Home Style

All week I've been cooking solely on our wood fired range and dreaming of colour, pattern, texture, the juxtaposition of things and to be fair, there's inspiration everywhere. I noted it all and then BOOM... a new kitchen. Well one Read more

Enough About Me, What Do You Think?

It's raining cats and dogs here in Ballinamore. Sadhbh and I are hard at work in our cosy kitchen with 'likkle guys' and lego and brainstorming a new 'About Me'  for the blog. If your're a blogger you will know Read more

October

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!” Humbert Wolfe Hello my dears. Well since my last post we've slipped into October and what a difference a week Read more

I Don't Want to Die!

I had the strangest week last week, a string of events brought me down like just like domino's it went, my daughter left for college, I had a birthday (a crappy day) and then it was said to me, Read more

To The Mountain

Going to the mountain, the Sliabh an Iarainn mountain that overlooks Ballinamore is, for my Dad, going home, as he was born and raised there. It's also where I spent many happy childhood days at my grandparents house. Last week Read more

Feed a Family of Five, One Week, Fifty Euro.

I have a passion for food and I'm lucky, we've always had a great relationship. I use it to to care for and nourish, to spoil and make well, to show love and friendship, to make sigh and Read more

October

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

Humbert Wolfe

a cup

Hello my dears. Well since my last post we’ve slipped into October and what a difference a week makes.

Last Sunday I sat out until well after dark, surrounded by roses and wildflowers, sipping a glass of wine, notebook and pen in hand.

I’d have been blown away along with the flowers if I’d tried that this weekend.

Last night we’d a storm, I do love a storm when we’re all tucked up inside.

We lit the fires early on Sunday, as in for the long haul. They’ll be going now until April when I’ll be sick to death of and cursing them, the dust, mon dieu! Bad luck to it. But that’s a long way off.

Right now I’m loving it, I want it, I can’t get enough.  I go with the seasons so I want that woodchip smell, the crackling sounds, the roar of flames, the turf so tied with memories of childhood days.

Our kitchen range is this unreal hard worker, easy on fuel, very powerful, CUTE as a button, you know, easy on the eye. No more electric kettle, I can even cook on it. Isn’t it funny how these days the simplest things seem miraculous…

a cup of tea

And did you know wood is the most sustainable energy source there is?

I only learned recently about coppicing. Before this I was confused by how long it takes trees to grow. Coppicing is the secret. Young trees are cut back so several shoots grow. You cut the strongest ‘shoot’ for firewood BUT you have several others coming along! The tree isn’t chopped down, it keeps growing while providing firewood! Isn’t that amazing!!!!!!

This remains the most dramatic, life changing discovery of recent years for me, especially as my husband recently planted 70 trees : ) I mean we do have an oil burner but we’ll avoid that as much as possible.

photo 4 (95)

In October more than any other time I feel a kind of, must be primal instinct, a call to prepare for winter. Do you get that? Warm clothes for the family make me happier than anything, good stocks of firestuff, cosy dinners, all of that, ah nature.

a statue

photo 4 (94)

a blog

books hall
a blog 1
photo 4 (96)

photo 5 (63)

a blog mantle

This week past was very productive. I’ve 17 chapters of my book edited now, 15 to go.

I’m going to get it printed off for the first time this week and read it through from start to finish and from finish to front. After that? Why another edit of course.

I’ve so much work to do, so much. I don’t mind though.

As I was reading further and further into the book I found myself getting lost, swept away . I found myself thinking ‘I didn’t write this did I?’ and ‘I’m not sure who wrote it, not I, but she’s something I tell you, whoever she is who’s not me.’

Oh yes before I forget. I’m doing a new art challenge, loosely defined which is great, something creative everyday in October. to date I’ve done sketches, a poem and one oil painting, see below…

photo 4 (97)

a blog lamp

a blog arta blog blanketa blog girl

Have you embraced the season yet? Yes or no I hope October’s being good to you so far, wherever you are in the world. Chat to you soon.

Posted on by Jane in Cosiness & TLC, I WAS JUST THINKING, We Can Do It - Tips for Creative Living 4 Comments

How to Do All You Want & Feel Brilliant Today

It’s Monday and I love Monday’s because I love mornings, new beginnings and the sense of possibility they bring.

Today I’m going to answer the burning question, the one I get asked all the time, the one that women and mothers so often get asked.

How do I do it? How did I do it?

How did I write a novel, curate a blog and run my social media sites while running a home, a family of five, three children, two still at home (as they were at the time) without help? Not counting my husband of course who’s wonderful but works full time, farms, is a boxing coach and, is involved in politics! Then to top it all off I took on a month long daily art challenge and learned how to drive.

Whatever you do, whatever your situation you can do this too. Working full time? Children? Other responsibilities? Doesn’t matter and what’s more it’s all up to YOU, in your power.

Now at first I was just flying by the seat of my pants with writing. I wanted to do it and once I’d made the commitment and started that was it but there was a lot of frustration, feelings of guilt, of neglecting other things I should be doing, of resenting time wasted, those days, you know those days right?

Luckily the desire to write was just greater and I continued to show up until it got done. In addition you have to be willing to let go of something, for me this was the house, sob! Our poor house! It is loved though.

And you have to wrestle your demons. Internal and external, real or imagined. The voices in your head, the vibes, passive aggression or whatever it is, in other words, negative, soul sapping energy. If it stops you from doing what you want then that’s as real as real gets.

In order to handle all this you need to 1. Stop now and do nothing or 2. Build a wall of positive energy around you.

Cut off the vampires, batten the hatches, FOCUS, develop the HABIT you want, become ABSORBED and then, JUST – KEEP – GOING. It’s funny because this is the most common thing people say to me ‘just keep going,’ as if they’re afraid I might stop, trust me I won’t.

It’s a cutting off of the world in a way and when I’m really in the zone like when finishing the book I resent everything that gets in the way, food, sleep, everything :)

Aah the madness, I LOVE it!

That was then and all necessary but I’ve developed another level of understanding of what I did, of what I do day in day out, and I’ve worked it out here. This is what you do…

1. Write a list of all the things you want to do this week. Not housework, not admin, not work or kids related, what YOU want to do. For example on my list this week I have editing and rewrites for my book, blogging, painting and reading.

2.  Next do up a schedule for each day, hour by hour. Here’s the kick, it’s harder than you think to fill those hours! You will find yourself wondering what the hell you do with your time. For example a big time suck for me would be time spent online, fb, pinterest etc. I’ve had to get ruthless with that.

For someone else it might be tv, housework or all three. Each to their own but I for one don’t want to spend my life on any of these. If you work outside the home that can’t be helped you just have to go with the hours you do have, you can still find time if you want to.

4. Those things you want to do, schedule them first then fit everything else around them. Add something lovely you’ve been meaning to do with the kids or your partner, follow up with something niggly and annoying needs doing, things you want or have to do but haven’t got round to and then of course homework, cooking, housework, blah, blah, blah, etc. 

5. Set alarms on your phone if your’re into that, so far I like to just keep it on paper, keep an eye on my watch. 

‘This approach has done wonders for my head and it’s funny because I’m not a fan of routine but this is no normal routine.

It’s flexible, changes all the time, it’s focus is on creativity and quality time for me and the rest of the family. It allows me to focus and be present with whatever I’m doing in the moment without feeling guilty, torn or frustrated.

I can’t say better than that.

I don’t do it all the time I just feel 100% happier, more effective, capable and fulfilled when I do AND I get something done every day without fail. Something other than the everyday stuff we all do. Lets imagine you work full time and have kids and a commute but you want to write.’

Schedule just ten minutes a day and insist to yourself that no matter what happens, if the sky falls you have to do it. Pretend you have no choice until that becomes a reality, with forced habit it will.

Schedule it, DO IT and wait for how GREAT YOU WILL FEEL when you do.’

A Word on Food

When I’m in this uber productive mode I will make stews, casseroles, curries, chilli etc. One cooking session, two dinners…maybe a lunch as well. Don’t forget to add a no cook night or two, no one will suffer, the opposite in fact.

My children love when I don’t cook as it makes for a more relaxed evening especially when winter sets in and evenings are short. After all it’s you they want, not you all the time slaving over a stove, a sink, or a laptop!

Serious Projects

If you have what I’d call a serious project like writing a novel, studying for a course your’re taking or anything that takes a lot of motivation in its own right you should have a designated space and time if possible so your head knows it’s time to get down to work. So while I can paint or read, even blog all over the house, and I do, when it comes to the book I go to the same place at the same time if possible. 

What To Do With the Children?

Aah children, what can you do only your best, whatever that is. Involve them where suitable, after all this is all good for them too.

For something like writing where you need head space you have to either get up early or work at night (early’s my choice) or when they’re at school if they’re at that stage, but for something like painting they love it.

I said to my six year old this morning that we have to paint when she gets home and of course she’s delighted and if I don’t deliver, I’m dead, good incentive :)

So far today I’ve worked on the book, from 6am to 8am, housework, this blog, lunch, supervised homework and speaking of painting that’s what we’re off to do next. I made a Chicken Cacciatore last night with enough for this evening so that’s dinner sorted and it’s only 3pm as I finish this.

No matter what else happens this day I feel good, peaceful…I could go on but I’ll spare you, your’re welcome.

So I’m always better and have more energy in the morning but I used to feel bad about being tired and what I’d call ‘useless’ in the evenings! Now I understand why and that I can’t maintain this level all the time and that that’s ok! Sometimes I still have to remind myself :)

So now you know my secret, it’s work, work on the things I love, no matter if the sky falls, even if only ten minutes.

aaat hse

This is where I sat last night plotting my week ahead. I take my pleasure very seriously I do!

Want more inspiration? Here’s my three favourite things from around the web last week, enjoy :)

1. How Can You Make Your Weekend More Awesome (I’d say ‘life’ but still!)

2.How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One

3. The Long Game – Check out the two video links, mind blowing! I wish every person on earth could see this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on by Jane in I WAS JUST THINKING, We Can Do It - Tips for Creative Living 8 Comments
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