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Makes my heart go boom

Posted on 26 June, 2014

 

 

We are back in the land of the sunny south east again and I’m following some roads I haven’t tried before. One such road is a tiny side road just outside of Wellingtonbridge in County Wexford. The small brown painted sign saying Antiques has been tempting me for years now. I have passed it often and never ventured down the road. If i was on holidays abroad I would have careered down the road with reckless  abandon but there’s something about the thought that it’ll be there the next time that lead me to put it off.

Well not today. After winding down the path with grass in the middle of the road, in the rain I was greeted by a barking dog, a nettle sting and this….

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Places like this make my heart skip a beat. Oh the possibilities! Why do I only have one set of eyes and hands!! I want to see everything they have instantly while also wanting to spent the day there. When you go in, it’s not a huge space but there are nooks and crannies that scream with promise. IMG_4802

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Stuff dangled from the ceiling, lay in boxes on the floor and found a home in any space it could. If you’re anything like me you’ll be combing the pictures looking for treasures. If you are like Ewan you’ll be trying to leap from my arms to find an escape to go and play with the barking dog!

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I left empty handed despite the fact they had a lovely Arklow Pottery set. The price was just too high for me, it was missing some saucers and in the back of my mind I wondered if the owner could be the Arklow Shark from the car boot sale. The shop is just a short spin from the car boot sale and this shop knew it’s Arklow. I need to let that go!

Even though I left the Arklow set behind me I still LOVE this kind of place. A world of wonders, some dodgy things, many neglected things and always a prospect of something amazing!

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Follow Me. It will be fun!

Breaking Bread

Posted on 25 June, 2014

I’m a big fan of a local bread company called Arbutus Bread. They make deliciously crunchy and crusty bread. I make special trips to the market just for their sour dough.

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So when the opportunity came to have a nose around their bakery we jumped at the chance. We donned our hair nets and followed our noses to the bread. Declan Ryan showed us around. He was Ireland’s first Michellen star chef and when he turned his hand to the bakery it was always going to end deliciously!
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He showed us the whole lot from start to finish.

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With nifty little tricks like using a razor or scissors to scour the bread which looks great when it’s cooked.

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His warmth and enthusiasm makes you feel right at home. We also learnt a thing or two about an 18 year old sour dough starter starter made with mouldy grapes to the magic of the number 48!!

Apparently, the perfect temperature for the water is calculated by using 48 degrees. You measure the temperature of the flour, the temperature of the air and the temperature of the water should be the difference. So if the flour is 20 degrees, the air 20 degrees then the water should be 8 degrees. I thought this was nifty! I like little curious insights like this, makes me feel like I could be a master baker with only a thermometer!

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Downstairs the older kids were taught to make their own pizza and dough balls which they then cooked in the super giant oven. They looked amazing, I can’t wait until Ewan can make me pizza!

But the best thing about visiting a bakery has to be coming away with bread! We got some delicious brown sourdough to take home. God it’s so good. I could probably live on bread for ever!IMG_4030 IMG_4620

 

Etsy 101

Posted on 22 June, 2014

The shop has been busier than normal. I’m not sure why I actually stopped advertising on Etsy a while ago so it doesn’t make sense to be busy now but I’m happy and delighted I stopped advertising!

More sales means a good kick up the behind for me to put more things in the shop!! So when the sun was out, Ewan was sleeping and the stars aligned to get things ready out I went.

So here is how I do it.

First step is cleaning, this can take ages to do right but it makes much more sense to spend my time doing this rather than photographing the item, putting everything away only to realise there was some blemish I hadn’t noticed and I would have to start all over again (I’m speaking from painstaking experience on that one!).

Once clean I get all the bits and bobs I need.

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-Baby monitor to make sure sleeping baby is still sleeping

-Camera

– Digital weighing scales

– Measuring tape

-My trusty note pad and pen. Here I take notes of how much I paid for the item, the measurements and the weight of items.

-Background card or material

-Tape to keep the background in place

-Light. Luckily, it was yet another sunny day today so nature provided. Without sunlight I have an elaborate series of lamps and it takes an eternity to make it look anyway natural.

The digital scales is brilliant and worth investing in if your starting an Etsy shop.  I need to know the weight of each item so I can price postage. Some people wrap and then pack each item before weighing it.

I don’t have that kind of patience so I weigh the item, I know the weight of the boxes that I use, I estimate the weight of the wrapping  and I price shipping based on the total weight of those added together.

I have got it wrong on a good few occasions and under charged for postage but when it hurts my pocket I learn pretty quickly and I mostly have it sorted now!

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Some people try and eliminate shadows and use board reflectors to bounce the light. I’m partially to an old shadow or two so I haven’t seen the need to buy one yet.

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Once everything is photographed I head to the laptop. Nap time is only so long so I aim to do about 2 or 3 items in one go. I crop the photos then upload them to Etsy.com. Here you categorize, sub categorize and sub sub categorize. Etsy like their drop down lists!

The longest bit of this for me is deciding the price.

I still struggle with pricing.  Etsy have lots of guidance on pricing including formulas but I’ve found none of it really works for me. So far I’m going by my gut and what I’ve paid for it. I reckon the longer I have the shop the more naturally this will come.

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Once I’ve uploaded, filled in all the details, paid the piper (Etsy) then that’s it. Job done!

These three items are my latest additions you can check them out here if you’d like.

shop collage

The blue lights on the baby monitor let me know it’s time for more truck fun so if you’ll excuse me I’ll be off. I hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes peek.

The 3 best ice creams in the world

Posted on 19 June, 2014

Yes, they make delicious ice cream in the Italian ice cream parlours by the Trevi Fountain. Yes, the man on Cape Clere Island does a mean goats ice cream and yes, some of that homemade artisan stuff isn’t half bad. But when it comes to a hot Irish summer on a beach it has to be…

retro hb ice cream sign

Image Source

Steve and I have given much consideration to the topic of the best HB ice creams and we have come to a consensus.

Our top 3 ice creams in the world are Loop the Loop, the Classic Cornetto and of course the Twister (previously known as the Tangle Twister!).

3 best hb ice creams

Why are these so great?

If you are from lands further afield then this may require some explanation.

HB ice cream is served in box freezers in every decent shop across Ireland and in every single shop within walking distance of an Irish beach.

Over the decades they have had an array of strange and unusual ice creams from the freaky foot, to an orange juice and milk combo to the Fat Frog (flavoured green ice on a stick!).

retro hb ice cream poster 1987HB Ad from 1987 Source

So why these three?

Well frankly they are the best by a stand- out mile.

Loop the Loop is a layer tangy limey ice  topped with creamy lemon with the top third dipped in chocolate. Chocolate with lemon ice cream in the middle, I mean it’s genius!

The tangle twister is more of a Steve’s favourite  but I get the appeal so it made it to the final three. HB say “Delicious vanilla flavour ice cream and fragrant pear flavour water ice twist around a mouthwatering strawberry ice centre”.  

For me the twister leaves me get racked with indecission about how to eat it. Lick out the vanilla then chomp the rest or eat it all together as a whole. Too much thinking for a warm day.

Which leaves me with my absolute favourite the classic Cornetto. Some say this is a boring option they are fools.

Cornetto has tried to “jazzy” up the cornetto over the year but the classic remains the outright winner.

retro hb cornetto ice cream poster

Image source

It has a hidden cone of solid chocolate in the bottom! It has vanilla goodness, dribbles of chocolate and sprinkles of hazelnuts on top. Boring? It’s a taste explosion that’s what it is!

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Now that I’ve shared the intimate corners of my ice cream love it’s your turn. What’s your favourite sunny day treat?

Rocky bay

Posted on 16 June, 2014

Last Friday I said good bye to a true lady. One who agreed to officiate at Ewan’s naming ceremony ever before we knew what we wanted her to do! A lady who wears her heart on her sleeve and a broad smile on her face is now heading off for a world of adventure, marriage and new beginnings.

And to say farewell she had a bonfire at Rocky Bay.

I’d never been to Rocky Bay despite the fact that it’s not too far away from Cork city.  It did not disappoint!

We arrived just before sunset and we had the beach pretty much to ourselves…

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As the night drew on the fire kept us cosy.

I was introduced to the Irish version of s’mores. You get two digestive biscuits, layer them with nutella and use them to sandwich your toasted goopy marshmallow! I love sugar as much as the next person but this just about pushed me over the edge. One was definitely enough!

Around the bonfire there were chats.

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Wishes for the next year were made written down and burnt…

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while toes were toasting

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After much waiting and some good cloud bursting efforts the full moon came out. The last time we had a Friday the 13th coincide with a full moon in June was June 13th 1919. The next one reportedly won’t be ’til June 13th 2098 so it was worth waiting around for.

There’s a nice little connection between the full moon and a couple getting married too. Apparently the full moon in June is called the Honey Moon because it comes when the bees hives are full with honey which was then turned into mead in time for weddings on the Summer Solstice.

And when I started to read about I came across this

“The idea back then was that a marriage is like the phases of the moon, with the full moon being analogous to a wedding,” Berman said. “Meaning, it’s the happiest and ‘brightest’ time in a relationship.”

honeymoon, june 2014, rocky bay, cork,ireland

So with a honey moon, s’mores and warmed toes the happy couple take flight for their adventure together. I wish them the very best of everything,x

rocky bay, cork,ireland bonfire on the beach, june 2014

A week in photos…

Posted on 13 June, 2014

This week we hit the beach…

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and treated ourselves to some gooooood chicken and leek pie at the the Stephen Pearce Pottery place

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Eating with Ewan has become eventful so once we felt the coffee shop was sufficiently messy we checked out the pottery workshop.  I kept Ewan nice and close as we went by all the breakables. It was lunch time so we didn’t get to see the potters work but I definitely want to call back when they are throwing a pot on the wheel.  Next time!

 Stephen Pearce Pottery Workshop

Earlier in the week Ewan gave his big waves to strangers and ducks alike…

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..the sky was blue

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the garden turned into a wilderness that ate a wheelbarrow…

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and someone was very happy to get new shoes and this cute little card from the shoes shop!

Oh, and Ewan was kind of pleased too.

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Finding my marshmallow

Posted on 11 June, 2014

I feel the strange title of this post needs an explanation! At the Oh me Oh my DIY workshop last weekend the photographer said that before she did any photography training she spent six month playing with her camera and setting herself tasks. She talked about spending three hours photographing marshmallows and exploring capturing their texture on camera. Without the will power to resist eating marshmallows for 3 hours I set about finding my own texture exploration around the house.

After much internal debate I went for the peonies.

IMG_4263I love these flowers and associate them with lots of American blogs I read. For a while I thought you couldn’t get them in Ireland or that the only existed in a blogosphere far from here. Well it turns out you can buy them at Lidl for €5 so that’s me proved wrong.

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I didn’t spend three hours at it but I did give it a go. I played around with light and twiddled some settings.

IMG_4266 IMG_4267This last one is my favourite although I will admit they do all look pretty alike. Still I enjoyed practicing!

 

Modern Technology and Tuesday Tune

Posted on 10 June, 2014

Through the wonders of Etsy (more specifically the last of my Etsy voucher) my life is now complete with a Fisher Price tape recorder.  A household essential I’m sure you’ll agree!

This beauty arrived from the U.S of A last week to great applause, well from me anyway.  Ewan greeted it with equal measure of wonder and suspicion as he tried to figure out what kind of sorcery is this music box?

Fisher price cassette recorder, brown and tan

It’s even better than I hoped and turns out to be pretty indestructible although Ewan seems determined to test that theory.

It came with eleven tapes so I’m becoming acquainted with Velveteen rabbit and American versions of nursery rhymes which make London Bridge sound like a country and western song!

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In anticipation of the arrival of this marvel of modern technology I raided the attic at home and dug out mixed tapes that Steve had made for me when we started going out and ones from friends.

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As a teenager getting a mixed tape was a  very big deal.  I lived on a music diet of Meatloaf and The Monkees so my musical horizons needed a bit of expansion. Luckily I had wise music friends willing to help.

Despite being shown a world of Pearl Jam, Beck and even Laurent Garnier (who I coined the shampoo man) I still love The Monkees. Yes, they couldn’t play and by the way they moved I’d guess they barely had rhythm but with classic tunes like this one what’s not to love!

Okay, I will admit they have a cringe element (even the guy in the hat looks mortified!) but everyone needs a bit of cringy goodness every now and again!