Saturday, 28 February 2009

A Year At My Back Door- The Book...

Well, I was so delighted to receive my Blurb book yesterday. My Year At My Back Door project which I finished up in January is now available as a book with all my favourite images gathered together in it. At the moment it is available in a small format, with two pictures on each page, as you can see below.
In the next couple of weeks there will also be a big coffee-table size hard-cover one which will have one image on each page. I think it will do more justice to the images, but I did want to have a smaller option available too.

I'm not finished with this project yet, as there are a few more things cooking which I hope to tell you about in a few weeks time. In the meantime, you can also view the entire year of photos over on AYAMBD the blog. And even better, you can buy the books in the Blurb bookstore
Or you can just click on the badge at the top right of this page.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

My Life As A Cake...

Bear with me...

The Smallest's second birthday creeps upon us. Next month in fact. (I cannot believe it...) And I begin to realise the baby-moon-mist has been receding. I find myself with noticeably more head space to actually pause and think for a minute instead of everything being in the moment (and not in the good way!).

I have a number of food intolerances which I struggle to deal with. Gluten and sugar? They. are. everywhere. Like you have no idea, if you don't scrutinise every label. But I can do it. Just about. But add on to that yeast, dairy and caffein? Well, let's just say that the coffee element is where I fall down. Seriously.
Part of the difficulty is because of the practical side of having to cook for five other people, all with various likes and dislikes. They always come first. That's just the way it is. But I now know that with a bit of organising of my thoughts I can organise my day. And then maybe even organise my life!

So, the first thing I do is make my self drink this here green tea. It's a step towards clarity.

It is actually quite the magic potion. While I was, I admit, persuaded by the earnest guy doing a promotion in my local health food shop one day recently, I have to say it seems to be working! It is supposed to stop your cravings, ahem. I've never been a fan of green tea but taken as a latte, (no really!), it is, dare I say it, delicious in a comforting kind of way. Even though it has a pond-water kind of look about it, as though a frog just may hop out any moment now.... For more info on it have a look here.
I've really only just started to take it properly so I'll let you know how I get on, but so far so good.

Has anyone any experience with it? I'd love to hear if you do.

So about that title. I know it should read 'My Life Without Cake, but it refers to the plan I have come up with that I hope will help me stay on track.
I am a visual person, and therefore I find it easier to do things if I can visualise it. So I figured if I can visualise what I can and cannot eat then it will be easier. If I think of it as being like a cake recipe, there are certain things which need to go into it to make it a success, and other things you absolutely cannot put in or it will flop.

I can try. And as I seem to be able to eke out some more time and space in my head I hope it will become easier. I've done it before so fingers crossed. There are some wonderful, inspiring blogs out there that are full of amazing recipes and tips to live gluten-free. Places like Elana's Pantry and Gluten-Free Girl. If any of this resonates with you then do check them out, they are inspiring.

I do feel a change. No more babies in the house. Time for me. Even just a little...

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Grass Breathing Around My Ears.

In other years there were floods and high tides,
days of cloud bursts and verdant dusks.

There were misty, rain filled days,
the mountains shrouded, silent, grey ghosts.

This year as February begins to wane,
we have blue skies,
grass swaying in the wind,
clouds roaming the sky,

But each year, at this time,
the whole garden is humming with fertility,
heaving up soil,
sighing with moisture.
Green shoots pushing their way up through the grass...

Spring is tapping at the window...

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Something To Sustain Us.

So it's back to school tomorrow. 
We enjoyed the break and got to squeeze in most of what we hoped. We ended our weekend with a visit to our friends Danny and Tali in their little house in the valley. We had wholesome food and fine weather. And a lovely time was had.

Here's a peep...

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Irish Blog Awards.

The  Irish Blog Awards are on in Cork tonight. And one of my brothers is on the shortlist for the Best Arts and Culture Blog! Best of luck to Chris!

The Last Leaf  by Chris Judge.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Something On My Mind...

A number of years ago someone sent me an email the essence of which has stayed with me, along with some lines. I cannot remember who sent it, and I cannot remember all of it, (If you know then please remind me!)

In essence then, along with lots of my own memories, this is what it said:

~When we were kids we had friends. We went outside and found them.
We rode our bikes barefoot, and no one wore helmets. We rode those bikes in packs, and wore our coats by the hood. We left home in the morning and didn't come home until dark. And no one had mobile phones.
We drank water from the garden hose, or shared a can or bottle with four others. And no one actually died...
We built dens, and go-carts and weapons. We had fights with each other and got hurt! We had 'wars' over firewood with neighbouring estates at Halloween.
We made up games. And we played chasing and rounders and skipping and piggy-beds and hopscotch and bulldog and tip-the-can and elastics and, oh the list is endless!
We fell out of trees and off walls. We got cuts and broke limbs. And there were no law-suits.
We walked to school. We walked to friends houses. We walked to the pool. We robbed orchards, and played knick-knocks and were genuinely afraid of the owner catching us!

We learned to govern ourselves. ~

This has been on my mind. Increasingly as the children get older. It is on my mind when I drive back and forth to school. When I arrange their 'social diaries'. When I drive them to the pool. When they have to ok everything with the parents, their own and their friends.
I thought about this yesterday as we sat in the sun after a swim. I thought about the differences between my childhood and theirs. I wondered how this would affect their lives compared to mine. I know they have significant advantages over us in certain areas, but overall what does it mean to have a whole generation grow up having things done for them, to get all the 'things' they want that all their friends have?

Is it just me?

Photos from my archives.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Into The Trees.

No school this week.
A lovely day spent with these old friends.

These last few days have filled my heart and recharged me.

The measure of holding onto old friends...

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A Weekend Of Pictures.

We had a lovely weekend. We had some old friends visit us, which is always good. They are the kind of friends who inspire me and leave me feeling encouraged.
I did get a lie-in this morning, but otherwise it was go go go, with six children to feed and referee! So much so I hardly took any pictures!

~But then this morning... 
The first morning it's mild enough to open the windows as I rise.
Listen! The songbirds are returning.
Echoing in the damp garden, with the quiet surf whispering in the background,
soothing them, inviting them to stay awhile.
And as the sun creeps higher over the sea, the distant hills part their misty curtains and we all look around us, nodding Hello! Hello! little birds, so glad you could come!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Something Lovely.

When we went to London-town recently, one little treasure we found was Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop in Covent Garden. Oh my! It was a wonderful treasure trove of magic, which specialises in toy theatres and toys of another era. I was in heaven. I picked up a few retro postcards and little paper cut-outs and then I spied a little wonder that made me quiver with joy!

And it was out of stock...

I came home and couldn't stop thinking about it. So I googled it, as one does these days, and to my delight I found myself in a very familiar Etsy shop. Little Robot is a wonderland of 'Paper, Pictures, Automata & Other Fanciful Things'. I have been an occasional visitor to Lindsey's fascinating Little Robot Blog, and I am so thrilled to see she has some in her shop.

This is a printed art doll which you can cut out and assemble yourself! She also has her own spooky forest background image for framing her against.

I have to say it floated off the wall at me which is why I spotted it in the first place. With these pictures it's hard to get across the 3-D effect she has.
It really is a captivating piece.

So guess what is top of my things I need list?

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Where The North Wind Did Blow Me.

I spent this morning on the couch with a poorly babe watching Thomas the Tank Engine on loop, and finishing this little piece.

I'm still enchanted with a craft so small and tidy and portable that it gets made in my car and whilst snuggled up with my babies on the couch.

I will soon have to tell you the little story that is growing with these small pieces.

But for now I hope you like the latest installment.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Just A Little Longer.

I promise the snowy theme will be nowhere in sight very soon. But it is such a rare treat here to have so much snow for so long that I cannot resist it. So bear with me just a wee while longer.

Any regular readers here will be very familiar with this view.

So I thought a slight change of view might be nice. This is the same mountain, the Sugar Loaf, but up close. I took these on Friday while visiting some friends who live at the foot of the mountain.

It's a constant in our lives, a sentry on our horizon.

For more views take a peek here and what about here and finally here.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

A Snowy Morning.

Back home this morning, after the school rush, back home in the quiet house I looked at the one little grub that was left. And he was. Grubby.
He's been coughing and sniffling, and I hadn't had the heart to bathe him in the bathroom that is also known as 'outer siberia'. But it had to be done.

And then I had a thought. I remembered this.  It's where he was bathed up until a few months back when he and The Little One discovered what splashy fun could be had in a big bath together.
So, in the warm kitchen, he sat, quietly, and played and sang as the snow fell outside the window and slowly filled all the world with white.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

In Search Of Snow.

It has been snowing.

And it's the one time of year the children regret our seaside garden. 

We watched as it flurried down, settling on the distant hills.
We drove through a blizzard to school. 
Slowly slowly. 

But back home, it just wouldn't stick around.

So we took a drive through the hills.

And paid a visit to some hillside friends for some snowy fun.

It's a rare enough treat for us to have snow, and in shops and on the streets people were full of smiles and friendly words, all rosy cheeked and jolly.
I hope it's not gone, just yet.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Something Lovely.

And exciting too!

Ok I'm going to blow a little trumpet here. These clothes were designed by the amazing Marta from Out Walking. The reason I am so thrilled to be posting these is because Marta, originally from Madrid and living at the moment in Buenos Aires, is my Spanish 'sister'. I've known her since she was a wee girl of 14 and she lived in Dublin for a number of years before heading to BsAs, and I miss her!

These were designed for Vitamina, a fashion house in BsAs where Marta works.

I have to say, I adore this top! Truly madly deeply...
And it is so you Marta!!!

I am so darn proud of you Marta! Congratulations!