Bathroom rack (before)

Craft rack detailsCompleted craft rack

1) The rust on the rack before I cleaned it up,  2) Craft rack sprayed gold,  3) Finished craft rack in between albums and books

Re-purposing is the new brand new, am I right? At the end of the Summer when we were filling the skip with stuff from the boxroom (more about that here) I told my Dad to throw any bits he wanted to get rid of onto the skip. He put a steel bathroom rack on as it was getting rusty and he was planning to replace it with something else. Straight away I noticed it and thought it would be perfect for crafting materials. I took it off the skip and spent a bit of time cleaning off the rust. I used tin foil (aluminum foil) and vinegar to clean it and if you can stand the feeling of the foil on the steel it works a treat. Next to decide what colour I wanted to change it to. I found cheap spray paint in black, white, silver and gold. I decided to go with the gold. It turned out perfect and I’m delighted with the finished product. I’ve sprayed a couple of things since and I’m kind of addicted. Keep an eye out for more resprays popping up.

LadyChiefChief & Lady

1) Lady, 2) Chief,  3) Chief and Lady with the widest eyes in the world. 2 guesses as to what I was holding in my hand above the lens.

 

Challenge Post 4: A List of 5 Things You Like About Something

 

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself

– Josh Billings

 

I mean, really, what else am I going to write about for this challenge post? Obviously there are lots of things I could write about, but I decided since there are easily a 100 things I like about my dogs, the hardest thing should be minimising it to 5. 

 

1. Their loyalty

This one goes for the majority of dogs. They’re so loyal. Some people love the independence cats have but I think there’s nothing like the loyalty a dog has.

 

2. Lady’s unwavering need to protect Chief from other dogs.

She is a Jack Russell after all, so it’s in her nature to protect her pack, but when she goes out for walks her main job is to protect Chief. She fights with him regularly in the house and often growls warnings at him if he gets too close to her pet humans, but when they’re around other dogs it’s a different story. He panics with his tail between his legs and she circles him, growling at any dog that comes near. It kind of reminds me of the loyalty siblings have. I give out about my brother and fight with him sometimes, but the minute anyone else says anything about him I go into protective mode.

 

3. Their greetings

If you leave for a long time, when you return a cat will sometimes ignore you for days. Dogs, however, will greet you with such excitement it often makes them actually cry.  If you have never watched videos on YouTube of the reaction dogs have when their owners return from war, do it now. Although, be prepared for the emotional roller coaster. What I actually like most about it is that you could be gone for days and they get excited when they see you, but you get the best possible reaction when you go out to the car to get something and come straight back.

 

4. Chief’s Basset Hound laziness

I think if you continued to rub him he would never move other than to eat. Getting rubs and  eating treats are his all  time favourite things. He’s such a big slob and would sleep all day if he could. He has an obsession with snuggling under blankets. If you let him on the sofa and cover him with a blanket he’ll twist until it’s wrapped around him and he won’t move for hours. He thinks he’s a tiny puppy so sometimes he just wants to lie on your lap and sigh up into your face.  The last of his Basset traits that I love are the facial expressions. At any given moment he can look sad, confused, surprised (my personal favourite) or happy (usually when hes lying upside down and it looks like he’s smiling.). Either way, they’re all hilarious.

 

5. Their company

Last, but certainly not least, I like their company. They have been my saving grace this past year while Dane has been away. My family and friends have been amazing but it’s those moments of quietness when no-one is around and a tiny bit of loneliness kicks in that they have been  there. Always available for a snuggle when you need it. Always willing to share their warmth (but never their treats…obviously). Somehow they always know when all you need is a good cuddle.

adding fake blood

before hairstyle creepy smile Jane Dane as a dead pilot Dead pilot Dane & I

1) Make-up on, contacts in, starting to create fake blood,  2) Fake blood,  3) Evil smile,  4) Jane from Twilight,  5) Dane’s costume involved a lot of tissue paper and liquid latex,  6) Dane dressed as a dead pilot,  7) Quick lift (elevator) photo on our way out

I dressed up as Jane from Twilight for Halloween and it was easy and fun. I thought I’d go through my costume in case anyone is interested in dressing up as Jane sometime. 

The biggest part of this costume is the cloak. It would be pretty easy to make one but because I only decided on my costume on the day and I’m pretty lazy I bought mine. It needs to be full length, have full length loose sleeves and a hood. Simples. You could go all out and go for a velvet material but any material will do.

For the face you need a pale foundation which you can mix with some white face paint so you have the coverage of a foundation with Jane’s pale complexion. Cover your face & neck with the mixture. Finish off with a matte powder because you don’t want any shine (I’m pretty sure you can’t sweat when you’re dead). Next you need plenty of dark grey and black eye shadow and black eye liner for the eyes. You should also use a red/brown colour for the point where your eye lid meets your brow bone. You can decide to leave your lips plain or choose a dark lipstick but it’s important to know that Jane’s lips are usually a brown colour so I would suggest a brown lip liner because you’re looking for a matte finish. I didn’t have a pencil so I used a nude lipstick and put a light brown eye shadow on over it which worked very well. It stayed on all night too – bonus!

Although you don’t often see Jane’s fangs I think it’s a good idea to add some and a bit of fake blood to get the full vampire effect. My fangs didn’t work out so I went without. The last big touch of the outfit is red contact lenses. They pull the costume together as her eyes are always red. Jane permanently wears her hair up. I won’t go into detail as to how to do it here as I’ve no video demo but you can find one on YouTube and it’s quite easy. Then you just need to add a silver pendant type necklace & some black shoes of any type as they’ll mostly be covered and you’re done! Not bad for a last minute costume. 

Price List:

Cloak €30

Foundation – my own (I’m pretty pale naturally so it worked out well)

White face paint (liquid) – €3

Matte face powder – €6

Black, grey and brown eye shadow – my own ( I used the Urban Decay Naked Pallet)

black eye liner – my own

Fangs – €4

Fake blood – €4

Red contact lenses – €15

Silver pendant necklace – €6

Black shoes – My own

 

Total cost: €68 but you could save at least €20 by making your own cloak.

 
Full Irish Breakfast
 Dane Me Bulmers

1) This is a half portion of a full Irish, I swapped the pudding (I’m not a fan) for an extra sausage. I dread to think how big the full portion is,  2) Dane,  3) Me,  4) a lovely cold pint of Bulmers

 

Boozy lunches are great, am I right? We woke up super late yesterday and decided it was a perfect day for a boozy lunch. Of course we had a few things to do including checking out a party shop for last minute Halloween costume ideas (of course) and so by the time we got to the pub it was half 3 (queue rumbling tummy). I sensibly started with a water to combat the dehydration of going from Ireland in October to 35 degree Celsius Dubai. Dane, however, went straight on the Bulmers. We ordered 2 Irish breakfasts (yes! Only the Irish believe a fried breakfast should be an all-day meal option). Half way through my meal I realised what was missing was an iced cold Bulmers so I order a pint. Our boozy lunch (at 3.30pm) turned into a boozy afternoon and early evening. Ah well, no reason to set the alarm this morning so why not!?

I’m in Dubai now but I haven’t even posted about Dane’s visit home in September so I’ll be doing some retrospective blogging over the next while.

Lady & Chief Storage boxes Dog bed Lantern Re-purposed bathroom racl Storage box labelsPaperCraft room

1) Lady and Chief will be frequent visitors,  2) Storage boxes,  3) A  place for me to relax and a place for the dogs to relax,  4) IKEA lanterns match the storage boxes perfectly,  5)  Scrapbooks, re-purposed bathroom rack & books,  6) I added the labels to the storage boxes to help me keep track when I was organising but I liked them so I decided to keep them,  7) Lots of paper,  8) Craft room, I love having the bureau so it can be folded away when I don’t need the table. It makes good use of the limited space.

 During the summer I ordered a skip and had a massive clear out of work stuff and organised what I needed to keep and bring to work. This left loads of space for the spare room to be used as a craft room (yes, I’m sure we’re thinking the same thing – when in the heck do I get time to craft?). I spent a couple of weeks with a lot of help from my mam organising it so that everything had a place. This meant that the copious boxes of craft materials could come out from under the bed and have an actual home. More space for shoes -bonus! It still needs a few finishing touches but I’m really happy with how the room turned out. 

It wasn’t supposed to be a big job so there was no painting or new furniture with the exception of a new white chair I can fold and put away to save space. It’s so organised and perfect, I’m actually a little afraid to mess it up. Look out for some scrapbooking and craft projects coming soon.

Some of the ingredients Mixing the batter

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

There’s something about this time of year but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who craves baked goods as the weather starts to get colder and the days shorter. Well the past few weeks I’ve been in the mood for two things – banana bread and peanut butter cupcakes. One problem, I am not a natural when it comes to baking. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be one of those people who can whip up a cake for dessert while they cook a big Sunday dinner for 6 people….but I’m not. If it needs to go in the oven, you can be sure it will come out either flat or burnt. I didn’t let that discourage me though. Oh no! So the weekend before last I purchased the ingredients for banana bread and set about following a recipe down to the last tiny detail. Did it rise in the oven? Oh it did alright but it also burnt on the outside and yet was still raw on the inside. Wasted ingredients, wasted time. Big fat fail! But as they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. So the next day I started over. And I must say it was better…edible even. Not perfect but hey, what do you want from a baking novice?

Of course at this stage I’m thinking sure I’m brilliant at this and last weekend I went out and bought all of the ingredients for peanut butter cupcakes. Sunday afternoon I gathered all my ingredients, followed a few hints and tips, put them in the oven and held my breath while I watched them rise. And guess what? They were delicious. Or at least I thought so.

So the moral of the story is…if at banana bread, you don’t succeed, try peanut butter cupcakes….they’re much easier.

I looked through loads of different recipes and I took bits and pieces from different ones and added a few bits of my own. This is what worked for me –

Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

Quantity: Makes 20 normal sized cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 75 grams of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 190 grams of soft light brown sugar
  • 130 grams of smooth peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 120 grams of all purpose, plain flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 40 Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Cupcake  Instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 180 c/gas mark 4
  2. Add baking cases to the cupcake tin
  3. using a hand mixer, mix the butter, peanut butter and sugar until they are well mixed and fluffy
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking between each addition until they are well mixed.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and whisk for an additional minute
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  7. Add a third of the flour mix to the butter mix and gently fold
  8. Add the milk and fold in
  9. Add another third of the flour mix and fold it in and do the same with the final third.
  10. Add a tsp of the mix to the cupcake tins and add a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup
  11. Add more of the mix until each case is 2 thirds full
  12. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes
  13. Leave them to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before icing.

 

Peanut Butter Cream Ingredients:

  • 115 grams of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 3 cups of icing sugar
  • 130 grams of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Peanut Butter Cream Instructions:

  1. Beat the butter until fluffy
  2. Beat in peanut butter, 1/2 a cup of icing sugar and vanilla extract
  3. Gradually at remaining 2.5 cups of sugar, beating after each 1/2 cup until smooth
  4. Fill the piping bag and swirl on top
  5. Finally cut a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup in quarters and add to the top

 

 

Nana in the 1940'sNana in 1995 Nana and Grandad during WW2

1) My Nana in the 1940’s. She was in her 20’s when the photo was taken,  2) In 1995, she was in her 70’s. It’s not the best photograph ever but I love the mischievous look in her eye and the start of a smile appearing,  3)  Nana with Grandad during World War 2. I’ve never met two people more in love.

Today is my Nana’s 16th anniversary. I was only 10 years old when she died. Although she was sick for a couple of years before she died, it was a major loss for all of us when she passed. She was absolutely the matriarch of our family. She organised everyone and everything. She was tough and she had strong opinions and morals. She was a strict parent and you couldn’t help but respect her but anyone could see that my Dad and his siblings adored her. My Mam always says she was so respectful and that even when she moved next door to us, she wouldn’t call in without an invitation.  She was a strong woman but she also had a wonderfully soft side. She was the most loving grandmother and she had the softest hands. She was a stereotypical Irish grandmother who was constantly wearing an apron, always had biscuits and plenty of cuddles. I’m glad she passed when she did because she was very unwell in the end but I still miss her dearly and wish she was here to see me as a grown woman. I hope she would be proud. One think I’m absolutely sure of…if she was still around, I would definitely curse less.

Lorenzo in his chair  Lorenzo & ILorenzo and his mamLorenzoLorenzo & his dadSteph, Shane and Lorenzo

1) Lorenzo in chair, he’s such a good baby,  2) Lorenzo and I,  3) Steph with Lorenzo, there was some lovely natural light so we took advantage and snapped a few pics,  4) Beautiful boy on his changing mat,  5) Shane and Lorenzo,  6) First family picture

I’m way behind on blog posts and I have every intention of catching up over the next few weeks. What better way to start than to share pictures of this amazingly cute little boy.  Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Lorenzo. His mammy and I have been friends since we were 6 years old and she and her boyfriend Shane have asked me to be Lorenzo’s godmother.  I had to wait two months to finally meet him(yes he’s only two months in these pics) as I was in Dubai for the summer when he was born and they live in England. He is absolutely perfect and I can’t wait to visit again. In the meantime I’ll have to settle for looking at these photographs.

With Robbie and JasonSigned copy of Robbie's book With Robbie & Jason in the bar

1) Meeting Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer at a ‘Legend’s Night’, 2) My signed copy of Robbie Fowler’s autobiography,  3) Meeting them again in the bar of the hotel after the show.

Challenge Post 2: Dinner with my hero – the food, topic of conversation and reason you picked this person

Nothing had changed in my routine, except that when I went down the chippy and got me special friend rice, it would be wrapped in a newspaper that had my picture all over it. – Robbie Fowler

You know that moment when you meet your hero and you’re massively disappointed?  Well that didn’t happen to me. It was the exact opposite actually. People always say you should never meet your hero because when you do, you might be left wishing you hadn’t. When I got the chance to meet my hero last March, I completely ignored that advice and jumped at the chance.

I have many different heroes but I have two football heroes. Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler. I’ve been very lucky in that I got the chance to see both of them play their final games in a Liverpool shirt. Now that Robbie has retired from playing football, he’s working as a T.V. pundit and he’s also travelling around taking part in Liverpool Legend shows. As if by complete fate, Robbie was booked, along with a former Liverpool and Ireland player Jason McAteer, to take part in a Legend’s night in a hotel a stone’s throw from where I live. As in a 10 minute walk away. This might seem like it’s not such a big deal but I live on the outskirts of Dublin, not exactly the perfect location for such an event. I jumped at the chance of getting a ticket and when Stephen (my brother and fellow avid Fowler fan) went up to buy them, they only had regular Q&A show tickets. They were completely sold out of meet and greet tickets. Luckily for me, he was smart enough to put his name down for any cancellations and by the time the show came around, Stephen, my mam & I had been bumped up. Success. We arrived early and excited and managed to get seats in the very front row.

And so the story goes, I met my hero and he was exactly what I expected him to be. He signed my jersey and my copy of his autobiography. He was friendly and extremely funny. The show lasted a couple of hours and both Robbie and Jason McAteer answered questions about their careers and shared some great stories. There was a Q& A section at the end and Robbie even made a joke about Stephen, saying he looked like a roll-on deodorant. Hey, if Robbie Fowler makes a joke about you, you go with it. The show was brilliant and the interaction with the crowd throughout the night was great. They even came into the bar afterwards.

For me, the reason I picked this particular person is glaringly obvious. When I met him he lived up to my expectations, He scored 183 goals in 369 games for Liverpool, he’s had major ups, he’s had downs, he has been plagued by controversy, he was probably the only player to ever ask a referee not to award a penalty in his favour, he’s the fifth highest goalscorer in premier league history, he has left Liverpool as a hero TWICE, he scored the fastest  hat-trick in the premier league in just over 4 and a half minutes, he has won various awards both as an individual and as part of a team including the cup treble in 2000-2001. He was a world-class footballer and seems like a genuine down-to-earth fella. Is there any wonder his nick-name is ‘God’? I think this makes it pretty obvious why I chose him and what we would talk about. And as for what we would eat? A pie or fish and chips should do it, with some mushy peas of course.

 

It’s something I have wanted for a long time and I am as happy as anyone to be here. It is great to be back at my first love – Robbie Fowler (on his return to Liverpool)

 

Chief

Lady Mam & I Fethard On Sea

1) Chief tired after a long walk,  2) Lady relaxing,  3) My mam & I,  4) Fethard on Sea beach

I can’t believe it’s taken me over a month to write this blog post. This year is going by in a blink. On the 12th of August my mam and I took the dogs on a well deserved holiday. They have a very hard life you see, all that walking, sleeping and eating. We went to Fethard On Sea in Wexford for almost a week. My Aunty Pauline came with us for the first part of the week and we had a really relaxing time. We brought the dogs for long walks, had some drinks, cooked some nice food and even played bingo. When the weekend came around Pauline left and we had some other visitors including Annie the dog and my favourite little human Layla. The dogs had a ball on what was dubbed ‘The Dog Holiday’ and the humans enjoyed themselves too.I had a 99 ice-cream on the last day on the way home which is a must for a Wexford holiday.  I love visiting different parts of the world but there’s a lot to be said for a holiday at home. Ireland really is such a beautiful country.

 

For more photographs from the holiday, check out my album here