First family holiday!

Last week we went on our first family holiday to Co.Donegal. Since I'm on maternity leave and Al is very newly self employed, obviously spare money is an issue. Luckily a friends family owns a mobile home in Donegal and she said we could use it on weekdays when it was empty - happy days :) On a side note, we normally camp in a tiny tent so a mobile home with heating and a hot shower was pure luxury. Here's some snaps from the drive, I missed him even tho he was in his car seat right behind me so on our tea stops I made up for lost cuddle time lol he's so tolerant of me! We also rocked our first 'on the lap nappy change' btw :)

We left early in the morning and drove across to Donegal town where we had lunch and Al bought himself a hanna hat tweed! This tweed is very long awaited and he was delighted to finally have one, he has barley taken it off since this picture lol

I think Ché Phoenix's hat is cooler tho!

We did end up doing lots of work whilst being away but relaxed loads too. We spent the evenings playing chess, chatting and watching disney movies in bed once Ché Phoenix was asleep (sleeping 8 hours like an angel btw). If I'm honest I think most of the holiday was spent 'talking' to Ché, he makes the cutest talky noises, squeals and gurgles.  
More Donegal pics to come...

Hillsbrough Park, again :)

Another wee trip to the park :) Ché Phoenix loves getting out and about in the carrier, mostly he sleeps but I know he loves it! The weather here is still pretty cold and it rained the whole drive to the park but we stayed positive and the sky cleared for our walk around the lake :)

I put a picture up very similar to the one below in 2011, on the exact same bench. That time we had chatted about how one day we would be bringing our baby/s here and how amazing that would be. This time conversation turned to our plans for Ché Phoenixs' brothers or sisters, it seems funny thinking about another baby just yet but I can't help it! I just love to plan out our future, day dream and get excited about how it all might be (even though it might be TOTALLY different!). I've heard people say 'you have to have a dream for it to come true' I like that.

We found some signs of summer, not just spring and went wondering off the beaten track a bit for some exploring even though the parks not nearly big enough to get lost in! 

Back at home Al and I have been working together on my little book company, we are going to be having a big launch soon (eeeek! Super excited!) with new books, giveaways and hopefully really get my wee company off the ground. Dreams coming true all over the place here! Haha! So don't forget to 'like' my facebook page to keep up to date with that and get sneak previews :) 

My 101 challenges in 1001 days update

I made my 101 in 1001 list on Friday 9th December 2011 and I plan to complete each one before Friday September 5th 2014. Since I'm about a third of the way through I thought it was a good time for an update and to see how I was getting on. I have completed 33 out of 101 of the challenges/goals I set for myself. Not bad :) Quite a few of them are started or have 'so far so good' status too.

Heres my list as it stands today -

  1. Do a pottery course and make some mugs.
  2. Make some hair accessories.
    1. Make some hand warmers/fingerless mittens. Made some with my new sewing machinePost here
    2. Sew some cute cushion covers.
    3. Sew an entire outfit for myself. *nearly finished a skirt...
    4. Stop buying cards - make them for all occasions. *So far, so good Post here
    5. Make some new candles from my huge pile of wax leftovers.
    6. Sell my handmade jewellery. Did on etsy but have moved onto new ventures now 
    7. Create the wedding album thats in my head!
    8. Do another furniture restoration project.
    9. Learn to crochet or just knit better (like actual things not just scarves).
    10. Learn how to develop some of my own photographs.
    11. Try some mixed media art.
    12. Make an off ground hen house. Post hereherehere, and link below 
    13. Get some hens to live there. Post here
    14. Make a top bar bee hive.
    15. Get some bees to live there.
    16. Get a milking goat :)
    17. Build 2 more movable raised beds for spring 2012Post here
    18. Grow flowers for our home.
    19. Not buy any lettuce for the whole year of 2012 - grow all our own.
    20. Learn how to grow herbs well, so they don't die...
    21. Make the most out of our growing space - even if we're still renting - its not an excuse. Post here
    22. Prepare the space behind garage for planting next year. Post here
    23. Make good use of the wild garlic season.
    24. Make elderflower cordial.
    25. Bake more healthy snacks. *So far, so good
    26. Make good use of the black berry season.
    27. Learn more about foraging and put into practice. *got a small guide book
    28. Grow more sprouts and mung beans.
    29. Learn to make good curries from scratch.
    30. Stop adding salt to everything... *So far, so good
    31. Get into the habit of drinking more water.
    32. Bake bread/muffins/pancakes/soda every week so we don't run out.
    33. Find out where I can buy ingredients in bulk.
    34. Make pasta by hand.
    35. Make pesto by hand (that I like the taste of).
    36. Visit the Navan centre. 
    37. Climb Cruach Phádraig (Croagh Patrick) on the west coast of Ireland.
    38. Climb one of County Kerry's mountains.
    39. Climb all of the Mourne Mountains.
    40. Visit Lough Eske castle again (thats where Alan proposed).
    41. Visit my friend Amy in Edinburgh and Dad and step mum in Glasgow. Post here & here & here
    42. Visit Al's best friend in Plymouth and my wee sister and step dad in Barnstaple.
    43. Stay in Derry for a couple of days, over Halloween.
    44. Explore our country more - day trips, touristy things. Post here
    45. Go for hikes every month. Post here here
    46. Go camping in Galway like we did on our first ever holiday - camp in the same spot.
    47. Spend christmas in South Africa visiting my family with our 1st baby.
    48. Visit my Nana and all my Australian family and best friend with our 1st baby. 
    49. Go on a romantic honeymoon to Paris.  Post here 
    50. Climb the Eiffel Tower. Post here
    51. Eat a chocolate croissant and drink hot chocolate at Parisian cafe. Done 10X over!
    52. Get and use (for everything) a cash back credit card. 
    53. Secure a mortgage that will enable us to pay it off in 10 years.
    54. Buy dream land/home.
    55. Reach target amount of savings for deposit on dream home/land.
    56. Keep sticking to our budget and reaching our savings goal every month. *So far, so good
    57. Keep on top of our savings account, check the best rates every few months. *So far, so good
    58. Reach a salary I'm happy with at work.
    59. Not stress out about money - ever. *So far, so good
    60. Buy/freecycle/make a rocking chair. 
    61. Make an inspiring creative studio where I can sew and make jewellery or cards. Post here
    62. Buy/freecycle a dishwasher.
    63. Buy/freecycle a slow cooker.
    64. Make a rustic table and revamp chairs.
    65. Buy/freecycle a sewing machine. Post here
    66. Buy a solar panel and battery.
    67. Add to my reference book collection - smallholding, DIY, keeping animals, gardening. Books I bought Al for christmas
    68. Add to my recipe book collection - river cottage needed! Christmas present from my lovely hubby!
    69. Help Al set up a dark room and focus more on his photography. *chosen a space and started clearing it out...
    70. Do a car boot sale and ebay sale to get rid of the stuff in the garage.
    71. Keep house tidier - at least a bit!
    72. See an irish dancing show.
    73. Make more of an effort to keep in touch with friends and family, visiting those we can. *So far, so good
    74. Find a place to rent a bog so we can dig and turn our own turf (if we install our wood burner)
    75. Have a real christmas tree in 2012. Post here
    76. Celebrate thanksgiving by hosting a party.
    77. Fly a kite.
    78. Volunteer again or get involved with more fundraising (like children in need last year).
    79. Do some fire dancing with my poi.
    80. Make a 10 year time capsule before we have a baby.
    81. Kiss in the rain. Outside our apartment in Paris :)
    82. Kiss in the snow. 
    83. Host a candle lit party (maybe for earth hour?).
    84. Reach 101 followers on A journey to a dream. Thank you to all my followers, its wonderful to have you along for the journey, but a special mention to follower number 101 Under the milkwood tree which happens to know my family personally and has a beautiful south african blog about life and gardening, I highly recommend a look. 
    85. Meet at least 1 of my blogging friends.
    86. Start a family :) Post here
    87. Find our dream land/home.
    88. Play more board games. *So far, so good
    89. Vote. *Got on the electoral register!
    90. Learn basic Irish (fluency will take time!).
    91. Get my Irish passport (have to be married for 3 yrs).
    92. Make a snow angel for Dani from ecofootprintsa! Post here
    93. Make new friends and meet more like minded people. *So far, so good
    94. Build a massive sandcastle on the beach.
    95. Go to the theatre.
    96. Tie a note to a balloon and let it go.
    97. Say 'I love you' to my husband at least 3 times a day, every day. *So far, so good
    98. Celebrate an obsucre holiday.
    99. Have a proper picnic with a hamper and a blanket.
    I really love the 101 in 1001 idea and we all need a little push sometimes to do the things we want to do so putting it up on your blog not only means you'll not forget the little things but means you can get encouragement and/or cyber kicks up the butt from other bloggers to keep you on track LOL 

    I love reading other peoples 101's too so if your inspired to write one or have one partly done, leave your link in the comments section!

    Spur of the moment adventure!


    On sunday I had planned to do some housework and gardening, Al was going to finish some design projects but the sun was out and when we got up we just felt like an adventure. So we made up a flask of tea, wrapped up Ché Phoenix and headed off for the day on a mini road trip :) 

    As soon as we got in the car I knew it was the best idea, we love road tripping and it felt really naughty to blow off the sensible day plan and just go. The feelings sort of like getting a luxurious bubble bath at 2pm on a tuesday or getting breakfast then going back to bed just for cuddles! It makes me feel like a cheeky kid again, carefree and giggly!

    The other thing about getting away from your day to day life and your familiar surroundings is that you seem to talk about different things. We find we always end up having really interesting chats, deeper and more philosophical or just random silly conversations that end in sore stomach muscles! On sunday we ended up working on ideas for my Itty Bitty Book Company and had some brilliant break through moments. Just great :)

    We drove to the coast at Newcastle, it's a gorgeous drive through County Down, rolling hills, cute cottages and the Mourne mountains in the distance, covered in snow. By the time we got to Newcastle the wind was icy and the clouds had rolled in so you could only see the base of the mountains but somehow that just made them look bigger and more mysterious! We don't believe in bad weather, just bad preparation so we walked the prom anyway.

    After a lovely lunch and brisk walk we heading home the long way, on the tiny winding roads along the coast. We stopped at Tyrella beach which is stunning but since it was so cold and baby boy was sleeping soundly in his car seat we didn't stay long, I just jumped out and filled a bag with seaweed for the garden (we make awesome fertilizer with it, I'll link up to Al's post when he writes up the DIY for his ChilliNinja blog).

    So all in all it was a really fun and productive family day. Since getting back I've felt all energised, excited about my projects and back on track mentally, a wee road trip adventure clears my cob webs that's for sure :)

    Family life and photos :)

    Wow. Life is good! The last few weeks have just been amazing, such massive changes going on here and yet it all feels so relaxed and just, right :) The first 3 photos are from St Paddys Day, love his serious face in this one!

    We met a bunch of friends by the lough shore for lunch and drinks, we headed home at sunset, it was a perfect day, fun, friends and family, what more could you ask for!? I love how having a baby hasn't changed days like this, he just fits so perfectly into our lives.

    I mentioned in this post that Al was leaving his job and starting to work from home. Well last wednesday was his last day and we had a little celebration, Ché Phoenix and I baked a cake and we invited all the family round for tea. It was a lovely evening and really nice to have everyone wish him luck and encourage him on this new venture. This is the start of his career dreams coming true so it really deserved a cake and wee party! 

    Being able to spend so much time together as a family is just bliss, and I just can't explain how much I love seeing Al and Ché together. It's true what they say about not knowing how much you love your man until you see him with your children *swoon* lol

    For Easter we went over to the Grandparents house for lunch and had a lovely day. Auntie Sel and Uncle James were there too (Ché Phoenixs' favourite people at the moment!) we took a few mama and son photos before we left, isn't he getting big! and somehow cuter! I just can't stop kissing his gorgeous wee face, it's a real addiction!

    Love the open mouth kiss! Haha cracks me up every time! and his fuzzy hair at the back, the little things like that just melt my heart :) 

    Love being a mummy!
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