Garden update!

 It is definitely feeling like spring here in Ireland and we have been in the gardening mood (Before pictures here) I'm a bit behind on my update but last weekend Al set up a brilliant potting station in our garage and we fixed our wee greenhouse and planted peas. In previous years we've planted peas in modules and transplanted later in the season but this year we just threw them in. We're all about simple, hassle free gardening these days (and we're a bit braver).

It's so great to have this set up inside so even if its raining you can plant some seeds then just
run to the greenhouse lol

You can't really see here but the top left is all new plastic, it was ripped badly in a storm. It was £20 for a
replacement cover online so we went to B&Q and bought a £3 shower curtain instead - bargain!
This weekend I transplanted a few randoms and covered all the bare soil so the neighbourhood cats would stop using it as a toilet... not fun... Anyway I know it looks a bit messy but we're not too fussed about that, just looking forward to the produce.

We've got leeks, onions, radishes, lettuce, marigolds and rocket coming on in the greenhouse, they'll all end up in that bed soon enough :)

Inspiring bargain buys :)

Doesn't that sight just make you want to create something beautiful? As most of you know I love charity shops, I love searching out the wee gems and I love knowing what you're buying is doing good not harm to our world. A big factor though, lets be honest is the money saving opportunities! 

I'd been thinking I needed some good fabric scissors for a while and this pair was 50p, super sharp and will last forever because they are made so well (unlike the £16 plastic handled ones I saw in the haberdashery...) The spools of cotton were 5p each (I got 10) and the wool which I'll be using to refine my new found embroidering skills was £1.99, I'm so chuffed and will definitely be heading up to my craft room tomorrow to have a good sort out and do some of the crafty projects I've been meaning to get around to :)

I also managed to bag myself ANOTHER jamie oliver book! One of his new '30 min meals' books for £1.99 (RRP £26) So all in all it was an awesome and inexpensive trip to town. 

Don't you love it when inspiration comes along? 

February Happy List!

It was so cool to have you guys join in a bit last month with my happy list, in the comments and your own Happy List posts - thank you! Lets create a happiness revolution LOL

The 10 little things that are making me happy this month are:

  1. Planning our backyard hen house and run (so exciting!).
  2. Revamping our home to feel ready for the longer evenings and good weather.
  3. Having lots of candles burning in the evenings.
  4. Having our wood burner in our living room, even if its not hooked up yet!
  5. The fact that it's now light when we get up for work.
  6. Looking outside and seeing our wee greenhouse fixed and set up for spring.
  7. Bubbles :)
  8. Having our wish list for the year written out, we've planned one purchase each month so we can stick to our monthly spending and savings amounts.
  9. Being well and healthy, I went though a stage of catching all the things the kids had at work the last few months but I'm now totally OCD with hand washing, vitamins and echinacea and it seems to be working :)
  10. Seeing the first herb seedlings pop up through the soil on the kitchen windowsill.

So what's making you happy these days?

Happy Pancake Day!

The hubby and I enjoyed our pancake dinner so much I totally forgot to take a picture! We had sugar and fresh lemons, banana, chocolate spread and double cream, it was to die for. So good we ate in the kitchen as they were cooking LOL

On a frugal note - I couldn't imagine buying one of those pancake mix packets where you add milk... You're only paying for an egg and some flour! But wether you made old school pancakes or whipped up some premixed ones I hope it was fun and tasty!

On a musical note - This is my feel good song of the moment, I've been wanting to share it for a while, the video is really worth a watch - its so simple, funny and uplifting, especially near the end where he punches the air! I love it and it makes me smile every time :)

Courting on the walls of Derry

As part of our week long celebrations (Valentines and 5 years together ((other celebrations here)) we took a day trip to the historical city of Derry, right up on the very north coast of Ireland. Derry city has a 1.5km circular wall that runs around the old centre, it was built in 1613 and still has the cannons on it!

We thought it'd be romantic to walk the walls together - and it was! Despite the rain, cutting wind (which managed to wreck our massive golf umbrella in about 5 mins) and our bizarre lack of warm clothes, you think we'd know better lol

looking out onto 'free Derry' with my 50p hat and scarf we emergency bought when the weather turned

Al soaking up the history of it all (and looking great in his emergency bought £2 hat!)

 I had so much bubble fun too! The wind whipped them away so fast, along the wall spiraling up into the sky, they went for miles, I wish I'd taken a video. My sister has a friend who believes bubbles will change the world by bringing everyone together in childlike wonder! All I know is it was fun and made lots of people smile :)

I thought it was amazing how the city has grown up around these walls. Once they must have been huge and imposing, now they seem like part of the road in parts, with buildings towering over them. Funny how things change...

This is where we stopped to de-frost and have some tea :)

'Courting' (incase you don't know - I didn't before I moved to Ireland) is an old fashioned notion/tradition where a young couple date under supervision of a matchmaker before getting married. Often the dates would be a walk were the couple could talk and get to know each other. I think lots of young couples would have courted on the walls of Derry :)

Adults can make dens too!

We had so much fun in our Valentines/Anniversary den its still up! It made our evenings in this week so special and romantic, we played board games and watched romantic movies (dirty dancing & when harry met sally which I loved). We'll definitely be doing this again - it's fun, easy and free - happy days!

5 years since we moved to Ireland together - the best 5 years of my life :)

Handmade free gift, what could be better?

Handmade Pay It Forward! I had never heard of this before and the name doesn't give much away lol Well it's a really cool idea which involves creating something handmade yourself, well 5 things, and giving them to the 5 first commenters on your 'Handmade Pay It Forward' post. Apparently its been going around facebook for a while but I got involved on Sky Minded & Ever Growing, she's really creative so I can't wait to see what she makes for me :)

My 1st pair of hand rolled, paper bead peace earrings :) 

So the pledge is: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment here. They must in turn post a Pay It Forward Pledge and send something handmade by them to the first 5 people who comment on theirs. The rules are it must be made by you and sent to your 5 people in 2012, can be super simple or as complex as you like.

Cute arm warmers made on my new machine :)
I don't know what I'll be making yet but it will be made with love! Also I have a brand new (to me) sewing machine, I can make hand-rolled paper beads and I've been known to knit a wallet from a plastic bag so if that doesn't entice you to join in the fun I don't know what will!

One of my 'I used to be a plastic bag' purses :)
P.s I hope you all have a lovely day tomorrow - Happy Valentines! xxx

Love is in the air...

I love Valentines Day, I always have and not just in a romantic way. When I was really little I used to make cards for my mum, then in high school my single girlfriends and I used to share chocolates and tell each other how much we love each other LOL 
LOVE (noun) 
Profound and intense feeling of deep affection; unselfish concern for the well-being of another.  
This year we are spreading the celebrations out over a week since on the 15th it's also 5 years to the day since we flew to Ireland to start our life together. This was quite a huge deal since we had only known each other 5 months and of that time I had been away visiting family for nearly 2 months out of that!!! I'd never been to Ireland before, knew no one there except Al and we had no money... I guess we just both knew we were worth taking a chance on. 

So back to topic, any holiday celebrating love is good in my book, obviously I'm not all about extravagant gifts and spending lots of money to show your feelings. I like to get creative and have a bit of fun with Valentines Day because there's so much pressure for it to be the "perfect romantic evening" sometimes it can end up a bit forced, do you ever feel that? I thought I'd share what we have planned and if you have any ideas or plans you'd like to share leave a comment! No point in idea sharing on the evening of the 13th hey?

  •  We're big kids so a romantic den in the living room sounds like so much fun to us! Classic romantic films, fun board games, ice cream and cosy blankets!

  • Candlelit steak dinner - the way to my heart is with steak! We have some sparkling apple instead of wine though since we're on a detox. 

  • On the weekend after the rush we're going to go back to the place we had our first ever date, sit in the same seats, order the same food and reminisce over the wonderful years since then. 

  • Have breakfast in bed - croissants and orange juice then go back to sleep! So naughty hehe!

I'm so excited, next week's gonna be awesome! Also "hello" to my new followers, thanks for following my journey to a dream, I hope you enjoy it :) I've checked out your blogs and you all seem lovely! I'm so glad you'll be along for the ride - welcome! 

Thank you Dan!

First of all, thank you so much to Dan from Frugal Living UK, I'm very humbled that you chose to share the versatile blogger award with me. I'm so glad people are enjoying my blog, it really makes me happy :)

 The rules of the prize are:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award
  2. Link back that person
  3. Select blogs that you've recently discovered (and think deserve it!) and nominate them
  4. Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself

OK, well it makes it a bit easier because it's recently discovered blogs, my picks are...

Those two were literally blogs I only discovered this week! If I'm taking the 'recently' too literally then here are 2 others I think deserve it...

On to the 7 things about me, I've tried to go for random & interesting...

  1. I was scared of kettles until a few years ago, I always thought they were going to explode when they do that rapid boil thing at the end...
  2. I cant live without Hellmans Real Mayonaise
  3. My husband and I used to breed lionheaded rabbits
  4. I have road tripped across Australia, South Africa, to every county in Ireland and to Paris
  5. I believe I am the happiest person in the world
  6. I can't ever spend a day 'just relaxing' I HAVE to be being productive in some way
  7. I can fire dance :) 

Visiting family doesn't have to cost a fortune!

I had such a brilliant time visiting family and friends in Glasgow last week but I can't stop thinking about how I didn't spend a single penny apart from the flights! Since lots of you are frugal and into saving where possible I thought I'd share my tips with you and no I'm not super cheap/rude and just expect everyone to pay for me all the time lol

An obvious start is don't spend ANYTHING at the airport... EVER! I always bring a snack with me so I don't have to buy food before I arrive.

When I'm visiting people I want to spend lots of time chatting and relaxing with them, catching up properly so going to the movies or shopping all day really doesn't do it for me. I love home cooked meals and luckily my family are great cooks, so we only eat out every now and then. We went for a lovely walk one day, the weather wasn't perfect but don't let that put you off.

In the evenings we took turns cooking, we watched funny youtube clips and the movie 'into the wild', such a great story. On Tuesday Pip and I had a fantastically lazy day, we stayed in our PJ's, drank tea, chatted about the future, did one or two productive things but nothing major. 

On Wednesday we did some charity shopping and I found another Jamie Oliver book, I couldn't believe my luck, it was only £3 and my dad bought it for me :) Turns out its my favorite Jamie book, he talks about how he grows different veg and its set up in seasons not chapters, I'd recommend it for anyone with a veg garden.

I'm so glad we got such great pictures on the last day too, proof you should never trust the weatherman he said it would be terrible! 

So with a bit of luck, nice weather, good cooks and lovely people it's easy to have a no spend holiday, flights at £60 not included haha

One happy family!

Proper holiday update to come, just loving spending these last few evenings back snuggled up with my hubby and cara :)

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