Our intrepid adventuress Ellen (just back from Backpacking in Brazil) – now braves the epic event that is Lisdoonvarna…

Fair Game’ ‘Good Sport’ ‘Pocket Billiards’ #matchmakingfestival


Ever since I came to Ireland, I have always wanted to go to the phenomenon that is the Lisdoonvarna Match Making Festival. With my new ‘state of consciousness’ and my trying not to give a ‘fiddle de-de mama’ attitude, my lovely friend and I decided to go – ‘for the craic’. We got dressed in ‘going out, out’ clothes (insert Mickey Flanagan sketch). Head-to-toe Brown Thomas various labelled clothing, times two peeps. We looked ‘well sophisticated!’.
lisdoonWe were told to stand on the road in Lahinch at about 22:30 to catch a minibus taxi-van. We did, and magically one turned up, with six other young ladies. The local bouncer who helped us get the taxi van told the driver to ‘load them in!’ So like a herd of a cattle, we embarked on the small country road to Lisdoonvarna. The six young ladies in the mini bus were in fine form and took requests and sang songs all the way to the festival, one song being ‘Lisdoonvarna’ which consisted of just singing ‘Lisdoonvarna’ over and over again (insert Christy Moore (who is not a woman) song here). The taxi driver is nicknamed ‘the horse’, apparently because of his stallion-ness (aforementioned horse giggles to himself as he says this to the singing minibus full of women).

He then drops us off and tells us he will pick us up at 13:45 ‘by the bins’…

What then ensues is delightful Irish cross road of pubs, hotels and jovial carnage.
After watching a young fella throw up in between two parked cars we decided drink healthily – obviously vodka and water. We then go to The Matchmaker Hotel to see the legend Willie Daly, The Matchmaker! He was just about to leave with his famous matchmaking huge leather bound book in an Aldi plastic bag, when my lovely friend who knew Willie, got him to stay a bit longer so I could get the ‘magic rubbings’ from the book and a photo with Willie! Too excited! Willie gave me a matchmaking application form which included a space for car registration number…
One fella started to chat to us, he looked at us and said ‘you’ve just come here to take the piss’…#rumbled


The hotel was sparsely furnished with wooden country style dinning chairs stacked up agains the back wall and three rows of them at the side of the dance floor! The punters were all ages, types and sexes. The place was rammers and this was only one of the venues. We sat to the edge at the back and side part of the dance floor and took up our voyeuristic positions. Spotted a younger, well girthed ‘Dad bod’ (man with a figure like your dad), farmer type boy at the opposite side of the room but then proceeded to be ‘cock blocked’ by ‘auld’ fellas literally blocking our view.



The band were amazing! Played various country tunes followed by Footloose and Maniac (insert tune) at the end of the night. Young fellas were dancing rave to country music and auld fellas were jiggling with their belts and jeans but everyone was dancing, having the craic, introducing themselves and chatting! I must say fair play to the men of Lisdoonvarna, they were tipsy, shouty, spitty, hilarious, charming, chatty and approached women. Not one person was on a mobile phone!
snowflakesWe got mauled, touched, stroked and at one point a stocky young fella gave me a dry shampoo, (which is like a dry hump for the scalp) before straddling the woman seated in front of us.. . n American approached my gorgeous friend and proceed to show her on his phone his houses, the size of his boat and where Florida was on the map!
We decided to go ring-side for the last part of the night and moved on to the chairs around the dance floor.  Two very drunk men asked us where we were from and when I said that I was English one of them pulled a disgusted face, staggered around, waved his ‘no’ finger at me, shook his head and said out loud ‘NO’ and moved unsteadily on to the next woman.
We then spotted a couple PDAing in the form of a snog…

The lady snogger was giving the man snogger instructions to ‘slow down’ which no doubt was informative and a match to be made in the process.

The Fields of Athenry played to announce the end of the night and we walked down the street to await our taxi van by the bins!

The atmosphere was super great, everyone, was just having a really great time. The craic was mighty.
We met our lovely other bus ladies and waited for the taxi-van (thank goodness no one had moved the bins). Revellers from all over walked past having the craic and the chat. Then my friend noticed from the corner of her eye a fella was relieving himself in front of the wall by the bins. I however noticed that he was relieving himself too much and was actually having a ‘tommy tank!’ Hoping that would not be the last memory of Lisdoonvarna Festival; a super hot, age-inappropriate hipster type man walked past and bid us ‘good evening’! Horaah!

The horse and the taxi minibus van pulled up! We informed the horse to drive really fast at the hipster man, knock him over, break his legs and put him in ‘da van’….#thatistruelove



Bitchmittens Ellen



No Make Up Month

In work the past few days discussions have been going the way of serious make-up chats. A colleague of mine is quite the cosmetic queen. She knows everything, has ALL (ALLLLLLLLLLL) the kit and has even taken a super serious course in it. I, on the other hand, change mascara every year (more like 2) and barely have the energy to put on a full face in the morning, honestly we should all be lucky I remember to brush my teeth! It got me thinking of something I did last year, just on a whim… And I always meant to talk about it.


I do enjoy doing my make up, I love how it makes me look and feel and of course I like to treat myself to little purchase every now and then but sometimes I feel like I have to wear make up, not just that I want to wear it. That when I don’t wear it I look tired. Or that I’m not fully “work-appropriate” without a slick of mascara, that I’m not finished. Or that a “no make up” is seen as something one does on resting/chill day. These thoughts are obviously silly but it did get me thinking about how engrained make-up has become in my daily life.


So that’s why summer last year “obviously when I had built up a less than Irish glow” I decided to not wear n0 make-up for a month. Yes, a whole month. I know there are two types of people. Some who right now are yelling “Nooooooope!” as the read this and others (like me) who think “Pfft! That’s a piece of cake! Sure I barely wear make upas it is.”


I wanted to see two things…


Firstly, would anyone actually notice that I’m not wearing any make up (believe me, I have friends who are that forward). Would people comment on my appearance, did I look tired, pale, over-worked etc. And secondly, I wanted to see if I could be truly comfortable in my own skin. If I could love my face; moles, freckles, wandering eyebrow hair and all! Acceptance of yourself is important and honestly a struggle for me but I sort of like my face (hence all the selfies) so I thought it would be just fine!




And honestly, it was.


No one! And I mean no one noticed I hadn’t worn any make up. Even when I mentioned it to my friends/ work colleagues. They were surprised, they assumed they would notice. Which of course made me feel great, like I had a super duper face! And for the most part I honestly loved not wearing make-up. I loved having those extra 10 minutes in bed, I loved being able to rub my eyes and not look like a panda, I LOVED not having to wipe it off before going to bed, or having to touch it up or have it rub off onto my clothes. There was this beautiful sense of freedom… Until…


Until I went of for drinks. This was a whole other ball game. Suddenly I felt naked! That I no longer looked my best without “putting my face on.” People would certainly notice if I had no make up on at night, people would judge. I felt lazy and unkempt. Even my outfits looked odd without make up! I felt wretched and so unprepared for what was just drinks my now husband and our buddy. To cheer myself up I took a selfie, posted it up on Instagram and instantly my sister was gushing over me. That was all the encouragement I needed. I was just insecure. I had gone to work without my make-up done hundreds of times but this was new. Something I had never attempted. A scenario where I have always felt make-up was necessary. And again, no one looked at me weird, nothing was said (other than compliments). I had a great night, I even enjoyed two more nights out that month sans make-up. I was beginning to get used to the whole thing.


What did I learn? Well, that I don’t really hate my face and that I can “get away” without wearing make up pretty much all the time. I should only have to wear make up when I want to… I shouldn’t feel pressured by society to cover my face if I actually don’t want to. There are women who simply love the slap and enjoy the whole process and have a foundation for every second of the week because they live and breathe beauty. Some women see it as a shield to get then through their day. Their make up is on and nothing can stop them.


And some girls are like me and can’t be bothered half the time and that’s alright to.


Wear make-up or don’t wear make-up. It’s only ever for you…

Dear Rhona

A letter to my (almost) sister in law:

Dear Rhona,
I write this with just over one week until your wedding. One week until you start the next leg of your adventure with your chief partner in crime. 6 years, I’ve known you. A lot less than a lot of people but in that time you have well and truly bloomed. You are a gorgeous human inside and out, you live to your fullest and you drag us along (not always willingly, I might add!) for the ride.
I admire you so much. You constantly inspire me to try new things (prime example being becoming a contributor to this amazing blog), you encourage me to be a bit mental and you plan madness with me – I’m holding you to the next city running tour!!!
I guess what I want to say, and want to share, is that if you continue to grow (well, not grow – you’re tiny now, another massive achievement btw) and develop at the rate you are going, the world better watch out. Cormac is a lucky fella. I look forward to carrying on encouraging each other, and dare I say being a little bit competitive with one another. If I am ever jealous of you, it is not because I want what you have, but rather it is because what you are is so truly fantastic. I am so excited for you and I am so utterly utterly happy for you.
Love (and bags of admiration),

10 Reasons I Love You

I Love You #Surfing

1. Mind space.

Bad day? Woke up the wrong side of your own bed by yourself (again)… Drive to the coast, posh lounge pants and OMG push up Ultimo bra in shocking pink leopard print… Turn up the stereo, open the windows! Feel the stress following out of your veins and into the ether…. Pulling into the beach car park, rubber necking to see the size of the waves. Feel the excitement! Once in the water all that you notice are the sea, the noise of the waves, the sky and how quickly you can catch your first wave of the morning/afternoon/evening….my mind is now clear of any “busyness”.


2. Rush.

Once up on that wave; ones position on the board is good. Feeling the water and the power of the swell beneath you, pushing you forwards, #babscartland. Getting up (eventually) to your feet/knees/whatever body part (not lady garden). Up and riding along the length of the wave – “thank god I am alive and truly blessed to be able to have this experience, on earth” #heavy.


3. Tan

“to be sure”…apply fake tan before entering the water. To make it look like you hang out at the beach all the time! Even in the winter sun you can actually get a tan/wind burn from surfing! Bonus…


4. Nature

Waves, birds, sky, seaweed, even the odd seal. Need I say more?


5. Flip flops

Amazing, versatile footwear. Who needs an excuse to buy havaianas in thirty different colours??? Team them up with thick hand knitted woollen socks, to go from summer to winter!


6. Hair products

Lady-folk have to buy products during “holiday season” to get beach & festival hair. You can even get a blow dry that looks like you have been to the beach! Just create your own “beach look” by actually going to the beach!


7. Social (Real kind)

Surfing attracts all types of people and it is totally social as long as one has an open attitude. And guess what – you all having surfing in common!


8. Well fit

The first time I surfed I couldn’t believe how out of breath and just generally tired I was, after only an hour. It is an amazing all round work out. Good cardio, works the legs, walking out into the waves with a rip/current isn’t as easy as it looks! Paddling is an amazing upper body and shoulder work out. “Popping up” (standing up) on the board, “riding” the wave. Good for core, balance and joints.


9. Fun

It is the most fun in all types of weather!


10. Chips & Mayo

A lot of beaches have beach-front eateries. Being in the water sat waiting for waves and smelling chips, is the best! They also taste the best after a surf!


This Top 10 was brought to you by:


~BitchMittens ELLEN

Ellen Baggs, when not being a beach babe can be found teaching Yoga all over the place. Check out her Bookface page but try not to perve, as she is totally lush.

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