Saturday, 21 May 2016

Rowallane Garden

Hello all! It has been a while since my last post. It has been a busy few weeks! 
Anyhow, a while back, I was commissioned by Rowallane Garden (one of the Northern Irish National Trust properties) to capture the events and seasons of Rowallane. Anyone from here, who has visited Rowallane Garden will know just how absolutely beautiful it is. I don't know much anything about gardening, but I reckon they must hire some seriously talented gardeners because they have the landscape looking spectacular. Especially at this time of year. The commission has been a real pleasure. I absolutely love going up there and walking about in all the scenery. Most of the time I go on my own, but they had asked if Jack and Noah would like to do some modelling for them, so on occasions I have taken the boys.

Look at them modelling there like pros - Well - they are blooming hard work. I come across other peoples kids sometimes during my shoots, and I ask their parents if they would like to be photographed (model release form necessary of course) and usually those kids listen to every word I say - they look at my camera, stand still, and smile. Not these two. Even the dogs I photograph at Rowallane are more obedient than naughty and naughtier. But anyway, they gave me some gold here. You never know, maybe you'll see these rascals on the front of a National Trust leaflet! Jack would love that. He's been down in the mouth about Noah's feature in a catalog a few months ago. "Why aren't I a model too, Mummy?" he asked. 

If you get the chance, I thoroughly recommend a trip to Rowallane. Or any of the National Trust properties. I'm thinking about buying a yearly family pass so we can enjoy all the properties.

Do you notice wee Jack lost a tooth? It happened a couple of weeks ago. He was so excited! Dear love him. The tooth fairy left him a pound, the generous being she is. It makes that great big smile even cuter- if that's possible!

We have been having some great weather. It's subject to change, of course. It is Ireland after all. Today was a prime example of this. We attended Jack's school fair this morning. Beautiful. The sun shone from the heavens. Then off we went to Rowallane, it was as warm and bright as could be. Except there was some very loud thunder overhead, which we chose to ignore. Suddenly the sun ducked behind the clouds and hailstones the size of my fist started pummelling us. It was damn sore. Not to mention the soaking we got. I tried to use my body as a human shield but the boys screamed and cried the whole time. Jack said it was the worst day ever. He held me solely responsible for the change in the weather.  I guess all those knocks to the head made him forget the hotdogs and candy floss, bouncy castles and sweeties that he enjoyed this morning.

I hate you, Mummy.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Our Girl Maisey

If you're one of my regular readers you will have no doubt seen our girl Maisey in almost all my posts. Somewhere into the background. Not often spoken of, but very much included in the family activity. 

I always think we hit the jackpot when we rescued Maisey. She was just a 13 week old pup when we got her. She'll be turning 7 this August, which also happens to be our 7th wedding anniversary. Maisey is a Staffordshire bull terrior and labrador mix. I knew nothing of the plight of staffies when we rescued her, but I do now. Such gentle dogs with a bad rep. We believe they really make great family pets.

I try and include her in every family activity that is at all pet-friendly. And she makes sure she is included in every opportunity at home! She is a house dog. She loves our company and if she's not at my feet you'll find her nestled between the boys who just think of her as their very hairy sister!

What's really remarkable - I think - is the bond that has developed between Maisey and Jack. How weird must it have been for a young Maisey to watch me bring this hairless, crying, mini human into the house? I remember it well. She was delighted to see me arrive back from the hospital but was very perplexed by this thing in the car seat. However, she fully accepted him with no issues at all. She has remained patient with him at all times and by the time I brought Noah home she was well used to this baby malarky. It didn't phase her a bit.

Now, Maisey sleeps on Jack's bed every single night. She doesn't obey him like she does for us (I think she thinks of him as her counterpart, not her master) but trusts him fully. When he pets her she closes her eyes, rolls over onto her back and enjoys every second of it. That's trust. Anyone who knows dogs will know this is a vulnerable position to adopt, and a dog will not just do this for anyone. She is still wary of Noah. Although patient and comfortable, she remains vigilant, incase she gets whacked across the head with some duplo, or a crayon in her nose. That makes her smart. Which we already know about her. You should see her many many tricks. She could be on Britain's got Talent.

A few months ago, I noticed Maisey yelping as she bounded across fields, or even just as she came down the stairs. I took her to the vet, and unfortunately it wasn't good news. She was diagnosed with early onset arthritis in both her front elbows, which is just about the worst place a dog can get arthritis. The medication they put her on didn't agree with her. So we made the decision to take her off those tablets and treat her with supplements instead. And boy has that done her the world of good - for now anyway. Until absolutely necessary I'm going to keep her on cod liver oil and glucosamine which has almost got her acting like her old self again. Honestly, she runs across them fields like a young buck half her age.

Sometimes I get lovely freebies to feature on the boys, which is why I was delighted when got in touch to ask if Maisey would like to try one of their goody boxes. Would she ever?! Plus, this girl deserves some attention of her very own! 

So, tailored just for our Maisey, this is what I received in our box. A bag of Symply Dog Food (designed to protect joints) 2 tins of Almo Nature Dog Food, and possibly Maisey's favourite, Pet munchie dog treats. Maisey has been savouring, tasting, scoffing and chewing for a few days now, and if I know my dog, and I think I do, it's a big paws up for this little lot. offer an absolutely huge range of pet supplies. Like, I am talking vast! It's free delivery on orders over £19.99 and I love the idea of the 'bottomless bowl' subscription service which ensures you never run out of food for your canine pal. Go check them out! And thanks so much to the guys over at Petshop for letting Maisey review their yums.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Little Red Wagon

It occurred to me this past week how fast this year seems to be flying in. I'm starting to get school notes sent out in preparation for summer term ending. It only feels like Jack started P1, and now he's about to finish it. And Noah - he's about to turn 2! It really feels like yesterday he was a babe in arms. And now he is a really bold toddler. Grandparents try to hide it under guises like 'spirited', 'determined' and 'knows his own mind' but he is a tinker who keeps me on my toes. His demands are incessant and if you refuse... well... resistance is futile.


Having said that, I have been getting tonnes of cuddles from Noah since I came back from holiday. I guess he must have missed me. He's very much 'my boy'. Not Daddies, not grannies, not Nannies, he just wants me. And I'm not allowed to go too far. I guess it'll be a while until he trusts me not to go away for 5 days again. The thing is, he was fine with Granny while we were gone. 

The days are so much longer, and warmer now! We're loving it. We spend as much time as possible outside. Weekends are best as Daddy gets to come too. I sure wish we had a bigger garden in the summer, but maybe someday! 

Have you heard of Swedish kids clothing brand, Polarn O. Pyret? You might have seen them stocked in outlets such as House of Frazer, as well as having 151 shops worldwide. Their philosophy is...

"...warm, dry and happy children in all kinds of weather!"

That Philosophy appeals to me - As I'm sure it does to just about every other parent! They were kind enough to send Jack their kids Red Striped Rain Jacket (also available in baby sizes). With a soft fleece lined collar, poppers, reflectors, and elasticated cuffs, it is the perfect spring time coat. We have been wearing it lots since the warmer weather came in. It gives a bit of protection from the rain and wind, without being too heavy on a warm day.

Isn't this little wagon amazing? When we were kids, my Pappy made us a little cart. Myself, my siblings and my cousins used to have hours of fun pulling each other around in my grandparents big back garden. We grew up and the cart eventually disintegrated, only leaving a big pile of wood and the wheels. Well, didn't Pappy go and rebuild the wagon?! It used to be black, it has had a makeover. It is lined with carpet for little-bottom-comfort and continually is modified for best performance. You just know the great-grandkids are having as much fun in it as we did!

"Fasta...fasta Dack!"

Thanks to Polarn O. Pyret. Check out the website! Here's what we've been up to in our week that was:

1. Speedy, our new pet snail (he poops a lot)
2. Picnic weather
3. Family from afar
4. Knobbly knees and stripey socks
5. Happy camper
6. Our wee clown in Daddies homemade face paint (!)
7&8. Pondside investigations (newts, toads and unknown species discovered!)