Champagne or Wa???

Fab Fillies & The Galway Races

Since I can remember and certainly as long as I've been teaching each year I keep promising myself that I'm going to go to the Galway Races, and in particular Ladies Day.  Each year it comes and goes and without fail I find myself looking at all the fabulous dresses and hats on social media, promising myself next year will be the year.  Well as you may have realised over the past few posts, I'm taking life by the horns lately and doing all the things I always put off.  A couple of weeks ago I put my foot down and said 'Right, I'm doing this!' and so the wheels were set in motion and the prep began.

The Hat

It all begins with a hat! A few post ago I mentioned that I saw a very talented and wonderful milliner called Tina Hemlock Coyne at a fashion show in The Rising Tide.  Tina is the creative genius behind Elizabeth Christina Designs, and I say genius meaning it quite literally.  I was only too delighted to find a hat that perfectly suited what I had envisioned I'd wear and only too grateful to be able to borrow this beauty for the day. It was stunning and so comfortable to wear, elegant with that little twist - exactly what I'd like to think my style is.
Tina's work is outstanding and this is only proven by her track record at Ladies Day; two finalists in Killarney and a hat in final of the g Hotel's Best Hat Competition and of course Tina's own win as Best Dressed Lady on the Tuesday .  I can't of course forget her very dapper husband Tom, who won best dressed man! And of course Bairbre Power tweeted her designs early on Ladies Day from Galway!
Tina was so lovely to deal with, an absolutely gem, so kind, friendly and welcoming, but it is her work that stands out the most, intricate, elegant and so easy to wear.  Her workshop is full of amazing creations and the ingredients to make so many more.  I can't wait for the next 'hat' occasion I have because this fabulous lady will be my first port of call.
Check her out on FB here!

(Roz Purcell was impressed with my ECD headpiece too, even went as far as trying to photobomb it!)

The Dress

I bought my wedding dress with every intention of wearing it again.  The girl in the bridal shop was in stitches at me when I said that it was definitely the one, because I knew I'd be able to wear it again.  She had never heard a bride say that before!  And I was true to my word, the dress got an outing in its former glory at The Butterfly Ball the year after I got married with a red belt instead of the ivory original and I knew then it had had it's full length days.  Not many seamstress are eager to hack into a woman's very expensive (Dec continues to remind me!) wedding dress, thankfully we have an amazing family friend who took on the task and did an outstanding job.  I am delighted with the results and already planning the next outing it might get.  Mary you are a star, although you refuse to recognise it.
(The dress was a Jesus Peiro original bought in Say I Do in Midleton.)
So ladies get those dresses out of the cupboard and get chopping!  Gathering dust is just a shame.

Shout out to Dominic Dunne for the wedding photo and Emily Ross for the second!

Other outfit Details:

Handbag from the amazing and ageless Pat Walker-VintageVogue  (It carried so much!!!!!)

Earrings and Bracelet from Absolute, stocked by Christy's Irish Stores in Cobh. (They are run by Kilkenny so all stock available there and of course from Jane and the girls in the Heritage Centre in Cobh!)

Shoes from Shoebox @ Littlewoods Ireland

Perfume:  My sister is an Oriflame lady and this is one of their new perfumes 'Divine Idol' - it's gorgeous!

The Hustle and the Bustle

So having tried on, trial ran and procrastinated as if I was getting married, I was finally ready for my first Ladies Day and a Ladies Day in Galway!!!!  Excitement was not the word, anyone who is friends with me on FB will know I got a little bit too excited! and tormented everyone, but in fairness this mama doesn't get out much and it was a big deal to me.
We drove up on Thursday morning and I must admit it was very relaxed.  We stopped in the Clayton Hotel for some brekkie (a sausie sandwich) and a quick change in their loo and a not so glamorous six o clock start turned into a very glamorous twelve o clock stride of pride into the Race course.  The hubby didn't scrub up to bad either I'm sure you'll agree!

Being a novice at a Ladies Day I hadn't a clue what to do and Dec certainly didn't, but he put on a brave face and stuck it out with me.  It was freezing, but the fashion was amazing and the warm welcome from fellow Corkonians Tina, Helen Quealy Murphy ( aka DailyDivaDiary - last year's Best Dressed Lady) and Daniel Mahon helped to quell the nervous (that I was surprised by) and to warm the bones.  I was amazed at all the twoing and froing and the back and forth, but it all added to the excitement.  Part of me was so dying to get that golden ticket into the Kilkenny Best Dressed Tent and there was another part of me that was just dying for a warm cup of tea!  Sadly neither happened for me and the golden ticket and the cup of tea remained at large for the rest of the day.

I was surprised too at just how high the standard was and how amazing the hats were, even Dec was entertained by all the fashion and got a little bit of a buzz out of judge watch.  I was delighted to 'bump' into Maura Duane on her way to the Kilkenny tent, she was so nice to stop and chat.  She was impressed more by Dec's charm than by my outfit, but at least one of us impressed her.
I also met the fabulous Aoife Murphy in the Champagne Tent who is gearing up for her Rose Tour, starting this Sunday.  Aoife is such an amazing representative for Cork and I know who I'll have my money on in Tralee. (Aoife was wearing another of Tina's hats on the day and will be throughout her reign as Cork Rose)

The Champagne Tent

My hubby gratefully offered to drive to Galway, so I couldn't begrudge him a pint at the races so I chose to drive, which meant I couldn't really have any champagne.  We did go in to have a glass but unfortunately they only sell it by the bottle and at €100 a bottle it would have been a very expensive glass!!!  But I got there and I got a pic!  Maybe next year I'll sample their wares, because there will be a next year!!!

And the racing.........

After the hype of Ladies Day Best Dressed we retired to the stands and then the Guinness tent for a little flutter on the horses and of course some socialising. We joined friends of ours, Emily and David and I must say it was one of the best days I've had in a long time and we won some money!!!!!!  Although Magic Kitten in the second last was leggedly last, at least the jockey did in style.  My horse chose itself in the second 'Champagne or Water', but I must admit I liked the name even more when it printed from the Tote, 'Champagne or Wa'.  It didn't win but it placed and with good odds I didn't do too badly.
The atmosphere all day was electric, we even got to witness the drama of a falling jockey and the chaos of it's aftermath.  I loved every minute of the day, although I was delighted to peel off the heels in the car park and drive us to Salt Hill instead of waiting on the bus.  The lack of champagne turned out to be so worth it in the end!

Ballybritt you were outstanding and this lady is most certainly hocked and will be back next year!!!

Check out the Live action here from Dec's video on the day.

The Aftermath

I suppose like Skiing some of the best parts of going racing are the Apres Races (I totally made that up - excuse my lack of French).  We headed to Da Roberta's in Salt Hill for a gorgeous meal in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  I'm getting old I know but I loved it, it was so relaxed even though they were very busy.  The food was excellent, the staff friendly and entertaining and the company wasn't bad either!
We had plans of hitting The Radisson after, the standard stomping ground of all race goers but when we got there the queue was out the door and an hours wait.  David (aka Dobs) in his infinite wisdom of Galway directed us back to the House Hotel and their lobby bar and it was one of the best decision we made all night.  I've stayed here before at a friend's hen and I must admit it's one of the nicest hotels I've stayed in.  Thursday night only served to solidify that opinion.  The bar was busy but a comfortable busy and the staff were friendly.  The atmosphere held all of the excitement experienced earlier at the races but in much classier and more comfortable surrounds.
Their 'Hugo' (pictured below) was my first taste of bubbles all day and it was well worth waiting for, a very refreshing cocktail with prosecco, elderflower, lime and mint.  Gorgeous and of course the best way to end what had been from start to finish an amazing day.

I must say I had an amazing day (I know I've said that a lot but it's true!) and to be fair it was lovely to get dressed up and spend a grown up day out with my hubby and friends, that wasn't at a wedding.  It really was a great day, unfortunately for Emily and David we've decided this is an annual thing and have booked ourselves in for the foreseeable future.  Can't wait to start planning my outfit for next year!!!
And finally, if you haven't been racing or to Ladies Day, all I can say is go!  It is so worth the time and effort put into planning an outfit.  Just be warned it's addictive!

Lots of love,

PS Attending my first #cloggers meet up tonight and just a little bit excited to meet my fellow cork Bloggers. Will share all the details tomorrow.


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