May 25 2011

Life Changing, it was.

Posted by     21 Comments    Posted under: Reviews

This blog post is going to be a click here and view this, that and the other.

I plan on thanking a lot of sponsors, instructors, family members and then I plan on introducing y’all to some totally cool and über talented people.

Sign off now if you want nothing to do with all this jazz or stick around and learn something.

I certainly did.

It all started here when I got smitten with the competition bug. I was young and needed the money. What can I say.

Seeing as that was a total and utter disaster, I decided to stick my head in the sand (firmly) and never ever enter another writing (or cooking) competition ever again.

I waited a whole week to enter this competition. I wanted to go to Germany to learn how to point/shoot and click my camera in the direction of a few better photos. I also wanted to use a bit of that German I have been studying for TWO WHOLE YEARS now.

So – winner winner chicken dinner!

This, was the start of my ‘dream come true’. The trip to attend the Plate2Page Writing and Photography Workshop was scheduled that day after my summer exams finished. This could not have happened at a better time.

I was armed and dangerous. I was totally unprepared for the weekend that unfolded.

Arriving just after lunchtime on the first day, I was greeted warmly (hugs all around) by the four talented instructors. When you click on this page, it takes you to the Bio page for each of the ladies. Click all the way through to read their blogs. The photos will make you hungry and you will be reading their stories all night long. All night. All night, All night long…

Ok, and we are back……..

Ah, hold on guys, this looks an awful lot like ………ah………Work?

Ok, the list of things they said to bring was something like this:

  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Photo editing software

So that would take care of all the “WORK’ stuff and then surely there would be SHOPping too, no?

Ah, No. All work and no shopping makes a mature student-in-need-of-a-holiday kind of annoyed.

Except, it was hard to even get annoyed because, well, they were all so darn nice. I mean, nice, and funny and talented and ever so willing to teach, and inspire and share their combined years of knowledge with the group.

So lets talk about the group of participants first then shall we?

Right, before I get started, I can’t get through all of them in this blog post so I pulled names out of a hat and here are the first few:

Simone Van Den Berg (The Netherlands)

Wow. What a talented gal. First of all, she is tall. As tall as me, or maybe even taller?

She showed me some photos she took of a few baby monkeys in Indonesia and that was it.

FB friends forEVAH!

Simone takes the coolest coolest food photos, can write in like nine different languages, has a kick-ass sense of humour, is pretty AND to top it all, is one heck of a nice person.

Ishay Govender-Ypma (South Africa)

Here we are again with another tall and gorgeous woman. Watch this name folks, Ishay is the kind of gal that could end up being head of the United Nations someday. She just has that quality. She can cook, she can take amazing photos, she loves all-kinds-a-food and did I mention she has a very handsome husband too?

Next up we slide over to North America and meet

Ken Leung (Manhattan, NYC).

Now this dude is an all-rounder. He put my ‘DishBitch’ title in jeopardy on the first day. WTF? Hands on, funnier then hell, determined as all get out and has the sweetest partner-ever (Mitch) who came with him and also participated in the workshop. I hope I can convince the Chef to tag along someday to something like this.

Jenn Oliver (Lausanne, Switzerland)

Do you know anyone that is allergic to Gluten? Well, if you do, then hang out around her website for a few days and you will be laughing happy. Jenn’s husband is allergic to gluten and she has tried and tested every recipe on her website to ensure there are no errors. In addition to all this vital information, you will notice that Jenn is one hell of a photographer. She just does not stop taking photos and they are all perfect before they get to Photoshop. Oh, and she is from USA – and funny as all get out to boot!

Last but not least — for today anyway — is the lovely

Julia House (kick ass name!) Canada

Julia has a very sexy website. She is also a feisty red-head and looks so ‘Irish’. I was drawn to her immediately and we shared a lot of wine laughs. She is a dab hand with the camera and I hope that she will come visit me soon in Ireland as she has plans to re-locate to Europe for a few years with her husband. He works for Ikea. Lucky dog.

Our WORKshop days all went a little something like this….

Get up early. Way earlier than I would if I had been at home and I am an early bird.

Breakfast blur with the gang then get to work. Most of the participants knew quite a bit about the workings of a camera because they had probably read the manual and taken classes and actually tried to learn how to use their machines.

I slunk into my chair and hoped nobody noticed my teeny tiny little camera. And no, I still have not read (and cannot find) the manual.

The instructors spent their time teaching us how to style food on a plate to get it photo ready, how to take better, clearer, crisper photos and then how to write all about it……in five minutes. (as you can see from the above photo, I took photos of tea towels. They were lovely and even IRONED!)

Now, in the beginning, I was none-too-impressed with the whole speed of things and alright, they gave us a little longer than five minutes, but mother-of-god, who in their right minds would be able to bang out 500 words under extreme ‘timed’ pressure like that?

Real writers (aka Journalists or freelancers with paying jobs) would…………..

WORK…………….shop? Anyone?


Point, Style, Shoot, Click, Write, then wait a minute, READ it out in front of everyone.

Hell NO!

Ah, ladies, please read the disclaimer (that I might have forgotten to send) that states quite clearly that I do not read out anything in public ever. Ask my teachers. I, am Stage-Fright-Central. I can’t even speak my own name out loud.

But everyone else was doing it so I had to. All the while I could hear my Mother’s voice ringing in my ears saying ‘well, if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you follow them?’. No Mum, I can’t swim.

My fear of drowning slipped right out of my grasp and in this very (very) safe environment, I started to relax and read my stories out loud for the crowd.

AND, they liked it.

This, has been the longest blog post I have ever written.

So I am signing off for tonight and tomorrow I will resume with the storytelling.

I bet y’all are dying to find out what happens next!

Those are all the Wise Words I have for this evening, I have to go feed the new baby ducks!


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21 Comments + Add Comment

  • […] Have Thought…? Jamie – From Plate to Page Meeta – We Met in Weimar Mona – Life Changing, It Was Simone – Plate to Page – Experience of a […]

  • You’re so sweet Mona! Thanks for all those lovely words. You make me blush … I loved getting to know you and you’re such a gifted writer. I wish I had a little bit more of that too..;) I will definitely visit you in Ireland and ‘shoot’ some of you’re animals.

    • It’s all true – every word. I think the weekend has had a profound effect on everyone.
      How lucky are we!

  • You captured my mood brilliantly and for someone who has stage fright, you certainly know how to seduce your audience with beautiful words and eloquent sentences.

    • Good morning Ken,
      Thank you. I have a life – long fear of speaking publicly. It seems to get worse the older I get,
      But the P2P environment felt so safe….. I hope Vienna is treating you well.
      Móna xxx

  • You made me laugh you made me cry – you make me smile. I am so glad that Bord Bia and fate brought us together. I would never have thought that you would have apprehensions about speaking in front of a group of strangers – but you did and beautifully too. So much so that they touched me. Looking forward to reading the next episode! Hugs!

    • Ah Meeta,
      I had not intended on making you cry at all but have to tell you it is one of the best responses to be able
      To evoke emotion…..I always shoot for laughter but kind of like the tears too… Shows how real we all are.
      I am a disaster-waiting-to-happen when it comes to public speaking. But maybe I have found my safe -place.
      In an attic in Weimar with a bunch of foodies… Xxxxx

  • WOnderful post Mona…and you captured the mood right!I absolutely love yr style of writing (i thnk i have said this before) and im glad i shared my room with you…you are like the best room buddy and I loved our little chat after the lights went off 😉

    • Hey Arthi!
      More to come today …… Thank you so much. I could not have asked for a sweeter roommate!
      Still missing the early morning dash for the shower!
      Móna xxx

  • Aww thanks for the lovely and kind words Móna! Your humor and smiles are so infectious, I couldn’t imagine the weekend without you – so glad you were able to come and I got a chance to meet you! And yes, I loved everything you wrote – keep sharing!! 🙂

    • Thanks Jenn,
      I am looking forward to you and your camera paying a little visit over here in Ireland (Hubby too)
      so we can compare notes on ex-pat lives ;0)
      Móna xxx

  • Oh Mona, what a gift you are! I can’t thank Bord Bia enough for sending you to us :)) The gift that keeps on giving. Yup – you should have read the disclaimer – there was that teensy weensy print about all work and no shopping… ah well! Next time. Your writing was so beautiful, both in the workshop and here on your blog – really moving and funny – and like Meeta I can’t believe you have even a touch of stage fright. Well disguised 🙂 Look forward to the next instalment!

    • Jeanne,
      If you only knew the amount of times I have bailed out of reading ‘aloud’ in class at University, you would be aghast.
      I suppose that is one of the things I love about college. You learn just by being there and then when released into the big bad world
      you have picked up a skill that is very valuable…………in my case, a very thick skin that welcomes criticism ;0)
      Now, I must find my glasses to read the rest of the fine print!
      Móna xxx
      PS – did you notice that Ryanair has very cheap flights to both Dublin & Shannon from London? Just saying….

  • Brilliant, am dying to hear more …. delighted you had a great time and it sounds like you have made some new friends for life dotted all over the world. I can so empathise with those feelings of panic of writing something that you have to read aloud! Well done

    • Thanks Lorna,
      I still have a bit of a lump in my throat, but they really made the whole environment so relaxed and supportive.
      I felt like we were in therapy ;0) Well needed too!
      Hope all is well with you and kids and kiddies and Brian.
      Best of luck tonight, I hope you will be Tweeting all the way!
      Móna xxx

  • Sounds like you had a brilliant time Mona! Looking forward to reading more.

    • Caroline,
      I am honestly finding it hard to get all the words on the page.
      Imagine, me stuck for words ;0)
      BUT I shall persevere, outta school for summer etc. What else would I be doing?
      Thanks for the comment, working on Episode two!
      Móna xxx

  • […] Comments « Life Changing, it was. […]

  • […] Page Workshop Meeta – We Met in Weimar Meeta – Putting the WORK back into Workshop Móna – Life Changing, It Was Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna – All in a […]

  • […] – We Met in Weimar Meeta – Plate to Page – Putting the Work back into Workshop Móna – Life Changing, It Was Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna – All in a […]

  • […] – We Met in Weimar Meeta – Plate to Page – Putting the Work back into Workshop Móna – Life Changing, It Was Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna – All in a […]

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
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