It’s been almost a year since my oldest was “home”.  Almost a year since we hopped a 14.99 flight to London, followed by a 9.99 flight to Dublin. Once you are in Europe it’s incredibly cheap to fly around with Ryanair (German Wings, EasyJet or Pegasus)… as long as you carry just a backpack. I’m a travel bug, just a backpack works for me. Up, up & away!

Soren spent the first six months after college living with my sister Manon, a school teacher in the Sierra Nevada’s.  Those six months were an eternity for him. He’d expected to get a job straight out of college and each month he wasn’t hired was an incredible blow.  My sister not only gave him a roof over his head, food in his belly, but also strong, loving support.  When he finally got a job, a fantastic job, he paid her back.  He bought his aunt a ticket to Germany, to see me! Win-win-WIN! I dragged her along on our week-long mad hopping tour of the UK & Ireland.

Our very favorite stop in Dublin was the Guinness Factory Tour.  I’ve done it once before, with our best friends Karen & Emmett. It’s worth doing twice (or more, please let there be more!). Walking in those big, Guinness gates is like stepping into another time. Did you know that every Guinness worker gets a pint of Guinness every day? Sign me up! The Studio does not give that bonus.

I could spend a day at the factory just playing with my camera. The iron beams, the brick walls, the wooden casks make for compelling photography.  Sadly, my crew was not into me playing with my camera (see? I really have to go back). One of my favorite parts of the tour is learning to draw the perfect pint of Guinness. I am a certified Guinness pourer (picture from the first trip):


 The other favorite part? The Gravity Bar!  It’s a 360° view of Dublin.  Absolutely stunning on any kind of day, and last year we had sun, rainbow, rain, clouds all in the same hour. And beer. Lots & lots of beer. The first pint is free, included with the tour.  Luckily all my beers were free. Soren has recently discovered beer is yummy and he loves treating his parents.  This day, almost a year ago, was a very, very good day.


St Patrick’s from the Gravity barIMG_3352

My sister, Soren & Lindsay







We took every recipe home!

So far we’ve made the stew, we’re seriously slacking here, and it was delicious!  Highly recommend. This recipe is originally found on the Guinness Storehouse website:


  • 200ml of Guinness® Foreign Extra Stout
  • 400g stewing diced beef
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1 large carrot – diced
  • 1 large celery – diced
  • 1 large parsnip – diced
  • 1 litre of thick beef stock
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme of rosemary
  • Champ potato (creamed mashed potato and spring onion)


Stir fry the beef, add the vegetables and cook until tender, then pour the Guinness® and reduce by half. Add the beef stock and herbs and simmer very slowly for between an hour and an hour and a half. Serve with the champ potato and honey roast carrot and parsnip.

Tip – This stew is always better made one day in advance.