Sayonara Summer!

Well hello again!  September has arrived with a cooler temp (sod off rain), shorter evenings and a whole heap of back to school pics on instagram!

It's crazy to think that the summer is over...

In fact, as an adult, I'm finding that summer is less and less a 'thing' these years.  Seasons and months quickly roll into each other; one not too distinct from the last.  I remember summers in Canada as a teenager.  They went on forever, it felt.  Beaches, cottages, lakes, campfires, parties, endless sleepovers and lie-ins.  Those kind of frivolities aren't all lost (what exactly constitutes a lie-in these days? 7am?), but they have been replaced by a more organised, thought-through kind of summer.  I'm ok with it.

As I blogged a while back, we went to stay in a really sweet eco-cottage in Donegal in July.  It was a great few days and I mentioned that we got to meet the owners of the cottage who live just up the road.   Pat and her husband Keith obviously have a knack for restoring properties and making them modern and cozy (a unique but somehow achievable combo)!  I fell in love with their home and they were kind enough to let me take some snaps as I got the tour.   

Both from England and previously residing in London, they had been coming to Dungloe on holiday for years as a family and decided to move over permanently to take life a little slower.  They both have architecture and design backgrounds and it is evident in every space.  I loved our quick glimpse into their life here, hearing about how they have integrated into the community within the seaside town - Pat has even been part of setting up a creative co-operative shop that sells local handmade arts and crafts and she is a talented jewellery maker herself.  


Above is Pat showing me the incredible hand drawn map of Donegal that Keith has created featuring all of the significant places to visit in The Rosses.  It is so beautifully done and and is for sale in the community co-op craft shop.  I so wish I had got one before we left!


The creative genes flow in the family with lots of original artwork by Pat and Keith's daughter lining the extension to the cottage.


Don't you just love the bright window frames?  I was so drawn to them, and love that they've given both properties that signature feature.  Legend has it that Pat & Keith's home is the birth place of the famous (and slightly odd story of) Mary from Dungloe.  They have quite a few tourists popping their heads over the hedge for a peep at the property!  If I hadn't been invited, I would definitely have been one.  


Out the back is the most enviable garden.  Enormous raised beds, gushing with special varieties of crops, a greenhouse and loads of huts to store wood and timber, all made by Keith.  I had to really stop myself from being a total creep by oohing and ahhhing over everything - it was just heaven.  Especially because all my efforts at growing stuff this year came to very little.  I'm pretty much in awe of anyone who can grow edible things and keep them alive.

Inside their home was just as special.  So much character, charm and exposed natural stone.  


I loved the attention to detail (la di da) with the stained glass.  The one to the top left is from a picture of their daughter emerging from the sea on one of Donegals beautiful beaches and the top right is Mary from Dungloe.  They had them both custom made when they renovated.  Awesome, right?  DSC_1497

I also loved how they make use of the space.  The picture above is their bedroom with stairs to the right leading up to Pat's silver making workshop.


And no home tour would be complete without a dreamy kitchen pic.  I kept saying "this is my dream kitchen" in various awkward ways.


The mosaic in the window has been built up over the years as a family - such special touches that make this a dreamy spot.  Memories, style and heritage all rolled into one.  

And just like that, summer 2014 is a wrap.  It's hard to imagine Levi starts nursery school next week.  WAHHH! I am staring at him constantly as he goes about his day in awe and amazement at where the time has gone and how big and independent he is.  I have no idea how it will go but people keep saying to me "this is it, before you know it he'll be off to Uni - these years go so fast once they start school".  I'm sure it's true but for now we have one last week of him all to ourselves and I plan on smooching the life out of him.  Also, just as an aside, I got all school-mum on myself and almost spent £28 on adidas trainers for him to wear to school yesterday and then I caught myself on.  HE'S THREE.  Start as you mean to go on and all that.  But they were seriously cute.

I'll leave you with this vid of him in all his Donegal glory.  It's exactly how I want to emblaze this summer in my mind.  Free, wild and full of fun.  

[vimeo 104961637 w=500 h=375]