Category Archives: Life

19 Positive Steps

So here we are one week into 2019. I am not making resolutions this year but instead coming up with 19 positive ways to help the environment.  These may be things I already do, may be things I wish to do better or maybe something I haven’t tried yet. I hope you can find some inspiration here too. Here and there I have include some links with more information.

1. Compost whatever we can.

2. Grow some more food. I am hoping to grow more in my vegetable plot this year. Even if you just have a window still you can grow some herbs.

3. Buy some stainless steel containers for buying meat or fish from local butcher/fishmonger.

4. Use canvass or other types of reusable shopping bags.

5. Investigate what we can order in bulk, to reduce waste.

6. Seek alternatives to goods sold in plastic. So for example, buy solid soap bars as opposed to liquid soap. Alternatively, find somewhere were we can refill plastic bottles of washing up liquid or detergent.

7. Make more space for wildlife in the garden. And / or work with local community groups to improve areas for biodiversity.

8. Make more of our own bread and when buying do so from bakery that uses paper only bags/wrappings.

9. Don’t buy bottled water.  Bring your own.

10. Buy unwrapped fruit and vegetable. Local market may be good place to start.

11. Make own yogurt in grass jars.

12. Walk and cycle more.

13. Plant some more Pollinator Friendly Flowers (will do post on this soon).

14. Cut the lawn less.

15. Buy clothes made from natural fibers (cotton, lines, wool etc) and organic if possible.

16. Donate unwanted clothes and other items to your local charity shop.

17. Use vinegar, bread soda and lemon or other eco friendly cleaners for cleaning.

18. If painting, use eco friendly paints.

19. Take time to go for walks and enjoy nature.






18 goals for 2018

So as we start the new year, what happened with all those 2018 goals?

1 – Finish the 1000 piece jigsaw we started just after Christmas.

Yes we did! And we started a new one this Christmas, which is almost complete!

2 – Complete five Heritage in Schools visits.

I did 6 and it was great meeting the children and seeing their enthusiasm for nature.

3 – Maintain blog growth

Work commitments meant less time for blogging this year, so I have posted fewer posts and hence less views but I am happy I maintained what I did.

4 – Continue to create wildlife friendly habitats in my own garden and encourage others to do likewise.

This was our new wildflower area in the summer – was very please with it.

Wildflower area

Wildflower area

Though my work in 2018, I had the opportunity to give biodiversity workshops to a number of community groups which has been very rewarding.

5 – Have fun days out with my family.

We had quite a few. I just love these sort of days.

6 – Growing food

Not as much as I would have like so hoping for more this year. Apples were by far our best crop in 2018.

Apple harvest

Apple harvest

7 – Read 18 books

Not sure I achieved 18, but there is always a book by my bedside!

8 – Clutter

Still clutter everywhere!

9 – Friends are so important. Try not to miss birthdays .

Upps, I have missed a couple especially those with birthdays in the later quarter. Apologies!!

10 – Learn to identity more bugs and plants.

I was very lucky to spend a day with some BSBI members.  Learned lots about plants.

11 –  Do something new.

I downloaded the duolingo app to try and refresh my Irish language skills both for myself and also to help my children with their Irish homework!

12 – Reduce use of plastics

This has been harder than expected. So much is covered in plastic and often outside packaging is in cardboard but inside is plastic. This will be an ongoing challenge for this year.

13 – Do a couple of crafty projects

I worked with another mum completing a recycled art project with our local school . This was fun. Also my daughter and I brought a ‘make your own stuffed unicorn’ kit but we came to standstill when the instructions no longer made sense!

14 – More exercise

Need to try harder!!

15 – Good work/life balance!

Another difficult one especially when one is self employed. Again something to work on.

16 – Appointments

Actually did this and have my dentist appointment already made for 2019!

birch shieldbug-001

Birch Sheildbug

17 – Try and record another new species for the garden list

New shieldbug!

18 – Do ten bee and butterfly transects

I did 11 butterfly ones but only 6 bee once. Worryingly bee numbers were down though butterfly numbers were up, possibly a result of the sunny and warm June and early July.

So that is it. A review of last year. And 2019 – well still working on an idea – watch this space.










Happy New Year

Thank you to all those who have read and commented on my blog during the last year. Without you it would not be what it is.

May 2019 bring you lots of joy, adventure, and friendship. May you continue to find your creativity. Thank you to all of you who have inspired me to keep blogging.

Let us hope that 2019 will bring the world to a better place. In the words of Greta Thunberg, my 2018 hero, “you are never too small to make a difference.”

Happy New Year!

Photo Challenge: Beloved



Hare Hare is the most beloved toy in our house. He is much more than a toy, he is a member of the family. He pretty much comes everywhere we go. The photo above shows him looking out the porthole on the passenger ferry that goes from the mainland to Clare IslandHare Hare has been my youngest’s companion since birth! He is however loved by us all.  He is well worn now after nearly seven years constant use, his feet have been replaced once and his ears are due for renewal. We’ve tried doing a nose job, but it was unsuccessful.


Over the years Hare Hare has developed his very own character. He is exceptionally kind, is the best hugger in the house and is a first responder to all medical emergencies. He will eat pretty much everything but carrots are his absolute favourite.

In his earlier years, he was known to go missing for a few hours at a time, but thankfully with just one exception, he has always been found at bedtime (when he really comes into his own)! My youngest used to have the habitat of hiding him in things, on that occasion he was missing overnight, he was found (by some miracle) outside, stuffed into the end of an unused 4″ water pipe!

There is no doubt in my mind that he has magical qualities. He is our knight is shining armor.  Our hero. Our Beloved Hare Hare.

18 goals for 2018

I have decided this year to have a simple list of 18 goals for the year. They are an eclectic mixture of fun, professional, personal and well whatever came to mind.

So here they are in no specific order –

1 – Finish the 1000 piece jigsaw we started just after Christmas.  It is hard and a few times I have been ready to give up. So it may be a goal that is completed next Christmas!

2 – Complete five Heritage in Schools visits. Will post more on this shortly.

3 – Each year in the past three years my blog visitors and views have increased. I would like to maintain this growth but without having to feel pressured to achieve this,  otherwise what is the point in blogging.

4 – Continue to create wildlife friendly habitats in my own garden and encourage others to do likewise.

5 – Have fun days out with my family. Setting no limits here!

6 – Growing food is just something I enjoy doing, and I want and need (for my own well-begin) to keep it up. While we may never be self-sufficient in fruit or vegetables my aim is to grow as much as I can.

7 – Reading is something else I love to do.  These days I seem to spend more time reading children’s books to my two and will certainly continue this because they are many great children’s authors. But my aim is to read 18 books, for myself. A mix of fiction and fact.

8 – Clutter, so much clutter. Over the Christmas holidays I have cleared out my kitchen cupboards, and you know it does give a sense of satisfaction to be able to open a cupboard and find what you are looking for! The chickens are also enjoying a feast of out-of-date foods like risotto rice, Bulgar wheat etc. So more clearing and tidying is on the cards!

9 – Friends are so important. Last year I missed a few of my friends birthdays so I am going to update my calendar and make sure I don’t miss any this year!

10 – There is always more we can learn about the world around us. So I am going to concentrate my efforts on learning to identity more bugs and plants.

11 – I am probably not the best person for challenging myself to do something new. I tend to stick to the same reliables. So I am going to find something that will challenge me in 2018.

12 – Reduce use of plastics, by being more careful about what we buy (thinking packaging etc.) and where and how we used plastic in the home.

13 – I enjoyed crafts but don’t spend much time doing them. So this year I would like to do a couple of crafty projects. I am still thinking what these will be, so am open to suggestions.

14 – January always gets me thinking that I need to get more exercise! And I am probably not alone, but must try harder!

15 – I am not the most organised person in the world. I need to find better ways of prioritising my work, while at the same time having good work/life balance!

16 – There are certain appointments that I will gladly put off (think dentist etc.). So this year I will try and keep these!

17 – Try and record another new species for the garden list.

18 – Last year I aimed to do ten bee and butterfly transects and only manage 9. So this year I am going to try and do ten again!

So that is it. My 18 goals for 2018.









Almost there…..

We are almost there,  and for any of you that are celebrating Christmas and have children in the house, the excitement, may be mounting exponentially.

In a time, when in Ireland, our homeless crisis is huge, currently over 8800 people living in hotel rooms or on the street, it makes me stop and think how lucky I am to have a house over my head (and no bank breathing down my back).

In a time when 767 million people live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day, I wonder at the excesses of Christmas? Like many, there will be more than enough gifts under our Christmas tree.

For the children, I try to include useful and practical presents like books and clothes. My daughter loves fairies so we’ve all being working on some presents for her. I gave my son the job of building a miniature fairy garden. My husband has made a fairy door and I have made her two fairies adapted from these tutorials by Untidy Artist.



We’ve also made simple gifts for relatives. Being creative makes me feel a little better about the consumerism of Christmas, probably because I am as guilty as the next person!

Where ever you are this Christmas, whatever your circumstances, I hope that you find happiness and peace, and I hope you have time to enjoy the company of family and friends.