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Sunny South East

Posted on 30 May, 2014

We are heading to the sunny south east for the weekend to see family and friends. We are planing on hitting the beach, getting some Wexford strawberries and maybe even building a sand castle. Hopefully the weather will get behind these plans!

It’s a bank holiday weekend so don’t worry if you don’t hear from me until the middle of next week. We are okay, no need for a search party, we’ll be back with photos:)

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

The newest sunglasses range from Penneys/Primark!

The newest sunglasses range from Pennies/Primark!

New Etsy obsession

Posted on 29 May, 2014

One distinct feature about having an Etsy shop is that you spend a lot of time on Etsy. Today I put up one new item in the shop and then spent an hour looking at vintage fisher price toys. I had such great plans for Ewan’s nap time but instead the colourful world of vintage toys sucked me in.

But in fairness when given a choice between looking at these or packing which would you pick?

fisher price

Where I found them: Music box, tv,cash register,record player.

I’ve decided I love all things fisher price after all they gave us the chair we christened “the magic chair” .The magic chair almost never failed to lull Ewan into a snooze and we loved it so dearly we even brought it on the ferry with us to Heir Island.

There was a time when I would have walked through flames just to save the magic chair.

Once it became cruel to squeeze him into the chair we invested in fisher price jumperoo. We got the magic chair for free so buying jumperoo came as a shock to the pockets but it was worth it. Hours of jumping fun were had but then again the time came when it seemed cruel to put him in it and I worried that he’d get dodgy baby knees if we kept using it.

Today I invested in yet another fisher price toy. This time a 1980’s tape recorder with 11 tapes. The next logical step from jumperoo I felt. It was the last of my Etsy voucher and I am so excited for it to arrive (I mean excited for Ewan of course!).

Do you have any vintage toy crushes?

Back in the car booting saddle

Posted on 28 May, 2014

Last Sunday we took our time getting into the day and so when I was ready for the car boot sale it was 11:20. This is a ridiculously late hour to rock up to a car boot sale. 11:20 is literally hours too late. I also dragged Steve and Ewan with me. Steve would liken car boot sales to a form of unbearable torture and makes for a very unimpressed companion although generous enough not to rush me.

As expected when arriving so late there was little of note on offer. But it was ages since I have been to a car boot sale so I was going to give this my all! I was determined not to leave empty handed and so after many rounds of the stalls I found a Hornsea salt, pepper and vinegar set.

All things vinegar remind me of my Dad who LOVES the stuff. Add that to the fact it is same saffron pattern which broke the spell of me never finding Hornsea  then how could I leave it behind. The same lady also had this lovely sauce boat that she pulled out at the last minute. The sauce boat is made by Johnson Brothers the same elusive brothers that made this retro beauty.

Things with the shop have been going well and I’m ever so slowly starting to get more things for sale all this means you can expect more thrift finds from me over the next few weeks so stay tuned:)

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I’m sharing these little finds with Sir Thrift A lot.IMG_2378

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Going Manual

Posted on 26 May, 2014

The photography and styling workshop gave me a well needed push to start branching out with my camera.

Since I got my camera I have stuck rigidly to either the Creative Auto or the no flash setting. I’ve occasionally pushed the boat out and used the setting with a flower for flowers or the portrait setting for a person. Other than that the other buttons were scary and probably unnecessary.

When I saw the difference between my photo and the same photograph on a manual setting with some tweaking I got the kick I needed to turn the dial.


red balloon, child wonder at a balloon

Ewan’s first balloon

I still mainly use some automatic option but I’m starting to venture around the dial. Often this leads to disappointment,things not in focus, the wrong point in focus, a completely white screen because I’ve done something funny with the white balance. I’ve a feeling that I have a long road of cursing my camera ahead but I’m figuring the more I play around with it the less scary it’ll get and hopefully at some point the better I will get.

Ballymaloe Litfest Bookshop

Ballymaloe Litfest Bookshop

The other day I sat in on friends developing a play from the book Secret Garden. I wandered around their rehearsal space taking photos and I thought that each of them were pure gold. This glee lasted until I got them home and saw them on the big screen. While they’re not as moody and magnificent as I had hoped I’m still proud that I’ve managed to take them by endlessly playing around with settings and ignoring the ever so tempting auto options.

red leather couch red books and key

Back to School

Posted on 23 May, 2014

This week has been a haze of delightful guests, eating out and lunch dates. No complaints here.

To add to the fun I picked up this very cute old school desk for Ewan in my favourite browsing spot. I was looking for admiralty charts of West Cork which a friend had spotted for me. Unfortunately, the charts were sold but this little set was waiting for me.

old irish raleigh school desks, made in ireland

raleigh, made in ireland, school desk


made in ireland, school desk, vintage school desk

I realise that Ewan is only one but you’re never too young for a good dose of education.

Plus playing peek a boo with the lid never gets old:)


I was in search of a copy book with the map of Ireland in the back. You know the way you buy a new desk then you want to buy it accessories!

Alas, it seems the world of copy books has moved on since my day. I rejected the new snazzy copy books and I happily settled for a Peter and Jane book from the flea market instead.

I’m pretty sure the desk feels more at home now that it houses some retro books. I’m sharing this week with We Call it Junkin and A Living Space, Sir Thrift Alot and Me and My Shadow!


vintage Peter and Jane books

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Ballymaloe Food Styling Workshop

Posted on 19 May, 2014

Yesterday was a keeper of a day. I went to a food styling workshop at Ballymaloe LitFest and it was fantastic.  Anyone who follows the blog knows that I’m not exactly skilled in the food department.  The Elmo Cake is a testament to that!

What drew me to the work shop was the magazine Feast. Feast is Irish food magazine. Every quarter they produce a great line up of local food producers. you hear their stories and their recipes.  I’m not really a foodie so for me Feast is pure escapism. I’m all about the pictures.

Once it arrives in the post I put on the kettle for a cuppa and fall into their pretty images. The final section is a gloriously set table in some beautiful building with a table full of amazing food. What’s not to love…

Dining room,Feast Magazine, Winter 2013

Image Credit Feast 

So when I saw Donal Skehan and Sharon Hearne Smith, the photographer and food stylist for the magazine, were doing a Food Styling and Photograph workshop I was thrilled.

It was sold out but with some perseverance I got a place. As the lady at the box office said if you hang around and smile long enough good things happen. And so they did.


Donal Skehan and Sharon Hearne Smith BallyMaloe Litfest 2014

It was amazing. They were both so generous with their time and skills. They stayed an hour after their time and carefully went through everything! The changing fashions of food styling, how to prepare for a shoot, which camera settings to use, how to use light and shadow, editing. Everything!

Balyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshop


Even though my interest is in styling vintage items rather than food there was a lot still a lot I could take away from it. I was buzzing in the car on the way home thinking of all how I could set up shots and I’m so exciting about getting to know my camera better.

We all got a chance to photograph two dishes. Here are my attempts.

Balyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshopBalyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshop

Balyymaloe litfest food styling and photograph workshop

I can’t wait for my next vintage find so I can try out a few new tips and tricks:)

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Thrift and Sun

Posted on 15 May, 2014

Whenever there is sunlight I now have a compulsion to go outside and photograph something in it. So early this morning the baby monitor and I sneaked out to take some photographs of a bowl I bought at a car boot sale a while back. It is far too large and heavy to ship so I have decided to keep it. Plus I have a long term goal of turning it into a sink basin but that’s for another day.


I accidentaly got in the shot when I had put it on a timer. I liked it but I was making a ridiculous expression. My face was saying “huh” at the camera so I tried it again only this time more staged.

IMG_1917I picked up the dress in a charity shop a few weeks ago and it’s my new favourite thing! You are forgiven if you thought I was wearing a nightdress. It has that kind of a look about it but rest assured it’s not made for bed time.

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I have no idea if the bowl is old or new. It simply says Fruit on the bottom. But the joins of the rim below make me thing it’s new (ish) and that the pattern printer thing (that’s the technical name) went a bit wonky (again another technical term).

Update: Thanks to Aniko’s comment below I’ve looked up transfer prints which has been around since the 1750’s, so maybe it’s not so new after all. I’m definitely going to try and find out more before I drill a hole in it!


Get Lost

Posted on 13 May, 2014

I’ve read about the joys of getting lost, losing yourself, forgetting the maps and just wandering. Whoever wrote that didn’t have an almost 12 kg baby strapped to them in the rain!

This is how it started, a blurry selfie resting on the post of a gate.



Then off we went for a short adventure.

A friend had recommended this walk. I was lamenting the fact that only 10 of the 100 bluebells we planted in the garden actually flowered and he suggested this walk in Middleton for me to get my bluebell fix.

He was right the bluebells carpet the floor and it’s stunning.


IMG_1811We came to a few paths that were too slippy or too steep to attempt with a wee man stuck to my front so I diverted my path a little. After nearly sinking a few times I conceded that I was in the wrong shoes for this caper and we should go home.

Hmmm, now where is that gate? I walked up,down, around and around. Ewan was due a sleep and the more we walked the louder his protests got until he was in full blown crying mode. It starts to rain. I take off my cardigan and try and cover Ewan. I’m sweating so it’s no great act of chivalry. Crying, he kicks and flails to get the cardigan off him. His legs kick into my thighs and I think where the hell is this gate.

When I’ve been lost before I’ve ended up passing the same spot numerous times, here everything looked the same. I had no idea if I had just gone in a circle or if these were new trees and new bluebells. I couldn’t find any landmarks. There were no people around or else they gave the screaming baby a wide berth and went the other way.

I suppose walking in the rain early in the morning isn’t for everyone!


So on I waddled, Ewan still crying, me losing all sense of reason and thinking that a tree will fall on us and we’ll be lost forever. All I had told Steve was that we were going to look for bluebells, a cute description but not a lot for the Gardai to go on.

I thought about ringing Steve but then thought what could he actually do, I didn’t even know the name of the woods and my Nokia 3100c doesn’t exactly have GPS.

About 40 minutes passed. My face was the colour of a bright tomato and I was still sweating, Ewan had snot smeared across his face from the crying, and I was starting to panic.  I thought if I see one more bluebell I will actually scream!


Eventually, I came across a path that ran by the river. This must be the edge  I thought and the gate must be by the edge. I was debating whether to turn left or right when I came across a couple walking their dog. I was so excited and relieved to see other people I started to waddle towards them with a crying Ewan swinging in front of me.  They gave me a sympathetic but nervous smile and directions for the quickest way to the elusive gate. They jogged on and stopped every now and again turning back signaling what way to go.

At one point I started jogging after them, this must have been quiet the sight! “Excuse me, excuse me. I forgot to ask, Is it far?” ” Only about 5 or 8 minutes walk” .

After a total of an hour and a half walking this was the best news ever! My shoulders ached, Ewan must have had various leg cramps from being dangled in front of me for so long and I was done with nature.

I was dying to go to the bathroom and considered peeing by the car before we left. Luckily, I noticed a sign saying CCTV In Operation.

The last thing I needed was to end up on you tube as the crazed,sweating lady peeing in the woods so I decided to just get in the car and go home.

I’ve learnt many things after our “adventure”, always pee before you leave home, baby-wearing sucks, bluebells are pretty but I’ve had my fill and last but not least getting lost is definitely over rated.

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