05 Aug

Time For Reflection

Since January my life accelerated at a ‘Turbo-Fast’ pace.

You’ll excuse the kids’ film reference, I spend my days with 2 small boys after all.

It became hard to stand still, take stock, make time for reflection.

I’ve been feeling very tired and because I was so busy I became bogged down. The housework mounted.

What I’m saying is, I’m taking a break from my blog for a few days. Just a few. I need to get stuck into the house. Clear out the stuff that we’re suffocating under; make way for more light and air.

The aim is that when I’m done, I’ll have found the bottom of my wash-basket, consciously coupled hundreds of socks, cooked a few meals without recipe testing, drunk a mug of tea from start to finish without sitting in front of the computer. That kind of thing.

When I reach the end, if I’ve done things right; I’ll have a clearer house and, as a consequence, a clearer mind.

See you on the other side. In a few days.

Featured image is one I took at Bloom 2012. Just because.

30 Jul

Inis Mór

Just 24 hours. That’s all we had on Inis Mór. It’s not enough time to do all the things we wanted to do. The last thing we wanted to do was to climb on board a tour bus. Hubby spends enough of his time driving buses so even if it meant we missed out on some of the landmarks, for the most part we walked.

Journey

It takes about 3 hours from Dublin to Rossaveal Harbour, where you can park  your car to get aboard the ferry. You can also travel to the Aran Islands via Clare but this was the best option for us.

It’s a further 40-odd minutes to get to Inis Mór on the boat. However do bear in mind that it may take longer if the weather is bad! No matter how sunny it is, a raincoat or wind-cheater is a must for the boat if you intend to stand outside. I always stand out on deck if I can, if you suffer from motion sickness, make sure you’re in the fresh air, even if it’s raining.Aran Islands FerryAccommodation

We stayed in the Mainistir Hostel which is about 2km outside of Kilronan in the townland of Mainistir. They have a dedicated family area where you can book adjacent family rooms, and it’s private to the rest of the accommodation. For the 5 of us, including breakfast, it only set us back €100 for the night.  It’s about a 20 minute walk up a hill, 30 minutes if you’re pushing a buggy with bags and cranky toddlers/teens.

This kind of room was not the kind of lodgings I expected to get from a hostel:Bedroom at Mainistir Hostel

Joel (proprietor) will also cook an evening meal for the very reasonable price of €15 per person for a mainly vegetarian buffet cooked from local ingredients. It has been highly recommended to me, but we didn’t get a chance to try it out as dinnertime was a bit too late for the small ones. I do trust the recommendations I got from more than 1 learned person so it’s certainly something to bear in mind if you want excellent food cooked for you on a budget.  Otherwise there are ample cooking facilities in hostel.

The breakfast by the way was all homemade. Some freshly boiled eggs, homemade blackberry preserves, muffins still warm in the cases, lashings of toast, fruit compote and yoghurt. There was also a selection of cereals, all eaten in front of a massive window overlooking the sea and washed down with a giant pot of strong tea. I could have stayed there for hours.

Here’s a short video of what we got up and there’s more information our stay below:

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25 Jul

Win Tickets To Wonderfest

Today I’ve the chance for you to win tickets to Wonderfest, which is taking place on August 16th and 17th in the grounds of Malahide Castle. It’s not just everyday tickets either, it’s a full family ticket with camping included which is worth just under €150 in total. Read More

23 Jul

Camping In Mountshannon

The day we packed up our things from carvanning in Kerry, we headed up the road, past Limerick to Mountshannon in County Clare for a 2 night stay. Before I start this blogpost I have to confess, as we didn’t have space for camping gear, thanks to the Irish Caravan And Camping Council, we stayed in a caravan on site. We had as close to a camping experience as we could get! You’ll need to play the video to see more.
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19 Jul

Choosing School Uniforms

I apologise for this post as I know that for some parents the thoughts of getting uniforms and organising back-to-school stuff waits until August. Having just bought some of the new uniform for the Autumn term I thought it might be worthwhile to explain what I learned last year and how it has affected my choices this year.

Just before the 5-year-old started school last year I blogged about the expenses of sending him to school and how much it was costing. At least I have a real account I can compare to!

The cost of school charges (including book rental) and books I have to buy pretty much remain the same which is a great credit to the school. However, when it comes to choosing school uniforms I’ve changed my outlook and that’s why I’m blogging about it again. Read More

17 Jul

Spiderman Comes To Town

While I was away a few weeks ago a parcel arrived for me from Lidl Ireland filled with items from their new “Too Cute” range which came into stores today.

Over the past fortnight the boys and I have put all the items inside to the test and here’s the verdict of Spiderman Comes To Town. Read More

15 Jul

Caravanning In Kerry

For the past 4 years we have organised one of the local Summer Projects instead of going on holiday. This year we knew that we needed to take a break, and decided to staycation around Ireland and in particular in the West. When the opportunity arose to go caravanning in Kerry, we decided to take the Irish Caravan and Camping Council up on their offer, packed the car, and travelled down the country.

The plan was to spend 3 nights in the Glenross Caravan & Camping Park in Glenbeigh, on the Ring of Kerry, then a further 2 nights at another location in the midlands. I’ll be back next week with our account of how we got on when we left Kerry but in the meantime, here’s what you need to know. Read More

09 Jul

The Two Best Words In The Irish Language

Nobody quite prepares you for the terrible twos. I’m convinced that as parents we are affected by some forgetful hormone. You know the one that makes you forget how bad labour/pregnancy actually was when you look at that blue line on a stick for the second time?

The week is young. So young in fact that it’s not even technically halfway through yet. The two year old is over-achieving in the terrible two stakes this week. While I’m sure that the older boy was just as bad, sometimes it seems like his brother is ten million times worse! Read More

02 Jul

Stokke Steps Review

A couple of weeks ago I took delivery of a Stokke Steps Chair for a review. Here’s how I got on and what I thought of the new system. Read More

13 Jun

Some News And Reviews

It’s a beautiful sunny day and I’ve some news and reviews to share.  Including Lidl’s new Nespresso compatible pods, Bellarom; a pint mug I found for sale (you will want one too); Bloom 2014, toilet training essentials and more! Read More

01 May

What Will I Do When Things Get Better?

People keep on asking me what will I do when things start getting better. Will we have more money to spend on groceries?  I don’t think we will. Read More

09 Apr

It’s Not A Dream

I originally wrote this blogpost at the end of 2013 and it’s worth revisiting now as tomorrow I officially launch my first cookbook, “Wholesome”. Read More

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