First Wedding of 2016

To start off the New Year, I had the pleasure of photographing a wonderful wedding for a beautiful couple.

It was a few days after the floods and there was talk of more rain that Saturday. With that in mind, I apprehensively made my way to the Church, expecting the worst of all the bad weather we’d been experiencing. Surprisingly, I was greeted by the most glorious winter sun blossoming over West Cork, and my heart swelled for the Couple.

Rays of light poured in through every window, bathing the entire building in gold. But the air was still cold and my fingers protested with stiffness. *note to self – wear gloves!

The events of the day unfolded perfectly. The ceremony swirled passed and before long I found myself at the final destination, The Fernhill Hotel in Clonakilty.

What a spectacular venue, still adorned in its Christmas finery. Fairy lights twinkled around the Christmas tree as guests were greeted by a beautifully laid out drinks reception.

There was a wonderful atmosphere and I feel so grateful to have been asked to document such a beautiful celebration of the lovely couple, Ann & Teddy.

Here are a few photographs from the day…

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♣Our Christmas Market Adventure♣

 

A few weeks ago, we visited the annual Christmas Market in Galway. It was actually my first time there and Let me tell you, it was Great. The atmosphere was mesmerising.

 Where: The Spanish Arch, Galway City | When: 20th November – 22nd December

After almost three weeks away, my amazing husband ‘surprised me’ with ‘we’re going to Galway for the weekend’ (not because I have been pestering him constantly, of course). We decided to stay a few nights in Galway after Elvis’s gig in Limerick so that we could visit the Market and do a little exploring.

Being away for any length of time often makes you think of home. And, do you know what one of the best things about living in Ireland is – The People. A friendly smile or a kind ‘Hello’ from a stranger, is never uncommon. And I find that travelling abroad is always great but, and it must be that I’ve now lived here too long, coming home to the atmosphere here is just magic.

And so our story begins…

The air was laden with heady Christmas smells as we tramped our way through bustling crowds. The last remnants of crumpled soggy leaves clung to drains and footpaths. Throngs of people draped in woolly hats, gloves and scarves trailed from stalls. Queues of chatter and Christmas songs filled the air. It was cold with not a hint of rain in the clear sky, surprising for the the middle of November. Irish weather is so unpredictable, as the next day brought with it a damp, muggy drizzle that lasted a week.

Anyhow as the day went on, smoke rose in tendrils from chimney’s all along the square, puffing away contently to the sound of Christmas. I can close my eyes and be transported right back to that moment. There was magic in my air.

We ate freshly cooked hot dogs, ketchup dripping onto our cold fingers and drank steaming cups of mulled wine. We soaked in every ounce of the Christmas Spirit.

And that was the moment Christmas kicked in…

This is what my brain now looks like…

 

 

So, as the cold began to creep into our boots, gnawing slowly at our toes, we decided to go on a little adventure to find a tea house that I had read about on tripadvisor. It’s a quaint little place that is terribly difficult to find when your phone has died. But worth it in the end.

The Secret Garden is a pretty tea room with an expansive range of teacups and pots that even I was jealous of.

As the door opened in, a warm wave of aromatic smells washed over me. Bathed in an ambiance of fruity herbal teas and candle light, I had met my heaven (If you know me, you know how much I LOVE TEA). It was the perfect end our Market Adventure.

Ok, it wasn’t exactly the end, we still had to walk 20 minutes back to the Hotel, which really is the best way to get acquainted with a place, I think.

To end off the weekend we stopped for Lunch in Bunratty in Lily Mai’s Cafe.

We had an amazing panfried salmon dressed in a beautifully tangy basil pesto. Resting, oh so precariously, on a bed of baby potatoes, rocket leaves and garden peas. Ok, I’ll stop, I’m making myself hungry just writing about it…

 

And that, my friends, was that…

 

To find out more about a Market near you, visit my latest blog post on Ireland’s Christmas Markets

 &

Happy Christmas Market(ing)

Firsts all round (Part 1)

This past week we got to celebrate and photograph the First Birthday of a very pretty Little girl.
From big toothy grins to the Yummiest Birthday cake Ever (her very talented aunt made it)!
Happiness = kids parties!!

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Then to top it all off you have this…

Look at those eyes!!!!

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I mean seriously, How cute is she??? 

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A beautiful little family

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It’s all in the beard…..
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My husband – the human kiddie magnet 
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I’m just in LOVE with this photo. Two very pretty girls
Cake, glorious cake!!!!!

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Indulgent Walnut & Banana Bread

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Sometimes, you’ll find a large bowl of overripe fruit glaring at you from the kitchen counter. With that guilt inducing look that gets you feeling that, ‘if you don’t eat them ALL right now, you’ll have to bin em, and can you imagine all those hungry children, because of you??’ Oh the shame is too much. So, what do you do? Panic? Gouge yourself on five very overripe, pungent Bananas? No… (well you could, but…mmm..NO)! Make something. It’s fun, rewarding and makes your belly happy 🙂

I’ve never actually used any of Donal Skehan’s recipes but found this one for Banana Bread, and thought ‘mmm, I like me some easy baking’. So here it is…

For the full recipe, follow the link below:

http://www.donalskehan.com/2010/04/auntie-anns-banana-bread/

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Overripe bananas are the Best for baking. Once they start developing the black spots on the skin they get sweeter and more flavorsome and also very mushy.
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I have a problem – I can’t stick to recipe. So I’ve added chopped walnuts, a few slices of Banana and a drizzle of honey to the top. Make sure to cover with tin foil halfway through cooking as it will burn.  
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The dulcet tones of sweet banana, whipped through a creamy vanilla infused batter with little jewels of chopped walnuts… So indulgent, but so tasty…
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I’ve used a handful of nuts. Once chopped up, half went into the batter and the other half, sprinkled on top before baking.
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The burnt edges are from the honey I drizzled on top. Oh well, still tastes pretty good.

I made the mistake of overfilling my loaf tin so had to increase my baking time. It definitely took me longer than 50 min. I think it was more like 1 hr 20 min in total. But I had to keep checking it.

Other than that, it worked out so yummy that there was a big slice missing this morning, in which case it was either the cats had learnt to use a knife OR my husband had a little munch after his gig… (Yeah, I’m going with the cats, it’s more likely)!!!

Happiness is Comfort food on a rainy day. Thank you, Donal Skehan.

♥ENJOY ♥

Upcycled Raised Beds

Yay. Happy me.

Growing things is something I love to do, especially when you get to reap the benefit from your hard work and patience. The summer months always bring me such joy when I see my lavender flowers blooming their beautiful purple and the dark green leaves of my tomato plants working extra hard and getting so strong and prickly. My heart skips a little beat to see the heads of our dill weed poke through the nearly over-watered soil, my poor husband is a little obsessed with the dill.

So when we moved into our new home together, I knew I’d be leaving the raised beds my dad had made me, which to be perfectly honest scared me a little. I had potted quite a few of my most beloved plants but really did hate not being able to let them set down their roots.

So finally, after 10 months of being married, it finally felt like we were home, for now. Elvis built this uber cool raised bed for me from old pallets and it’s funny how a simple gesture can make your heart sing.

Happiness is many things but to me it’s always simple…

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Communions

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing a few Communions a couple of weeks ago.

I walked into the church on a cloudy May day and was greeted by a buzzing happiness. The atmosphere was alight with excitement, the kind that envelopes you and persuades you to smile. It was the most intoxicating hype. The air was warm with all the bustling of parents trying to get to their kids or hoping to squeeze past their neighbor to take a photograph.

The girls glided along like little Princesses in their flowing white frocks and the boys were as charming as ever in their handsome blazers. They glowed with feverish excitement and it was palpable.

I’ve met some of the Nicest people all the while doing what I love to do. It was amazing to witness. I hope these photographs do them justice.

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10 images that will make you think West Cork is “secretly” a Tropical Island

Today, I stumbled upon this beautiful blog about wondrous West Cork 10 images that will make you think West Cork is “secretly” a Tropical Island.

We really do live in a treasure trove of brilliance, that overflows with calm, serene energy. A place so coloured in a million different shades of green that I need to blink a few times to make sure my eyes see clearly. Paradise is right here.

We have been here 12 years now (Elvis – 15 years) and with each year I find something new to love about the countryside. We try to photograph as much of this glorious place as possible and no matter where we go, home is always West Cork.

Here’s a little peak into our collection of landscapes…

Bantry Bay2
Sunset – Bantry Bay
Clouds wm
Clouds above Skibbereen
Bird wm
A little finch on a windy day
Bantry Bay wm
Bantry Bay
Baltimore wm
Old Court
Baltimore sunset wm                                                                                                                                                      Baltimore
Tulips
Tulips in the Garden – Skibbereen
Bantry Bay
Bantry Bay
Silage
Cutting Silage – West Cork
strawberries wm
Strawberries from the Garden – Skibbereen
lough hyne wm
Lough Hyne
Lupin wm
Purple Lupin – Skibbereen
Sandycove
Sandycove
Liss Ard
Liss Ard Pier
Rain wm
Even the rainy days are Beautiful
Foxglove and bee wm
Foxglove
Daisies wm
Wild Daisies in the summer – Skibbereen
Liss ard wm
Liss Ard – Under the pier
Sunset wm
Sunset
cows on beach wm
Mid-morning stroll
Fuschia wm
Fuschia

 Wherever you are, make the best of what’s around you.

xxx