Congratulations to all those who’ve made it to the short-list…. well done you!

I haven’t, but no matter.  I was in the ‘personal’ category this year…. which I thought strange, but I guess it is how ‘you’ out there read my blog and categorise it…. it is not my opinion that matters.  And, of course, thank you to whoever you are that nominated me!


photo courtesy of Blog Awards Ireland

photo courtesy of Blog Awards Ireland


I volunteered to help with the judging this year, as I have done for the past three years.  And, yes, didn’t I write a blog post about learning to say ‘no’ to volunteering…. I am still learning!!!!!

Obviously, I didn’t get involved in judging in the category that we were nominated in, but I did do a few others, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Firstly, I think every blogger should volunteer to judge.  It is good for you.  You learn a lot.  You will see what amazing talent is out there, and appreciate the competition!  You will be blown away by the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes… mostly on a voluntary basis.

Through judging I have found blogs (and people) from around the world, that I would perhaps never have found, and now I communicate with them on a regular basis… they’ve become virtual friends.

I’ve had people say to me that they would not know enough about some of the topics to be competent to judge them.  To that I say ‘stuff and nonsense’.  It is up to the blogger to bring you into their world, and enthral you with their passion. You will learn from that.  I couldn’t write a ‘humorous’ post…. but I do know when a post makes me laugh or giggle.

So to all of you I say, give a little time.  Don’t say you are ‘too busy’ – we all are! The call for volunteers usually goes out in June or so… be ready next year.

My second point today is to all those new bloggers (there were over 200 of them this year).  I know as that was one of the categories I judged. Or if you are thinking about starting a blog…. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure to put in an ‘About’ section.  So many of the ‘new’ blogs didn’t have an ‘about’ section…. it is very difficult for the reader to establish where you are based, what is the purpose of your blog, why are you writing.

Just a little detail about who you are, why you are blogging, even explain the name of your blog.  Just anything to make you a real person.

To all you finalists, fingers and toes are crossed for you on Saturday night.  Of course, I have already chosen who my winners would be…. let’s see if I’m right :)

Friday Photo

So folks, what do you all think of my new garden ornaments?

Garden Ornaments


Their new favourite hang-out…. the rockery!!!

The hunt is on!

Having had a really busy month of guests, with the house full to bursting point at times, we’ve decided that we need to get an extra shower!

When we started the whole renovation/extension project years ago, we opted to forego on the en-suite thing and instead had an extra bathroom added on. So now we have what we refer to as the ‘shower’ room and the ‘bath’ room.

Most of the time the shower room is the busy room. However, when you have a house full of guests, you need to utilise the second room – the ‘bath’ room.

We love this bath. It was abandoned in a shed out the back when we came here. Can you believe it? Just dumped! I guess we were lucky that it wasn’t in a field used as a trough!!! Do you know how costly these roll top baths are?

We decided to have it restored/re-enamelled if possible. Alfie did the research and found a guy in South Tipperary who would do it.

Onto the trailer with the bath and transported to South Tipp …. then it was brought back…. and this is where I nearly had a conniption. I just could not watch as Alfie and our neighbour, Sean, carried it up the stairs.

Guys, these baths weigh an absolute ton!

It was safely installed without injury to any man.

Oldfarm Bathroom

New taps were sourced…. again a bit of a major search to get the right ones.

Let me tell you this bath is deep, so when you have a couple of guests having baths (and showers in the other room)….. it runs every water tank in the house dry! Let’s not even go there on the cost of heating the water to fill this giant bath.

So a shower is needed desperately.

Now, the latest search is on to get the right shower fitting for it. You know the type….. they’re quite high, have a ring thing at the top (very technical term!) to hold the shower curtain. It has been suggested we could use one of those rubber shower things that fit onto the taps…. but that would ruin the entire look!

We’ve seen what we’d like to install in magazines, but as yet, have failed to find a supplier here. Looking at the variety of shower accessories on here, would the sum of their parts ultimately build into the right shower for a Victorian bath?

Has anyone ever undertaken such a project? Anyone got any advice on where to start with sourcing the right shower fitting?

Friday Photo

Love the way this photo worked out :)  The flower looks like it is just suspended or floating in the wind.



A Bloggers Trip

Folks, I got invited on my first ever bloggers trip last month.  Needless to say, I was excited and delighted to accept the invitation.

Now before you all think I was whisked off to an exotic beach…. you could be right.  However, the truth is I was invited to attend the Taste of Carlow event, which was even better than a day at the beach.

Yes, another Midlands county that kind of gets by-passed by all the tours and tour operators.  It is a fate that befalls pretty much all the Midland counties of Ireland. Tourists land in Shannon, or Dublin, and off they go…. all around the coast.  Now I am not saying that our coastline isn’t wonderful…. in fact, I think the Wild Atlantic Way is a wonderful initiative, and I just love some of the promotional stuff…. but could we maybe have a Meander the Magical Midlands initiative?

(I just thought that up now…. it isn’t half bad…. should I patent it?)

Anyway back to my trip to Carlow.

We were blessed with a beautiful day.  I had an early start, out of here at 8 a.m., leaving Alfie in charge of our AirBnB guests – Martha and Emmet – who were very understanding of my rude early departure.

Our bloggers day consisted of history, scenery, food (lots of it), gardens… really a mix of everything…. something to suit all tastes.

We did so much I could be posting forever…. but let me tell you about my highlights… which are in no particular order.

Our Carlow Guide :

Bianka of Carlow Tours

Bianka of Carlow Tours


Bianka of Carlow Tours….. what a treasure.  She told us so much about each place we visited, and had such interesting snippets to share, to make the stories more real.  Seriously, if you are heading to Carlow make sure to book a tour with Bianka.

Historical Carlow :

I just loved Duckett’s Grove Castle.  The Castle suddenly seems to appear before you, with a magnificent drive up to it.  We walked around the Castle and Gardens, and, of course, stopped at The Tea Rooms for tea and the most delicious scones ever.

Duckett's Grove Castle

Duckett’s Grove Castle

Browneshill Dolmen…. now how on earth did they arrange those stones without modern day lifting equipment?

Browneshill Dolmen

Huntington Castle…. this place is totally amazing!  We had a quick ramble around the beautiful gardens, walked along the Yew Walk, before doing the tour of the Castle.  We were also shown some of the more private rooms…. believe me this is an amazing family home.  Then, of course, it was time to stop for more tea…. this time in the magnificent courtyard.

Huntington Castle - Yew Walk


Loved the colours and vibrancy of these flowers on display from The Flowerfield at Huntington Castle.

The Flowerfield display

Scenic Carlow:

A little detour was arranged to take us to Mount Leinster.  In typical Irish weather fashion, having had glorious sunshine all day as soon as we got to the top the rain came down…. but we could still all imagine the magnificent views.

The rain came down :(

The rain came down :(

Taste of Carlow:

What can I say about the food we had throughout the day?  There were those delicious scones at Duckett’s Grove, the magnificent picnic lunch arranged for us by Carlow Farmers Market, the treats bought at the market, the trip to Malone’s Fruit Farm where I was completely taken by the Smoked Garlic, sips of Elderflower Champagne and Sloe Gin from Mary of Blackstairs Eco Trails – there was a danger that Lisa of Isle Magazine and myself might have stayed there for the afternoon! The day culminated in an absolutely delicious meal at The Step House in Borris where Chef Alan Foley truly pulled out all stops.  My personal favourites of our tasting menu?  The Salmon, the pork and the duck were so so good.

Dinner at The Step House

Dinner at The Step House


Major, major thank you to Dee and Susan from Green & Vibrant for organising such a magnificent day….. they’ve kind of thrown down the gauntlet for me to figure out a way to invite them over this side of the Midlands :)  And thanks must also go to fellow bloggers who made the day such an enjoyable one – Lorna (Irish Farmerette), David (Beyond the Wild Garden), and Sophia and Lisa from Isle Magazine.


Friday Photo

Super moon with pink cow :)

Super Moon & Pink Cow :)

Super Moon & Pink Cow :)

Friday Photo

Some of the delicious goodies we brought back from a visit to Ardkeen Grocers in Waterford…. am jealous of you if you live close enough to get there regularly.

All from Ardkeen Grocers

All from Ardkeen Grocers