Category Archives: Life

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 The chickens are also enjoying a feast of out-of-date foods like risotto rice, Bulgar wheat etc.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.



I am a hoarder. I have been since I was a child. But sometimes it does lead to little treasures. Inspired by this week’s one a week photo challenge – “Letter”, I remembered this letter or postcard. My father’s aunt wrote each Christmas and enclosed in her letter, there would be a little card for my sister and I. This is one of the oldest letters I have. There is a date that I have obviously added later. I would have been seven in 1978 (giving away my age!). I know it’s a bit early for Christmas but thought I would share.



Six months in 17 for 2017

So six months in how is my list of 17 for 2017 doing. Definitely time to review.

17. Help seventeen people learn more about their environment.

Completed. I have been really lucky this year as I have been asked to run various workshops, both on pollinators and biodiversity. I really enjoyed working with our local country-life museum doing a biodiversity workshop with 30 school children a couple of weeks ago and will be doing a family biodiversity workshop for heritage week in August.

16. Send sixteen mammal records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Only five so far. A wood mouse, two pygmy shrew and two roadkill (badger and fox).

15. Give away fifteen homegrown flower or vegetable plants to worthy homes

Six to date to friends and family. This doesn’t include things grown and planted in school garden.

14. Fourteen fun days out with the family

Union wood, Enniscoe House,  Longford Demesne, Ross beach. And summer holidays have just begun so more planned.

13. Learn thirteen new words

Oxford is a great website I have been looking at. I have learned the world muumuu. Which I think is great addition to my scrabble vocabulary.  It’s a type of dress in case you were wondering.

I also like “mouse potato”  which is someone who spends a lot of time on the computer for leisure or work.

And “nagware” which is computer software which is free for a time but then constantly reminds you to buy!

12. Write twelve blog posts (ideally one a month) on an environmental topic

Need more work here.  Short post on International Biodiversity Day, and one on Earth Day with some practical ideas, a couple of bee ones including plants for bees, and one on Climate change,

11. Read eleven new authors

A boy made of  blocks by Keith Stuart: A story about a dad learning how to love and see his autistic child just as a boy and not as a child with autism.

The trouble with goats and sheep by Joanne Cannon: A who done it with a difference, sometimes viewed through the eyes of a twelve year old.

10. Complete ten butterfly and or bee monitoring transects this year

Only four so far. Hopefully will get more done in the summer

9. Find 9 ways of encouraging more wildlife into our garden

Am creating two new wildflower area. Work in progress

8. Discover 8 new things

Chi seeds, beneficial health benefits and good for baking

Plantain (the plant) has amazing properties. Need to do more research

7. Send seven letters to friends

Only one yet

6. Try six new recipes

Oh dear, failing again. Must try harder! Though did try frying fresh kale leafs with some lamb cutlets which proved popular with everyone in the house.

5. Have five swims

Only paddles yet!

4. Find four positive ways of helping those in need

I visited a school to give them some advice on making their school grounds more environmentally friendly

3. Plant three new vegetables or fruit that I did not grown in the garden last year

So far I have only stuck with the old reliables!

2. Record two new species for the garden

Done. Humming bird hawk moth and a carabid beetle who’s name I can’t just recall.

1. Attend one cultural event

Nothing yet!

Ribworth plantain

Ribworth plantain


As children we were always encouraged to make our own cards for sending at Christmas and for birthdays. I have followed the tradition and encourage my own children to do the same. Here are two recent cards they have made. There is something special about getting a handmade card.

My contribution to the One a Week Photo Challenge “CARD”