SLIEVE DONARD POLAR EXPRESS

When you get up in the morning and the note in the advent calendar says ‘VISIT SANTA’……. how exciting is that! (and that’s just me getting excited!)

Back in August we booked Santa’s Polar Express at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle. I had heard endless good reports about it and thought we better see what we were missing! We weren’t disappointed!

We arrived at the Polar Express Station (The Percy French) received our tickets and awaited the next departure….. we boarded the train and Hannah was enchanted with the lights and sounds as we headed off on our magical journey to visit Santa. We disembarked outside the grand entrance to the hotel which looked magical against the night sky and headed into the beautifully decorated foyer of the hotel and followed the elf to Santa’s workshop.

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GIVING AT CHRISTMAS

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For some years now our family has supported Operation Christmas Child, I can’t say for sure how long it is but as a young teen I remember bringing our packed shoe boxes into church to be sent off. Mum has continued to pack shoe boxes over the years and now it’s something we want Hannah to do each year in the run up to Christmas.

We donate through Operation Christmas Child, OCC is an initiative of Samaritan’s Purse UK, a Christian relief and development charity working amongst communities in need across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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FORAGED WREATH

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Inspired by the lovely Emma’s recent visit to Victoriana floral in Whitehead for a wreath making workshop I thought it would be fab to have a go at some DIY wreath making! I gave my good friend Claire a shout to see what she thought and we decided we’d be mad enough to give it a go!

Anyone who knows me well knows our garden is a work in progress (that’s putting it politely!) we inherited this crazy unkempt wilderness with huge shrubs and 60 foot evergreens when we bought our home two years ago and much as we try to manage it it requires a huge amount of work but what a joy it is for foraging….. copious amounts of various ivies, a blackberry bush, variegated holly, berried holly, berried shrubs, the colours and textures are endless! Whats not to love about the array of autumn colours mixed with the evergreens and all the berries appearing for the birds, I really enjoyed foraging in my garden.

Claire also took a stroll through the local Clandeboye estate and my dad got in on the act foraging through the hedgerows of the family fields ‘at home’ in Portadown. What an array of finds we gathered, enough for ten wreaths i’m sure!

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL

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International Day of the Girl is a UN initiative set up to promote the rights of girls around the world. It takes place every year on 11th October, aiming to highlight the realities of life as a girl across the world and the challenges they face regarding education, healthcare, child marriage, equal opportunity and sexual violence. Not every girl will face all of these challenges, but almost every girl will encounter at least one of them, which is why Day of the Girl is so important.

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SIMPLE PLEASURES

If you follow us on instagram you will know we had a little break away in Donegal this past week. We just love Donegal, we were staying at Inishowen Head Lighthouse, we are lucky enough to be able to stay here as they are one of only a few places available only to the families of light keepers. Chris’s late grandfather was a lightkeeper so we are able to enjoy the use of these cottages through his grandmother.  They are really basic and not much has been done to them over the years but they are a great base for travelling around and we also get to enjoy fantastic views and beautiful beaches.

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THE YEARS ARE SHORT

The days are long but the years are short – Gretchen Rubin

This quote really struck a chord with me and it’s so true, some days I feel like I’m just freefalling until I reach bedtime…..  It is now six months since I returned to work following maternity leave, in ways the time has absolutely flown by but in other ways the days have felt long and sometimes stressful. It’s tough going and there’s days we’re both absolutely exhausted!

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{Two days before returning to work!}

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CAN TO CANDLE

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I love to burn candles, especially in the winter, it creates that lovely cosy feeling and I love the beautiful scents wafting around the house when I get a chance to sit down and relax in the evening.  So I jumped at the chance to try some gorgeous products from Can to Candle. These beautiful, high quality soy wax candles not only look great but smell fantastic and with a burn time of 50 hours they certainly don’t cost a fortune. With a fantastic mix of modern, rustic and up-cycled designs in a variety of scents it would be difficult to choose just one!

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LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

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When the nursery Hannah attends sent out information regarding planned activities for August I was quite excited they would be having a fancy dress day on one of the days she attends! The initial excitement soon changed to apprehension as I tried to decide what on earth she could wear! So after much searching (and time wasting!) on Pinterest I came up with the idea of Little Red Riding Hood.

I still wasn’t sure how I was going to pull this off but had a few ideas in mind……..

Alter a red gingham school dress to fit….

Make a red cape and a white apron…..

Find a small basket….

Sounds simple enough, right!?!

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HANNAH’S BAPTISM

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She is more precious than rubies. Proverbs 3:15 

Where does time go! Hannah was christened exactly a year ago at 2 months old, it really doesn’t seem that long ago! As I was looking back over the photos I thought I would write a wee blog and share some photos.

HANNAH FLORENCE ROSANNA

was baptised on Sunday 16th August 2015 at Holy Trinity Church, Glencraig.

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CHERRIES

 

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There is nothing better than the fresh sweet cherries available at this time of year. I remember trying fresh cherries as a child on holiday in France, in the days when they would never have been seen in supermarkets here! They are generally a more expensive option but I can’t help but add a punnet or two to my shopping basket.

 

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I also grabbed the Tesco free magazine on my way out and after spotting the cherries on the front cover I had a read with a quick cuppa and it inspired me to try out a few recipes. These are all very simple and easy to put together – just the way I need recipes at the minute, quick and tasty!

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