My Weekend: Loving city life... but yearning for the country

Bronwyn Connolly of Wild Design talks about her childhood in the country, adapting to city life and why yoga is part of her everyday routine
My Weekend: Loving city life... but yearning for the country
Bronwyn Connolly of Wild Design, Paul Street Shopping Centre

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew up just outside the lovely village of Ballinspittle, the youngest daughter of PJ & Mary and spoilt baby sister to two older sisters, Dawna and Trish.

Ballinspittle was a lovely place to have grown up; with beaches and woods aplenty, we spent most of our free days roaming around the countryside.

I’ve always loved living in the country and last year, not long after opening the shop, myself and my faithful fur baby, Merv, made the move to the big city. I must say I am enjoying city life, although I do really yearn for country living.

My neighbours are lovely and I’m close to work, so not having to do the long commute is great.

I run the quirky little shop in Paul Street, Wild Design Collective (formerly the Candle Shop). I took over the shop after my mum retired last year and re-branded and changed the direction of the shop.

We now specialise in Irish and ethical made gift wares, but still have a lovely selection of candles as well as a wide range of art, jewellery, cards, and natural skincare.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

It used to be out on the town, I lived for Champagne Fridays... but unfortunately those Fridays are pretty far and few these days. We open late on a Friday so by the time I get home, the only excitement I’m ready for is a quick walk with my doggie, dinner and bed. I do occasionally get the odd Champagne Friday night out.

Lie ins or up with the lark ... which is it for you?

Oh lie-ins, I’m lucky that now I live in the city I don’t have to spend ages in traffic so I get to hit that snooze button until 8am to 8.20am most mornings.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Indeed it does, it pretty much creeps into everyday, especially in these early years of business.

We are open seven days and I always work the Saturday afternoon shift, it can be the busiest day of the week and a lot of our regulars come in on a Saturday so I like to be there to greet them.

I also do the occasional Sunday, which I don’t really mind; it gives me the chance to catch up on things in store and gives Laura a well deserved Sunday off.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

Copenhagen for sure, I am a big Hans Christian Andersen fan and in my head Copenhagen is a real fairytale city.

I’d love to stay in the Nimb Hotel, it apparently has amazing food as well as gardens. I would go with my boyfriend, Ben. He lives in Meath so we don’t get to spend too much time together so a weekend in Copenhagen would be heaven.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Garrettstown wood for sure, I love it. Having grown up there I know all the secret little spots and on a warm day it’s magical.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

I love it, unfortunately I don’t get to do it as much now that I have the shop, but I do try to make an effort to head home every few weeks and catch up with as many people as I can. Sometimes the girls will come up on a Saturday night and we hit the town, and do Sunday brunch somewhere.

Do you get to indulge in any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I’m a serial reader and love nothing more than a good book. I also practise yoga at home every morning, I love going to the Bikram Yoga studio here in Cork, when I get the opportunity.

I also go on a yoga retreat every year with Anam Solas Yoga. I love my food and Jean runs an entire week retreat based on food and yoga, it is heaven.

I’m currently trying to learn Spanish, it’s a lot harder than I thought. I take Merv out for a walk everyday so pop on my headphones and practise my Spanish while I’m walking.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

Both to be honest, I love going to people’s houses for dinner, it’s always so nice to have someone cook for you, but equally I love to cook too and really enjoy it. I love doing brunch and I make a mean French toast.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

A tough one to choose! Cork Coffee Roasters does the best coffee for sure, and I love Ali’s Kitchen and Loving Salads for lunch. Vikkies on Sundays Well is a real hidden gem, they do a fantastic brunch, a fab section of cake, staff are great and they have a little garden out the back so on Sunny days Merv gets to come too.

Sunday night comes around too fast ... how do you normally spend it?

Planning the week ahead, I find it really gets me focused on the life/work balance. There is lots more to do than just being in the shop, so I find if I take a hour on Sunday evening, plan out food, meetings and clothes, the week tends to be much smoother.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

8am — and I usually hit snooze until 8.20am.

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