Tuesday, 19 November 2013

From Dublin to Cork to Dublin again

This is just a peek into my recent trip to Ireland for THE WEDDING. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I had during trips in the past. I wanted to enjoy my time there, rather than spending my time looking through a camera. I do regret not taking more photos in certain areas - there were full days where I did not touch the camera and missed some great photo opportunities. I suppose there is always next time!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

What a wedding!

One of the reasons I had been too busy and pooped to post for the last while is because I was preparing for my wedding. The wedding, as you may already know, was held in Ireland, so not only was I planning a wedding, but I was making arrangements overseas - what a challenge! Everything turned out wonderfully, even better than I could have asked for. Now, I could go on and on about every little detail of the wedding but I will spare you, since you may not find everything as interesting (or relevant) as I have but I will share some of what was important to me about the trip and the big day.

First of all, the wedding would have been nothing without all of the friends and family who came (from near and far) for the big day. I had family and friends from both Canada and England who traveled to Ireland to be there and celebrate with me and I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we all had - laughing until we cried, eating way too much yummy food and having a few drinks. Due to running around at the last minute finalizing some wedding details, I did not get to party with the family and friends nearly as much as I wanted to, so I believe another trip will be in order down the road!

Photo courtesy of Holly Gray (Maid of Honor, best friend and all around awesome person).

The wedding was held in the church pictured above, St. Finbarr's Oratory in Gougane Barra, County Cork. The church, which sits on a little island in the middle of a lake, seats no more than 40 people for a cozy little ceremony. How can you not just stand there and take photo after photo of this place? The area is so quiet and tranquil and sits just outside of a gorgeous national park. Just out of the frame is the Gougane Barra Hotel, which is where the reception was held and where most friends and family stayed. The hotel was amazing. It is an older hotel with lots of character (picture an upscale Fawlty Towers). The couple who run the place (Neil and Katy) were great, they were so incredibly warm, friendly and helpful - they really went above and beyond for not only myself and the mister, but all of my family and friends who came out for the wedding. The food was incredible, the atmosphere was great, I just couldn't ask for anything more! I will definitely be going back for a visit the next time I am in Ireland.

The "look" I was after for the wedding was slightly vintage, a bit rustic and homemade. I think I did a good job achieving it. I had loads of homemade buntings in reds, yellows, pale blue, green and white. The flowers, as you can see from the photo above were (my favorite) daisies, white and yellow with a splash of red - the red to match my shoes, nails, lips and bow in hair. I have to thank Enchanted Flowers in Macroom for all they did - communicating with me by email, meeting with me last minute and ordering tons of these little flowers for me with just two days to spare - not to mention driving the flowers to the church and hotel and setting up the 20+ vases and glasses I had been collecting over the months and took with me (carry on) all the way to Ireland!

My dress was ordered from Etsy, the shop called Penny Pardy. Since I did the dress ordering in a panic at the VERY last minute, I ordered the dress a size too big, figuring that if it was too big it can be altered, but if I ordered my exact size there would be no wiggle room if it came a bit snug (or if I gained an ounce before the big day!). I wouldn't recommend doing what I did, because the dress, albeit beautiful, was far too big and even after having taken it in, it did not fit as perfectly as I would have hoped (I am an odd shape and probably should have been measured for a more custom dress). Regardless of the fit I received a lot of compliments on the dress, the fabric was very pretty and I was able to achieve my goal of a wedding dress that was comfortable to wear and dance in all day AND that was NOT strapless! I would definitely order from her shop again, but I would not rush it and take the time to communicate my measurements to get a dress that fits perfectly...I may just consider wearing more dresses in the future (oh my god, I can't believe I just said typed that!).

One last wedding-thing I must mention is our wedding photographer. His name is Ivan and he was amazing! I have to say he was a big part in making the day what it was - really! He was incredibly easy going and a pleasure to work with. He had actually taken a trip to the hotel, church and national park weeks before our wedding to scope out good spots for photos. He did an amazing job of capturing what was happening through the day, there were no posed photos, everything was relaxed and natural. He blended right in with the guests (who all loved him, by the way!) and managed to capture some amazing shots.If you are looking for a photographer in Ireland (Cork) I would not hesitate to recommend him.

All together the wedding turned out really well and I hope everyone in attendance had as much fun as I did! There are many more people I must thank, from our priest in Canada to our priest in Ireland, all restaurateurs, hotel staff members and pub owners that took care of my group of family and friends as we traveled across Ireland!

I will leave you with that - like I said, I don't want to bore you with every detail! I will however share a few more photos in the coming weeks and as life gets back to normal, I hope to get back to posting when I can.

Monday, 4 November 2013

One minute it's July and the next thing you know...

It's November?! Where has time gone? I disappeared for a seriously long time, no? A lot has happened since my last post - too much in fact to start talking about now, that would just be plain crazy. I will spare the boring details and just say that I have been working a lot, so much so that I go days on end without turning on my computer and checking emails, never mind snapping photos and posting here. Work has taken over my life, I have neglected my garden and my kitchen (what's a home cooked meal again?!) and I am always tired. Another thing that has kept me busy was my wedding - planning a wedding and working a full time job and trying to take care of a home and life-things in general is hard. The wedding has come and gone and I have the day off so I am setting aside a few minutes (in between raking leaves!) to sit down and get back to this blog. I can't say I will post as frequently as I once did but I am really going to try and touch base here once a week. Check back soon...

Sunday, 14 July 2013

It's too hot out!

It's far too hot out for me to think or do anything. My head hurts from the heat and humidity and I am drained of all energy. No more words now, too much effort! I leave you with photos of the garden and some recent thrifty purchases.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Photos from my weekend

This past weekend was a hot, humid and busy one! I worked all through the day Saturday, then came home and did a bit of gardening in the evening - and I have the mosquito bites to prove it! Sunday was not as hot and humid but it was still pretty bad to me (have I mentioned how I hate the heat?). I spent most of Sunday in the garden but managed to get cleaned up in time for dinner at The Works in Waterloo. I had one yummy/spicy/greasy and fattening as all hell burger - it was good. My dinner date went for the butter chicken poutine, which I had to taste (obviously) and it was yummy! Anyway, I managed to snap a few photos around the garden this weekend - I did not manage to snap photos of my burger because A. I'm not really one for taking photos of food in crowded restaurants and B. I made a serious mess of that burger pretty damn quickly!

1 and 2 are some new additions to the front garden (2 was a real cheap/sad looking purchase that I'm hoping takes off!). 3 the hosta in the front is looking great and should have flowers in the next day or two. 4 the daisies have finally bloomed. 5 this is what it looks like deep in the "no lawn-mowing zone" where our teeny tiny bunny friend lives. 6 these tiny flowers are popping up in the wild part of the backyard (near bunny territory). 7 thankfully the ivy that someone tore off the back of the garage last fall is growing back lighting fast. 8 extreme close-up of extreme golden flower (still don't know what it is but I'm in love!).

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Finally...rain barrel!

After sitting in our garage for two months, today we finally got our rain barrel in place! I had always wanted a rain barrel...but not having a house kinda makes that difficult. When we moved in last summer it was a bit too late to find one and we had so many other projects before us that the rain barrel (and garden) were left behind. This year I was determined to get my rain barrel. I got my hands on one a few days after we got back from Ireland but we were not ready to get it in place. There was some painting of the front veranda that needed to be done first, then we had to prepare the spot that the barrel would sit in - we couldn't just dump it in the flower bed, we needed some gravel and patio stones as a base.

Yesterday the flower bed area was prepared by the mister and today we got to work getting the downspout and barrel in place. Plenty of cursing, swearing and a tiny bit of name calling (yes, that happens when you are working on a hot and humid day) later and its done. Now all we need is some rain!

We chose to get the rain barrel in today (despite the heat and humidity) because we are supposed to have a thunderstorm and I want to finally start collecting some rain water. We have already had two massive rain showers recently and I don't want to miss one more! Another reason for getting that barrel in place is because the existing downspout situation on that corner of the house was pretty bad. The landscaping (stone walls of the flower bed) were not planned out with drainage or downspouts in mind so the spouts that were there were not at the best angles causing water to drip and collect in the flower bed and subsequently drain into the house. Fingers crossed this barrel solves (or at least alleviates) the problem.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Happy Canada Day!

Today is Canada Day, so Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks! Despite today being a National holiday I went to work with a few others to get some essentials done while the store was empty. Lucky for me I was home before dinner which means I will still have some time to relax before heading out for the big Canada Day fireworks show at the park around the corner! I am prepared for crowds and plenty of mosquito bites (no Canada Day would be complete without them!). I will leave you now with some snap shots of the past few weeks. Buster cat cannot get enough of going outside for some sun bathing and a chomp on the grass and the backyard/flowerbed has really seen a transformation! I am happy with the flowers and wildlife the yard has attracted - there is even a teeny tiny baby bunny who has been hanging about next to our shed...I can't even handle the cute...if only I could snap a photo!

Buster waiting patiently (not really) at the backdoor to go outside. 
Getting ready...
...to sun bathe! 
I had no idea what colour this lily was going to be and was pleasantly surprised when I saw the hot-pink petals.
What kind of flower is this? Anyone have a clue?
This past Friday we had a serious rain storm (flash flooding closed two local shopping malls!). The flowers took a beating but managed to survive and are still going strong.
This has got to be one of the slowest flowers to bloom...I wish it would hurry up so I can figure out what it is!
It turns out there was a rock garden hidden under piles of dead leaves in the backyard! It is slowly but surely coming to life.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The garden is alive!

I have put some time into the garden when/where I can. My goal was to tame the flower bed that is against the neighbors shed and to just keep the yard neat and tidy. So far so good but there is a long summer ahead of me and I hope the weather stays good - not too hot and dry and not a complete wash-out!

The first two photos were taken about 3 weeks ago. The yard is much neater than it was lat year when we moved in and the lawn is healthy and green, not dead and brown like last summer! A good amount of flowers/mystery plants came up in the flower bed next to the shed. I spent quite a bit of time pulling out stuff that I thought were weeds and rubbish almost two months ago, it is wonderful to see what has survived!

This photo was taken just over a week ago. The plants are getting out of control (I don't mind though!). There is some sort of climber making it's way up some trellis I put against the shed - you can almost see the vines moving, they are growing THAT fast! There are some other plants that have shot up like rockets right in front of my flowering climbers but I have no clue what they are! There are the beginnings of some buds so hopefully in the next week or so I will figure out just what they are!

So far that lone pink flower is the only bloom to appear on my wild climber (what is it? Clematis? Morning Glory?). I am hoping more flowers show themselves soon. The Lilies were one of the first to appear, they are/were beautiful until they were flattened by some heavy rain.Yellow Irises! I've only every had purple irises so these yellow ones surprised me. Sadly I was working around the clock for the few days the purple irises were in bloom and I missed grabbing photos.

These are a sample of the "mystery plants" that are in the flower bed. I have decided they probably aren't weeds but until some flowers appear I won't have a clue what they are...but I vaguely remember something like Black Eyed Susan's and Daises in the bed last summer so I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Hostas have been popping up in the front and back yard like Dandelions! I don't mind though, they are one of my favorite plants, they just get big and green and leafy and I LOVE them! Oh, and of course, a Dandelion! I did a number digging weeds out of the lawn and I can't believe it but with the exception of this lone lion, none have popped back up to haunt me (like weeds so often do).

Just a little reminder that this is what the garden looked like only a few months ago! Hard to believe so many strong, healthy plants have emerged from that dead looking space! And yes, I tore down that awful lattice. I suppose it was put up for plants to climb up and to possibly cover the hideous shed, but since taking the rotten wood down I think the shed looks better (is that possible?)...a bit less of an eyesore!