My weekend is infinitely better shared with family and friends

Helen Cuddigan, marketing and digital manager, Ballymaloe House, tells us how she likes to spend her downtime
My weekend is infinitely better shared with family and friends

Helen Cuddigan

In our weekly feature, 'My Weekend', Helen Cuddigan, Marketing and Digital Manager, Ballymaloe House tells us how she likes to spend her downtime

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am an Essex girl, born to an Irish father and New Zealand Mother. middle child of three. I have been blessed with two wonderful children from my French ex-husband, and Ballycotton has been my very happy home since returning from Alsace, France in 2010. I have looked after the Marketing and Digital profile of Ballymaloe House for eight years now but have known Ballymaloe House all my life, and I quite simply love the place and the people. It's an absolute pleasure to work in such a beautiful location and as part of the awe inspiring #TeamBallymaloe. Our head chef Dervilla is a legend, I'm in awe of her energy and vision. Our front of house team is exceptionally welcoming and helpful, reservations are passionate, service is personal, housekeeping are efficient, and the garden and farm team are perpetually innovative. There is always something new and exciting going on from the Open-Air Sculpture exhibition, Conservatory lunches and Wine Tasting Dinner available to non-residents to history walks and; talks for our residents, by Fern Allen. I'm spoilt for digital content.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night? 

No two Friday nights are the same, although they usually involve sharing some delicious food and wine with friends and family.

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

Weekend lie-ins for sure - but then again, I consider 9am am a lie-in. l do not like to waste precious weekend time sleeping.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Always, but that's OK. I love Ballymaloe House and it's a privilege to be in the position to show it off online via their social media platforms whenever opportunities arise.

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

I'd take myself, Michael, and the kids to Budapest as I always wanted to go there and stay at the fabulous Five Corinthia Hotel. In winter snow ideally and enjoy a tour of their famous ancient thermal bathhouses.

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

Ballynamona Beach, between Ballycotton and Shanagarry. I can be found there most mornings around 7.30am for a brief dip in the Atlantic. A brief all over recharge.

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

Absolutely. Life / the weekend is infinitely better shared with family and friends.

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

I enjoy dabbling with gardening, writing, baking, and experimenting with cocktail making. All very much enjoyed as a spectator / taster too. 

You can understand why I love my job so much.

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

I love to entertain at home but equally love being entertained. I don't really have a signature dish but do always try to serve something that can be prepared ahead of time, so that I can relax and enjoy my guest’s company.

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

Coffee - The Trawl Door, Ballycotton. They do the ultimate Breakfast Bap too.

Lunch - Carewswood Garden Centre, Castlemartyr. Delicious variety and beautiful place to be too.

Special meal - spoilt for choice here... Ballymaloe House (naturally) and Cush, Ballycotton. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by wonderful dining experiences.

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

We might call down to the Blackbird Bar, Ballycotton for a little live music and fish and chips before relaxing at home in preparation for the week ahead.

Ballynamona beach looking out towards the Ballycotton lighthouse in East Cork, where Helen meets friends early in the mornings. Picture Dan Linehan
Ballynamona beach looking out towards the Ballycotton lighthouse in East Cork, where Helen meets friends early in the mornings. Picture Dan Linehan

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

First sounds at 6.45 am, like most mornings, so I have time to get ready and join some friends at Ballynamona Beach.

Anything else you are up to right now...

I'm constantly upskilling. Digital marketing practises, trends and platforms are forever changing, and I try my best to keep up with best practises for Ballymaloe House's target market.

I love learning new skills and challenging my creative ability.

Currently I am trying my hand at creating and posting more IG Reels. Check out @ballymaloe via IG to follow my progress and let me know what you'd like to see more of via our social media.

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