Thursday, March 10, 2016

The weekend

Don't you just love a great weekend? Last weekend was one of those :-) We woke up to snow on Friday morning, there was MASSIVE excitement and screeching and that was just me! Needless to say the boys were itching to get out into it the very second they saw it. There was just a thin layer but enough to make everything white and for the boys to play out in for half an hour scraping together some snowballs before going to school, it was so lovely watching them play with the snowflakes falling down on their happy little faces.


It melted pretty quickly and even by the time we got to school the daffodils had shaken most of the snow off.


On Friday evening, my wonderful Dad came over to mind the boys and my hubby and I headed into town, first to Davy Byrne's for a few drinks and dinner and then to the long awaited Adele concert!




I absolutely love Adele, her voice is amazing, all of her songs are just fantastic and she just seems like such a nice, funny, down-to-earth person. So I had hugely built this concert up in my mind in the months leading up to it, expecting it to be ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!

AND she did not disappoint! She was absolutely fantastic, her songs had everyone captivated and her chat in between songs was just so funny she had us all in bits laughing. It was a fantastic night and definitely worth the wait!!

We had a lazy day on Saturday, soccer matches cancelled due to weather (yaaay!!)

Then Sunday was mothers day and I had the loveliest day. I was given gorgeous handmade cards and treats and a yummy breakfast in bed with daffodils from the garden :-) My eldest son made the gorgeous meringue cakes below for an afternoon treat and we went to our local Italian restaurant for dinner. I was absolutely spoilt by all my lovely fellas and feel very, very lucky :-)


Now I just need to work off all the calories ;-)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Another Kitchen

In the last 12 years we have lived in 6 different homes. In Sydney we traded up as we needed to space-wise, first we lived in a one-bedroomed apartment with stunning city views, then our first little man came along and soon we moved on to a 2 bedroomed house, then munchkin no. 2 came along and we moved on to a 3 bedroomed house, no. 3 arrived and we needed more space inside and out so we got a house with a big garden and playroom, we lived very happily there for 3 and a half years until the owner needed the house back for family and then our last home in Sydney was a 4 bedroomed house with a big rumpus room and massive deck overlooking a gorgeous National Park.

Then we moved back to Ireland and made the decision to rent again whilst settling back into life here. Now 18 months later we are house-hunting for a permanent house to buy and live in for a long time!! I can't wait to move, the house we are renting is OK but the garden is pretty blah and we need more space! Also I am DYING to get stuck into some DIY projects and really have a home that reflects OUR tastes rather than the choices of the owners.

While renting we have been very limited in what we can do decor-wise, tenants aren't allowed to put screws or nails in the walls, or paint or change flooring so apart from furniture and ornaments and things like that we've been pretty limited.

But still we have managed to make each house our home, with all our things, mementoes, photos, kids' drawings etc.

I am aching to do a kitchen reno and have my dream stove/cabinets/worktops etc. But for now this is where I spend about 75% of my time...


It's not a bad kitchen or anything, it has benefits such as good appliances, a pull out pantry and good daylight, but the oak cabinetry, speckled effect laminate countertops and patterned lino are not to my taste at all. Still, I've managed to put my own stamp on it with my various kitchen things and it's a nice place to cook :-)


This is one of my favourite spots in the kitchen. I love ceramic lidded flip top jars and have built up a nice collection in different colours and patterns and my gorgeous little blue onion/egg basket is so cute.


You may remember my bread bin make-over from a few years back. It now serves as a little tea/coffee station.


I don't drink tea or coffee myself but have noticed that here in Ireland people start to panic if they're not offered a cuppa within 30 seconds of entering your home so I thought it would be a nice to have a spot to keep everything together.


Inside the bread bin are various teas and coffees and on top are my Orla Kiely jars containing sugar and more teabags and a pretty Cafetiere and percolators.



If you'd like to see a couple of our other rental kitchens I managed to make my own (I say MY own as I'm the only cook in the house ;-) you can see them here and here.

I am still daydreaming about white cabinetry, timber open shelves, grey granite countertops and oak flooring though :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ruins

One of my favourite things about being back in Ireland is being able to show my boys the beautiful sights in our lovely little country. They are particularly interested in "really old stuff" and love going to see old ruins. We usually combine these outings with a hike and a stop off for lunch afterwards.

A few weeks ago we were staying over at my parents' house and my Dad and I brought them to Monasterboice, the ruins of an early Christian settlement in County Louth. There is a really old graveyard, a round tower, some beautiful high crosses and the ruins of an old church, plenty for little people to explore. Of course, they quickly turned things competitive trying to see who could find the oldest grave.










Naturally all the mischief and questions worked up an appetite and we went to a nice Irish pub for a hearty lunch afterwards before going to meet up with their cousins for more mischief. 


On the way back we passed by Newgrange, an ancient passage tomb originally constructed over 5,000 years ago. I'm looking forward to bringing the boys to see it another time, hopefully in the Summer.

A couple of weeks ago after a very windy rainy January we decided to dust off the cobwebs and take advantage of a nice sunny day to hike up to the Hellfire Club in the Dublin Mountains not far from where we live.





The boys had great fun exploring the spooky ruins, there are many urban myths and tales of paranormal activity associated with the Hellfire Club, the most popular one when I was little was that "if you walk around the hellfire club at midnight in an anti-clockwise direction the devil will appear!!!" 





It didn't look too scary on this nice sunny day though.



There are beautiful views all over Dublin from the top of Montpelier Hill where the ruins are located.




Rather than walking the main track back down I would recommend losing yourself in the beautiful woods, we even saw some moo cows!

We stopped off at The Merry Ploughboy for lunch, I highly recommend it, the food was yummy and they have a really nice kids menu :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Magic Rainbow Clouds

Whilst packing the kids into the car for the school run this morning my middle son let out an almighty screech of excitement and pointed up at the sky. Expecting the usual moon/bird/airplane/helicopter I was stunned to look up and see these beautiful rainbow clouds...




These camera phone photos don't do them any justice, they were absolutely stunning!! I have never seen anything like this before and when we got back home I looked them up on the internet, of course there was a scientific explanation involving crystals and high winds, but we are sticking with calling them "magic rainbow clouds" :-)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Powerscourt House and Gardens

Happy New Year!!! It's hard to believe it's 2016 already!

It's been a rainy, stormy week here in Ireland and with one of my boys having a bad tummy bug we've been stuck indoors a lot more than I'd like. Thankfully there was a dry day before the bug hit and we rugged up and went out for a drive. Often when we go for drives we have no set plan on where we're going, we just like to see where we end up.

This time it was at the beautiful Powerscourt House and Gardens in County Wicklow...










The only word I can use to describe this place is stunning! I was blown away by the beauty of the gardens and if they look this amazing on an overcast Winter's Day I can only imagine what they look like in late Spring and Summer!




The gardens are vast and there are so many beautiful spots and nooks and crannies for kids to explore.





The boys had a great time exploring and running all over the place.






And for when you're all walked out and have worked up an appetite there's the Avoca cafe and for a little retail therapy various lovely little shops and a gorgeous garden centre.





I have a feeling this will be a place we visit over and over. The gardens are listed as the "Number 3 Garden in the World" by National Geographic and the house is listed as one of the "Top 10 Houses in the World" by Lonely Planet. I can see why!