Summer Round Here

The three of us are setting off tomorrow for 4 days of rest and family time in Donegal.  We're going to be staying at what looks to be a really awesome little eco-cottage we booked through Under The Thatch (you should definitely check it out for really one-of-a-kind places to stay in the UK & Europe).  We've got a family kayak, 3 bikes, a camp-bed and enough food and clothes for a small town to fit into the back of our car.  YIKES.

This trip is timely for us after a busy summer so far.  Dave just finished his job on Friday and will be taking up his new post with Sustrans the first week in August, so we can't wait to get away together, shut down (no wifi or phone reception!) and potter about at the lakes and beaches.  The forecast is typically grim but we've got wellies!

I love summer so much.  We may still have to show up to work, but it definitely feels like everything is taking itself a little less seriously and the vibe is a little slower and a little more relaxed.  We've had some great weather round these parts and have been making the most of it.  

I'm part of the bloggers network for the awesome online store DotComGiftShop, and as part of that I'm joining other bloggers to share some reflections on summer time.   Here's some of what's been going down round here:

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Our garden is easily my favourite thing about our house.  We live in a long row of townhouses, and access to each garden is through the basement of each house around the back.  It's such an oasis back there and in the summer time it really comes alive with neighbours out chatting in the gardens, helping each other, sharing and kids playing together etc.  One neighbour joked the other day that you could get your dinner for the day hopping from garden to garden because of all the neighbours growing different vegetables along the row. (I might try that someday, actually).

This year I'm attempting to grow a good bit of veg out there so like a good Earth Mother I spend a lot of time faffing about with pots and compost and seeds, mostly resulting in me wanting to cry and calling a neighbour in for plant rescue because I'm so ridiculously uneducated about it all.  DSC_1289

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DSC_1303The garden has also seen lots of paddling pool action with cousins coming over and on Friday night I had some friends over for a surprise hen party for my friend Carolina that was visiting from London!  It was the perfect evening for some Pimms and the most amazing Polish custard cakes!  It was also the perfect occasion to bust out the Oh Joy lanterns etc my mum brought over from Target.  I love any excuse to decorate and am eyeing up these cute vintage LED party lights for the garden next!

DSC_0845I have managed to bottle a few litres of Elderflower Champagne again this year (THAT I can do).  The fizz is now ready to be chilled and I plan on cracking it open in August or September to give it optimum fermenting time.  Look at me using big words like 'fermenting'!DSC_0842You know what else is awesome about summer?  No football.  Aside from the World Cup (sorry, but Zzzzzzzz), I have been so flipping glad to have my husband back on Saturday afternoons.  

DSC_1222DSC_1279Levi is having the time of his life this summer.  Every week there is something fun going on - parties, trips to the beach, BBQ's - he's in heaven being barefoot and outside.  Even though it's a year away, I'm already wondering how I'm going to occupy him next summer when he's spent a year being really stimulated and having fun in Nursery School.  He already has so much energy and his desire to play, make and try things is wonderfully relentless!  

More than anything, I've loved the quality time with family this summer.  My parents are both here from Canada for the next few weeks and it's been so great.  Dad took Levi and I on a pilgrimage to his family homestead up in Fermanagh.  It was really emotional to visit the house he grew up in, hear stories of his childhood and meet some of the family I've heard about but never met.  

DSC_1244DSC_1239 DSC_1249DSC_1264This old derelict house was my dads Grandparents house, just up the lane from his childhood home in Benaughlin Mountain.  The extended family have kept it standing and built a new property beside it on the farmland - I thought it was a nice touch that they paid tribute to my Great Grandfather Daniel in the stone wall they built around the new house; everybody knew him as 'Old Dan'.  I could see the memories flooding back for my dad as he recalled stories and even remembered where to look for wild blueberries growing in the fields!  Nature is pretty amazing, 60 years on and still doing the same thing!

And with that, I leave you with this picture of Levi and I outside of the old house that has been making me laugh all week.  If Levi's face does not scream "this picture taking is bull" then I don't know what does!DSC_1261

I'm off to make sure we've got everything packed!  Happy Summer Everyone! 

Mel