Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Spring in December ♥

With the thrill of Christmas over and us all feeling smothered by a bout of coughs and colds which just won't shift, we decided that a good dose of fresh air was just what we needed. The Christmas weather was a complete washout, meaning that my great plans of a lovely family Christmas Day walk went out the window, so when the forecast showed just one sunny day this week, we couldn't wait to get out the door and blow away the cobwebs.

Going to one of our favourite haunts - the beautiful Fota House and Gardens, we took the opportunity to let the boys blow off some steam and try to fend off the sickness with some cool, fresh air.

As we rounded the path to enter the most scenic part of the gardens something wonderful caught my eye - a bush of hot pink rhododendrons in bloom. This particular bush is always a favourite of mine to see in spring and it makes for a great photo opportunity spot... but seeing it in all it's glory on Christmas week left me with a feeling of mixed emotions - joy at colour creeping back into the landscape (flowers are one of my favourite things in life after all) and sadness at what could have caused the spring blooms to blossom in December, far before their intended time.

As we walked throughout the gardens the hot pink rhododendrons weren't the only flowers putting on a show. I spotted what I think are bushes of jasmine in full bloom (I'm in desperate need of a flower encyclopedia!), their sweet and beautiful scent filling the cold air, as well as other shocking pink flowers dotted here and there. In our haste I forgot to check the patch where the snowdrops and daffodils shoot up every year, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're already rearing their dainty heads too.

While it's absolutely lovely to see flowers in bloom again, I can't help but feel worried about nature and how it's suffering due to the actions of mankind. When I shared the picture of Beau and I looking up at the rhododendrons on my main Instagram gallery, a follower of mine from South Africa expressed her concern at the effects of global warming on nature and the seasons and I completely agree with her.

I'm someone who has always followed the Gaelic calendar regarding the seasons, as this is what I was taught in primary school and it makes perfect sense when it comes to nature and various festivals (mid-summer for instance) during the year. However, as the years go by the calendar of nature becomes more and more skewered with daffodils in December and snow showers in April... it would be foolish and naive to think that the world isn't changing and not in a good way.

I'm just left hoping that some blooms will be left for spring and summer.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Our Woodland Christmas Tree ♥

I don't know if it's because I'm not a child anymore, or if it's because the world has changed so much in recent years, but Christmas just doesn't seem to have that unbelievably exciting and magical atmosphere it once did for me.

With two young boys I think this is quite sad to admit, but that wonderful Christmas spark that was once so present within my heart has now fizzled out and I'm left feeling quite disillusioned by the whole thing.

Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love planning Christmas surprises for my sons - seeing their excited little faces on Christmas morning when they see the whole host of lovely gifts Santa has bestowed on them... but there a lot of things about Christmas these days that I find so unnecessary and I feel as though it's ruined the magic of the season a lot for me.

This is why I've begun new traditions within our own little family unit, as a way of trying to get that magic Christmassy feeling back in my heart and making wonderful memories for us all to cherish forever.

One of these new traditions is our woodland Christmas tree.

We're a family of outdoor lovers, with two little boys who can't bare to be stuck inside and myself loving the beauty, calmness and clear-headed feeling that being outdoors gives. Nothing makes me feel better than going for a walk outdoors - it instantly gets rid of my headaches and worries and this year I decided to bring the festive cheer to one of our favourite haunts - the fairy woods.

We chose a lonely little tree in a clearing to decorate and I'm not quite sure of the exact time of tree but I've narrowed it down to a spruce, fir or pine... if any people knowledgeable about coniferous trees could give me the correct answer I'd be most appreciative!

We decorated the little tree with red and gold decorations, tinsel, some pine cones and red star to see a top of it. It looked quite cheery and festive amongst the dreary and wet backdrop of the woodland in winter.

I told Tyler that we had decorated this tree for the fairies and that Santa would leave their presents under it. He was quite pleased by this. I love adding folklore to our outdoor adventures, it makes it all the more special and hopefully will leave him with a wild imagination and precious childhood memories to remember forever.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Winter Wanderings ♥

Winter is upon us, with her bitterly cold days, winds which burn your face and those odd spots of wonderful sunshine which make everything feel lovely again. This year is the first year that I've really struggled with the cold. The tips of my fingers are always numb and I'm never fully warm - even when sitting in front of a roaring fire.

I'm trying not to let this deter me from getting out and about with my boys, although it does take me an age to not feel frozen anymore once we retreat back inside. The fresh air is worth it all though.

This little blog has turned into a seasonal photography project - not on purpose at all though. I think the overall lack of time for me to post on here regularly coupled with my passion for snapping pictures has just made it this way.

I have to admit though, I absolutely love that it's turned out like this.

These past few days I've gone on some winter wanderings with my littles, taking the opportunity to capture the essence of a winter in Ireland on camera - the cold grey days, the dampness everywhere, the undressed trees, raindrops obscuring the camera lens and those odd spots of sunshine filtering down through the clouds.

We have a long winter ahead of us before those gorgeous sunny daffodils and dainty little snowdrops start peeking up again, so I'm sure I'll be capturing even more wintry scenes in the coming weeks.

For now though, here are my captures from this weeks winter wanderings - cold, grey and wet, yet also sunny, clear skies and mildness, a display of a typical Irish winter and it's ever-changing weather.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hibernating ♥

Ah winter, a season which I thought I loved (I was always adamant that I liked each of the seasons equally), but which keeps going down in my estimations on a daily basis. I'm sick of the grey skies, lack of light and the never-ending drizzle. I'm a tired and freezing cold mess and at this point I'm just longing for spring and all it's beautiful blooms.

It's not that we're a fair-weather family, in fact not at all. I'll happily let my boys skip and jump about in the rain, they're not shy in getting dirty and cold, but even they seem to be in hibernation mode. My four year old, who was blessed with an abundance of never-ending energy even had a nap yesterday, something he hasn't done since he was in his early 3's. The cold, dreary and dull days have gotten to us all.

The baby (who is now 19 months old but who will forever be referred to as 'the baby') now sleeps under two, thick blankets and he even napped in his snuggly soft dressing gown the other day for the warmth. He was an adorable, cosy sight and I couldn't help snapping a picture of him dozing alongside his beloved teddies - the blue one being the teddy version of the Velveteen Rabbit, all worn from constant love and affection. The poor thing is on it's last legs but he's never without it, it's adorable.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some aspects to winter which I absolutely love - the vibrant pink and orange sunrises, the perfect pastel sunsets, the appearance of more and more cheery little robins around the place (Santa's robins apparently!) and the beautiful frosty patterns across the landscape... but I've come to the conclusion that I'm most definitely a spring and summer kind of girl.

I just miss getting out and about, having the light to practice my photography (one of my biggest passions in life) and not having ice-blocks for hands. Maybe I should just try harder to embrace the spirit of winter and capture what I can on camera, even if it's grainy... I'll give it a go, but the perfectionist in me is already dying inside at the thought of bad photography due to lack of light. I love that this little blog of mine has turned into a seasonal project though, it's very special to me.

Until spring rears it's beautiful head again I think we'll be stuck in this hibernating mode, caught up in warm blankets, comfort food and roaring fires.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Doneraile Park in the Autumn ♥

Last weekend we returned to a place we had visited earlier in the year, a place that was filled with beautiful nature and photo opportunities in almost every spot - this of course made my heart very happy, being a snap-happy person of course! This place was Doneraile Park.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Our Whimsical Days ♥

I can't give my children everything I wish I could.

We sadly don't have fancy holidays or trips to Disney, simply because we cannot afford them. This makes me quite sad as I also have a partner who has been dying to return home to South Africa for a holiday for over ten years now... hopefully someday soon we'll get there and other places, but for now we're home birds.

The children only get new toys on Christmas and birthdays and in their defense, they never ask for anything either. Nevertheless, the house we live in is covered in a plethora of toys, almost all of which go unplayed with - the boys instead embracing being outside, playing chase and jumping on and off the couches.

They are wild. They're loud, adventurous, curious, always on the go, playful and happy - just as children should be. Keeping them from getting bored though can be a challenge and I try to take them out as much as I can.

Luckily for us (and my picture taking self), our little walks always seem to turn into a little adventure and although the things we come across may seem so ordinary and boring to others, we find them magical.

The other day, one a very sunny and warm October day - after hurricane Ophelia had done her damage to the island, we ventured out to one of my favourite places, hoping to take a stroll down to the strand. However, a tree had fallen over, blocking the path and I wouldn't let the children go any further for fear the tree might come down on top of them. Instead we stayed in the boreen, playing with the leaves, looking over the walls to the sunny fields beyond, taking pictures and generally just having a laugh with each other.

See, I'm learning as I get older, that it doesn't matter where we are, but the people we have around us that is most important. My younger cousin was with us on this day, helping me get Beau to laugh whilst dropping leaves on him, I then let her take her first pictures with a proper DSLR camera and she was only delighted, showing as much passion for phototaking as I have myself. It was so lovely to see and I hope one day one or both of my boys also have that love for snapping pictures.

From the boreen we walked the short distance to the little cottage my grandmother grew up in. The cottage would have been so beautiful in it's hey-day with it's church-like arched windows and tiled pathway... now it's ivy-clad, crumbling and abandoned, but still stunning.

I let the children hop over the wall and take a peek through the window frames. Tyler sat on one and the light flooded down through the tree tops above, giving beautiful natural light flares to the pictures. I live for natural light flares.

It was such a simple day, but for us 'slow living for life folk' what could be better than sunshine, clear blue skies, quiet country lanes, abandoned houses and good company?

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