Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy (White) New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

I hope 2010 is a wonderful year for you all, bringing health, happiness, lots of fun, and a bit of wealth too!

Here in Dublin, it's SNOWING!!!!! That has to be a good start to a year. Just about ten minutes to twelve, it started to bucket down, and we had about 4cm in a few minutes.

So we've just come in from a snowball fight on the green beside us! And that green is now adorned with 2 snowmen-believe me, that doesn't happen very often in Dublin.

I think this is just what the country needs at the moment- a fresh start, a clean slate, white and untarnished. And that peace, hope and freshness that an untarnished snowfall brings to the landscape. Here's to 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

May as well end the year with another Dublin pub, seeing as they were popular! Do you like that I caught the window-cleaning in progress? And his red bucket? And I do believe that's a blue sky reflected in the middle window- not a sight you see too often in Dublin!

This one is just off Grafton St. the main shopping street in Dublin. It was taken one morning in August. I decided I needed to get organised if I was to continue blogging in term time. So I got together a bank of photos, and put them in a file marked "blog".

This probably seems very basic to most of you, but to me it was a big step, in terms of forward thinking and in terms of computer skills. In the rest of my life, I'm an organised person, but I use the computer on a "need to know" basis.
So, thanks to blogging, I've learned some new computer skills and upgraded myself.
But, much more important, I've made some lovely friends in blogosphere.
Thank you one and all for a wonderful adventure in 2009!
And thanks to Mary T for hosting Ruby Tuesday- click on her name= link to see more images or to take part.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, everyone!

To all my blogger friends, in whatever way (or none) you celebrate this day, I wish you a very Happy Christmas, or December 25th, or Crimbo.

Just a few photos from our day, which has turned out differently than expected.

This morning, we got news that Longford Cathedral, the church where I was christened, had my First Communion, Confirmation, Funeral Service of both my parents, was badly damaged by a fire that started at 5am. I often fantasise about going there for Christmas Day Mass, which would bring childhood memories flooding back- being a little girl who has just got her doll and pram from Santa, being surrounded by brothers and sister on Christmas Day, looking forward to Christmas dinner, going to visit the Baby Jesus in the Crib. You get the picture.

It was a bit of a shock to hear of 2 million euros damage to that church, the Gardai (police) have been called in, arson is suspected. Some of the damage is irreparable, stained glass windows were blown out, the organ is damaged. I'm presuming the choir gallery, where my family sang on many, many occasions, is also gone.

We have had a quiet day, just the 5 of us, with a couple of visits from friends, and a visit to church for myself. Some other plans had to be shelved, as middle daughter wasn't feeling well.

I'll leave you with a couple of dessert photos, the first is a vegan sleigh that I made and filled with vegan chocolate truffles, and the other one, much less impressive though also delicious, "bought in cos of time shortage"- God, I hope those of you who cook up lovely things don't forever stop reading my blog! Honestly, it was needs must!

Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to a quiet day at home, maybe a walk if the paths are not too slippery, and maybe a bit of baking. That's the way it is here, because I make lots of aromatherapy hampers and products, prior to Christmas is very busy, and the baking is done in the days after. But the goodies are no less welcome for it, and the Christmas Cake and Pudding taste really good in those lazy days between Christmas and New Year.

Hope you all have a really lovely, lazy holiday, wherever you are.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The truth about the tree

I've been putting off telling you, but I ditched the artificial tree.

I tried, really I did, but my heart wasn't in it. I couldn't even bring myself to put any decorations on it, and nor could anyone else. So I asked my son what he thought of getting a real tree, and he jumped at the chance. Before you could say "tree", the two of us were at the shop round the corner, the tree was bought and up.

And then I did begin to enjoy decorating. I love getting out the old things that the kids made when they were small, and I love hanging stuff in the same place as it hung last year. And remembering where we bought some of the others.

The knitted socks were made by my son, for hubbie and me, when he was 9. His teacher got her mother to travel down from Donegal (about 3 hours from Dublin, where we live) and stay for a few days to teach the class how to knit! I helped with stitching on M on mine and P on hubbie's. On top of the tree are 2 angels, made by the girls round about the same time.

We have a gold bauble bought on a trip to Disney, some painted eggs bought in Salzburg, and some lovely silver decorations, made here in Ireland by Newbridge Silverware- a church, a Cinderella carriage, a carousel. These were all gifts, one per year, from a friend.

One of my Christmas traditions is that I send these Newbridge decorations to my 3 nieces who live in the UK. I picture them opening them, and perusing what each one got. And I picture them helping to decorate their tree each year by hanging their own decorations on the branches. I hope they enjoy them, and that it gives them some sense of their Irishness. My own children, however, scorn the idea - they think my nieces would prefer to get money than decorations. Maybe now, but in the future they may appreciate them, and tell their own children about the Irish aunt who annually sent them - who knows?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How long is a second?

It's amazing how a split second can change your life.

I've been rushing around, juggling work, children, shopping and all that.
Yesterday evening, on the way to a Band Carol Service with Son, my phone rang. Son answered it, as I was driving, and I knew from him that it wasn't good news. All is well now, but my niece had an accident. First I screamed "NO!", thinking the worst, and thinking of a car accident.

It turned out to be an accident at work, where she fell and a spike thing went into her eye. My sister lives 3 hours from here, so I went to casualty to make sure she got the proper care, in loco parentis if you like. Thankfully, there's no lasting damage, but her eye looks dreadful and will be sore for about 2 weeks.

It just made me think of people who get a phone call to say that a loved one has had a serious accident. It must be a dreadful experience, especially if that person is young. I hope it never happens to me.
And it made think how a split second can change your life forever.
I know we say it quite often, but to almost feel it is scary.

And, more than anything, it made me get the whole Christmas thing in perspective- it doesn't matter if a few cards are left unsent, or jobs undone. Most of those things will not even be remembered in a couple of months.

What matters, and the only thing that matters, especially at Christmas, is the here and now, and the people you love.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

They want to say Merry Christmas to you..Ruby Tuesday

These little guys are part of our Christmas display, gathered over the years.

My favourites are the biggest one, for sheer garishness (he came filled with sweets, must be 12 years ago when the children were really small), and the one on the swing. He is still able to swing, though he's getting old- a bit like myself then.

The one second in from the right is Beleek china, a beautiful gift 2 years ago from a dear friend . He is supposed to hang on the tree, but I wouldn't dare, I would hate for him to get broken.

For more Ruby Tuesday pics, click on the link at the top of this page, which will take you to Mary's place. She's also having a giveaway!

I'll post the tree photos tomorrow, time allowing, but I know you all understand at this busy time of year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Not much, but more predicted!

Is this what they call a "light dusting of snow"?

It came this morning, and was gone again within about 10 minutes, but I was ready with the camera! I know it's not much to be excited about, but it may be all we get. The weather people have predicted more snow this weekend, but I've heard that before.

The last time I remember decent snow in this country was 1981, I think it was in January. We had blizzards overnight, and the country ground to a halt. People couldn't get to work, buses were off, food and fuel supplies ran out in some shops. Oh and, the schools had to close!
The night it started, my friend and myself were "gallivanting" and on our way home (c 3am) the snow began in earnest. We knew it was going to be a biggie, and could barely sleep with excitement!
The following morning, we walked to the local shops and bought in lots of food supplies. We made a huge pot of cauliflower soup, with lots of cream, lit the fire and hibernated for the week.
Every time I taste cauliflower soup, it reminds me of that fun, and those bonus days off! Some of us never grow up!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do you like my tree?

Last year, when we bought our usual, real and natural tree, we said we'd use the artificial one (which has resided in the attic for about 15 years) this year, help the environment (as we already owned it) and give a donation to charity instead of buying.
But I don't know if I can do this.
We assembled the tree on Sunday, smoothing out the branches to make them look good. As you can see, not a single decoration adorns it- I can't muster up the enthusiasm to do anything with it. I keep telling myself how convenient it will be to have no dropping needles, and the fact that this tree fits really well in the window bay, leaving lots of room around it.
But last night, son announced that "the room being squashed because of the tree" is part of the Christmas tradition.
I've also sprayed it with Christmas Oil spray, and even that doesn't wash- "it smells lovely, but not like a real tree". And I agree with him. I think it looks pure miserable.
I'll have to decide tomorrow, as it's the last opportunity I'll have this week to decorate it. I don't mind giving the donation as well as buying the tree.
What do you think? Be honest, please!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

random . org

I'm an idiot.
I've been writing numbers on bits of paper and pulling one out of a bag!

Today, I finally thought of asking son to get a random number, and in the way that teenagers have of making you feel old and out-of-date, he goes onto and gets it.

Well, I suppose you learn something new each day!

Anyway, the generated number between 1 and 5 was 1, so Heidi is the winner. I'll send it on as soon as I get her snail add.

Again, I'm really sorry that everyone can't be a winner, and thanks for joining in the fun.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Final Giveaway!

Sorry this post is so late, it's been a hectic weekend.

I decided to have an aromatherapy evening, which took place last night, and have been up to my eyes making creams, oils, sprays, gels... beautiful work, and I've been sleeping like a baby after breathing in all these wonderful oils.
But trying to do this in my spare time, after work, is a bit much, and I probably shouldn't have undertaken the evening at all. But you know when you just love doing something and you know that people will like the stuff, and it will be a way of starting off the Christmas season? Yes, it was all that and more!
There wasn't a big crowd, but it was so lovely to have time to talk to people about the different oils and what they're used for. Everybody enjoyed trying the samples of different combinations of oils and seeing the many ways of using essential oils. And they got some unique presents for their friends. These kind of events really get the enthusiasm going all over again!
I put this oil on tissues tied to the side bar of each radiator in the house, and I'm not joking, the aroma of Christmas was as strong as if I'd been baking for a week!
The giveaway has the same rules as before, leave a comment, I'll get a random number, match it with that number comment, and leave a comment on your blog, you then email me your snailmail address and I'll pop the oil in the post.
As the post is late,let's say midnight Tuesday 8th December GMT for the closing date.
Looking forward to your comments.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The winning number was 6, so Lola over at Agliooliopeperoncino is the winner of the Christmas Burner Oil giveaway.

Thanks for all the comments, and again I'm really sorry that everyone can't be a winner.
I'll do one last giveaway, same oil, on Sunday 6th, same rules, so call in then if you'd like to be in with a chance.