My Weekend: A good show and a bite to eat in a laid back restaurant is the thing of dreams right now

Orla Pettman of Ora Fitness Cork tells us how she like to spend down-time in our My Weekend feature
My Weekend: A good show and a bite to eat in a laid back restaurant is the thing of dreams right now

Orla Pettman of Ora Fitness Cork

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and reared in Monkstown Cork, moved to New Zealand, with my now husband in 2004, and we returned to Ireland (Cork of course) in July 2019.

My parents and siblings are all living in Cork so it was lovely to be reunited with them. We’ve also really enjoyed seeing our three daughters bond with their cousins — instant best friends. This was a major deciding factor in us returning to Ireland although the primary reason was a job offer my husband had received.

People presume, with me being the Irish one and him the Kiwi, that it was my idea but unusually, that wasn’t the case.

Since returning to Ireland I set up my own business, Ora Fitness Cork. 

I’ve worked in the fitness and wellbeing sector for just over 20 years and these days specialise in group fitness. 

That of course has all shifted online since March 2020. I have an amazing group of clients that continue to turn up week in week out and motivate me as much as I hope I motivate them.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Friday evenings have always been feet up at home for me. A good takeaway and a few glasses of wine to mark the end of the week is my idea of bliss! Saying that, I’ll be looking forward to a change of scenery as soon as Covid restrictions allow. A good show and a bite to eat in a laid back restaurant is the thing of dreams right now.

Orla Pettman with her kids.
Orla Pettman with her kids.

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

I have a six-year-old who doesn’t believe in sleeping past 7am so I’m always up early. I quite enjoy making the most of the early mornings though once I’ve had the chance to get a coffee onboard.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

As much as I try not to let it, yes, pretty much always. Running my own business means there’s rarely a day where I won’t switch to work mode at some stage, but I certainly don’t let it take over my weekends and will always make sure I have blocks of time that are completely work free.

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

Paris — I’ve never been. My husband Mike and I had a trip booked back in 2004 before we moved to NZ and we had to cancel at the last minute because my passport was stuck in the NZ Embassy in London so I have to say I’d bring him or I’ll never be forgiven.

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

Anywhere close to the water. We’re spoilt for choice in Cork, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Garretstown Beach because I’ve so many happy childhood memories of that place.

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

It’s by far my favourite thing to do at the weekends. Going for walks together, grabbing a coffee or meeting up for dinner. Having been so far away from family and friends for so long I definitely have a new appreciation for being able to spend time with them now.

Orla Pettman.
Orla Pettman.

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

I exercise so much as part of my work that my down time tends to be of a more relaxed nature. I love to read and I really enjoy cooking, especially for friends or family. 

I really like to get outside and go for walks that are more about switching off and being in the moment than for any physical fitness gain.

And if Munster, Ireland, or The All Blacks are playing, chances are I’ll be watching.

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

Definitely entertain. I don’t really have a signature dish, I like to change it up a lot, but my Tapas platters have become quite popular among my family and I think there’s a bit of an expectation now that each one will outdo the previous — no pressure at all.

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

I was really only just getting a chance to sample the best of Cork again when we were sent into lockdown.

In the city, Good Day Deli for brunch and Filter and GUGI Coffee would be my top picks for my caffeine fix.

I’m really lucky to have a lovely little local cafe Napoli in Monkstown within walking distance and the local bars/restaurants, The Bosun and The Ensign, did a great job of adjusting and giving the locals a chance of a bit of normality for the short periods of time they were allowed open in the last 12 months so definitely deserve a special mention. If one positive has come out of the last 12 months for me, it’s a stronger sense of community and supporting local which I love.

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

Every week I aim to spend Sunday evenings relaxing and watching a movie and every week it ends with me frantically trying to sort out everything and everyone in the house so I can hit the new week feeling somewhat organised.

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

7am...and if the little ones allow I’ll keep hitting snooze until about 7.45am, then grab a coffee and revise what I’m planning on teaching in my group fitness class that morning.

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