Sunday, 24 February 2013

Liebster Award!!

I was delighted to discover (eventually in my spam!) that I had received a Liebster Award from the lovely Magali over at
Magali lives in Brittany, France in an old Fisherman's cottage which she is renovating. Among many things shared, such as tales of renovation, she is currently helping us vicariously explore all the beautiful houses that are to be found in wonderful Brittany!
Needless to say, as a new comer I am absolutely thrilled with this award!
So what is the Liebster award?
The Liebster award is given to a blog that is a favourite of yours; one that is up-and-coming, with 200 followers or less. 
Here are the rules...
1. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, and then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
3. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
4. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
5. No tag backs.
So to my job as recipient of this great award...

Random facts about me...
1. My real hair colour is Auburn despite my parents both having black hair, these locks have never seen a bottle of hair dye!
2. Artist Mark O'Neill once painted these same locks.
3. I have one sister and two bothers all younger than me.
4. I don't like feet, not even my own.
5. I have Hemophobia; an extreme and irrational fear of having blood drawn.
6. I love cheese. I could live without chocolate but not cheese!
7. I love tea and drink a minimum of 6 cups per day of the good old fashioned variety.
8. I have a 'pipe dream' about having my own tea room.
9. I am not sporty. Apart from a stroll, I exercise as a last resort.
10. I like to cook and bake but love to eat more.
11. I am left handed which puts me in good company; Leonardo Da Vinci, John-Paul Gaultier, Albert Einstein, Joan of Arc, Jack the Ripper.

 Questions asked by Magali...

1. What is the one song/music you listen to when you need to be cheered up?
To my husband's dismay, it's probably Yes, Sir I Can Boogie by Baccara. Can help singing and boogying (badly) when I hear it!
2. Are you a cat or a dog person?
Having had both over the years I would say I am a dog person. Our family had two dogs which were with us for most of our childhood; Buddy and Chubby. They died a few of years ago aged 17 and 18 years.
3. What is the little habit you know you shouldn't have but can't give up?
Daydreaming. I'm a big daydreamer. It got me in bother at school and even appeared on a school report; 'must stop daydreaming'! In my defence most of my best ideas come to me in daydreams.
4. If you didn't live where you are right now, where would you like to live?
Hmm, that's a tough one as I love where I live right now. I would still live in Ireland as it is such a magical, scenic, green place.

5. What is the colour you never wear?
Pink!! Not even in a sock! With this hair, it just doesn't work in my opinion.
6. What makes you cry for no reason?
I'm not really a crier, not even at a sad movie. If I cry, there's usually a reason!
7. What's the device that makes you happy you were born in this era rather than in the Middle Age?
I would have to say my iPad. I can catch up on my blogging in bed, follow recipes in the kitchen, what's not to love.
8. Is there a TV-show you hate to miss?
At the moment, it's Dermot's Secret Garden. It's about gardener Dermot O'Neill as he restores a secret Victorian Walled Garden 'Clondeglass' in Co. Laois. What happened Thursday evening, yeah, missed it and Sky+ failed me!
9. What's the title of the book that changed your life?
When I was little, I went to stay with my aunt. She had two boys who were grown up so her house was kind of boring for a 6 year old girl. But I found a set of Childcraft encyclopaedias, one of which was Make and Do. I read it from cover to cover. Better still, I got to take them home!!

10. Which fictional character are you in love with?
After watching Jane Eyre, I was in love with Mr. Rochester for a time, granted this was aided by the fact he was played by the lovely Irish actor Michael Fassbender!

11. How did you start blogging?
I read many blogs and have done so for years while my own life was an undocumented blog; living in the country, decorating our home, crafting and gardening. It was my husband that suggested I start my own blog, so this year as sort of a 'new year's resolution', I did.

My nominations for the Liebster Award...
Cottage Dreaming & Flea Market Wishes - An Oklahoma girl and her Chi Chi's who are moving from city to country and all their flea market finds along the way.

A Good Year - A country girl living in Worcestershire, England who shares her beautiful photography and her wheat free, egg free, yeast free treats!

A Load of Old Tat - This lovely blogger is from Kent, England and writes to us of life's simple pleasures.

Cottage in the Lane - This gardening enthusiast lives in Surrey, England and constantly amazes us with her beautiful crochet.

Crafted by Carly - Carly is from Britain living in Duesseldorf, Germany and hand makes the most inspiring things!

Dian's Timpanalley - Dian is a genealogy addict from Utah, USA with Irish roots who regales us with tales of nostalgia.

One Little Acorn - This artist from Australia is currently studying Art therapy and brings us lovely life stories from magical Melbourne.

Pretty at Heart - This lady blogs about charming family life in her pretty seaside home in Whitstable, Kent, England.

Shrimpton and Perfect - This perfect blogger shares with us her love of all things vintage from East Sussex, England.

Beneath the Elm Tree  - Dee, a keen writer and cook brings us ramblings from the good life in York, Pennsylvania.

1939 Cottage Collectables - This mother daughter team from California share their love and their collection of amazing Victorian antiques.

And finally my questions for my nominees...

1. What was your first thought when you got this award?
2. Tell us something about your corner of the world?
3. Have you ever been to Ireland?
4. Why do you blog?
5. What is your favourite cuisine?
6. What are you most afraid of?
7. What are you most grateful for?
8. What is your favourite time of year?
9. Are you introverted or extroverted?
10. What is the worst job you ever had?
11. What have you learned today?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Our Family Vacay!

 This day last week, my family and I returned from a little holiday.
Can you guess where we were???
You've guessed it; we went to New York City!!
So did Winter Storm Nemo but we didn't let that stop us...
This is our third time to visit New York city. In fact, on our first trip, we got engaged in similar weather, on Oak Bridge at Bank Rock Bay in Central Park.
This time my mother and two brothers came with us.
We did some shopping and lots of sightseeing...
Some sights we've seen before...
..others we saw for the first time...
Unfortunately the Knicks game was sold out but we did take in a show; Newsical the Musical off Broadway, it was hilariously funny!
Then there was the food...I may have eaten my body weight in yummy food... pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, Italian style pizza, Bourbon chicken, hotdogs, New York cheesecake, Pretzels, Shrimp at Bubba Gump's all washed down with Arnold Palmers!
New York really is the city that never sleeps, always something to see, something to do. You couldn't be bored! It's so diverse, such amazing scenery, so much culture, so much history, so much entertainment. I really think you could visit time and time again and experience something new on each visit. Even those things you've experienced before have a certain allure.
Ah, til next time New York.......

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Pancake Saturday!

As we were away for a few days, we sort of missed Shrove Tuesday. For those of you who don't know, Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.

Traditionally pancakes were eaten on this day (hence Pancake Tuesday!) as a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar before the Lenten fast.
So for brunch today I made some yummy pancakes...
1 Cup Flour, 1 Egg, 1 Cup(~ish) Milk
Whisk all together to make a smooth batter and fry a ladle of batter in a pan with a knob of butter... 

How do you like to serve yours? Maple Syrup? Nutella? Lemon & Sugar? I couldn't decide so I tried one with each topping!
All served with some lovely hot tea...

Vote for King Oak!

Voting has started for European Tree of the Year 2013 and this year Ireland has an entry...

This is the 'King Oak'. This magnificent tree is between 400 and 800 years old and can be found on the grounds of Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. It's beautiful bows which stretch to an impressive 50 metres have been climbed by 1000's over the years and have seen the beginning and end of many a teenage romance!
This ancient Oak is one of the oldest and tallest trees in Ireland. However, the competition is not looking for the oldest, tallest, or even the rarest tree but for 'the most loveable tree, with a story that brings the community together' and this one's certainly not short on stories!
Charleville Castle was home to the Bury family. They believed that if a major branch of the tree was to fall, one of their family members would die, so they supported the enormous limbs over the years with wooden props. In 1963, the tree was hit by a bolt of lightening. The Oak survived but Colonel Charles Howard-Bury, the last member of the Bury family died a few weeks later.
Please don't alarm, this story maybe nothing more than coincidence, afterall the Colonel was 82 years old when he died. He was an interesting character, a seasoned explorer, botanist and soldier. Bury was always interested in climbing as a youth. Another legend of this majestic tree claims that climbing this tree was a sign of great courage and indeed Colonel Bury had great courage making expeditions to Tian Shan Mountains in 1913 and Mount Everest in 1921 among others. He wrote many early travel diaries of his experiences.
The castle itself is an interesting place which is reputed to be haunted by a little girl called Harriet, daughter of the third Earl. It has been featured on Most Haunted, Family's Scariest Places on Earth and Ghost Hunters International.
If you are taken with this mysterious and beautiful giant Oak please click on the link below and give it your vote...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentines Day!!

This is how my Valentines Day went...
Dinner for two chez nous...compliments of Mr. Auburn!


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Up, Up and Away!

I have a thing about hot air balloons!
 Not the garish advertising type that real estate agents use but the romantic Victorian type that Phileas Fogg used to circumnavigate the world!
Look at this gorgeous fabric my mother put in my stocking this Christmas...

It's a fat quarter, so the most obvious use would be a cushion cover I think!? I'll keep you posted!
Look what arrived in the post on Friday...
 I purchased this amazing vintage decoupage paper from a lovely seller on eBay.
This is going to be used to decoupage some paper maché letters that were also in my Christmas stocking!! At least, that's the plan if I can bear to cut it up!
In fact, I may devote a whole area of my home to the Vintage Hot Air Balloon, watch this space!!


Friday, 1 February 2013

Happy St. Brigid's Day!!

"We sing a song to Brigid,
Brigid brings the Spring,
Awakens all the fields and the flowers,
And calls the birds to sing"

Today is the feast of St. Brigid and the first day of Spring. St. Brigid is sometimes regarded as the female patron saint of Ireland. The story goes that as a young girl, Brigid was very beautiful and many young men wanted to marry her. She prayed that God would make her ugly so that she could love him alone. God heard her prayer and made her very ugly. She then became a nun and as soon as she did, God made her more beautiful than ever. 

As a nun, Brigid quickly became known for her generosity and charity. Many miracles were associated with her including healing the sick. Brigid was also renowned for her love of animals and many stories were told of her kindness to stray and starving dogs and saving wild animals from huntsmen.

In Ireland, the feast of St. Brigid is celebrated by going to mass.
 I like to celebrate it as I chose Brigid as my confirmation name in honour of my Grandmother Mary Brigid and her Grandmother, who was also named Brigid.


This is a St. Brigid's cross. The story is told that St. Brigid picked rushes from the floor to weave this cross and used it baptise her pagan father on his death bed.
It is typically hung by the door to protect the house from fire and harm. Traditionally a new cross is made on February 1st, burning the cross from last year. As I like the one I have and never learned to weave a cross, I don't think I'll burn mine this year! Maybe it's a craft I'll master for next year!

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