when I am in a rush and I love nothing more than grabbing a table in the ground floor cafe and people watching or diving into the latest issue of my favourite magazines. 

The Hopsack:
One of Ireland’s longest running health stores, this Dublin gem was established in 1979 by Jimmy and Erica Murray and has since evolved to become one of Dublin’s best sources for organic, ethnic and special dietary foods. The shop is now run by the couples children and if you’ve had the chance to speak to any of the staff you will know that they are some of the nicest, most helpful people you can come across. I've been picking up my weekly staples there since I moved into the area in January and these include their own juices, smoothies and peanut butter which are all made on-site and absolutely incredible. Other bits I always pick up from here include coconut water and the Tartine sourdough seeded spelt bread they stock. A definite destination for anyone interested in cultivating a healthy lifestyle. 
Website: www.thehopsack.ie 

Nourish:
Another great independently owned Irish health and beauty company, these guys sell everything from organic foods to ethically produced skin care and traditional herbal remedies. Founded the year I was born (that's 1986 for all of you) by Derek Kelly, over the last few years he's been joined by three of his children and they've grown from one store to six. The perfect spot to grab a healthy snack or  refreshing beverage when roaming the city, I can be found pottering their store in Donnybrook during the weekends looking for that perfect addition to my morning smoothie. 
Website: www.nourish.ie

If you have any spot in Dublin that you would like to share with me, make sure to shoot me an email or leave a comment on Instagram or Twitter

Saturday, May 30, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS AND 36 HOURS IN COPENHAGEN

So just recently I was whisked away to Copenhagen for thirty-six hours and having not been to Denmark before I really didn’t know what was in store for me there. I hadn’t really looked into the city before I left, but I had watched a great video on YouTube, which had been produced by the New York Times. The video was clearly shot in the summer months, for it was a little cold, slightly rainy and to be honest a little dull when I arrived Friday afternoon. I checked into the Ascot Apartments , which were situated centrally and was really surprised at how lovely they were. It was located just around the corner from Town Hall, so I quickly grabbed a shower, freshened up and took a trip around the corner for a drink and some food with some friends at Rosie McGee’s, which is known as one of the liveliest bars in that part of the city.

After a few drinks there, I caught up with some more friends for one or two more before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. One of the guys had organised dinner at Retrogusto, an Italian not too far from the hotel. We started with a selection of breads, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; which was followed by Osso Bucco. Tender pieces of beef were enveloped in a rich red wine sauce and served with a selection of root vegetables on a bed of mashed potato puree. Dessert was a coffee and white chocolate semi-freddo, which came with a dark chocolate sponge and coffee sauce.

After dinner, which was sometime around midnight; I decided to head back to the hotel to get some sleep. You see my plan was to make the most of the following morning sightseeing as I had to be at the airport for my flight home at half three. So waking up at six in the morning, I got myself ready, got my bags packed, checked out of the hotel (leaving my luggage with the staff) and decided to walk around the city as much as I could, to see as much as I could in such as short space of time.

I started off at Town Hall. Its quite a building; absolutely gigantic and was a great place to start my journey around the city. Having visited so many places across the six or seven hours I walked around,  I've decided to list below a few of my top places to go in Copenhagen as I'd be here all week going through everything. 

Christinasenborg Palace
One of the first palaces I came across that morning was Christinasenborg Palace. Located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen, the palace contains the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State. Parts of the palace are used regularly by the Royal Family for various functions and events. The Royal Reception Rooms include The Tower Room and The Oval Throne Room where foreign ambassadors to Denmark are received by the Queen and the Throne Room gives access to the balcony where Danish monarchs are proclaimed. Its an absolutely incredible building and perfectly encapsulates the best of three periods of Danish architecture. Website: www.christiansborg.dk

Amailianborg palace
During my stroll around the city, I stumbled across Amailianborg Palace. As I made my way through the entrance I was startled by a number guards that were guarding by the entrance. Considering it was quite early in the morning I wasn't sure if this was a public space given the number of guards. Lets just say that when I asked one of them if I was allowed to walk through the palace I didn't get much of a reaction. So I just walked on, presuming it was okay to do so. Considered one of the best works of Danish architecture, the palace is made up of four identical buildings; Christian VII’s Palace (also known as Moltke's Palace, used as guest residence), Christian VIII’s Palace (also known as Levetzau' Palace, used as guest palace for Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte), Frederik VIII’s Palace (also known as Brockdorff’s Palace, home of the Crown Prince family), and Christian IX’s Palace (also known as Schack’s Palace, home of the Queen and Prince Consort). In the middle of the palace square there is a statue of King Frederik V and in the Amalienborg Museum in Christian VIII’s palace you can experience royal life past and present. The museum there presents the private interiors of the most recent kings and queens and an exhibit on the monarchy today with its many traditions. Given how early it was none of the above were open so I just took in as much as I could on the way through.  Website: www.kongernessamling.dk

The Coffee Collective
I took a quick trip to Coffee Collective’s new coffee bar in Torvehallerne having come across them on Instagram. Housed in one of two modernist glass sheds, each house is a mixture of some rather amazing food stalls. The Coffee Collective is one of a handful of small-batch roasters with a global following on social media similar to St. Ali in Australia and 3FE in Ireland. I just happened to come across Torvehallerne throughout my journey that morning as its really close to everything and open from 8am on the weekends - which was great since I had been up from 6am that morning. Website: www.coffeecollective.dk 

ILLUM
LLUM is Copenhagen's premium department store. A skillfully decorated shopping paradise, offering everything from fashion and beauty to home décor and design. You'll find many in store shops in ILLUM such as Acne, Paul Smith, Armani and the rather impressive Saint Laurent all of which showcases Denmark's love of international fashion. A large Sephora is located on the ground floor and is full of all the international brands one would expect, as well as a large collection of organic Scandinavian skin products.  Established in 1891 by A.C. ILLUM, the store has become one of the leading department stores not just in Denmark but around the world. Situated perfectly in the heart of Copenhagen right next to the pedestrian streets Strøget and Købmagergade, means that ILLUM is the perfect shopping location for those seeking a luxury fashion fix. Website: www.illum.dk
 
The Little Mermaid 
At Langelinje Pier you will find one of Copenhagen's most famous tourist attractions: The sculpture of The Little Mermaid. Over a hundred years old, I made my way to see the sculpture first thing that morning and was surprised to see so many people were up and about doing the same thing. The sculpture is made of bronze and granite and was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Every morning and evening she swims to the surface from the bottom of the sea and, resting on her favourite rock in the water, she stares out towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her prince. It is one to the most iconic locations in Copenhagen and should definitely be on your list of things to see. Website: www.mermaidsculpture.dk
Nyhavn
Similar to the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn is another location that perfectly encapsulates Copenhagen and is another area that you must visit. Originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world stopped, today the beautiful period homes have been renovated into a mixture of restaurants, bars and boutiques. I visited the area in the morning when everything was closed and quiet but in the evening time this area is full of hustle and bustle and the perfect spot to have dinner, grab a beer and take in the beauty of the quayside. 

Magasin
Towards the end of my morning walk around the city, I came across Magasin, an extremely large department store which had one of the most fantastic beauty halls I had ever seen. Harrods was the only other beauty hall I could think of that could compare to the sheer scale of brands that Magasin stocked. But it wasn't just the beauty hall that had my heart racing, for just below was another floor devoted especially to food. Fine foods such as chocolate, organic fruits, vegetables and coffee was on offer, as well a magazine store which was tucked neatly into the corner of the basement level. Yes you read that right. Similar to Mag Nation in Melbourne, the store housed a mixture of Danish and international titles; from Danish Elle to British Tatler. A must visit for those like me who love the magic of the printed word. Website: www.magasin.dk


So that folks is a quick run down on some of the places I loved during my 36 hours in Copenhagen. I plan on visiting the city again later this year so let me know if you have any hotspots.

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