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