Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year's Eve

Still in hospital. All my results are back and seem to confirm what we'd originally thought. It looks like our baby will be born in the next day or two as they are keen to induce me. Here's a picture of what seem to be my constant companions here. They keep the foetal monitor in place on my tummy while it records the baby's heart rate. It is an extremely annoying machine cos according to what it does, the baby is either too sleepy (not enough activity) or too active (causing lack of contact and a blank trace). Until you get a satisfactory trace, you could be stuck to the machine for hours. I have one done twice a day. So far they show a happy active baby, which is the important thing.

This photo was taken during a walk along the Shannon with Lee. I had absconded from hospital again. I thought it was funny as it seems as though the swans are joining in the January sales fever, although like a lot of people at the moment, they don't seem to have bought much.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Winter sun

Well here is another picture of a tree. Quite different from the last one. I can see this one from my window here in the hospital. I'm standing next to it at the moment trying to absorb some of the winter's sunshine that we've been blessed with today. Some acrobatic birds are playing in the bushes. The baby and me are in for tests as i've been showing symptoms of a liver problem that can be very dangerous for the baby.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Friday, 19 December 2008

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I'll make mincemeat for ya

Bear and I made some mincemeat today. I checked all my books, but the recipes were so different that I decided to take a bit from them all and make my own! It does seem like the kind of thing you can make up as you go along and the flavour varies so much between ones you buy.
Yesterday for example, on our annual Christmas trip to Cork, we compared mince pies from Heaven’s Cake (who made our wedding cake) and the Alternative Bread Company in the English Market. As you should expect from a little pie that costs €1.50 (!) the Heaven’s mince pie was far superior: good (not soggy) pastry, mincemeat not too sweet, with a lovely cinnamony taste and an unusual crumble topping. Think I might try and recreate it.

Here’s the rundown.... on the off-chance that it turns out nicely and I can’t remember how much of anything I used! Thank you Darina, Nigella & Tamasin for your suggestions! Hee hee....

2 Bramley apples
1 tsp Orange blossom honey from the back of the cupboard (so I could use the jar for the mincemeat)
125g dark muscovado sugar
80 ml port
100g organic mixed peel
100g organic sultanas
125g currants
100g organic raisins
pinch of ginger, mace, ground nutmeg
1tsp or more cinnamon
zest & juice of 1 organic lemon
50g chopped blanched almonds
100g vegetable suet

First, I put the apples in the oven at 180ºC for about 45 minutes (we have a fan oven, so after about 20 minutes, I turned the heat down and cooked them for a bit less time). Then I dissolved the sugar and honey in the port over a low heat. Then, off the heat, added the mixed peel to try and soften it up a bit.
Then I put in the sultanas, currants and raisins and mixed them all together. Next I added the apples after allowing them to cool and taking the skins off.
Then I poured all the fruit from the saucepan into a big bowl and added the almonds and suet. Ta da!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

So many projects, so little time left before Christmas

I am going to turn off the computer now as I keep finding lovely things to make, even though I haven't a clue where I will find the time, considering I already have a couple of works in progress that must be finished in time for Christmas.

Purl Bee have a beautiful scarf and adorable bird-shaped tree ornaments, while Made Marian has a gorgeous little Christmas tree.

It's pressie time... ho ho ho!

Green and gold and white... how did I manage to be so colour co-ordinated? And there's even a chance that it will get to its recipient in time for Christmas. Sheer fluke, probably aided by the angels!
I have a very high standard to try and match though. The friend it's intended for sends pressies that are almost too beautiful to open. This one doesn't come close to the lovely packages she sends.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Book binge!

I've been meaning to post for a while now about something lovely that happened last week. We had been asked to get two books for a client of Lee's as the author was signing them in town that day. A few days later, I gave them to the man who wanted them: one of them was for him as he had given his original copy to someone else to read. He had mentioned the book to Lee a couple of times and had asked me if I had read it. I have a lot of faith in my angels, but to be completely honest the book didn't really appeal to me.
I was curious though, as this man, an elderly bachelor farmer and traditional Catholic was so evangelical about it, but as money is short and we'd only just made a monster Christmas order with Amazon, I had a vague plan to get it in the library at some stage.
Later that same day, Wee and I were surprised to see the little man's car pull into our driveway (he usually parks across the road to check on his sheep). I was on the phone to Lee at the time and we both thought, 'he's probably going to give me the book!'. Sure enough, there it was, wrapped in Christmas paper with a card inside. Roo opened it: 'Boor' he said. So the angels made sure I got the book anyway.
A very sweet present from a gentle little man. I'm going to give him a hat for Christmas. He needs it, and a scarf too. But I wouldn't have them both made in time. Now I have finished the angels book, which I found so comforting and uplifting, I am going to send one to my kindred spirit on the other side of the world. The house has a couple of boxes full of fabulous books, courtesy of Amazon (and pretty steep delivery charges, but I s'pose it still works out much cheaper than buying from a real book shop). Most of them are Christmas presies for other people, but these ones aren't. This one (above) is for my little tummy angel, to help us work together to gently ease him/her into the world.And this cheekily titled one is for my inner domestic angel, to help me learn crochet. I could stay in bed all day reading them. Except I can't, obviously.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


I love Nigella, so yippee, here are some of her Christmas recipes from her new book, as published in You magazine. It looks like some of the recipes are recycled from her earlier books. I recognise (and have made) the cranberry sauce and gingerbread stuffing as I have used Feast as my constant Christmas cooking companion for the last few years.

The picture is of a piece of her sticky gingerbread which I must make again, especially since I bought some of Theresa's Gingerbread Marmalade at the Milk Market yesterday. She reckons it would be good drizzled over warm gingerbread, so in the interests of research.....

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Crazy carrot

What a beautiful carrot! At first I thought it was two carrots entwined around each other. But then I realised it was one carrot that had split in two. I think they do this when they meet a stone or something as they grow downwards, but the way it has wrapped back around itself is enchanting.
The weather has been lovely here for a couple of days. (Well, my kind of lovely anyway- cold and sunny with clear blue skies.) Serious frost on the car in the mornings, icy roads and a hushed whiteness all around the fields.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Babycake update

Lee and I went in for my 32 week antenatal visit yesterday. Nothing too serious... all's well as far as we can tell with the Babycake. They seem to think my hernia shouldn't cause any bother at delivery and might go away after the birth. I'm very relieved, as I was worrying they might use it as an excuse to induce us or do a caesarean.
We had a scan from a rather unfriendly lady which didn't really show us anything. The Babycake was hiding his/her little face.
Afterwards we had a lovely lunch in Delish.
On a different note, I'm afraid my Ebay habit has resurfaced.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sunday, 23 November 2008


Digga was at work today, which explains why we couldn't find him when we left the house this morning.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

I suppose I would...;-)

Here's a picture of the Babycake's cardi, a work in progress. I’m using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, a blend of 55% merino wool, 33% microfibre and 12% Cashmere. It’s lovely and soft and I hope, practical. The yarn label says it can be washed at 30º, although it’s a bit of a risk for something that so much time has gone into producing.
I started knitting it on the October Bank Holiday weekend, when we stayed in Castlegregory.
We don't know the baby's sex yet so I picked a neutral colour. By the way, the most likely names at this stage are Toiréasa, Tess for short or Criostóir. Lee must read the Baby Names book though. He broke two ribs last week so he needs to take it easy.... but isn't.
I might have a hernia, I'm not sure. It depends on whether you can believe someone who tells you that Listeria is a virus.

Friday, 31 October 2008

All Hallow's Eve

I heard this song on the radio this morning, so for the day that's in it, I thought I'd put a link to Haunted. It was out when we were in college, 1995.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Birthday cake:-)

This is the passion fruit Victoria sponge I made for the love of my life! And you can also see the Babycake!

this is an upside-down view of Lee's birthday Shepherd's pie.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Tinsel ...or Billy?

Here's one of the donkeys we met at the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll a couple of weeks ago. It was a lovely sunny day and we enjoyed walking along the paths in a very well organised place. There were signs up telling people not to feed the donkeys, but they should have warned us about the cheeky dog who jumped onto our picnic bench when our backs were turned and scoffed our lunch!
We may or may not have met Billy the donkey from Ballinahinch too. Who knows? He wasn't giving anything away.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Today is World Food Day according to an email I got from Trocaire. The picture shows one week's food, which costs this family in Kenya 2 and a half times their income, so they have to borrow to pay for it. Maybe Brian Lenihan's Budget doesn't look so bad now...

Babycake update: I went to the hospital for my 26 week check this morning- blood pressure etc ok, thank God and there maybe some good news on the Homebirth front. Babba Roo and I were looked after by Breda again.

And yesterday I put the last button on the long saga that was Wee's cardie. Here it is being modelled by the little man himself.
Yesterday, Gran came to the pool with us. I think she enjoyed it although she had been a bit apprehensive. We met another pregnant mum there with her 14 month old little boy, who had that worried look on his face that Roo used to have. The water was a bit colder than usual, but Roo is so comfortable there now that it didn't seem to bother him at all.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Nearly finished Roo's cardie

It's a pity I didn't look at this tutorial about sewing on a button before I started putting them onto Roo's cardie. I've been making it up as I go along. I wonder how long they'll last? Hee hee! The site is called Purl Bee and it could either inspire you or make you feel completely inadequate depending on which mood you were in at the time.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Swimming update

Roo asked to put the swimming cap on today! ..which I think is another indication of how comfortable he is at the pool now. We did quite a few wheeeees around the pool: that's where I support him and we walk around the deep end of the pool. He even did some little leg strokes while holding onto the wall in the children's pool. Next week we're hoping to bring Granny along too!

Friday, 3 October 2008

In which Babba Roo gets his hair wet...

We're back from the pool again. Wee really likes it now. He was getting all excited in the changing room.

Today's progress report contains the thrilling news that Roo got his hair wet!! Just the ends but it's a start. He still doesn't like the shower, but will just about tolerate it when it's at an almost imperceptible trickle. We did some kicky leggys while sitting on the steps and a bit more supported floating. He was really tired afterwards and is now having a snooze to get his energy back for the afternoon.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Thrifty or scabby?

I know a little boy who's 6 today and here's the card I sent him. I made it myself. Partly because I thought all the cards in the shops were a bit babyish for him and partly because I'm not very flush at the moment. There is a recession on you know, as Dad would say. Anyway, I hope the recipient's parents don't think I'm too scabby. I don't think the little boy himself will really be that bothered. And he can re-use the stickers if he wants! (Personally, I LOVE homemade cards and am always happy to receive one.) Not that that's a hint or anything...

Looking ahead and keeping abreast ....!

Just discovered this new site: it's an Irish breastfeeding site trying to change this country's irritating attitude to BF. I'm proud to say I breastfed Babba-Roo until he was 15 months old and I'm looking forward to doing at least the same with Babycake number 2, please God.
It's a new site, so it's still under construction. I will have to check back to read how to prepare toddlers for feeding your new baby.

Happy Feast day!

Today is St Therese's feast day. It's raining again today here, but I bet it's lovely where she is.

On the subject of the Babycake, I found this little piece on It's quite cute. BC is very bouncy and active inside my tummy at this stage. He/she can hear very well now, so I've been playing Ella Fitzgerald, although heavy drum beats seem to go down better with BC.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Roo and I went swimming today. We joined the gym just before his 2nd birthday, so now we can go to the pool whenever we like, during off peak hours. Today was the first time he didn't get nervous and cry before we went in. Probably because we were there last week and he enjoyed it. They have a lovely children's pool that he can walk about in and he loves playing with the floats and toy animals. It's nice and warm there too, so that helps. At the moment our aim is to get him to enjoy the water, rather than try to teach him things. He still resolutely refuses to get his hair wet, but we made progress today when we moved out to the adult's part of the pool. There are lots of graduated steps which he likes to walk on and in one section there's a jacuzzi-type thing (middle right in the picture) that has a really useful seat/step which he can stand on and then I briefly lift him into the deeper water.
It was such a horrible day outside, but the pool offered a lovely respite from the wind and rain. (Yes, it's back again!)
Today is the anniversary of St Therese's death. Her feast day is tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Blog this

Here's a close-up of my new lace edging. I took the photo on Lee's new mobile, which has a more direct link to

mobile blog

Still messing about with phones. This is just a check to see if my own phone can still send posts. It's a picture of my new knitting job next to what it should look like.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Farmer Roo digging the spuds

And here's one of the carrots:

The weather has been lovely here for the last six days. We've been enjoying very welcome sunshine with a cold snap in the air (which i love) that has gradually decreased as the days have gone on. Partly because the weather had been so awful, I'd kind of given up on the garden. Lettuce, courgettes and tomatoes had all been a bit disastrous... but our potatoes and carrots have been brilliant! We started harvesting the spuds after an attack of blight about 6 weeks ago and they are delicious. They are floury and work well boiled, roasted or as chips. I can't remember what variety they are- must check it up.

Babba-roo has been capitalising on the weather by spending most of the day outside with his 'little red tractor', which he inherited from his cousins and adores. There is a little trailer on the back that he likes to put dirt, flowerpots and stones into. Just now we were picking some carrots for Granny's tea later on. We delivered them by tractor to the back door and I had to be very careful about taking them out as he's a bit possessive of things that go into the trailer. Well he's really got into farmer-mode because I just spotted him with another carrot in the trailer of his digga which he must have pulled up himself!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

My Introduction to Beekeeping

Removing the wax from the frame. The frame is resting on a nail in the short plank of wood, which is held over the collecting bucket.

Here's a closer look:

Next to this bucket is the ?extracting drum.
Here is a better picture of it:

Friday, 15 August 2008

Looking for a new knitting project

Nearly finished Babba Roo's cardigan. (It's only taken me 9 months: if it was a baby it would have been born by now). Having a new pattern to knit helps spur me on. No shortage of possibilities there. I've been looking at some very tempting Rowan knitting books. But my next project must be simple and quick.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Bagpuss makes a comeback

Babba-roo has adopted Bagpuss as his favourite toy of the moment. (Although his name is actually Miaow-miaow of course.) So I've used it as an excuse to indulge in a bit of nostalgia by showing him clips from the old series on YouTube. The introduction made me cry...

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

An Droichead Beo

Today, me, Babba Roo, the Babycake, the dog, a friend and her puppy walked across this amazing bridge on the campus at UL. It was our friend's idea. I'd never been there before.

It's called the living bridge because it moves under your feet as you walk across it. It was a beautiful day and the Shannon looked wonderful underneath us. A heron stood in the middle watching fish. Dog wasn't keen on the metal grid part of the walkway and preferred the more solid side.

The photo came from Flickr. My friend says it is indeed lovely when all lit up at night.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Happy Beeeeirthday to me!

Today I had a very very happy birthday! First of all, Lee wished me Happy Birthday and gave me a really cool pressie: a beautifully-wrapped wind-up radio! It's gorgeous: metallic red and cutely square-shaped. I love it. Then I discovered a beautiful, witty hand-made card on the kitchen table from Lee.

Next the three of us zoomed into town for my booking visit at the maternity hospital. We even got a car parking space: wonder of wonders.

We were seen by a lovely midwife of Mum's generation: Breda Daffy, who took a shine to Wee (surprise-surprise) and like a guardian angel kept popping up around the place for the rest of the morning, making sure we were doing ok. My bloods were taken by another Breda, a lovely, friendly lady who reminded me of the Pat Shortt nurse Moloney (but in a good way!).

Then we waited a long time for our scan. The Babycake was looking good: s/he did that thing with his/her hands that Roo used to do: covering the ears as if the ultrasounds were too noisy! S/he at one point put both arms behind the head as if leaning back chun a scith a ligeant! Taking it easy!

Then we joined another queue for the doctor: pretty pointless: Lee or Mum could have taken my blood pressure and asked me if I was feeling ok and we wouldn't have had to wait in a crowded room for ages to do that.

When Wee and me got home, we were surprised to see a car speeding into the driveway: it was Mum/Granny on a top-secret mission! She was laden with cards, pressies and more flowers. I felt really special! She also had a couple of piccies of my cousin's new baby and a scratch card that actually was a winner!

When Lee got home he had a chocolate bar which he was anxious for me to open. Inside was a shiny Willy Wonka style invitation to a Bee-keeping course! What a brilliant idea!! It was such a thoughtful, sweet present and tied in all the references to honey bees that Lee had dotted through the day. He thought everything out so well, the superstar that he is.

Finally we had a yummy homemade Chocolate Cloud Cake, courtesy of Lee once more. The dastardly oven didn't quite manage to burn it. I hate that oven, grrr....

On top of all this, yesterday Lee brought home a fab bouquet chosen by none other than Babba-Roo. The Babycake sent his good wishes too.

Talking of whom, I think I felt the BC moving about this morning while we were listening to Fred on the wind-up radio in bed.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Roo's lexicon


Hissy =horse

aarn-aarn =duck (quack-quack) or any bird

uh-uh =dog (woof-woof)

re-ow =cat

mooh =cow

uh-Oh issamar= mystery catch phrase

nana= banana

shiz= shoes

beeby= baby

bee beebies= C Beebies

20 July: mee-mee-mee= milk

Bahb= Bob (the builder)

ber= bear

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Baby TV

We had a little look at the Babycake yesterday evening. It was the second time we scanned my tummy and there were huge changes. We could see much more detail: the baby's facial features, a little hand waving and lots of movement generally. There seemed to be a lot of room in there and the Babycake was making the most of it.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


As Lee said yesterday, the blog has been taking a back seat lately. That's down to the fact that I don't have much energy at the moment. I have been feeling queasy for the last couple of weeks due to the Babycake, but it's for a good cause!

Today I made myself plant some Californian Poppies in the newly tidy back garden. I sowed the seed in the gap between the concrete fence, which has added some Halting site chic to the place. It's a bit late to be planting them, but they only finshed messing about with the garden on Saturday. Lee has been busy planting out my tomato plants and keeping an eye on things.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Friars of Moyross

I missed AnnMarie Kelly's Today FM programme about the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal who have been helping to rejuvenate Moyross in Limerick. But luckily it is available as a podcast. You can listen to it here.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Please someone buy our house!!

I've just spent ages washing-up, not usually my favourite pastime, but it made me really sad today. I could hear Babba Roo getting up to his monkey antics behind me and every so often I'd turn around to see him standing on the sofa, trying to examine the insides of the vacuum cleaner or studying CD cases as if he was browsing in a record shop. The layout of the kitchen means I can't see what he's doing a lot of the time and he's so mobile now, nowhere is out of his range.
Then I thought about our lovely kitchen in Ballymacarbry that we'd designed so that I would have been able to work away and see Wee playing in the kitchen, living room and garden. And I thought what a waste of a lovely house. And here we are stuck in this place with a building site for a garden. Unfortunately, we can't live in the house in Ballymac. But someone should be. I'm saying two novenas at the moment: one to the Sacred Heart, the other to St Thérèse. We can't move on until the house is sold, so we really need their help.

Monday, 19 May 2008

What's happening to the bees?

I keep finding dead honey-bees in the house. It’s unusual enough for them to come inside in the first place, but finding their lifeless bodies is kind of eerie. It reminds me of the increasing reports of ‘disappearing’ bees.

One of the theories is that the radiation from mobile phones is harming colonies. This is from an online Independent article

The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation
systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way
to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to
back this
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's
inhabitants suddenly
disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature
workers, like so many
apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never
found, but thought to die
singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and
other bees that normally raid
the honey and pollen left behind when a colony
dies, refuse to go anywhere near
the abandoned hives.
Bees don't just make honey, they are responsible for pollinating plants too, so without them life on earth could not continue. Yet as is often the case, very little seems to be happening to find out the cause of their decline and how to stop it.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Little Angels

I went to see my TP class receive their First Holy Communion today. I’d known about it for ages, but being there was a spur of the moment decision in the end. I'm so glad I went.

The ceremony went like clockwork and the children’s singing was wonderful. It was lovely to see all my little charges from November dressed up in their best and looking angelic. It took me a while to recognise some of them!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Great news

After I'd put Wee to bed this evening, I decided I'd find out what was making me so tired. I had suspected I was pregnant, but didn't dare hope that it was true. It's a bit early to be announcing it, but no-one else reads this and I'm bursting to tell everyone, so this is a safe place to say, Yippee!! We're expecting another baby!

St Therese must have been working away for us. I discovered a little cluster of green rosebuds on the rosebush this morning.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Sunny May days

On this day in 1883, St Thérèse was healed by Our Lady who appeared to her in a statue next to her sickbed.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Na prátaí

Here's a fotie of the potato drills. Thank you Lee! xxx

Can you tell what it is yet?

I just received a wonderful grace! Hares! And it’s partly thanks to a caterpillar.

I’d just put the washing out and was standing very still watching a pied wagtail tottering along the new kerb. I was hoping he’d fly up to where I’d left a hairy molly caterpillar on the oil tank, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something skirting along the edge of the field. I thought it would be one of the neighbourhood cats, but it was actually a hare! She disappeared into the next field and I felt privileged to have seen her. A few minutes later though, I noticed something brown in the corner of the field, so I got the binoculars and was thrilled to see TWO hares emerge!

I hadn’t seen any for weeks until this morning. The field behind our house has been open, up to a few days ago, to about 6 horses (or hissies as Wee calls them) so there was probably no extra food there for the hares but with the rain and warmth of the last few days, it’s probably worth their while having a nibble there again. They stayed there for quite a while, exploring the whole field. One of them has a lop-sided ear, so he’s easily recognisable.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Pentecost, potatoes, pigs and perfect plots

Today we finally planted our potatoes! Hooray! Here are some of the little spuds before they got covered in soil. Lee dug some lovely drills and added manure before we put them in. They are Records and we got them from Fruithill Farm in Bantry.

I also planted the courgette and lettuce seeds under cover. We saw some lovely lettuce today in a gorgeously neat little plot in the Free-range pig farm down the road. Just look: Of course, being a pig farm they also have pigs. Here are some Piggie pics. I love pigs. And these ones are so happy.