Budget Ireland Trip 2016 – Day 1: Cork – Food, Street Art and Dirty Words (Part 3)

Friday 9th September – the rest of the afternoon
…Continuation from the last post…
It felt like a long journey coming back. Miss Money and I stood at the bus stop for around half an hour. The bus, according to the timetable, was late by 10-15 minutes. ¬_¬” We were practically soaked from head to toe, rucksacks soaked, bags soaked… socks soaked. 😦 So sad.
We finally arrived back in town so we looked around the town centre, had to go into Penny’s (the Irish name for Primark) to buy a pair trousers and warm looking socks. Miss Money had to buy a few other things too… already spending money on things that we would need to carry for the rest of the journey. What a bother!

It was still raining as we walked towards the hostel that Miss Money booked on booking.com… it felt like a very long walk from the centre…

We finally found it along this street. Miss Money asked me earlier during the trip why all the houses are in different colours? To be honest I don’t know, but it really makes the city vibrant even when it rains.

After checking in the hostel (will post more about it in the next post), we went out and searched for food. We were so hungry and cold from our long, long morning.

Cork has a lot of street art, I was just taking pictures as we were walking. ^_^

We asked as the reception of the hostel where there was a good place to eat, so we went along MacCurtain Street where there were lots of pubs and eateries. Miss Money wanted to try out an Irish stew, but it seemed nowhere else made it. 
In the end we went into Gallaghers Gastro Pub which was the place where the receptionist had suggested to go to. ^_^

We were waiting for the specials of the day menu and ordered our drinks in between… It’s been a long time since I’ve had a creamy, creamy Guinness. I miss you fresh looking stout drink. ^_^

Miss Money went for an Irish coffee… all the whiskey was at the bottom. Hahahah. She had a chesty cough, so she needed it.

We both ordered the beef stew pie. It looks small, but very filling. The only problem I had with was the edges of the pie crust. I really wanted to eat it (see picture below), thought it was a waste not being able to scrape it off!

Both our meals cost €38.50 in total. Mine cost €18.65… An ok place to relax for a little while. Nothing too special about the food…

My geeky rating: 4.5/5

Address: 32 MacCurtain Street, Cork, Co. Cork, Ireland
Website: http://gallagherspubcork.com/

It was time for one more walk around Cork’s city centre… And we were heading towards the train station to see how much a train ticket would cost to get to our next destination.

Found the train station!!

And more street art…

Can you see the little birdie who wanted to cross the road with us? So cute!!

And finally the sun shone like it never rained all day… ¬_¬”

We headed back towards the hostel… tired, still felt wet and just wanted to shower and sleep…
Did “Dirty Words” in the title catch your attention? Well, forgot to mention in part 2 that Miss Money was trying to figure out how to pronounce Cork, Coke and Cock. ¬_¬” Cock being the dirty word. LOL!! Because Miss Money has a Chinese-English accent, her pronunciation of Cork and Coke sounds like Cock. Hahahahah. I tried for at least 10 minutes that evening to sound out the words the English way. :p
Anyway… we were both tired, and fell asleep fairly quickly, but was awakened by Miss Money going to the loo… Bother!
Total amount of money spent on Day 1: €59.81 (included a cup of tea and some fruits) ~£52. Not bad compared to what I would if I was with Miss Pinky. >_<

End of Day 1.

Budget Ireland Trip 2016 – Day 1: Cork – Blarney Castle (Part 2)

Friday 9th September – Mid morning to Mid afternoon

…Continuation from the last post…

After asking at the information desks, we got one of the airport buses (number 226) which took us into the town centre. It cost us €5.60, which is really expensive and it was a real short journey – but there was free wifi on the bus, which is probably why it was expensive!!

From the town centre’s bus station we took another bus (number 215 at stand 14) that headed to Blarney Castle. For a return ticket it was €7.50. This wasn’t a bad journey and it was worth the €3.75 each way. We got to see a lot of greenery whilst we were out there.

We reached our destination around 11am… and of course we went in the wrong direction. We had to go into the tourist office to find our way up to the castle… From the bus stop, go straight up then turn left and pass the chocolate shop, and then there’s a side road on the right… keep walking till you see the visitor’s centre.

Tickets into the gardens and the castle cost €13 – a strange price for a ticket Miss Money said. Well €13 is around £11… (Shrug). Miss Money asked whether it was worth exploring the gardens in the rain, the ticket seller said it was… what??!! ¬_¬””

And so it begins…

It was raining quite heavily, but you can’t really notice it in these pictures.

Two rivers cross here… so weird to see!

I was actually really stunned to see trees being yarn-bombed… trying to explain to Miss Money that it must’ve been a very famous street art yarn bombing person. LOL!

Here’s Blarney Castle in the distance. It is north-west to Cork City Centre.

From below it just looked so amazing!

Miss Money wanted to go and kiss the stone, which is on top of the castle, so we patiently waited in line for people to go up and up and up…

LOL! The yarn bombers even crocheted some granny squares for this window. AMAZING!

Haven’t reached the top yet. One elderly woman thought she was a bit on the big side and decided to turn away… lucky woman!

We finally reached the top after so many stairs and carrying all our luggage with us… so tiring!

Here’s Miss Money kissing the stone. Hahahah… It was so windy that I was so scared of doing it myself.

And back down we go…

That was a very exhausting trip going up the castle. It almost felt like I was going up a mountain. :p

Time for a tea break!!!

Miss Money wanted to see some waterfall so we went to The Rock Close gardens.

Found the waterfall, so we went onwards…

And another waterfall!

Ok, so why did I take a picture of the sign “Lavatories”? Well, an Australian or New Zealander (I can never tell the difference) said it was the first time in 50 years since he saw a sign for the loo being called lavatories… Really? In England Miss Money and I see them everywhere! Really?

It was time to go… we were there for a good 3 hours but we didn’t explore all the gardens unfortunately… it was still wet and windy when we left…

Website: http://www.blarneycastle.ie/

Day 1 – still to be continued!

Budget Ireland Trip 2016 – Day 1: Cork – Arrival (Part 1)

Friday 9th September – Early morning
Hoorah!! I went on a budget holiday!! This time I went on a short break with Miss Money. I know she’s not my usual travelling partner, but I have traveled with her before (before I even started writing this blog and traveled around with Miss Pinky), so we knew each others habits… and we generally get along well with each other… These posts are going to be split into several parts per day which is just to give me time to write something on each area as I didn’t pre-blog like I usually do during my trips… plus there’s too many pics!! ^_^
First stop was Waterloo Station at 4 something in the morning. Why? We weren’t getting a train to Stansted Airport. Instead we got the coach. Why? Because Miss Money is a cheapskate. ¬_¬” My god. Ok, I do agree that the train is expensive and for the same amount of time it gets there, coach was a better option for this budget holiday. Unfortunately I booked the coach quite late, so the prices increased quite suddenly. Paid £37 for a return ticket for two people (that’s £18.50 per person), when I could have paid £20. Nevermind. We learnt our lessons. 
It took us an hour to get to Stansted Airport, which is all the way up in North London, not bad, because I thought we would get there in an hour and 20 minutes. There was hardly any traffic, which was a good thing… Might consider getting a coach next time to an airport.
We had already checked in online (and I had to do it because I could print the tickets :p). Thankfully we were seated together. It was practically a full flight. There was a big rush at security… so many people getting the early flights, plus I think a lot of people were late. Luckily Miss Money and I were very early.
First stop after security was Burger King. Ahem. May I point out that we were served fries, and wasn’t told that there were no mini hash browns. So disappointed!
After the disappointment, we walked around the airport looking for water, sweets and our gate… We had to get to gate 33 which meant we had to get the small train that took us to another part of the airport.

The queue was already underway, people were already boarding! 

An hour later and we arrived on time in Cork. A wet Cork. And when you arrive early on Ryanair that stupid message comes on. I wish they could get rid of it. (I’m partially begging now). I did tell Miss Money that I didn’t like this airline because of the message, but she didn’t seem too bothered.

Take pictures Miss Money said! I couldn’t understand why she didn’t take any pics at the airport. :p

Sorry for blurry picture
Once we were off it was time to find some information from the airport… How to get to Blarney Castle…! 

Day 1 – to be continued.

p.s. It was Mr Stingy’s (my brother) birthday on this day… Happy Belated Birthday big bro. ^_^

KPlace Korean BBQ Restaurant – London St Mary at Hill, Monument

It’s time for a Korean food post!! Was going to write and post this before I went to Ireland, but I was a lazy geek once more… Work and social life overload last week. ^_^
Thanks to Groupon (and Mr B who messaged me to go… hahahah – although I had already seen the deal before he told me) I bought a £28 voucher for 2 for a 10 course meal. So who did I go with? Miss Pinky of course!!
If you remember my post on Old Justice, the pub turned into a Korean bar/restaurant in Bermondsey, then you would know it had closed down and moved to Monument a year ago. A more central place to go to. Miss Pinky and I had no idea how this place would turn out, and had no clue on where it was… It’s really hidden secretly on the side street. You just wouldn’t even notice it.

We had booked a table for 7pm, which was perfect… an after work dinner. I think Miss Pinky is currently glad to be back at work and earning money! LOL!
KPlace looks very spacious and the lighting is much better than their old place in Bermondsey, which was small and dark.

After getting our seats and Miss Pinky’s short gossip on life so far, it was time to eat… I went to the loo at this point after the egg rolls came out. >_<"

Ta-da! Look what happened when I came back! ^_^ Basically this is the 10 course meal for two excluding the BBQ meat and rice, which comes with the package… You usually would pay over £40 for this meal set, but thank you for the discount with Groupon!!!!!
Here’s all the kimchi and salady stuff.

Stewed potatoes and pork… reminds me if DaddyChef’s Chinese version.

The grilled mackerel was yummy… Practically had to tell Miss Pinky to eat the last bite because she couldn’t eat the seafood pancake. Hahahahah. We both loved it.

Mussels were cooked in a light broth. Yummy!

And here you go… Both of us had some beers which didn’t come with the voucher. That’s what we had to pay separately.

Some light Korean salad…

And some chicken broth soup. Miss Pinky had to shape it with Mickey Mouse ears. >_<""

Finally the meat came out!! Time to turn on that BBQ.

I think Miss Pinky and I have got better at cooking our meat on this grill. Oil and cook away. Remember to just keep oiling the plate…

The meat was kind of fatty… but a good fatty… If you want to eat more meat, it’s £5 extra per person. But we thought this was enough for the two of us.

In the end we got some watermelon slices. Miss Pinky wanted to take them home for Baby B, coz at the moment she’s become obsessed with fruits, unlike her parents who hardly eat the stuff. LOL!! She’s becoming more like her grandparents and me, the geeky godmother. ^_^ Thankfully the waiter said he could give her some separate slices (I think they had some leftovers)… Miss Pinky loves this place now. Hahahahah!!!

On the way out I had to take a picture of this. ^_^ It looked like a street artist came in…

Total cost came to £49.80 which includes the Groupon voucher + the VAT on top and drinks. A little expensive for what we got, but I think the service paid for it. And in fact this new place is in East Central. Those high flyers out there can pay for this… Even the local Koreans or maybe they were Korean visitors came in to eat! ^_^

My geeky rating: 5/5

Good points:
– Nice friendly service
– It’s like a secret hideout for Korean food

Bad points:
– Expensive without the voucher

Address: 1 St Mary at Hill, London EC3R 8EE
Tel: 020 7621 0002

Website: http://www.kplace.co.uk/

Thai Square – London Trafalgar Square

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to go out with Miss Pinky… she was complaining that we don’t spend enough time out together… it’s not my fault my goddaughter Baby B is making you busy Miss Pinky! :p … 
Miss Pinky hasn’t been to see a musical for a verrrrry long time, and so I booked some cheap tickets to see Phantom of the Opera – that would basically be my third time watching this. Third time! And her first time seeing it. ^_^ It’s one of my favourite musicals, so anyone who wants to watch it with me… be free to ask. 😀
We looked around for food. Miss Pinky said she always wanted to go into Thai Square but always thought it might be expensive. It wasn’t too expensive. Like normal restaurant prices. Before we decided to have this we stopped into the New Zealand bar for happy hour (she didn’t like the food there, plus it reminded her of one of the dark bars in Dallas we had went to).

After making a short decision we placed our orders. I had this Aubergine and minced chicken dish. It had two chillies on the menu, so I knew it would be spicy… It was very spicy… I almost choked from the juices on my first bite of the aubergine. >_<" Hahahaha. Silly geek. I actually liked this dish, Miss Pinky thinks I can't handle spices… I can, but prefer to eat hot foods at home when no one sees me enjoying the spiciness of the food… LOL!

I also had this egg fried rice… egg fried sticky rice to be exact. It came in a bowl that had a slant to it… for some reason I found it difficult to serve myself, but all I had to do was pick up the bowl as Miss Pinky showed me… I know, sometimes I can really be the most stupidest geek ever. Hehehe.

Miss Pinky had the jungle curry… I dare not try. She said it was spicy… very spicy and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I believed her. Maybe next time when I’m not sitting to a bunch of business peeps and tourists. >_<"" 

Total cost came to £45 including drinks (Miss Pinky had a Thai beer and I had orange juice with vodka ¬_¬”)… Not bad for the two of us in the city.
My geeky rating: 5/5
Good points:
– polite service – fairly speedy as Miss Pinky kept telling them we were going to the theatre
– Very spicy quality Thai style food
– Miss Pinky enjoyed looking at the waitresses traditional clothing… Hahahaha!
– Not too expensive comparing to all the Thai places I’ve been to
Bad points:
– The layout is just too posh for me… Not really! 

Address: Trafalgar Square, 21-24 Cockspur St, London SW1Y 5BN
Tel: 020 7839 4000

Website: http://thaisq.com/

Snowy Mini Four Mooncakes 美心冰皮 – Mango Series 芒果熱情 (Part 2)

T_T I failed my Japanese exam… boohoo… I knew I would fail, but didn’t know it would be by just 1 point away from a possible pass! 😦 So sad… It makes me want to take the Chinese HSK exams… :p
Well, carrying on with the Snowy mooncakes.
This is the second box that I bought on the same day as the Angel and Devil flavours. This one is called the Mango Series 芒果熱情 (Canto: mong gwo yit ching; Mando: mang guo re qing). This literally means “mango passion”.
I’m sure I’ve tried out the mango flavours before, but I guess this is a new version. Might as well. ^_^

Unlike the Angel and Devil Snowy Minis, this came in a box of four different flavours.

Mango Chestnut came first.

But unfortunately when I tried to break it apart with my hands the outer layer fell apart and became all crumbly. Note: cut it with a knife. >_<" 
It tasted of very sweet mango, and the outer layer seemed to have overpowered the inner chestnut paste. Didn’t like this one.

This is the Mango Crunch.

Learnt my lesson from the previous mooncake. The outer layer was a chocolate base flavour. I couldn’t taste what was actually inside. Probably some mango sort of paste. An ok flavour.

Mango with Pomelo Dessert… ^_^

From the smiley face above, this was my favourite out of the four. It had a mango outer layer and I could taste the paste which had a slight pomelo flavour… it even had pomelo bits inside! Yum yum!

And lastly this is the normal Mango flavour.

I thought this was going to be really sweet, but it turned out really nice, it had a subtle sweet mango flavour to it… and not as sweet as the other flavours,

Don’t think I will get this box of flavours again… The Devil Chocolate ones were my favourite!
With Brexit around the corner, will we ever see these again?!! 😦
Cost: £6.80 at Oriental Delight