2018 Recap

The last year went by in a blur but when I sat down to put these collages together I realised just how much we had seen/ done/ achieved in those 12 months. Having not written in a year, this set of collages sums up the whole of 2018 perfectly!

January

Guilt Trip Donuts / Unicorn flats / I went to Prague with a friend / We celebrated Nate’s 6th birthday / Ju Jitsu / Joey asked me to be a bridesmaid / Helen’s Bay / We celebrated James’ 38th birthday / Me and my boys

February

Nate had his birthday party at Clip n’ Climb / We visited Whitehead / I went to the theatre with Mum / Valentine’s Day / Strangford Lough / We saw The Front Bottoms + The Smith Street Band at Mandela Hall / We put our house on the market / We bought our dream home / It snowed

March

Marcie in the snow / We took a few snow walks / The boys treated me on Mother’s Day / Nate joined in on an Easter bonnet parade at school / Ollie’s left home for the first time on his school residential trip / The boys got their Ju Jitsu white belts / We celebrated world book day / Helen’s Bay / Cool dudes

April

We celebrated Easter / Played Escape The Dark Castle / Visited the beach at Hazelbank / My brother and I went to see Frank Turner in Dublin / Frank Turner played in Belfast the next day / We moved house / Spent plenty of time enjoying our new garden / Spent the good weather eating outside / eating outside more!

May

Beach visit / Nate got into baking and baked a lemon meringue cake / James and I went to London / We saw Frank Turner for 4 nights at Lost Evenings/ I got a night out with Bex / Hungout with my Mum / Our new sofas arrived / We visited gorgeous Murlough Bay / Got to play in sprinklers in hot weather!

June

Shorts for school / We celebrated Ollie’s 10th birthday / Joey and I took an evening Tyrella trip / We went to Scotland to visit family / The boys took part in Sports day at school / Ollie recieved an archery for his birthday / Jack had a wee op on his paw / We loved Ollie’s school concert / School’s finished up for summer!

July

Visited Donaghadee / We celebrated Harry’s birthday / The boys got to experience their first music festival at 2000 trees / Little rockers / I turned 34 / Me and my brothers / Ryan and I saw The Gaslight Anthem in Dublin / The boys and I visited Rossglass beach / Out with Bex

August

I took a day trip with the boys to Scrabo Tower / James and I went to London / We saw The Lawrence Arms + Lagwagon + Bad Cop Bad Cop / We visited Kew Gardens / The boys advanced to yellow belts! / Took a day trip to Carrick-a-rede / James built a den for the boys / I got to see Billy Talent at The Limelight /Nate learnt to ride his bike

September

The boys went back to school / I started again at yoga / We visited Rowallane with my Mum / Hungout with Ryan / Had brunch with Joey / We climbed Hen Mountain / Ollie started tenor horn lessons / We celebrated Mum’s birthday / We celebrated Flo’s 70th birthday

October

I started studying with Open University / Friday Starbucks with Charlene / Nate joined in math week dress-up / James and I saw Tiny Moving Parts at the Oh Yeah Centre / I went with him to Bucharest and visited Pasajul Victoria / and the Roman Anthenaeum amongst other things / We found a swear in a tunnel / We bought a fire / We went to Co. Galway with friends for Halloween

November

Galway / We Hungout with my brother Jason / Ollie sat his first AQE paper / Ollie sat his GL paper / More fire times/ I submitted my first assignment / Ryan and I saw Mumford and Sons at the SSE / Ollie sat second AQE paper/ James and I saw Chewing on Tinfoil at The Speakasy

December

Ollie sat his last AQE paper / Ehe elf arrived / Nate lost a front tooth / We went to see Skinny Lister and Flogging Molly at The Limelight / Nate was a shepherd in his play / Christmas photo / Ollie played tenor horn and sang in choir at the school carol service / We saw reindeer in Phoenix park, Dublin / Christmas!

Hopefully 2019 is as happy and exciting and filled with adventures!

Hello Blog and Hello 2019

New phone who dis?

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Only kidding.  It has been a heck of a long time since I last posted on my blog and I’ve been meaning to get back to it for so long, but each time I sit to write, I don’t know how to start back.  So instead of a big catch up or explanation for being off the radar for so long… I think it’s easier to just jump back in and get that out of the blue post done and dusted.  Break the seal.

I also changed the name of the blog!  I am hoping James and the boys will start contributing to it regularly too, so it is more of a family blog.

So excited for this year.  Happy 2019 everyone!

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Christmas 2015

Christmas didn’t start quite as early as it has done in the past… unless you count Ollie coming into the bedroom at 3am to say that Santa had been!  He went back to bed and straight back to sleep though.  When it was ACTUALLY morning, we all went into Ollie’s room and the boys got stuck into the sacks that Santa brought.

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When the boys were done going through their Santa sacks (which included pyjamas, boxers, socks, sweets, books, art things, games) we made our way downstairs to open the rest of our gifts.

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This year we had a super top secret surprise present for each of the boys that was not under the tree.  We got them each an iPod Touch and hid them under breakfast cereal and called them into the dining room.  Ollie was the first to discover his… but there was also confusion on their faces followed by much excitement.

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After all the presents were opened, I made breakfast (the real breakfast that was not cheerios) which consisted of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and potato bread.

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As is the tradition now, we all got ready to go and visit James family at his Mum’s house.  The boys got dressed in gorgeous new Christmas shirts (this might be the last year I get away with dressing them the same!) and off we went.  Christmas morning at his Mum’s is full of snacks and chatting and the boys run around crazy with their two cousins.

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This year I planned the dinner out properly so that the turkey was almost cooked when we got home.  Most years I don’t start dinner until we are back but it leaves little time in the day to do much else.  This year was a lot more relaxed.

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The boys had a ton of fun pulling the crackers and dinner was delicious.  I’d made ham the day before and this year had homemade stuffing too.  We didn’t have desert because we were too full after dinner so we sat in the living room and snuggled together watching Christmas tv while James slept.

Later in the evening, my family came round.  We had another big round of opening presents with the boys and drank shloer, mulled wine and ate mince pies.  Ollie was so surprised to see that Grandma and Grandpa had bought him a lovely half size guitar complete with everything he needed to get started learning.  Nate got a big remote control truck.  It was a lovely way to get the evening in before the boys went to bed.

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Christmas Eve 2015

It’s become tradition to spend Christmas Eve with my Mum and Harry, so this year we kicked Christmas off in exactly the same way!

We headed over in the afternoon after finishing up some chores and Christmas bits and pieces and I got the boys dressed, looking all dapper in shirts!

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When we arrived at Mum and Harry’s house we could already smell parsnip soup.  Another tradition.  We have Mum’s curried parsnip soup every year and it’s amazing!!!  We devoured it along with some warm crusty bread all while watching a Christmas movie.

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After we had finished our soup, mum brought out two presents for the boys to open… this caused so much excitement and inside were two games… Monster Surgery and Funny Face.   Funny Face was really hard!!!!

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Games was followed by the demolition of the beautiful gingerbread house that we made, with Ollie and Nate calling dibs on the Christmas Tree and the Snowman.  It took a while to get started but the house was crumbs soon enough.

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Mum treated the boys to a little chocolate fountain to dip marshmallows into, you can never have too much sugar on Christmas Eve!

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Sneaky Elfie snuck himself to Grandma’s house and we didn’t notice him there until a little later in the afternoon… and he had brought with him parcels with pyjamas.  The boys were delighted and put them on immediately.

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After the boys got into their pyjamas, Mum did as she always does on Christmas Eve, snuggled them up on the sofa beside her and read The Night Before Christmas before we bundled to sugar hyped and overtired, excitable kids into the car.

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Once home they laid a plate out for Santa which consisted of a huge bottle of beer, 2 cookies, a mince pie, a sausage roll and a carrot for the reindeer, and then they sprinkled the reindeer food that they’d made on the path at the front of the house.  It was full of glitter and the path sparkled.  Two excited boys were then off to bed!

Our Swansea Adventure

James has been working in Swansea for a few days a week sporadically for months now and it seems set to continue for the time being.  We all miss him the three days he spends in Wales and so back in March he suggested we all go together.  He would still have to work but at least we could have the evening and as Ollie was off school because of a teacher training day and St. Patricks day, why not?

On Mother’s Day James got us all packed up while I went to church with the boys.  Ollie was going to be singing a Mother’s Day song with the rest of the kids in front of the rest of the church.  We didn’t stay for the whole of church, we skipped out early and James was waiting for us in the car park.

We told the boys that we were all going to the airport to wave Daddy off.  They didn’t have a single suspicion… not when we unpacked a stack of bags out of the car including their Trunki…. not when we went through security and Nate and I were searched… not when we were sat at Burger King in the departure lounge!  So we broke the news by talking about it being a shame that Daddy was away, we would miss him and it would be cool if we could come too… would they like to do that.  Ollie didn’t believe us for a few minutes and once it sank in, the boys were super excited.  Ollie thought our sneakiness was hilarious… and the fact that James had packed their toys and pjs already.

The boys enjoyed the plane ride and once we landed we had to go and pick up our hire car.  It was so fancy, with a parking camera and everything!  The drive to the hotel was a few hours and both boys coped with the journey really well.  Nate slept for the most part.

Once we arrived at the hotel we got the boys bathed and into their pyjamas and we ordered room service for dinner.  Rather than having a meal each, James and I ordered a bunch of starters… we had romaine lettuce chunks with humous and pitta bread, cockle popcorn, pork belly bites with a yummy chutney, goats cheese fritters and calamari!!  It was so good and a perfect Mother’s Day treat.  Before bed the boys were brought cookies and warm milk, something the hotel offers to everyone with kids and such a lovely treat… the cookies were chewy and warm, freshly baked.  (James and I had one each too….)

The next day, James headed off to work early while the boys were still asleep.  We lazed about the room for a little while before getting ready.  The restaurant was just downstairs so we got breakfast.  The boys had a mixture of pancakes and sausages and fruit salad while I had fruit and a croissant.  It was self serve, so you could help yourself to anything.

We visited the beach that was right outside our hotel.  It was clean and BIG and we found a play park there too.  The boys drew in the sand and we collected a lot of stones and shells and only left when it got too cold and windy.  The three of us arrived back at the hotel room to find that the maid had tucked their Paw Patrol pups into bed.  The boys thought it was super funny.

After our trip to the beach we decided to go and get lunch in the tallest building in Swansea.  The views were amazing but it was a shame it was so cloudy!!

Before James was due home we headed to the hotel swimming pool for a while.  It was nice, small but warm and had a tiny kids bit too.  It was totally deserted though, we had the entire thing to ourselves.  Nate cried when we had to leave, he was having such a blast.

James got home in good time to take us all for dinner.  He has been there a lot and so knows where is good to go.  He took us to The Smoke Haus, a really cool, laid back BBQ place.  We stuffed ourselves silly with ribs and deep fried corn on the cob and fries.  When we got back to the hotel, the boys went to sleep and James and I watched tv shows on the laptop.

On Tuesday morning we got breakfast delivered to our room after James went to work.  It was amazing!  They brought us croissants and danish pastries, cereal, yoghurt, fruit juice, meat and cheese!  The boys thought it was a great idea and loved eating their breakfast in their fancy hotel bed while watching tv.  Those croissants though, oh my!!  So very very good.  With time to kill before James arrived back and we had to leave for the airport, we went for a walk around the marina to look at the boats and then we had lunch in the hotel restaurant.

We decided that last minute, spontaneous family trips are FUN!!

Blog Burnout and a Thirty Update

I’ve kept this blog now for 7 years.  I’ve so far recorded the majority of happenings in the life of my family and occasionally I’ll go through a period of having NO motivation to sit down a blog.  It’s only ever once before lasted 6 months.  I could say that nothing blog-worthy has been happening here, but my Instagram feed would tell a whole different story.  I guess we sometimes just find ourselves overwhelmed with life that it causes us to crash when we get the chance… crashing instead of blogging!

In just 11 1/2 weeks, I turn 31.  That sounds so much older than 30.  I had hoped that this would be the year I would get my s*** together. Has this happened?  Kind of.  Not really… but I’ve 11 1/2 weeks left.  My thirtieth year has been crazy… it has been both amazing and crummy… unproductive and chockablock.  I’ve achieved so much but also dealt with some of the hardest obstacles I’ve ever encountered.

To sum up the last six months…

The Bad:

I got behind on my degree course and had to defer.
James and I had our biggest relationship road block in 10 years of being together.

The Good:

We celebrated a lovely Christmas.
We got super into playing board games as a family and decided it was proper quality time.

I decorated some.
We celebrated Nate’s and James’ Birthdays.
James and I went for a weekend away to the castle that we got married.

We discovered Spoon Street, a local froyo place!

Went to the beach multiple times, the farm, the zoo, swimming and gigs!
James took the four of us to Swansea for a few days!

I started roller derby and got on my way to getting fit and healthy!


James and I fixed the road block and got ourselves to a place better than ever.

Life isn’t all peachy but I have a hell of a lot of good stuff going on right now.  Nobody ever said that life is supposed to be easy or plain sailing!  I’m trying to have it more figured out before my birthday so I can enjoy 31 a little more than I enjoy 30.  The same productivity but with a little more happiness.