It’s been 14 (FOURTEEN!) years since I made my First Communion. My outfit was spectacular. My mum made a dress covered with pearls, with a matching purse- obv. My headdress involved flowers, ribbons and wire. That’s all background information though. The best bit’s yet to come.

The socks.

My communion socks were sent over from my cousin in Madrid. They were silk. They were white. They also had pearls. (Pearls seem to have been a common theme). They had ribbons. (Ribbons: Also a common theme). They cascaded in little ruffles down my ankles. They were the most beautiful things I have ever owned.

Communion over, my dress was passed onto the next cousin in line, and my white patent Mary-Janes were blackened for school shoes. The socks disappeared into the aether. Something that magical can’t stay around for more than one day.

I kind of want another pair though. The Catholic Children’s Company does a fine range…

These ones aren’t strictly First Communion socks, but still…






Oy vey, another year out. Our blogín is not quite yet one year old, but as we say often, in the manner of over-indulgent aunties, we love every single one of you. And when we mean you, we mean those who continually type the following search terms into Google.

Olsen Twins: 78
Sugababes: 19
Mia: 17
M.I.A.: 16
mia: 13
Right Said Fred: 6
mia pics: 4
pin up swimsuit: 2
pashmina: 2
nike high top blazers: 2

We hope you party hardy this evening, or, if you’d rather, watch Jools Holland. As long as you’re happy, we’re happy.

Ailbhe and Katie-Lilga.

get your lights on honey

November 14, 2008


Introducing MY FAVE.

The level of nostalgia brought on by the old Dundrum Shopping Centre in my mind reaches quite catastrophic levels. It may sound like some sort of skewed, romantic image of mine, but we truly did trek across rolling green hills to reach it when I was a young(er) ‘un. Well, one rolling green hill anyway. Bright Ideas, with it’s bejewelled boxes and little trinkets and toys, was always on our list of shops to visit, and later Material Girl supplied us with patched jeans for a tenner. School uniforms were courtesy of Rita’s and Champion Sports supplied me with my first Tamagotchi. There was a photo booth where we came dangerously close to pissing ourselves with laughter, and a hairdressers where I was introduced to the wonders of layers as a ten year old. It’s sad, then, to see the lights long gone out in all but one shop, Noel Reid’s menswear, which is also in the process of closing down. Even sadder is the fact that, sooner rather than later, the shopping centre will be torn down to make way for some hotel or apartment complex of some sort. Don’t get me wrong, the place is nothing near striking, especially now that the bins overflow and the shop windows are covered in black plastic sheeting.

And now? Well it appears that this is the shopping centre that just keeps on giving. This time in the form of a hilariously bright and garish ‘Xmas Tree Show’ shop in the unit that used to be home to Penneys. It makes me smile when I walk through the village and watch the shopping centre positively glow, all day, all night. I will never complain about Christmas starting too early ever again, and in fact, I never want it to end. I appeal to all actual photographers to go and take some super photos of it and then give them to me. ta. very. much.


About Your Dress

November 14, 2008

Long long before Gok Wan and Trinny and Suzie, there was a budding designer who understood- nay, KNEW- that the world is comprised of different body types. This young upstart had visions of an army of females, all clad in urban streetwear, all rejoicing in their own individuality. This was a line for all girls, all real girls. Only fitting then that it should be called Re: Al Girls.

Yes. It’s diary time again. Here is our first extract. Can we please bear in mind-
a)The baffling amount of layering inherent in these ‘designs’.
b) The deft use of colouring pencil.
c) The clear arrows pointing to the accessories.
d) The options for so so many of them to be made into trousers.

I think the ‘Superstar’ jeans are my favourite. Although, I do hold a soft spot for the green shirt/blue tie/ jeans combo, as it was based on an outfit (in fact, it WAS an outfit) that I used to wear on the regular.




Alas, no designs remain from ‘Gutterstar’, the diffusion range.

omg i like denimz too

Would everybody like a brief look into my musical past? YES! oh oh okay. At the turn of the century, all I would listen to was Mary J. Blige and Ashanti. A significant turning point came when, in 2002, I had the choice between splashing out on The Very Best (it really was) of Pure R ‘n’ B Vol. 2 or The Calling’s LOVELY Camino Palmero (first blog to mention this album in a favourable way more than once? probably.). After one hella deep breath, I chose the latter. However, before this dramatic life-changing event, even before Dr. Dre gave me a prescription for a daily dose of No More Drama, I was a full on girlband addict and severe wannabe (zigga ziggahh). If I were able to root out my old diaries as Ailbhe has done recently (mine are long since torn up in embarrassment) you would be sure to find my ‘top threes’. In the musical sense it would include the likes of Spice Girls, B*Witched, All Saints, Eternal and possibly even Cleopatra at some point. But really, in my eyes, there was only one all girl group worthy of worldwide appreciation and fame. Girls 2000. Never heard of them? Formed in the late half of the 1990s, Girls 2000 consisted of two sisters and a some-amount-of-times-removed cousin (none of these were me or relatives of mine…Okay so one of them was me and two of them were relatives of mine). The following is an exclusive look at the lyrics from their first single, stunning…just…stunning.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it the girls are back in town!
Makeway! Gateway! For the Girls 2000!
Girls 2000 are here, and nobody’s safe, nobody’s
From their love, their power, their sweet devour!

(note the excessive use of exclamation marks.)

We definitely exercised our artistic license and made up words along the way for the sake of a good rhyme. We definitely bought shoes from the bargain bin in Penneys and spray painted them gold and silver. I definitely teamed these with a pair of orange cat tights from The Sock Shop (up there in my ‘top threes’ of shopping destinations at the time), a black velvet skirt and a stripey woollen polo neck.

Somewhere out there is a grainy video of Girls 2000’s first and only public appearance at a Christmas party. I need it quite urgently. I would treasure it forever and only wish I could say the same for my poor old diaries.

Hopefully, you will all get a look into the mind of teenage Ailbhe very soon with a couple of diary extracts. She might even tell you about the conceptual band (with actual instruments) that she started back in transition year, The Xams.


Los Angeles Calling

October 5, 2008

BAM i’m back. Yes go on…welcome me…with open arms yes…little wider…wider…that’s better. I feel the need to return with a BANG…a BLAST even. Blast from the past, perhaps?

I always find it unnerving the way music can have the ability to transport you back to a certain time or place in your life. It can leave you feeling bewildered and unprepared to deal with the emotions and memories it drags from somewhere deep in your mind. There is one band that causes this reaction in me more than any other. Let’s take some time to appreciate the most under-appreciated band in the history of music, The Calling. I’d like to think that they are everybody’s guilty pleasure but truth is, most can probably safely and honestly say that, in their opinion, The Calling are not their cup of tea, coffee, or whatever varierty of hot drink it is that gets them off. I’m on a quest to find someone who feels the same way about them as I do. I devoted more of my earspace to their debut album Camino Palmero back in 2001 than I have to any other album to date, so much so that I have become preoccupied with the notion that every song written ever since sounds just like one of theirs. It takes one identical note in any song and I will launch into my account of the facts that led to the downfall of The Calling from the chart throne which, in a nutshell, is that every other musician was sooo jealous of Alex Band & Co’s super amazing talent that they sabotaged them and took apart their songs with a fine-toothed comb and proceeded to share the little snippets of musical genius amongst themselves. Yeah, true story. Or perhaps their second album ‘Two’ was really really really bad (guffaw, as if). I wouldn’t know as I…eh…didn’t listen to it once. So all you Calling fan(s), speak up, we are soulmates you see. We have lots of lost time to make up for. Perhaps we could be penpals.

Youtube embedding is ‘disabled by request’ on all of The Calling’s videos. Not happy. As a result, I really shouldn’t do the right thing and mention that lead singer, Alex Band, is pursuing a solo career and has been honoured with a place on the soundtrack for Bratz: The Movie, but I’m just nice like that.

If you’re wondering who or what occupied second place in my earspace rankings it was this absolute TUNE that featured on a TV Hits compilation tape from heaven.

Now excuse me, I have some colouring-in to be catching up on.


p.s. Don’t forget to click on the link in the post below to see Ailbhe transported through the power of the internet to the world of Amelia’s magazine. I give her an A+. Amazing Ameliated Ailbhe.

Seeing as this is our 100th post, I thought it ought to be something at least vaguely well-argued. It won’t be. Apologies. I was talking to a friend of mine recently about the difference between style and fashion. My argument went like this: For me, fashion is just clothes. Anyone can be fashionable, it’s just a case of shopping in the right stores. Style, however, is how you wear the damn things. A pair of jeans and a t-shirt can go horribly wrong:

or terribly right:

He then asked me to describe me own views on fashion. ‘Ailbhe’, says he, ‘what’s in at the moment?’
I thought, and came up with : stripes, tartan, folksy, grungey, goth. Then he says this- ‘So, would you follow any of those trends?’. Consciously no, I wouldn’t. But, then I looked down at what I was wearing- a striped sailor dress with a moss green jumper and a tartan scarf. Stripes- check. Folksy- check. Tartan- check (pun unintended).

It’s difficult to explain really. I don’t follow fashion, but I do. Earlier on that day, the same friend asked me to describe my style. The best that I could come up (albeit a few days late) with was ‘A student in Paris 1968 who has landed in the 80’s.’ Even then though, that’s not entirely accurate. I hate the idea of categorizing what I wear, because then I’ll feel the need to wear only things that fit into that category. In the same way, I never do ‘What I Wore Today’ posts, because it makes it seem as if I have a concrete way of dressing, as it were.

That’s not to say that I don’t wear the same thing a lot. I do. I’m seldom seen without some kind of belt and/or scarf, and generally, I wear tops tucked into waistbands-

This is all liable to change though, and it probably- most definitely- will. Alls I’m trying to say here, is that while I may wear clothes that are in fashion, I never consciously try to be fashion-able. I’d rather wear something that fits me, and that suits me, than whatever Vice or Pop are lauding. At the same time though, if I like a style, and it’s currently in vogue, I’m not going to say no just because the masses like it.

I mean, as Yves said-
Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.

Happy 100th Post, one and all.


Attic in the Basement

July 28, 2008

My Granny Keatley was clearing out her house, and in the process gave us a load of old photos of when her and Grandad Keatley were courting and marrying and being young and stuff. A fine woman, is Granny Keatley. She’s almost 90, yet still has an insatiable appetite for a daily mass, a bit of a snack, and a gossip about people she knows. She also likes to be kissed on both cheeks. ‘I’m French!’ she says. She’s not French. She just wants kisses. She does it to everyone. Even waiters in restaurants. Like I said, a fine woman.

Here she is as young Nora Kelly, to the right to the right in both photos, in 1930:

Then, she met Grandad- Paddy Keatley. On their first date, he took her and a pal to dinner. He left a mighty tip for the waitress, to impress Gran. Gran waited til his back was turned and took the tip herself. Smashing.

This is them on a date in Avoca in 1942:

This is them, on another date, in the same year:

Finally, at their wartime wedding:

She probably won’t read this. I don’t think she knows what a computer is. Nonetheless, Nora Keatley, a hats off to you.