We are over the halfway mark for Summer holidays 2015. Hard to believe, especially here in NI where Summer has been, let's say, elusive. Levi's lonely little paddling pool has been blown about our garden for over a month now without use. The sun seems to only appear momentarily, closely followed by a good shower of rain. It makes for a green garden and any veggies I've tried to grow this year have been pretty successful but I would happily sacrifice a slower crop from the veg plot for just a few days of warmth.
I also don't know how much more I can take of other peoples holiday photos! It's sunny in every single other place in world, I GET IT! Really though, it has been torturous to wait until August to take any time off to get away and this year we are going the budget route and staycationing near beaches on the North and East coasts of Ireland so we could still end up in our woolies and wellies but I've vowed to hit the sea regardless! No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices, right?
With Summer flying by so quickly, I thought I'd do a recap of some of the things we've been up to and some reflections on the last few weeks (starting with the cheekiest picture of Levi you ever did see)...
My mum has been over from Canada since the end of June. My Auntie Moe was with her for the first half, and then when Moe left, my dad arrived for the last leg. It's been so nice to have all these parents and parental figures around (hello up-to-date-laundry!). Aside from these more permanent fixtures in the house, we have also had a whole heap of visitors staying a few nights at a time. It's been busy and I imagine when everyone goes home at the end of August Levi will think the house very quiet!
July is kind of a big month here in Northern Ireland for parades and lots of commemorating of history within the Protestant culture. A lot of our complex culture has been troublesome to say the least and I would say I have distanced myself from it quite a lot over the years. I have, however, been able to see how important events and marking history is to people and have been able to appreciate that a bit more. We went along to the Scarva parade this year on the 13th of July and I was really surprised at how family-friendly and relaxed it all was.
It's been nice to be so home-based this summer really - we've had a chance to finish the last of the work on the bathroom (which I will show you all soon), and our home has been a base for lots of people coming and going. I love that people feel like they can ask us to come stay, or that friends can pop in and out. I always wanted our home to be open and hospitable and it's so important to me that it feels like that.
This right here is the best meal of the summer HANDS DOWN. It's Jamie Olivers San Fran Quinoa Salad with Blackened Chicken and it is a taste sensation. I implore you to have a go.
As I was saying earlier, our garden has been good to us this year. It never fails to amaze me when Spring comes around and the garden bursts out with the most amazing flowers. I will be forever grateful to the previous owners of our house that we inherited such an amazing lot (3 peony bushes!). The peas that we planted have been the highlight for Levi. They rarely make it into the house as he tends to graze on them while he's playing - picking the fattest juiciest ones and cracking them open.
My neighbour helped me cover the bench in our hall with some beautiful material from Bluebird Fabrics. Alex from Bluebird has opened a little studio in town for the month of August and is running some really great workshops on sewing and patchwork. If anyone local is interested, let me know. Alex and I are hoping to collaborate on some exciting plans in the coming weeks as well, which has been fun to talk through.
We found out recently that our funding for Freedom Acts has been secured for another 3 years! It was a massive relief because I really do adore my job and the creativity and impact that we get to have. Not knowing what the future held for the project we've invested 4 years in was hanging over us for most of the Summer so I feel like holidays are coming at the right time and I have a LOT to be thankful for. I have to go to a meeting in London for work in a few weeks and am making a weekend out of it. It's been over 2 years since I've been back in the big smoke so I cannot WAIT to have a ramble around and catch up with friends.
I have some really fun posts lined up for the next few weeks, including Part II of my favourite podcasts (thank you for all your recommendations you beauties - if you missed Part I - here it is). Other posts will include some thoughts that are culminating on motherhood/womanhood & creativity, and a little peak into our bathroom renovation - so stay tuned!