Excess is Easy – Yogahub Dublin, and the Benefits of Regular Practice

A poem I wrote here early last month inspired by the changes I’ve experienced through regular yoga practice has led me to further explain my new obsession with yoga!


Excess is Easy 

Excess is easy. That much I know for sure. Too much, too little, too often. It is one of the easiest things to let ourselves indulge in the safety of the extremities. It takes courage, balance and practice to remain upright in the midst of it all, and stay grounded in the middle of chaos. Being aware that there will always be limitations, and things we cannot do – yet along with these limitations will be good things; positive and progressive possibilities with every new movement.

Yoga and the Yogahub in particular have helped me achieve some of the balance required to walk along the narrow space between these extremes I used to bounce between.
Already on my way through a slow but steady recovery, a regular, daily yoga practice added into my daily routine proved the missing link between the confused streams of thoughts that raced through my head on a daily basis. The breath being added back into my conscious flow of thought aided to bring me back to the now, to the moment of what is happening as I speak, as I write, as I sit here.

It reminded me that it is ok to occupy the space I have been given on this earth, within the often disagreeable walls of my body. It is ok, and perfectly acceptable to be myself, to be in my own skin, and to allow myself to enjoy being within it, even if I’m not always it’s biggest fan.
The Yogahub provides a healthy and friendly atmosphere for me to learn all of this, and to relearn it as required – because balance is not something you can achieve once and expect to be able to attain again at the click of a finger. Even though it is always fairly accessible, there is a constant upkeep and awareness required to maintain it – much like the physical balance required to ride a bike.

In the monthly unlimited membership I took out at the beginning of September with the Yogahub, I not only found this kind of strong balance in daily practice and attending classes, but it was a stable balance. Stable enough to maintain for a prolonged period of time.The variety of classes available, styles and flexible timetable really allowed me to personalise my practice and accomodate for all levels and intensities, to suit how I was feeling on a given day. Each friendly face glows with a welcoming smile as you step foot inside the doors, whether for a random drop-in class or a scheduled flow, the delicious HappyFood vegan and vegetarian café providing the perfect pre or post – class fuel to help your body move through the hour.

I’ve realised during my month with the Yogahub that yoga teaches me not to rush ahead – to remain calm and to accept what is happening when it does. There is no use in constantly casting your gaze forwards, anticipating anxiously things that are beyond your control. The one thing within my control is my own body – not even my mind is always controllable. With yoga, my focus is shifted back to the physical power which resides within my body, and the very fact that I was bringing this body on a daily trip in to the city centre to the Yogahub was enough to begin the positive reactions within, and aid me to maintain a comfortable and healthy distance from all extremities I used to reside in.

The people at the Yogahub eminate this contentedness and oneness with the world, hippie-style ‘tree-hugger’ labels really not being necessary or applicable in this sense – it’s just a truly calming place. The huge variety of yoga styles means that everyone is catered for, no matter what level, and each class welcomes newcomers with open arms (or elbows, knees, hips, legs, whatever you’re stretching into at the moment!!).

 In moving my body, and staying with it as it goes, I have grown more accepting of both it’s limitations and it’s strengths. I appreciate what it does for me, and I work daily toward improving it so it can bring me where I want to go, and move me all the different ways I want to move, difficult poses and balance included.

It will always be an ongoing thing – constant maintanance and awareness is what is needed, and the Yogahub has given me the strength to accept that I will need to maintain this. It requires effort and practice, yet each time now that I return to the mat and begin my practice, I feel the benefits mentally before even beginning to move.

The extremities are always going to be there, and I may not always be able to avoiding brushing off them from time to time. Instead of shying away from them and fearing the downs and bad days however, I try now to embrace them for what they are, and allow them to serve as a foundation on which to start rebuilding a new day, a new practice, and new movement. We’re only human, and I feel that limiting yourself too much in anything inevitably leads to an equalising swoop in the opposite direction, as your mind and body try to balance things out. In maintaining as level a field as possible for as long as possible, the breadth of that level is strengthened, and makes it easier to stand on.

It’s probably a good thing that the monthly membership limited me to one class per day though, as there were days where I wanted to stay and do more! On these days I had to pull myself up on the urge and remind myself that excess also comes in the form of good things. Finding and maintaining this balance is how I have come to be where I am now, and I am looking forward (but not too far!) to re-commencing my practice with the Yogahub as soon as I return home from travelling.

Statue of The Buddha at the Royal Palace of Cambodia


Yogahub Dublin Website
The Yogahub on Facebook
Yogahub on Twitter

The Secret of 61 – Dublin’s Stop on the Subway

Foodswings Reviews

Platform 61 – South William Street


Barely a subway stop away from St. Stephen’s Green, your ticket to Platform 61 is finally here as the newly-opened underground kitchen cooks up some of the tastiest grub South of the city, providing a service worthy of the VIPs catered for at the elusive ‘Platform 61’ on the New York subway for which it is named. They don’t take Leap Cards, but you’re sure to be warmly welcomed on arrival!

Reserved for presidents and art-enthusiasts lucky enough to be on the guestlist for one of Andy Warhol’s famous ‘underground parties’, the story of the secret platform beneath New York’s  Waldorf Astoria Hotel is a treat in itself to listen to, the various Warhol quotes around the walls and abstract banana signposts in the bathroom reminding you at regular intervals that there is more to this restaurant than meets the eye.

 As you enter through golden doors reminiscent of 1960s New York elevators and decor Don Draper (Mad Men) would be proud of, you can’t help but feel slightly disorientated as the black marble walls mirror one another, making great use of a small space yet still succeeding in coming across extremely classy.

Only in it’s third week of business here in Dublin, there was no sign of any maintenance work or staff ‘only learning’ the ropes, and the service ran smooth and punctual from one course to the next. A mixture of options on the menu caught my eye as we debated over what direction to take, eventually settling on the ‘Italian Mozzarella and Tomato’ dish and the ‘Shrimp Gambas’ to start. I’m a fan of small menus as it minimalises decisions, but to be fair everything looked very good and we weren’t disappointed, each dish being served promptly and proving realistic portion-sizes, unlike many of the new food-stops that have sprung up recently around Dublin.


 The steak was sampled, as was the Superfood Salad with added chicken, and although prices slightly outreached that of the average commuter dinner it was made up for in taste and quality, the sweet potato fries on the side adding a delicious kick and nice reminder that eating out doesn’t always have to mean greasy, unhealthy & unnecessary indulgence.

 Our munching on the shrimp and subsequent pomegranate seeds in my Superfood Salad was accompanied by an absolutely killer playlist in the background, the likes of Alt-J and Foals providing the icing on top of the dessert that we were too full to order, though in hindsight I would have liked to try the Flourless Nut Brownie.

The lunch and brunch menus also looked incredible, the ‘Stun Bun’ in particular catching my eye, a ‘grilled chicken fillet on a brioche bun with guacamole, tomato, onion, baby gem and homemade tomato relish served with spicy potato wedges’. Due to it being still in the early stages of the restaurant opening, however, the waiter informed me that they had yet to start serving this menu, instead focusing for now on the dinner options. I will definitely be back to sample a Stun Bun when they do!!


A glass or two of Chilean White wine and a house speciality beer cocktail later (a delicious concoction of Luxembourg-brewed beer, lime and apple juice) the whole experience was over too soon as we had to leave to catch the next train home.

Navigating our way out to the world back above ground it was easy to see how Platform 61 would go unnotticed, a haven glowing golden down below one of the busiest streets for bars and restaurants in the city.

Overall we were extremely pleased with the experience, and will definitely be recommending the service for anyone wishing to be transported back in time as they chow down on great food, the journey from starters right through to a final farewell complimentary glass of wine proving comfortable and enjoyable, in a stimulating and artistic environment.

 ‘Mind the Gap’ and be wary of the steep steps on the way out of the platform – especially if you’ve sampled some of the beer cocktails!!


Useful links:

Platform 61 on Facebook
Platform 61 on Twitter (@Platform61)
Platform 61 website

Seaweed and Martinis

Foodswings Reviews – The Meeting House

Burmese Cuisine in the heart of Temple Bar!

This place has been on my ‘must-try-sometime’ list of restaurants and bars in Dublin that I walk past regularly for a while now, although for no particular reason– it just looks very cool from the outside. Graffitied exterior and prime location off Meeting House Square in Temple Bar (hence the name) aside, as soon as you walk into The Meeting House it’s clear the place means business with it’s colourfully decorated and well-lit walls scattered with Marilyn Monroe-meets-The Joker quotes and pictures that are guaranteed to get even the most awkward of Tinder-dates talking.
That’s not all there would be to discuss, as every single option on the menu contained something we found very difficult to pronounce, and we mused for a good fifteen minutes over all the exotic looking choices. As there were 3 of us, we decided eventually to go with the menu option of 6 dishes for €36 (it was a Monday), as opposed to the 3 for €21 that would have suited just two. We were chuffed to discover that all prices were €3 cheaper on Sundays and Mondays, a fact which greatly influenced our decisions and indulgent sides!
I must point out here that all the portions themselves were quite small – think 3 tapas between 2 people, 6 between three – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it was dinnertime!

My choice, which was also to share (when it comes to tapas, I find things generally don’t get too heated so long as everyone is on mutual terms about the whole ‘sharing’ thing!) was a Fillet of Sea Bass with Stem Broccoli in a fish broth infused with Lemongrass, and the Crab Salad with strips of Mango and Peanuts. This was extremely tasty, however slightly small, and definitely would not have served as a full dinner.


As we had all agreed we would try each others’ dishes, I also succeeded in tasting the Tuna Sashimi on a bed of seaweed, Prawn Tempura, and the Organic Chicken Coconut Curry, all of which were delicious – the chicken curry was probably the only dish big enough to be considered a satisfying full meal in itself, but we enjoyed picking and tasting, also ordering a side of Sweet Potato Fries because let’s be honest, who doesn’t order Sweet Potato Fries when they’re on the menu?!

Although initially being refused entry as we had arrived ten minutes prior to opening at 5.30pm (talk about eager eaters!!), the service proved itself both speedy and cheerful, with our drinks order arriving promptly before the food, and being checked back consistently every 10-15 minutes to ensure our continued satisfaction.
A good selection of craft beers such as Brew Dog and Five Lamps Lager kept us chirpy throughout the meal, and instead of asking for a dessert menu we decided to indulge in some of the extremely attractive-looking cocktails following the 6 empty plates’ hasty departure from the table in the arms of the attractive waiter. The ‘Pornstar Martini’ came complete with half a passion fruit floating on the top, while the decision to sample a classic ‘Old-Fashioned’ really allowed us to channel our inner Don Draper from Mad Men, with a curled orange-rind and crystallized glass only partially masking the strength of the whiskey.
2015-09-17 16.13.49
Overall, our group thoroughly enjoyed the visit to The Meeting House, and our decision to move elsewhere for a final drink was only made because we felt another ‘Old-Fashioned’ would have sent us too far over the edge! The fact that it was a Monday and everything was a whole 3 euro cheaper (€6.66 for all dishes and drinks on Sundays and Mondays!!) really added to our cheerfulness as we bid farewell to the establishment, accidentally spilling some candlewax on the counter as we tried to read some of the other quotes written on the walls inside.

While we were lucky that our choice of day was in accordance to the cheaper menu prices, Tuesday-Saturday prices would still warrant a visit, with all dishes and drinks standing at €9.99. If you’re seeking a bigger feed however, you’d be better off ordering the 3 or 6 dishes deal, depending on the size of your company – Burmese Tapas would be a better description of the single menu options, but for light and exotic bites The Meeting House succeeds in every way. Overall atmosphere was extremely pleasant and welcoming, despite the rain outside, and the playlist was great. Will surely be returning soon – if only for the generous cocktail sizes!

Useful Links:
The Meeting House on Facebook 
The Meeting House Website

Cakes on the Corner of Camden

Leagan Gaeilge(Irish Version)
Foodswings Reviews – Cakes on the Corner of Camden 
I have a new favourite café in Dublin!
I’m not going to lie – I haven’t much of a notion how to go about this whole ‘food critic/restaurant review’ craic, but I sure as hell felt I had to say something about this place!
I get the impression that The Cake Café, just off Pleasant’s Place (even the name of the STREET is inviting) and also accessible through Daintree’s craft shop on Camden Street, is probably not such a well-kept secret as it would have been a short while ago before it’s inclusion on Dublin’s ‘Fab Food Trail’, and generally widespread word-of-mouth praise it’s gotten from everyone I know who recognises it.


I arrived shortly before lunchtime and even then its’ cosy interior was bursting with life and the aroma of fresh Irish produce, homemade goods and an exciting freshly blended coffee that was leaving home in takeaway cups with the delightfully punny message ‘Cupán Will Ya??’ printed on them (I’d be lying if I said I’m not a fan of ‘The ol’ bitta’ Gwaeilga’”). Brian Dobson was sat in one corner sipping a coffee and looking slightly out of place while a few other well-to-do looking clientele in suits and blazers clustered around some of the rickety seats outdoors, & I noticed some wine glasses and attractive looking craft beers nestled amongst the freshly squeezed glasses of juice and mugs of tea.
My kinda’ place, I thought.
I trudged in with my yoga mat slung over one shoulder and a laptop in my bag, navigating my way through the tightly packed and populated little tables, looking for somewhere new to do a bit of work and hoping against hope I’d fit in with some of the other ‘foodies’ and lunchtime coffee-lovers who began arriving as the dainty little china-clock on the wall ticked closer to 1pm.
 When I say this place does everything, and does it well, I mean it. Divided into a ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Savoury’ section, with options of sides and of course the all-important ‘Cakes’ at the end, the menu itself as a whole is not extensive. As I sat and downed my coffee however, I couldn’t help but notice how mouth-wateringly tasty and also most importantly healthy everything that was being served to many clearly very regular customers looked.
The staff bustled around cheerfully, acknowledging some by name and others simply with a warm smile and gesture of the hand to an empty table. I gave in and asked for a menu, eventually deciding on the ‘Chorizo and Goats’ Cheese Salad with Homemade Brown Bread’, substituting the chorizo for chicken, and biting my tongue hoping I wouldn’t end up with food envy as the little girl beside me was served granola with natural yoghurt topped with peanut butter and banana. (The staff get bonus points for being so sound about this minor adjustment to my order).
While the child’s bowl of yoghurt and peanut-buttery goodness had me already pre-planning my breakfast for the following morning, the arrival of my meal sufficiently distracted me from thinking ahead so much, and I was forced back to the moment to devour this fantastic concoction of flavours, nourishment and colour which also scores triple bonus points for being super super healthy and satisfying.
I usually despise dates, but these ones were warm and gooey and complimented the rest of the ingredients incredibly well – I thought I was hilarious messaging a friend a picture of it and organising a ‘date’ there again next week.
unnamed-2Chicken, goats’ cheese, dates & beetroot salad with homemade brown bread’
Before I get too excited about the (fabulously yummy) Lunch and Breakfast menus, I must mention the cakes. It is, afterall, in the nature of a ‘Cake Café’ to serve cake. ‘The Cake Shop’ people (because what else would we call them) pride themselves on ‘making and delivering cakes to order within 24 hours’, and surely enough I witnessed a steady flow of orders and cake-for-money transactions over the counter taking place while I munched on my beautifully served lunch. Not only pre-ordered and entire cakes, of course, but slices, buns and tarts too. While the variety looked fabulous, and certainly everyone around me seemed extremely satisfied with their choice of tartlets, I actually didn’t taste any of the cakes that first day. I couldn’t decide, and after my decadent (and very satisfying) lunch, I simply didn’t feel the need to indulge. If the other food is anything to go by though, I thought, it’s definitely something I need to try soon.
Price was something I had been concerned about, given the seeming exclusivity of this oasis of nourishment, yet the quality of the food and the atmosphere of the place in general really sent any qualms I’d had flying with the iced butterflies which decorated some of the cupcakes. I lingered awhile after finishing my meal, observing mostly, but also succeeding in getting some work done – one thing I noted was that the eggs and also the roasted vegetables seemed to be very popular choices.
The fact that they serve wine, prosecco, and a selection of beers and cocktails really just put the icing on the cake (wouldn’t be a cake shop review without that sentence!) for this place, and I made a mental note to come back some evening for a tipple and some cake before heading out on Camden Street.

Returning the following day to grab a coffee and takeaway piece of lemon yoghurt cake (devine in it’s own right), I may have emitted a momentary ‘fangirl’ squeal of delight as I spotted Bressie on the opposite side of the café. Yep. Bressie. Fairly sure he caught me looking, too. Bressie likes cake. Therefore, I like cake. Don’t we all?!

If that’s not enough to persuade you to come to The Cake Café soon, I don’t know what is.
Useful Links:
 Dublin’s Fab Food Trails
@The Cake Café on Twitter
The Cake Café on Facebook
The Cake Café Online


Cácaí ar Chúinne Camden

Leagan Béarla
Tá caifé nua aimsithe agam i mBaile Átha Cliath!!
 An fhírinne glan – níl tuairim dá laghad agam maidir leis an gcraic seo i dtaobh ‘léirmheas caifé/criticeoir bialann’ a dhéanamh, ach d’airigh mé go raibh orm rud eicínt a rá faoin áit seo!
Díreach as Pleasant’s Place (meallann fiú ainm na sráide mé!) agus insroichte freisin tríd siopa Daintree’s ar shráid Camden, glacaim le seachmall nach rún eisiach a thuilleadh é ‘The Cake Café’, comh mór is a bhíodh tamaill ó shin sular cuireadh san áireamh é ar Dublin’s Fab Food Trail, a chuidigh go mór le cogar na sráide a scaipeadh ar fud na háite faoi.
Is mé ag teacht isteach seal beag roimh am lóin, bhí an áit beag teolaí ag pléascadh le beatha, boladh thairgeadh úr na hÉireann, tairgí bhaile, agus pónairí caifé úra ag fágail bhaile i gcupáin brandáilte leis an bhfrása iontach ‘Cupán Will Ya?’! (Admhaím go mbím thar a bheith sásta an Ghaeilge a fheiceáil in úsáid nuair nach bhfuil mé ag súil léi!).
Ina shuí sa chúinne ag ól braoinín caifé agus ag breathnú beagáinín as áit bhí Brian Dobson, fad is a bhailigh cúpla culaith eile thart timpeall ar na boird beaga a bhí taobh amuigh. Thug mé cúpla gloine fíona agus beoir ceirde faoi dheireadh i measc an sú úr agus muigíní tae ina measc.
Mo chineál áite’, a smaoingh mé dom fhéin.
Shiúil mé isteach go hamhrasach le mata íoga thar ghulainn amháin, agus laptop sa lámh eile, ag lúbadh mo bhealach isteach tríd na boird a bhí dingthe agus daonraithe le hoibrithe oifige ó na comhlachtaí móra timpeall na háite. Ní raibh cúis imní agam le fada, dar ndóigh, de réir is a tháinig na ‘foodies’ eile isteach, ag líonadh na háite faoin am ar shroich an clog beag caoindéanta le 1 i.n.
Nuair a deirim go bhfreastalaítear ar chuile thaobh san áit seo, agus go bhfreastalaítear go maith ar, deirim go láidir é. Scartha i rannóga ‘Bricfeásta’ agus ‘Lón’, le rudaí breise le fáil ar thaobh agus dar ndóigh na ‘Cácaí’ ríthábhachtacha ag deireadh, níl an biachlár é fhéin roleathan. Is mé ag glugadh siar mo chuid caifé, áfach, ba léir dom go raibh na rogha uilig ar an mbiachlár dochreidte agus níos tábhachtaí arís – thar a bheith sláintiúil, is mé ag faire amach orthu ar a n-aistear ón gcistin don bhord.
D’imigh na mná óga ag obair ann thart i bhfuadar an chaifé ag freastal ar roinnt custaiméirí le hainmneacha ar eolas acu, agus roinnt eile le mangáire agus comhartha i dtreo na boird a bhí fós folamh.
Ghéill mé faoi dheireadh, agus d’iarr mé biachlár uathu, mo chinneadh tar éis roinnt éiginnteacht ag dul leis an ‘Chorizo and Goats’ Cheese Salad with Homemade Brown Bread’, ag iarraidh sicín in ionad an chorizo, agus ag súil go mór nach dtiocfadh ‘food envy’ orm is an cailín óg in aice liom ag fáil granola le íogurt nádúrtha, peanut butter, agus banana. (Pointí sa mbreis ag dul go na freastalaí álainne as a bheith comh deas faoin athrú beag seo i m’ordú).
Is an babhla granola in aice liom do mo chur amú agus ag pleanáil bhricfeásta don lá amárach cheana féin, stop mé ag smaoineamh comh fada chun tosaigh nuair a tháinig mo bhéile fhéin. Cuireadh díreach ar ais so nóiméad mé le blaiseadh a thógáil den mheascán speisialta seo de cháis, trátaí, sicín, dates, beetroot, agus roinnt dathanna agus glasraí úir eile! Faigheann an saléid seo pointí chun tosaigh arís as a bheith thar a bheith sláintiúil agus taitneamhach, agus freisin as caighdeán an arán donn a tháinig in éineacht leis.
De gnáth ní thaitníonn dátaí liom (dates), ach bhí na cinn seo te agus bog agus chuir siad go mór leis na blais eile a bhí ar an bpláta – cheap mé go raibh feith an ghrinn liom ag seoladh pictúir dóibh go cara liom ag eagrú ‘dáta’ eile ann ansin an tseachtain seo chugainn.
Saléid de goats’ cheese, sícín, beetroot, dátaí agus arán bhaile
Sular n-éirím ró-sceitimíneach faoi na biachláir (thar a bheith blásta!) i gcomhair lóin agus bricfeásta, caithfear trácht a dhéanamh ar na cácaí. Is ‘Cake Café’, atá ann, ar deireadh. Cúis bróid atá ann do mhuintir na gcácaí (mar céard eile a gcuirfeá orthu!?) cácaí a dhéanamh is a sheoladh amach le hordú taobh istigh de 24 uair a chloig. Cinnte, is mé ag suí ann liom fhéin ar mo sháimhín só le mo lón chonaic mé neart idirbheart cáca-d’airgid ag tarlúint thar an gcuntar. Ní hamháin cácaí réamhordaithe nó fiú cácaí ina iomláin, ach slisíní, bocainí, agus tartaí ildáite comh maith!
Cé gur bhreathnaigh na rogha uilig dochreidthe, agus ba chosúil go raibh súp á bhaint astu ag na daoine thart timpeall orm a roghnaigh ó liosta na gcácaí, níor thriáil mé aon cheann acu an chéad lá sin. Ní raibh mé in ann cinneadh a dhéanamh, agus tar éis mo bhéile (thar a bheith sóúil) fhéin, níor theastaigh uaim a thuilleadh bia saibhir an lá sin. Rinne mé cinneadh liom fhéin áfach go bhfillfinn ar ais go luath le ceann a bhlaiseadh.
Ba chúis imní dom an praghas a shamhlú is mé ar an eolas faoin eisiachas atá ag baint leis an áit seo, ach sheol caighdeán an bhia agus an tseirbhís aon amhras a bhí agam ag eitilt glan as mo chloigeann leis na bhféileacháin ildáite ag maisiú na gcacáí. D’fhán mé ar feadh tréimhse ina dhiaidh mo bhéile a chríochniú, ag faire amach timpeall orm, agus thug mé le fios gur rogha coitianta a bhí sna huibheacha agus sna glasraí rósta ar arán donn.
Ba shilín ar an gcíste é (ní léirmheas ‘Cake Café’ a bheadh ann gan an frása sin a úsáid!) go bhfuil fíon, prosecco, agus rogha deas beoir agus manglaim (cocktails) á ndíol acu comh maith, agus cinneadh eile á dhéanamh agam liom fhéin teacht ar ais oíche eicínt le deoch agus píosa cáca roimh dul amach ar shráid Camden.
Ag filleadh ar ais an lá dar gcion le cupán caifé a fháil agus píosa cáca (go hálainn, ní bhéinn ag súil le níos lú!), scaoileadh sceamh beag ‘fangirly’ ó mo bhéal nuair a chonaic mé Bressie ag suí ar thaobh eile an chaifé. Sea. Bressie. Beagnach cinnte gur thuig sé mé ag stánadh air, freisin. Taitníonn cáca le Bressie. Mar sin, taitníonn cáca liom. Nach hea sin a dheireann siad??
Mura dtugann sé seo cúis duit cuairt a thabhairt ar an ‘Cake Café’ go luath, níl a fhios agam céard eile ar féidir liom a rá.

Nascanna úsáideacha:

 Dublin’s Fab Food Trails
@The Cake Café ar Twitter
The Cake Café ar Facebook
The Cake Café Online