No More Connie Kicks

By | Ethical Living, God | No Comments

I really really love Converse! I remember as a kid thinking that they were the coolest trainers ever and I really wanted a pair but my parents couldn’t afford them which was heart breaking! I tried to persuade them that I didn’t need to eat for a couple of weeks but it didn’t stick.

Now I’m a proper grown up I can afford them and for the past decade or so I’ve been donning my connie kicks with pride and replacing them in an unending cycle of shoemanship!

More recently Converse have started offering the ability to customize your shoes by letting you design your own which is awesome! I designed the spinning bad boys below bringing a theme of my heritage but sadly I will never buy them.This pains me greatly as I really really really want them – Look at them – they’re so full of awesome it’s silly but I just cant bring myself to buy trainers from them until they sort some stuff out.

You see Converse have a pretty bad ethical score card. The Ethical Consumer website only gives Converse a measly 6.5 out of 20 including 3 big counts against them involving abuse of workers rights. This is not cool!

So how do we live ethically but maintain our sense of super cool?

I did some research and found a few companies that sell canvas style trainers that are very similar to Converse but have a much better ethical rating and we settled on The Fair Corp. They have a really great selection and have a massive score of 17! Both my wife and I needed new trainers so we ordered a pair of black low tops for her and pa pair of green high tops for me!ad

When they arrived I tweeted about their arrival and got a nice tweet of appreciation in return (great customer service that):

Woop woop our trainers came from @ETHLETICshoes http://ow.ly/i/Lp46  #EthicalLiving

We were a little nervous about getting them as we didn’t quite know if they’d be as good because in the past ethical companies have had a rep of producing below par quality products but these have been amazing! We were initially very impressed and I’ve been continuously impressed with them since.

Silver Strand 2012

By | Family | No Comments

The View

Our holiday was truly fantastic! I’ll try and follow the photo gallery below:

  • Arrival & Awe – So we arrived in Dublin airport and everything went as planned. My Dad had left his car keys at a pick up point complete with the agreed codeword along the bottom of the envelope even though the chap at the counter didn’t even flinch when I delivered said code phrase. No he only responded to my name but this response resulted in passage to the Car.  Dad bought a Skoda Superb. I thought his previous 5 Series BMW was big but this thing was enormous. Enormous and luxurious – it parks itself! Anyway  after a few mins of poking around the controls we drove down to Wicklow and our next awe striking experience was delivered when we walked in to my parents Static Caravan. Our home for, what would be the next 10 days, was beautiful and homely and much more than we expected.
  • Dara & Dalkey – Day 2 was a bit of a tour in itself. We arranged to meet up with one of my old school fiends Dara in Bray. The ideas was to walk along the promenade and have lunch but as we were walking we all realised that the quality of food establishments was poor so we went with Dara’s recommendation and drove up to Dalkey (If I could choose to live anywhere with no regard to life as it is I would choose here) and after trying to find somewhere to park we had lunch in Queens. Post Lunch we strolled down to Bullock harbor cause it was a beautiful day. The heat of the day dictated the need for ice-cream and no trip to Dublin is complete without a trip to Teddy’s in Dún Laoghaire which we ate while walking down the West Pier. it was a lovely day in all.
  • Silvers & ma youff – The next couple of days were spent chilling. We started reading “The Hunger Games” trilogy (taking it in turns to read to each other) in the caravan and walking on the beach I grew up going to every single summer of my childhood. It was brilliant. We also noticed that my folks had the entire works (to date) of “Downton Abbey” so we also indulged in that and managed to watch the first two seasons and Christmas special before we went home.
  • Brittas – We headed out in the car one day heading for Brittas Bay but we ended up overshooting as we weren’t quite ready for a walk when we got there so we continued down toe coast to Gorey and had lunch in a lovely little cafe before returning back up to Brittas for our walk.
  • Perrymans & Cormac – Midweek and one of the best days was when our friends from London “The Perrymans” came down for the day. It was really great having a friends from a different era of life get a flavor of my early life. We did some walking and chilling and in the eve one of my oldest friends “Cormac” came down for the eve and we ended up having a wee sing song. It was really a lovely day.
  • Glendalough & Boxing over the Sally Gap -We headed up in to the wicklow mountains to visit Glendalough which is an ancient monastic ruin. We walked about, realized how unfit we both are and then took a drive over the Sally Gap while listing to Katy Taylor achieve Ireland’s only gold medal.
  • Mom & Dad – On the Friday we had arranged to collect my folks from the airport seeing as we had their car. So we went in and brought them back to their house and then went back down to wicklow where they joined us for lunch the following day. We had a lovely time with them over the last few days and it was great spending time with them.

All in all our holiday was restful and chilled and we had a really wonderful break!

DIY Why? Banksy Balloon Girl 8 0f 8

By | Blog, Techie | No Comments

So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:


When we were deciding on decor for the flat we both had the idea of using vinyls on the walls and the living room was the first decision. We wanted to use something dramatic but emotive also and Banksy’s balloon girl was the obvious choice for me as it’s one of my favourite Banksy pieces. So I mocked it up in Photoshop and we both agreed it would look awesome and indeed it does!

 

DIY Why? – The Fridge Door 7 of 8

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So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:

Fridge door tray stops. Like so many things in this flat that came with – the fridge is a little old and run down. We didn’t realize until we’d moved in that the fridge was actually missing the door trays which was not fun. So remembering the fact that I could challenge MacGyver or the-A-Team to an invent-off with my surly coat-hanger bending skills  I decide to create a simple guard which so far has been quite effective – except the top one is a bit prone to popping off if you open the door to vigorously. They say you can fix anything with Gaffer Tape and WD40 but I’d like to add wire coat hangers to the list!

DIY Why? – The Drop Leaf Table 6 of 8

By | Blog, Techie | No Comments

So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:

Drop Leaf table – Our last kitchen was never a fun place to cook in and I was determined to make sure that I would have enough surface space to cook comfortably. The layout of our kitchen is much better simply because it’s much bigger but I was concerned that if we needed to prepare a large meal then there wasn’t quite enough space so we bought this IKEA drop leaf table. The fun bit was fitting it as it’s a hollow wall and so I had my first go at using some heavy duty hollow-wall screws. – Its been great to use and is holding up strong.

 

DIY Why? – The Shelf 5 of 8

By | Blog, Techie | No Comments

So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:

This is really only an honorable mention as its not really a full project. It’s only a shelf but the fun thing was that i got to get the circular saw out and wreak more havoc on the previously mentioned desk. The result is an incredibly useful shelf in the kitchen cupboard.

 

DIY Why? – The Upcycled Desk 4 of 8

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So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:

Another item we inherited was this spectacularly large office desk!

The last guy who rented the room upstairs – I say rented when actually he only paid for 2 out of the 7 months he lived here and when he snuck out he left our good friend Jo without his contribution to the utility bills! – What a lovely charming chap!!!  – Anyway we tried to sell this monstrosity on eBay but it never even got a viewing so I decided to use it for myself. It had a date with my brother-in-law’s circular saw and then became a much smaller but more suitable desk for my office although I had to work on its orientation as the first office layout didn’t suit the sloping floor which gave me a dodgy back as i was sitting on a slope and bending my back to the right:

Now it’s great!

DIY Why? – The Upcycled Futon 3 of 8

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So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:

Another thing we inherited with the flat was one of these old IKEA Futon things. Now even in good condition these things are the most uncomfortable things ever to the point that in the past I have chosen the floor over the futon option. Now this particular one was in bad shape. It was suffering a few broken slats and a missing screw or two. – So why would we wanna keep it? Well – it wasn’t  for the original purpose. No I wanted to use it for shelving. With the help of my brother, we cut them down to size and stained them with the same stuff we used for the low sideboard then mounted them in the alcove above the TV ready for the Hifi and DVD’s bringing a nice symmetry to the room.

DIY Why? – The Repainted Sideboard 2 of 8

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So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:

So in this picture you can see the aged and battered pine sideboard. Okay so you might not really be able to see it but believe me  – it’s there. Its the unit underneath all the other stuff doing its job as a sideboard well just looking pretty ugly (behind the chair).  – Knowing that we were going to be bringing in our own set of shelves we decided we should paint the sideboard black or to be precise – we decided to stain it black.

DIY Why? – The Upcycled Sofa 1 of 8

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So last month we moved into our new flat and we are getting a really great deal on the place but we agreed that we would do all the improvements to the place. So here is a wee series on our home DIY and so this is why:

So we inherited this cheap and tatty IKEA sofa with the flat. It was ready to go to the dump and Ruth wanted it gone but I was keen to see if we could up-cycle it. Two sofas are always better than one especially when we now have loads of space and if we could achieve that without having to buy another sofa then that was gonna be ace too! So on my first investigation of how we might make it a little better the whole back of the sofa fell off as the chipboard which kept it in place crumbled. At this point Ruth really wanted it gone but a little further investigation (made easier now it was in two halves) gave me the inspiration on how to rebuild it and make it better than it was. Then thanks to several 6inch bolts, many many MANY staples, a few throws and £15 lighter it was transformed in to this: