On 1st October, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Linwoods event in Dublin, hosted by Rozanna Purcell, with food demos from Madeleine Shaw and Susan Jane White, and with a food photography course from Jo Murphy. I was more than happy to make the journey from Belfast to Dublin to meet some of my favourite bloggers and sample some of the Linwoods products.
The journey from Belfast to Dublin is only 2 hours and the best way to travel it is with someone who you can have a good chat with along the way! I unfortunately don’t have the luxury of a chatty travel companion, because as soon as an engine is switched on my fiancé drifts into a deep sleep! So instead, I looked out the window and watched the sunrise, whilst listening to the heavy breathing (if I said snoring, he would kill me) of my future husband.
It was an extremely grey and rainy day in Dublin, much to the dismay of my suede Isabel Marant boots and suede Burberry bag. So I hopped my way to Medley café, where the event was being held, dodging every puddle along the way.
Arriving fashionably late, I was greeted by the lovely Linwoods team and escorted to the seats where the stunning (I mean STUNNING) Roz Purcell was waiting to kick off the event. She was the perfect MC for the event. She has an infectious personality, a fantastic knowledge of nutrition, perfect wit and could start a conversation with a door knob. After listening to her for about 5 minutes, it was oh-so-clear why she had previously been crowned Miss Universe.
The first food demo was from Susan Jane, who has been blogging about healthy eating for over ten years, so I knew that we were in good hands! Susan Jane is a larger-than-life character who is brilliant fun to watch laugh and joke her way around the kitchen. You might know her from radio interviews where there is plenty of talk about her “ghee”. In fact, the night before the event, my friend sent me a clip of her talking about ghee (the smell, the taste, etc.) thinking it was hilarious and not realising that I was going to see her in action the next morning!
Susan Jane demoed two of her recipes – Chocolate Seed Soldiers and Bliss Balls. Both were raw treats that were super quick to make, which made them automatically appealing. You could make these quicker than you could get into the car, drive to a shop and buy a packet of gluten free Jaffa cakes (OK, this is me trying to convince myself to stop buying bloody Jaffa cakes). The Chocolate Seed Soldiers were mind-blowingly good and tasted like a delicious tray bake, instead of a raw and nutritious treat!
Next up was a photography session from Jo Murphy. Jo is something else – her photography skills make my photos look like I’ve created them on an Etchasketch, in comparison! Jo has done the photography for some fantastic cookbooks, including, Roz Purcell’s ‘Natural Born Feeder’, Susan Jane White’s ‘The Virtuous Tart’ and ‘The Extra Virgin’ and a fantastic gluten free cookbook by Gearoid Lynch called ‘My Gluten Free Kitchen’. Keep an eye on my Instagram page because I’ll be doing a giveaway for ‘My Gluten Free Kitchen’ very soon! Jo’s advice was brilliant and I hope to put it to use soon!
Finally, Madeleine Shaw was up to do her food demonstration. Madeleine has always been a favourite blogger of mine, ever since I started Gluten Free Fi so I was really excited to hear her talk and watch her cook. She made her famous Blondie Brownies and a Gluten Free Bread made from quinoa. If you follow Madeleine, you’ll know how knowledgeable she is about nutrition and health. It’s clear why her “Get the Glow” slogan suits her so well – she well and truly has the glow in beautiful radiant skin.
After the demo, we were offered lunch of Madeleine’s pumpkin soup made up by the chefs in Medley. Everyone stood around chatting and enjoyed their soup and Madeleine and I went and sat down in a quiet space so that I could quiz her on some nutritional courses that she had done and that I was considering doing. It was so brilliant to be able to chat with someone who shared my passion and had a long-term view of business goals.
Scooping up some gorgeous Linwoods products, I skipped out of Medley grinning ear to ear after having the fantastic talk with Madeleine and the weather had changed to suit my mood, because the sun had now made an appearance and it was a beautiful afternoon. We walked through the streets of Dublin and made a shortcut through St Stephen’s Green, where the ducks and pigeons were making the most of the good day.
We walked towards The Dean hotel to have a drink in their rooftop bar, Sophie’s. Along this road, there are some of the most beautiful doors in Dublin, so if you are one of the “I have this thing with doors” hashtaggers on Instagram, make your way here for a photo shoot. My very own #InstagramHusband was delighted that I decided to stop on a doorstep for a not-so-candid candid photo shoot. A lovely little elderly woman walked in front of the camera mid-shoot, but she gave me a compliment so I let her away with it and continued to smile at the ground, waiting for my fiancé to ‘get the shot’.
Sophie’s is a gorgeous bar with windows surrounding the outside that offer beautiful views over the city. We chose to enjoy the sunshine by sitting outside on the roof terrace beside a group of Russian girlfriends who were celebrating one of their birthdays. I nearly missed the beautiful views of the city because I was so busy peering at this group of girls, inconspicuously from behind my Raybans. Honestly, the grey mink coats, champagne and designer heels were merely a guise – these ladies were louder than a rugby club!
The sunny day had put us in the mood for sunny food. So we made our way back to the hustle and bustle of the city centre and walked to The Port House tapas restaurant for a late lunch.
The Port House is perfect for gluten free food. Their menu is very allergen friendly and if something isn’t gluten free, they will make it gluten free (they have GF bread!). We order for four, for two, and tucked into a beautiful Spanish feast. My favourite dishes were the chorizo in red wine and the prawn pil pil (washed down with a mojito, of course!).
After an incredibly early start, I was more than happy to finish our gorgeous day in Dublin with a full belly and happy heart (eating makes me happy). We left the restaurant and started the journey back to our lovely little city. Arriving in Belfast, there was nothing better than putting on PJs, pouring a glass of prosecco and going straight onto Instagram to search the Linwoods #SprinkleAwesome hashtag to check out everyone’s snaps from the day.
Thank you so much to Linwoods for inviting me to such a well organised event. Also, a huge thank you to Roz Purcell, Susan Jane White, Madeleine Shaw and Jo Murphy for making the event what it was! You’re all fab! x