About Me

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antrim, antrim, Ireland
Hello and welcome to my blog. If you like flowers and gardens, housey stuff, food and banter, then this is the place for you. I am a decorative artist, florist and maker of things. I sell painted furniture, plants and crafts, through a local retail shop, in my native Ireland, and wedding flowers from home. I am married to a lovely patient man and have a smashing little girl. I blog for the fun of it. Thank you for listening.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Travel...'broadens the mind'.

The Walled Garden at Powerscourt, Wicklow.

Even if you travel in your own country! I am so glad we stayed in Ireland this year, if the weather had been awful I may have thought differently! It was so good to see Ireland through the eyes of a tourist, to take in its wild, romantic beauty and really appreciate it. Sometimes I get quite down on my own country, because it's not very sophisticated, because we don't seem to appreciate our history and heritage, and seem to favour new fangled and modern instead of old and worn. ( I am speaking of Northern Ireland here.) With my line of work, painting furniture and interiors, it is frustrating because it is really hard to find vintage and antique items here, and when you do they are generally heavy victorian and dark wood, not the kind of look I  want!  General cost of living is quite expensive here, everything seems to be brought in and so is more expensive than England. We have very little in the way of Farmers Markets, even though we have plenty of farmers. So, you can imagine, when I see the lovely Antique Fairs, Vintage Markets, Farmers Markets, Brocantes etc. on your lovely blogs, I jump up and down and cry with frustration. However, when I travel to Southern Ireland and see places like Avoca, with their wonderful cafes and deli's thriving, Artisan Bakers, French Vans selling local fruit, it gives me hope and I think yes, we will have these things in Nortern Ireland! I need to remember too, that it wasn't that long ago, when we had bombs going off, shootings, we were a country at war, and it takes time to recover from these things. I have forgotten what Belfast city centre used to be like, when no-one went out at night. There were no 'Cocktail Bars' and fancy Hotels, coffee houses and designer shops. We were really starved of culture and beauty! Things really have changed for the better when I think of it. My mind has been broadened, I have come to appreciate my country more and I am glad of it. So here are a few of our holiday snaps, to let you see how beautiful it is!

A wonderful Georgian door in Bray.

A pretty row of houses, in the seaside town of Bray.

I would so love one of these Citroen vans.

Entrance to Avoca shop, restaurant, deli and garden centre at Kilmacanagoue.

The photos above where taken at Avoca.

Down at the farm at Kilcoole.

I don't want to bore you with too many photos, so I will keep the one's from Powerscourt and Eniskerry for another day. Have a wonderful week. Thankyou so much to my new followers, welcome aboard! Love Linda x

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Zest for Life!

 We have been back from our little break in Wicklow for almost a week, I cannot believe where the time has gone. We all had a wonderful time and were lucky with the weather. My husband took the photos this time, and I am still waiting for him to load them on to the computer. So, I am sorry, there is nothing to show you just yet.

The weather has been fabulous this week and it is amazing how a little bit of sunshine gives you a real 'zest for life'. So I have selected a few 'zesty' photos to zing up your day! As well as being busy with work, we are changing a few things at home and in the garden which I hope to post about soon. I hope you are all having a lovely week so far? Sit back and enjoy these images, curtesy of tumblr.

Are you feeling the vibe..? Not yet! You need some more....? Alright here are some more zesty images from Pinterest.... enjoy!

This might cool you down! xxx
Have a wonderful week with plenty of sunshine and maybe a little rain too for balance is the key! Love Linda

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Yeats's Country

The lovely old church in Drumcliffe, Sligo where  W.B. Yeats is buried.

This year, we decided that we would stay in Ireland for our holiday. Because of work commitments we had to split it into two four day breaks. So, for the first we headed over the border into County Sligo. It is full of fishing ports and wonderful sandy beaches. Although my photos look a bit grey, we actually had the most wonderful weather and were able to make the most of the beaches. Sligo town is where W.B. Yeats mother's family is from and where he spent time as a child. There are a lot of tributes to him everywhere and had I not got a nine year old with me, I should have liked to look into his history a bit further. We did get to go to the church, St. Columba's, where you can view his very simple grave. The church was restored in the 1990's and I think has sadly lost some of it's integrity, but you can still see it is a very old and charming building, but it is the setting that is quite breathtaking. The scenery around is so wild and beautiful and you can imagine it hasn't changed for centuries, there was once a monastry on this site.

Our Hotel was situated near Rosses Point, a lovely shaded cove amd we spent quite a lot of time walking along the edge of the sea. We also went to Sandhill which is a more exposed beach with a surfing school. Everywhere was remarkably quiet, the state of the economy obviously having an effect. However, there is the most laid back relaxed atmosphere and the locals are so friendly and lovely. If you want to get away from the hurly birly, this is the place.

A lovely yellow house in the fishing port of Mullaghmore.

My family rolled their eyes when I unpacked some roses from a plastic bag. I think that some hotels are rather soul-less and need some roses from my garden, plus the smell wafted me off to sleep at night!
So, a jolly good time was had by all! When we got back I had to cook and do flowers and table decorations for a clients 25th Wedding Anniversary party, so it was all go!

I do apologise, my photos are not terribly good! My client s had gone to Hawaii for their anniversary and so we had a kind of tropical beach theme going, without trying to be to  typically Hawaiian. The colour scheme was turquoise, lime green and white. The wreath for her front door was made from White roses that have a green tinge, Queen Annes Lace, white Agapanthus, Snowball Viburnum, white Scented Stock and a few quirky little onion topped  Alliums (I think they are actually Leeks gone to seed!) I added some white seashells and one starfish. On the mantel I did 5 little jam jar arrangements, using the same flowers and then a little tag added which said 'fleurs'. Of course I forgot to photogrph these, but this picture from Tumblr was my inspiration.

The table decoration consisted of large tissue paper flowers, a trail of sand with shells and starfish and some turquoise tealights. I also filled a large glass tank with sand  and decorated with candles and shells, for the sideboard. The napkins where folded to incorporate a pocket for the cutlery and tied with some pretty striped ribbon. Sadly I forgot to photograph the food. I made two large hams with a Pistachio and Ornge crust, Panko Chicken (which are marinated chicken fillets which are then coated in Japanese Panko crumbs, which makes for a lovely crispy topping). These are served cold , sliced on the diagonal with a Fresh Peach Chutney. I made Pear and Almond Tart for dessert and Tiffin for the children. Then I did White Chocolate Covered Pretzels , packed into clear c.d. wallets and tied with ribbon as goodie bags. So today I am feeling quite tired! We are off again tomorrow on the second part of our hols to County Wicklow, it is a very beautiful area too. I will try to take more photos this time. I am so far behind on my reading, so I do apologise to all whose blogs I follow, but sometimes you simply cannot do it all. Have a wonderful week , love Linda x

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Lay a little egg for me!

One day, when I get my house in the country, I would like some chickens to go with it. We did try to have them where we live now, but it didn't work out as we have limited space and it meant we had to clean out their run every night, and boy do they make a lot of mess. I did love hearing the little cluck cluck noises they made, and they are so nosey and comical and just love company.

As for the lovely fresh eggs, they make my cakes so yellow, and taste truly wonderful. So, we will definitely have chickens again. I came across this most heavenly henhouse in American Country Living magazine http://www.countryliving.com/ . Wouldn't this just be the 'bee's knee's'?

I don't know why exactly, as I am from a city, but my heart has always been in the country. I just feel more at home and relaxed with rolling hills and green fields all around me. We live in a semi-rural  area at the moment, which suits for now, for my daughters schooling and my husbands work, but in the future we would like somewhere a little more remote.

Isn't this just hilarious?

This is just too much fun, I can just see myself with my little basket off to make blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Anyone like to join me?

I won't be about for a few days as we are off to the seaside, but I wish you all a very productive and happy week.

Ta ta for now, will be thinking of you, love Linda x.  (images are from http://www.countryliving.com/ andhttp://www.pinterest.com/