Thursday, 13 December 2018

Moleskine Gardening Journal Giveaway!

Yes dear friends, I am doing a Christmas giveaway - woo hoo! Sure why the heck not? Don't you deserve a special gift? I can tell you have been good all year 😁

Open to all in the UK, I am giving away my one and only Moleskine Gardening Journal, which I was kindly sent to review earlier this year click here please!

After my glowing review (oh how I do really love a Moleskine) I had gifted it to Andrew and at the time he was really rather excited by it. He decided that he would keep it until around Christmas and start using it then for planning the 2019 year on the plot; keeping plot layouts, seed orders, wants and needs etc altogether in one handy place.

Alas months passed and Andrew bought himself a Moleskine notebook (irony!) in Belfast one day whilst on his lunch break so he could write down all the ideas he was having. He had totally forgotten about the journal stashed on the shelf under the coffee table! Arggh. Really I blame myself, I should keep the place more tidy and especially pick up after him more effectively, hahaa

So, here we are all jounral -ed up (+ I have this blog as my planner and memory keeper) and this poor Gardening Journal is left feeling unwanted. Could you give it a happy home? Could you fill it with plans, lists, thoughts and hopes?

image from the earlier review
If so leave your name in the comments below and your name will go in the allotment flat cap....

N.B. Only the plastic wrap and paper collar are missing. The journal has only been flicked through for the purpose of doing the review and taking photos. It's basically brand new and definitely unmarked in any way.

WINNER will be announced next week - Thursday 20th 2018
Hugs and good luck.

P.S. This is a link to the above Moleskine Garden Journal in case you just need to have it NOW 

Monday, 10 December 2018

My Festive Belfast

Well you can't expect a girl to miss out on the fun of the festive season and devote herself only to the cold and damp allotment or an arduous hike in the wilderness! No this girl must be free to explore the urban sights and scenes too 😁. Just because I'm not a fan of Christmas with its societal pressures, need to spend money to show love and the pretence that your mental illnesses have gone for the holidays, doesn't mean I don't love me a sparkly, twinkly decorated place, like the next person....

So yesterday was a clear and chilly day which we grabbed by both hands and went to Belfast with our cameras. I'm really loving street photography, I wouldn't say it's easy or I'm an good but here are some of my photos. Make a wee warm drink, grab a blankie and let the warm and fuzzy feels start...

My favourite hotel entrance ever - love that mural and those doors!
Bangor Rugby Club singing carols for charity - topless!

the first gorgeous wee dog I saw with her owner
Favourite shop window - love the retro paper chains
Into the Continental Market with it's many stalls and tall people 
Little detail on the stall front at a wood carvers
The Helter Skelter seemed loved by young and old
Second wee dog of the afternoon - cute
Roasting marshmallows on an open fire - a happy memory for the future
Being a stall holder can make you a little 'humbug' I know I ran one for years
Never a truer word was written 😊 🐕
Last stunning dog of the day, chillin' with its owner
Massive German sausages were the go to food for most - they're huge!
The Helter Skelter reflected in a bar window with the words 'Nollaig Shona' (Happy Christmas in Irish)

There we go for now. We had a great time and though Andrew works close to the City Hall where the Continental Market is held, we both want to go up again one night soon and take more cherry twinkly photos and maybe meet some more dogs.

Love and hugs

Friday, 7 December 2018

Daily photo challenge round up (week 26 )

Maybe you are full of the joy of the Season and are bursting with cheer and Christmas giddiness. I imagine some of you are like the character 'Elf' so well played by Will Ferrell - ready to erupt into a Christmas tune at anytime.

I'm not like that and particularly this week, apart from some fun photography moments, I will share in the week to come. The rest of the time - bah humbug...though I couldn't be more willing for this to change!

And thus we come to the weekly photo round up; the first week in December

Day 1 
'From where I stand....'
Waiting to cross the road, lots of legs and only one face, upside down, in a puddle 😊

Day 2
'A good habit...'
Going on regular coffee dates with my husband

Day 3 
What a treat to see fuchsia in flower in December (at Glenarm Castle Gardens Cafe)

'Treat' (b)
A weekday out playing on the beach with my Husband and dog is definitely a treat (Ballygalley Beach)

Day 4
The Mad Hatter's tea party, talking about Time.

Day 5
When one nap is over it's time to start a new one... (Toby logic)
Day 6
The very local mail box and my letters ready to post

Day 7
Looking back to the glorious day we finished the Hadrian's Wall Path and finally collapsed in the hotel bar with bubbles under this fabulous bamboo light shade - bliss

Hugs and love
Carrie x

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Can we do the weekend over again??

To begin with, the GOOD NEWS.... 

Bless us all but the past few days have been sensationally uninteresting in the main part, I shall tell one part of it here but boy am I glad that brighter and cheerier (fingers crossed) days are ahead....

Toby sniffing my new Millican 'Smith, the roll pack'  adventure photo day rack sack - so beautiful
Saturday saw us get all hopped up and ready to go on an adventure into Co. Down with our cameras and Toby too of course. But lo, the weatherman had got it wrong again and instead of the promised, yes promised, blue skies and cold brisk air we had dampness - rain, drizzle, mizzle, hailstones! at one point, a cold that cut you to the bone and a sky that never cheered up all day long.

We also made the heinous mistake of going to Ardglass - a place that once boomed with fishing industry and beautiful boats and now, especially in this weather was dull and gloomy with a low tide and nothing worth looking at. I took a photo of an open door for crying out loud! Plus sometime after this, my camera lens malfunctioned, not that I was to know about it yet....
This, this is the last thing I took a photo of and why? why I ask you? It's not even a good photo!
Onto Strangford which I do love but again the weather and the already gathering darkness had turned into a place of equal sadness and despair in my eyes. But here there was a lovely cafe/bistro with warm cosy feels. After ordering a mocha - for medicinal reasons. I went to take a photo of the loveliness and our drinks and lo - the malfunctioning lens showed itself.

Zoom past the next 45mins and my sudden and complete descent into Hades itself and you find me in a high rise car park, in the dark, waiting for Andrew who had taken my camera into the specialists in Belfast. The lens has to be sent away - I disintegrate. Depression does a really good job of making annoying problems turn into massive natural disasters; my life isn't worth living without my camera and the lens will take up to 6 weeks to be assessed and reported on.

Andrew decided I needed a lens and there was one that I would have eventually saved up for right there at half price. There were many people running in and out of the shop whilst he was there buying them and he picked up the last one and rang me. "YES I NEED THAT!" I cry down the phone, waking Toby who was oblivious to all of this drama.

And thus, here I am with a new lens on my camera and my 'old' lens (still under warranty) being sent off goodness know where.

Truly, a bump like that to a person in my mental condition can be so dangerous and still at the heart of it, ridiculous. That's what these illnesses do a person and Sunday was a write off as I slept all day due to Saturday's panic and the much need sedatives to stop me from doing harm to myself.

Andrew and Toby collected some delicious kale and chard from the allotment on Sunday and made a wonderful dinner. Photos taken with new 50mm prime lens....
Here's hoping your weekend was nothing like mine at all! May it have been all happy and lightness xx
Love and hugs

P.S. Let's just circle back to the news I gave at the start, especially as I have had the daylight simulation bulb on since I got up today - the winter solstice is coming, hip hip hooray! 😃

Friday, 23 November 2018

[Hobbies] Keeping me going right now

I find these past months that it is almost impossible to sit and watch TV to take my mind off things, and boy does my mind wander. I feel that I NEED to be doing things all the time, until I get so tired I need a nap. The darkness does it. I hate the dark days in particular; these darker nights are bad too but when you need the 'big light 'on in the middle of the afternoon, gosh, it feels like the world is ending.

So I have taken to hobbies in a much more serious way. Sadly my good intentions to write more here are not yet (I stress, yet) coming to fruition but I am at least coming up with more ideas.

books - C. Gault 2018
I have always LOVED books. Oh, the joy in escaping life and reading a story about about some other people and getting lost in their adventures.
At the moment I am reading 'A Man Called Ove' and have 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' lined up as well as Dante's Inferno.. I love a good mix. Recently I also received a lovely book called 'The Wellness Garden' - which is the book I was supposed to write! haha It's all about ecotherapy, in the garden, allotment and out on walks....

cross stitch - C. Gault 2018
This is an old past time that I have just come back to and I am a little addicted. I've done 2 samplers already, one with my own twist, one of two secret pieces, plus I'm in the middle of a crazy Van Gogh piece too. I love it, it's hard work with the old double vision but I'm one for taking on a challenge and internally yelling "take that double vision" usually with a naughty cuss word added *blush*

decorating - C. Gault 2018
I seem to be mentioning this every winter now like a broken record but 'hygge' is a huge help to me. I love the ritual of getting my candles and the various holders out of storage and placing them around the living room and getting new batteries for my fairy lights - bliss.

This winter we have gone a good bit further and are redecorating the dinning room - making it what we always hoped but haven't got around to. It's funny how you end up settling for second best...
I recommend freshening up some paint, decluttering, getting flowers (even fake ones) for a vase and adding to your bookcase - second hand book shops rock!. Little things make big impacts at this time of year.

Moving about and not getting stuck on the sofa the whole day (like I do somedays) is very important. Doing housework can count as exercise but what I am talking about here is time, private time for you and your body to have a little dialogue and share a little love.

Easy yoga videos are available online for free and you don't need to be bendy to do them - the point is that you work with yoga to get more flexible and not just do the stuff because you already are!

Then there's the walking, be it anywhere, in the hills, round the street you live in - nosy about you, get that heart pumping harder, feel the cold air and then, ohh, a cosy house upon return.

snail mail - C. Gault 2018

This is old school these days, I wonder in fact if many young people know how to handwrite a letter or send a proper paper postcard. Plus, it breaks my heart, but a few years ago my favourite Post Office closed down and now there is a piddling wee thing tucked into a local Spar shop instead AND our stamps are totally wick compared to other parts of the world.
I love to write letters to my penpals and Postcrossing is so much fun, I urge you to check it out. Send a postcard to someone random out of the whole world and get one back from another totally random person. They are usually lovely postcards of where they live and they tell you a little about their life - interesting!

jigsaws - C. Gault 2018
Yes I know this may sound a little lame, but if all else fails ( and I am truly sick) - I do love a jigsaw. I'm extremely particular about what type I like and how big they are allowed to be though, none of those with loads of sky or heaven fore-fend - I once saw a plate of baked beans as a puzzle! - nightmare.

Whatever you have that keeps your brain and body active - keep at it and keep those gloomy thoughts and days in check!