Monday, August 26, 2013

IrishBizParty invite! :)

More exciting news!  (I know, right?  This seems to be my week. *makes mental note to do the lotto* ;) )
I am hugely excited to have been chosen to be this weeks #starbiz on #IrishBizParty! 


For those of you who aren't familiar- #IrishBizParty is a Twitter chat/meeting/meeting of businesses on Wednesday nights.  It is a super way to network, meet like minded people and chat.  It's creator and entrepreneur Samantha Kelly, (‘Dragons Den’, ‘Shes The Business’ (tomorrow night at 10.45pm- WATCH IT! J ) describes it as 'networking in your PJ's', but none of us would ever admit to that.  ;)  Click here for more on Samantha and what she does. 

Each  week, someone is chosen to be the #starbiz for the week, so they host the #irishbizparty and give their hints and tips during the evening.   It's a really great way to get ideas/tips/advice from all different businesses and people from all walks of life.  Please do join us on Wednesday between 9-11pm so you can see what it is all about. 

As you know, I am exhibiting one of my pieces, ‘Late in the Day’, in Janey Mac's, Kinsale so, to celebrate this and my being chosen for #starbiz this week, I am going to give away its little sister, a framed smaller print (30x40cm).  

To enter, all you have to do is follow me on twitter (click here) and send a tweet this Wednesday night (28th) preferably between 9pm & 11pm using  the hash tags #irishbizparty and #janeymackinsale

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In the wild!

Exciting news!  
You may recall me mentioning that I was getting one of my favourite shots printed out on a unique style metallic paper and framed by the lovely folk of my local framing store, Studio1 in Kinsale?  Well, they have finished and I have collected and my, oh my am I impressed.  
Owner's of 'Studio1 Kinsale', Niamh and Stefan, are hugely qualified, experienced & helpful and its very evident that they have a huge passion for what they do.  Before making the final decision, we carefully discussed the choices of paper, colours, mounts and frame styles that would best showcase my image and I am absolutely thrilled with the finished piece.  Here it is- "Ta Daaaaaa"!
Without waffling too much about the details (but they get me all excited...), The paper is Iridium silver gloss- its a silver metallized special paper with a high density that create an enhanced projection of colour and grayscale.   It's hard to explain, but if you can see it in this close up?
You really have to see it in real life to get a full appreciation for it.  :)  Sooooo....
So, if you would like to see it in real life (you know you want to!), Janeymac Kinsale have offered me a lovely wall space to exhibit it.  Exciting, yes? YES! :) 
And here it is, hanging in its new home for the next 10 weeks or so (unless someone buys it for a permanent home in the meantime. ;))
Owners, Ruth and Cyril have nurtured Janeymac's into a very unique and gorgeous establishment with coffee to die for and delicious homemade cakes scones and jam.  They have a fantastic gluten free range and also have light bites and sandwiches made using delicious breads by the artisan baker, Arbutus Bread.  
Here's a little ditty about them from their website:
"We wanted a place that appealed to everyone. With a door wide enough to take the biggest pram in town and comfortable seats, a relaxed atmosphere serving good quality food that we prepare in our own kitchen every day in small batches to ensure freshness and at prices that reflect a new Ireland we hope that's what we have delivered. "
And delivered they have! 
So, if you are in Kinsale, be sure to drop in to Janey Mac's for a coffee, chat and oodle of my pic.  I'd be thrilled if you did!
I have a teeny bit more exciting news so watch this space...
Until then, Toodles!
P.s: If you do make it to Janey Mac's, be sure to try their pear and almond scones... to die for.  :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Crowleys Music Centre, The end of an era.

If you are any way musically inclined, you will have heard that the amazing Crowleys Music Centre closed its doors for the last time last Saturday. 

Personally, I am absolutely gutted.  The owner and good friend of mine, Sheena Crowley, was the third generation to run the shop.  The store, known for selling Rory Gallagher his Sunburst Fender Stratocaster guitar, was recently producing handmade Irish instruments, made instore by hugely talented musicians and tradesman.  She is one of the most vibrant and caring people out there who loves to deal with people and loves all things musical.  She is unbelievably talented and goes above and beyond to support local musicians and businesses.  The closing of her store is a huge loss- not only because of what it was, but for what it stood for.  It makes me so, so very sad to think that, after almost 90 years of trading, the doors to her shop are simply closed forever.

This closing has honestly taken me by surprise.  I mean, is nothing safe anymore?  I had assumed Crowley's would be there forever- it was a part of what made up the city of Cork. 
For me, any visit into the city always included popping into the shop to say hi to Sheena and her friendly staff.  I had imagined going in to buy my two boys guitars when they were old enough (or god forbid the 'drum kit' request for Santa) but now that that option has been taken away, and now, well... now I kind of feel empty.   And angry.  And tired.

I love my country, but I hate what is happening to it. 
I hate that big companies and online stores are swooping in with low prices and wiping out local businesses who just cant compete. 
I hate that so many of us are struggling with mortgages that are double the value of our home and yet still getting taxed more and more. 
I hate that we have no option but to struggle on with very little opportunity to progress in sight.
I REALLY hate that I have to constantly watch to clock to make sure that I don't miss that tiny window of time that I have to talk to my family and friends around the world who have managed to find a better life for themselves outside Ireland.  I love that Skype and Facetime enable us to see each other, but I hate that I cant reach out and touch them.  As I read on an article somewhere on RTE before, 'you cant smell someone on Skype'.  Its so true.   

Life seems to be racing on too fast for us all to keep up.  Online shopping, Same day delivery, Bargain this, bargain that, buy one get two free, 50% off.  I mean... when does it stop?  Sometimes I feel like Sylvester Stallone in the film 'Demolition Man', waking up in a whole different century.  Gone are the local stores, friendly faces, knowledge and generosity.  In their place, are the cut price giant store that won in the franchise war.  Something like this for example: 

Its a vicious circle.  We have been taxed to our eyeballs (and they are still going), so we have to do the best with what we have left.  Of course, we will try get the best value we can to feed the mouths around the table, etc., but does that mean by-passing our local friendly market to go to the- not naming names here, but lets just say a four lettered store that has German influences?  
I know we are all guilty of it at one stage or another, but lets make the effort to support local as much as we can, can we? 

I always assumed that someone with their own business was 'loaded' and 'rolling in it'.  It is only in recent years that I have come to appreciate that most local businesses are there mainly for their love of their business.  They chose to open a shop (or whatever) because they love what they are doing and they will honestly do you the best deal that they can.  For them, one good day in business is outnumbered hugely by the bad days, so I can only imagine what their struggle to balance the year is like. 

I am so tired.  I really hope things turn around for our lovely little country. 

In saying all of this, I do know one thing.  For Sheena Crowley, the world as she knows is has taken a severe 180% turn, but she will power on and amaze us, as only someone like her can. 

Its the end of an era, but perhaps the beginning of something new and exciting.

Until next time, 

Jen :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Its been a while!

Hiya Lads and Ladies!

I hope everyone is doing absolutely fabulously.  :)   That superb spell of sunny weather has had me (and the rest of the population!) out and about enjoying our stunning country.  It really is one of the best places in the world to be when the sun shines and the temperatures are soaring. 

Highlights in the past few weeks?... Sun, barbeques, beach, sea, kayaking, birthdays, celebrating- you name it! 
Kayaking with H2O sea kayaking (they do SUPERB kayak trips and tours, check them out)

On the flipside, the beautiful tallship 'Astrid' unfortunately struck rocks just outside Kinsale harbour and is now sitting at the bottom of the cliffs- the rising and falling tide giving various glimpses of the sunken beauty.  Thankfully all of the crew were rescued unharmed, so hats off to the speedy response of all boats in the area that day and of course the coastguard and RNLI.  A superb job lads & ladies. 

I am getting one of my favourite images printed out on a new style metallic paper, dry mounted and framed in Studio1 Kinsale and I have to say, I cant WAIT to see the finished piece.  Watch this space.

Lastly, I am heading up to Dublin tomorrow to conclude my training blog/supercool action video/participation in Hell and Back Apollo.    The devilish organisers are wrapping up my Apollo training experience with a gruelling indepth interview.  I am assuming that there will be no torture methods used, but then, they are well experienced in such ways, so you never know.  *bites nails*
Also watch this space.

So, With Hell and Back, Titan looming on the horizon- I suppose I really must get the finger out?  Eh? 

Toodles for now.

Jen :)

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