We don’t post here very often but when we do, it’s always about something that is very close to our heart or something we really want to let people know about. This time around – we want to tell you all about the beautiful place that is Legan Castle Farmhouse in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, where our latest supper club took place.
Leona fell in love with this gorgeous venue last summer after she visited with her husband and two kids and decided instantly that we had to have a Dreaming Always event there. Fast forward almost a year later (and a whole lot of Whatsapp messages) and we found ourselves welcoming 20 guests to a very special supper club. Caroline who owns and runs Legan Castle Farmhouse is just the best kind of person – kind, generous, smart, passionate, funny, creative, inspiring and the best craic. We loved working with her on this event. She created the most delicious gourmet grazing table for the event – a huge spread of our favourite things including lots of cheese and the most perfect desserts. The mini meringue nests which Caroline baked herself were just too good… we are still dreaming about them! Her talents are literally endless. Caroline is now offering gourmet grazing boxes to order so get on it for your next event or night in for two!
The setting itself is just stunning. Eight of us stayed in the four gorge bell tents overlooking the 16th Century ruins of Legan Castle. The glamping tents are styled to perfection and you get to sleep under the starts wrapped up in a big fluffy duvet. There was also two bedrooms available for some of our guests which were warm and cosy. We sat around a campfire until 3am singing, chatting and just enjoying the company of the best people. We woke up to a delicious cooked breakfast which Caroline also looks after. She is actually just incredible.
Míl Gin and The London Essence Company kindly gifted us the best gin and tonic mixers for the evening. We made gorgeous gin cocktails served with dried citrus fruit, sprigs of rosemary and lots of ice. We are both big gin drinkers and Nessa always buys Míl gin herself so it was the perfect match for this event.
We have the best memories from our night in Legan. The company, the food, the setting, the styling, the (far too many) drinks and the conversations were all just perfect. It’s the place to go with a group of friends, with your family or for a romantic break away this summer. We are looking forward to returning this summer with our own families… One of us has already decided she is staying in the Bolthouse after sneaking in there at 3am and the other one of us is definitely staying in a beautiful tent surrounded by nature!
Where have you been recently that you just think everyone should know about?
Nessa and Leona x
Images by Gillian Carney
Location: Legan Castle Farmhouse, Kilkenny
Somebody said to us recently that we are incredibly kind to organise our meet-ups/supper clubs and we got to chatting about why exactly we do them and realised it was purely for selfish reasons… because we basically want to hang out with amazing women, chat and explore beautiful new places. Our supper clubs are all about getting women together. The conversations we have shared along the way have been about veganism to abortion, from surviving cancer to wedding plans and everything in between. Food has been enjoyed, friendships have been made, tears have flowed and ideas have come to life. That’s all it is – women sitting down to eat together and being their true selves – inspirational & incredible… and magic has happened.
Our most recent supper club brought us to a gorgeous little village in Cork called Ballinspittle. We visited a great cafe during our maternity leave with the kids and said to each other that we had to do an event there. Two years later and we brought a group of 22 women to Diva Cafe to share food and stories. We were so delighted to work with the owner Shannen on this event as we have admired her work for ages and we knew our girls would enjoy hearing Shannen’s story. We were so happy for our friend Jill to set the scene and style the venue so absolutely perfectly with lots of pumpkins, gourds, candles and greenery. Jill styled both of our weddings – Leona’s in Castlemartyr in Cork and Nessa’s in the Algarve, Portugal and we just adore her. Situated right next door to Diva Cafe sits the most dreamy lifestyle store called Chalk & Easel. We were so delighted that Emily from Chalk & Easel joined up with us to host a pre-dinner shopping event in her store – her store is one that we really love and she is just the nicest person. It was such a perfect combination of people mixed together.
We would love to do more regular events and supper clubs as there are so many stories to be told and places to be experienced but we both juggle work, parenting and this beautiful hobby of ours but hopefully one day we can do alot more of them as they are our perfect kind of evening…
We hope to see you at one some day,
Images by Brid O’Donovan
Venue | Diva Cafe, Ballinspittle
Styling | Jill Wild
Store | Chalk and Easel, Ballinspittle
We often speak about how important it is for us to connect with like-minded women, both on here and on our Instagram. We thrive on being part of a community of supportive, honest and courageous women. Our Supper Clubs are an excuse to sit around a table and really listen to people’s stories – to hear what drives them, excites them or upsets them. Each Supper Club is centred around an open and honest conversation. Working alongside our friend Aoife of Pomco PR, we recently brought together a very special group of women for a very memorable night in Dublin. For this beautiful event at Orlagh House, we asked Ellie Balfe to tell us her story about finding the courage to make big choices and changes to do what makes her happy. Ellie spoke about creative bravery and about feeling in control of our own paths. We listened intently to her by candlelight whilst eating the best food and drinking lots of wine.
Let us tell you a little about the dreamy venue… a Georgian mansion built in 1790, and set on 75 acres in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, Orlagh House is a seriously gorgeous event venue. The house and grounds are available for private hire from weddings to birthday celebrations. We loved the place from the moment we drove up the driveway. We felt like we had truly escaped. What a place to even celebrate a 40th birthday or an engagement event!
The incredible food was prepared by Ian Marconi and his team from Jack Rabbit. It was honestly one of the nicest meals we have experienced. We are both still dreaming of the BBQ shrimp corn chowder. Sharon Griffin of Griffin & Grey and Frog Prince Weddings styled the most perfect table setting for us. She literally couldn’t have gotten it more perfect for us – dark and moody with pink velvet, wild flowers and gold details. The photos were taken by our talented friend Gillian Horgan who captured the night so perfectly. We feel so lucky to have had Sharon and Gill as guests at our table.
These events don’t just come together overnight… they take planning and they take passion. We are so lucky to have met Aoife from Pomco PR who is both a great friend and business partner that we just love to work with. We are so proud of the two events we have now created with Aoife (see the other one here) and we know that there are a lot more incredible projects to come to life with her.
If we were to never create a Dreaming Always Supper Club again, we can look back at this one and know that it was everything we would want from a great event – an incredible venue hosting the most inspirational of guests around a beautifully styled table of delicious food. Our idea of heaven.
Here’s to many more great events in the future,
Images | Gillian Horgan
Venue | Orlagh Country House
Food | Jack Rabbit
Styling | Griffin & Grey
Time to talk about the bubble that is Dubai. A place that is flashy & fast-paced. A place of glamour, wealth and opportunities. It is a place where many people put more importance on what you earn than what kind of person you are. A place where women walk ahead of their nannies with their hands hanging whilst the nanny carries their kids and their shopping. It is a place that makes you feel as if you are on a different planet. A place where the richest and the poorest of people live. A place where the buildings are made of gold. A place where you spend a painful amount of money each week on your grocery shopping. A place where setting up your basic household bills requires selling a kidney. A place where you can get a carton of milk hand-delivered to your door but where it is almost impossible to get your huge rental deposit back. A place where the people that take care of your children and look after your home won’t ever call you by your first name. It is a place that made me feel terribly uncomfortable. It is a place that gave us incredible memories. It is a place that introduced us to life-long friends. It is a place that made us stronger. It is a place that made me weaker. It is a place that made us more aware of what we wanted for ourselves. A place that made us appreciate what we had at home. A place that made us angry. It is the place where Emie-Rose became a little girl. It is a place where we laughed and we cried. It is a place where we sweated profusely. It is a place that is hot as f**k. It is a place that has non-stop sunshine. It is a place where Emie-Rose needed to use inhalers. It is a place where people skip queues a lot. It is a place where you do not have to fill your own petrol. It is a place where you can believe anything is possible. It is a place of beauty. It is the place where Emie-Rose learned how to swim. It is a place where we opened our minds. It is a place where I felt like I never belonged. It is just that… a place. We are home now. Will we stay at home? Who knows… but for now, we are home & we are happy. We are all over the place but we are home. We have lots to do to get ourselves set up again. For once, I’m not stressed that everything isn’t perfect. It is far from perfect but it works for us right now. Somehow.
Do I have regrets? Yes & No. We both needed to do it. We needed to try something different. It has complicated things but it was a great adventure. We decided that there was no point in staying any longer than we did. It was not making us happy. It felt good to come home.
Do what you have to do for you. Do what makes you happy. If you have to go, just go. If you have to come home, then come home. Wherever “home” is for you…
We all have a place that feels like home,
If you are in Ireland, please please please check the register and have your say on 25th May….
Images by Augustine – Come in Waves
It was probably a good thing that I waited a few weeks since we got back from Sri Lanka before I wrote this post. I arrived back to Dubai from our week away exhausted and vowing I would never travel again! Yes I know…totally dramatic…. but I was a bit shook. Our journey to the airport involved a crash on the Sri Lankan highway that left us stranded at 6am at the side of the road with our toddler and no idea how we would get to the airport in time for our flight home. I have always said I would travel as much as I can with Emie-Rose but I have to say our trip to Sri Lanka made me a little more wary of the situations you can find yourself in when travelling. Whilst it is amazing to explore new places and to mix with different cultures, it can also be a little daunting to be away from home comforts, especially with kids. It’s nice to know where the nearest hospital is should you need it and it is comforting to know that you can ask someone for a bit of help and that they will understand you should you require it. Becoming a parent has made me very sensible. I have had my share of bad luck with travelling in the past and as a result I can be quite anxious. After calming down and almost forgetting about the lack of relaxation we had for the week there, I can say that I am really happy that we did experience the beauty of Sri Lanka.
Most people travel the length and breadth of Sri Lanka… we stayed around one tiny area of the country. We travelled for about 2 and a half hours down south once we landed into Colombo Airport. Our gorgeous hotel, Arabella on Boosa, was in Gintota which was about 15 minutes in the local transportation choice – a tuk tuk – from the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle Fort. We spent two days pottering around this pretty little town where the streets are lined with colonial villas and hotels. The weather was really bad when we were there – major rain showers – so we spent a lot of time ducking into boutiques and coffee shops. Everywhere in Galle Fort is really gorgeous. I was seriously impressed. We visited the most beautiful boutique hotel here – an 18th century mansion called The Fort Printers. In my pre-Emie-Rose life, it is where I would have dreamed of staying! We stayed for 6 nights in a beach-front hotel called Arabella on Boosa, which was incredibly Instagram-perfect – monochrome with splashes of green everywhere. We stayed in two different rooms – a garden view room and the suite. Obviously the suite was so much better with a toddler as we had way more space and it also had a couch so it meant we could actually chill out in privacy there during the witching hour/when the toddler tantrums reached a peak. The decor was just gorgeous and the staff were really friendly. The food at our hotel was so good – everything was so fresh and so tasty! I loved the Sri Lankan food in general. It is worth visiting for the food alone! There is such a relaxing boho vibe going on there… signs for yoga classes and small boutique guest houses and hotels with ‘secret gardens’ everywhere.
We visited another gorgeous stretch of beach recommended by our hotel – Wijaya Beach in Dalawella for some wood oven pizzas on the beach. We really got to relax for a few hours here as the water was less choppy than by our own hotel. The beaches in Sri Lanka are beautiful but from what we experienced the water is pretty rough and dangerous, particularly for kids. It is also worth noting that everyone gets around Sri Lanka in tuk tuks – teeny little vans with no seat belts so if like me you are terrified of travelling with your child not in a car seat then it is probably worth renting your own car and bringing your own car seat. The roads are crazy there. Our hotel offered a car seat in their transfer van from the airport which was just so handy. These little things make travelling with kids that bit easier.
I didn’t really know what to pack to wear in Sri Lanka as I was told it would be really sticky and humid. Whilst it was definitely warm, we were totally not prepared for the rain we had there. I packed lots of light and airy maxi dresses which worked well there. It’s definitely not a place for high heels so make sure to bring lots of flats. I was totally chuffed to collaborate with Melissa Odabash for my trip to Sri Lanka and I was so happy to wear one of their new Apres Beach dresses, which you can see here. I loved the long sleeves and the best thing is it didn’t need to be ironed which is amazing when travelling. We haven’t done a giveaway on Dreaming Always yet but we will be doing a giveaway for one of these gorgeous Melissa Odabash dresses – their off the shoulder Faith dress which you can see here – over on our Instagram over the weekend.
Will I be travelling with my 2 year old again soon? I am already planning our next trip… in my head for now.
What are your experiences of travelling with kids? Have you been to Sri Lanka?
It is good to be back posting on here,
Where we stayed: Arabella on Boosa
Who we flew with: Emirates