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Hi all, Happy New Year to all and best wishes for 2017.  Thanks for being part of the journey so far.  This year I am going to Jazz th...

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Advent Calendar Download for free

Hello all,

In the spirit of blogmas I have decided to design a little old advent calender for you all. Blogmas is going to be about saying thanks and there is going to be more freebies and downloads so be sure to check back.

The idea behind my advent calendar is 2 pages one with the day and one with an activity. I have decided to keep the activities blank so you can add your own ones in. The idea behind it is you can write your own activities even something small like Xmas movie night, invite some friends around for food, visit your local Xmas market. The idea is you personalise it to suit you and your loved ones and create Christmas memories and add your own Xmas traditions. So if your Irish and always put the Xmas tree up around the 8th Dec and go to Dublin and shop put that in that day.
More ideas to help you complete the calendar are here.

Happy Christmas
Lots of love and thanks for reading.

Hope you enjoyed reading.
You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
  TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc
If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :)
 Link to shop https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/Forrealll?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Mindful Photography and Action for Happiness Post

Hello all,

This weeks mindful photography photo is Christmas. Its everywhere. The one thing I love immensely about it is that when I go to work in darkness and come home in darkness the lights cheer me up. I went to Galway last night and the Christmas market is there. Its awesome and I loved the big wheel. All the Christmas trees, the little huts off Eyre Square. They have food stands as well. I also love the lights everywhere on the streets there is a huge Christmas atmosphere. I know everyone keeps saying its only November but I was in the moment and because everything around me was so Christmasy I was feeling i! Brown Thomas especially did it for me!

The photos are not my finest photography moment but I think you can get a sense of what I mean from them.

So it seems Christmas 2016 is here! Make some lovely memories with your loved ones.

This weeks action for Happiness Post is on the key is have goals to look forward to. I recently did a dream board it was really easy I took pictures from pininterest and quotes then I put them into a collage. Its just a collection of places I want to go, inspirational people to me and also quotes. I have it only my phone as the screensaver. 

Other ideas are NLP wheel of Life - I found this so interesting. As is the second part.  I am a big believer in listening and reading about inspiring people They make me realise anything is possible and its positive. Most people speak about their failures as well as their achievements and so you come to realise that they both come hand in hand. Even if you fail at something keep going. We all have dreams and over the past year I have actively sought to make some of mine come true. Some were small and some were big. I believe in visualisation and so even you do not have your dream its always useful visualise it. I like to associate a song sometimes to it and then play it and imagine it. When I was doing my Junior Cert I used to listen to I believe I can fly by R Kelly and imagine myself doing well in my exams. I did well because I had an inner sense of confidence. That was a long time ago but I still do the same now if there is something I want. So dream big. have confidence in yourself, work hard and achieve. 

I love this key as my blog started as something small. But more and more I am working on it being about creating a positive community and creating and manifesting a positive and happy life. Not just for myself but also for others so I hope you are inspired too. 

For more information 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

100 euro challenge

Hello all,

Back with 100 euro or whatever currency challenge. The good news is its getting there. The bad news is that Xmas is coming, lots of birthdays and engagements too, So its been a little one step forward and two steps back. Last week I managed to save 15 euros. So that brings my total to 40 euros. I dug out all my medical receipts and so going to send them to VHI as I have plan where I can claim back a percentage of medical costs.

I have also brought a little tin can for my savings. I add all coins to it at the end of the day. I have no idea what is in it so far I am just going to keep adding to it until its full. Its one of those ones you need a can opener to open it with.

If you follow me on instagram I recommended Monify app.I would really recommend that for everyone its so helpful. Its been so helpful for me to identify my spending downfalls. Coffee and food are massive for me, bigger then I thought. But thank fully bringing my Tesco coffee is saving me lots.

I am moving any money I have identified as savings into my savings account online. I use AIBs but all banks seem to have one now.

If your planning this long term and living in Ireland I would really recommend bonkers.com. They have a list of savings accounts online and best interest rates.So you could open a savings account. Make sure to check the interest rate and get yourself a good deal.  Bonkers also has best deals in electricity, gas, broadband etc. Just to help you along in your 100 euro challenge.

Lastly this whole exercise has got me thinking about my own finances long term and I came across this free course on Udemy which might help on creating a budget. 

Another idea is to check my phone and get best deal. Found this link here. 
Let me know how you are getting on and your money saving tips.

I am not affiliated to any of the above Companies or products mentioned. I am not paid to endorse any of them either its just tools I use myself.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Tombricane Castle, Borrisokane

Where: Tombricane Castle, Borrisokane, Tipperary.
 Why: I never knew about this place I approached it and had to stop as its amazing.
What:  Tower House dating from 1600.
Whats there: Literally just the castle runs but its well worth exploring if your in the area. I would advise actually entering the castle but by all means have a walk around it. Its in a field so make sure you don't disturb cattle etc, close gates.
How: Its on the main road between Borrisokane and Ballinderry.
 How much: Totally free.
Experience: The tower house is four stories, you can see a winding staircase throughout. If you look closely you can see the corridors within the castle and the arched doorways as well. I love the windows. You can see the castle from the road but it lies within a field. The gate was open as it looked like corn or silage had recently been harvested so I took a ramble in. The castle rests on a rocky outcrop.
Pros: Its just amazing to be able to see inside the castle. I love the architecture of it.
Cons: In a way I hate to see buildings like this crumbling but I also know it takes alot of money and know how to restore these buildings.
History: Now this place has an interesting history if ever I came across one. I am going to summarise it as best I can.

  • Tombricane translates to the tomb of St Bricin.
  •  In 1646 the Down's Survey recorded Rory and William Kennedy as the owners of the castle.
  • James I  was responsible for the Inquisition of the O' Kennedys and Owen O'Kennedy was killed at Tombricane.
  • Its recorded whether fact or fiction that during the reign of Elizabeth the local people were ill treated. Seemingly there was a plan to exterminate the Irish and so the crops of the county were destroyed. The Irish locals were hunted in a seeming Hunger Games manner and solders received a bounty by returning with an Irish persons head in bag. I don't know how someone could tell someone was Irish by that but anyway! 
  • Its believed that the Butlers of Ormond acquired the castle after the Battle of Kinsale. They acquired the castle along with a substantial 743 acres. 
Have you been here or do you know anything else about the history? 
Would love to know. 

Local attractions: 
Coolbawn Quay 
The Derg Inn  - Its yummy!

 More information: 
Duchas.ie - new find and good website. 
 Hope you enjoyed reading.
You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc
If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :) L

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms, Newport, Mayo

Where  The Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms, Newport, Mayo.
 What: Tearoom and cafe. Newport is lovely too for a walk and a really pretty town.
Whats there:  They sell cakes and all kinds of sweet treats, salads and soup. There is also a Victorian garden out the back.

 How: Newport is located along the N59 from Westport.  
How much around 10 euros. I had boxty with seaweed black pudding and a salad with tea. It was lovely.   Experience:  This tearoom is such a lovely find. I went over the Halloween bank holiday weekend. There was cyclists outside the front door sunning themselves, there was a festival in town and tourists coming in and out. The shop sells local produce is a real traditional tea room and serve tea in traditional china. Ok its not the most child friendly but its amazing.

 Pros: I love the china sets so cute. There is art on display that's painted by the owner. Most of all the place is welcoming and staff are nice.
 Cons: None. I had a really nice experience and I would recommend to anyone. I have just seen they open
  History: The Blue Bicycle opened in 2011. It is located in a 17th century De Bille House in Newport. The building itself has an interesting history. In 1782 a Danish ship Birmholm was caught in a storm in Melcombe bay. The crew had a fever and were hospitalised in the area. The captain befriended a local merchant John McLoughlin whose house he died in. The Danish Royal Family financed the building on De Bille house. The Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms is run by the Chambers family who favour local and seasonal produce.
Local attractions
Mulranny House 
Westport House 
Westport Harbour 
Wesport Town
Great Western Greenway 
Western Way -Mayo to Newport 

 More information
The Blue Bicyle Tea Rooms 
 Hope you enjoyed reading.
You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :) Link to shop https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/Forrealll?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Wednesday Mindful Photography and Action for Happiness Post

Hello all,

Happy Wednesday. I am back with another Mindful Photography post. This weeks topic is animals. They just always make me smile and so the action is to just be more mindful of the animals in your life. On a recent trip to Achill I was lucky to bump into this fellow who put a smile on my face. He wanted to play and I think he is still a bit of a puppy. I think for the most part there is a goodness in animals especially if you own them. Its hard to be in a bad mood if you go home and your dog wags its tail or your cat comes purring to you. So this week is just a little reminder to be more mindful to the gifts and companionship in your life that animals can give even if only a smile.

This weeks Action for Happiness Key is to keep learning new things. I love this because I love to learn. I am lucky to have a job where I learn everyday. In my private life I learn everyday while blogging, even running, exercise. Even cooking something new is in its own way learning as well. I think its so important to learn as you feel motivated and like you are progressing. One new thing I found and I thought I would share in relation to this key is Coursera  it features courses from a range of Universities covering a range of topics. Some of the courses are for free, some need to be paid for but if you are happy not to get a certificate then you can also do some of these courses for free. I think reading is also the most amazing way to constantly learn. They often say we all have a book in us and we can all learn something from each other. I love what Will Smith says

For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There's no new problem you could have--with your parents, with school, with a bully. There's no new problem that someone hasn't already had and written about it in a book.”

― Will Smith

I hope I have inspired you a little. Have a good day. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Irish Craft on Etsy

I like to do what I can to promote Irish craft. I have my own little shop on Etsy and have come to realise there is lots of other Irish artists online too.

I am going to try and feature some of  them. I have not:

  •  brought any of these products 
  • I am not affiliated to any of them in any way.
  •  I have just seem their work online on Esty and thought oh thats cool.
  •  I am not affiliated with Etsy either so if the artists make a sale from this I am not gaining money or commission from it. 

As much as possible will feature designers and craftspeople with work priced below 50 euros as I want things to be affordable for everyone.

  1. OOangh K Designs  by Oonagh Keane in Kilkenny- Pebble art - its really cool and there is actually some really nice pieces for a wedding, engagement or other gifts. My favourite is the baby foot for sure. I've not heard of pebble art before and so I thought its a little bit different. 
  2. DanuDesigner Ceremics - by Ruth Power in Dublin.  I love these especially the pink ones. Surprise, surprise! My favourite piece is the pink serving bowl. Beautiful designs. 
  3. Crow Cottage Crafts  based in Cork. This is just too cute. I had a massive awwwwh moment. My godson love minions and so love the hat and teddy. Very tempted to buy! The baby cardigans look adorable too. They also sell fairy doors. If you have to buy for a child have a look. 
  4. The Jupiter Tree  in Cork their personalised frames for children initially caught my eye. In their shop they have Christmas decorations, room signs and even engagement gifts. 
  5. Carmen Hand Crafts. Really beautiful pieces from pop up cards to decoupage boxes and clocks. I love the wooden mantel clock with roses. 

Thanks for reading that's my round up. 
Which is your favourite? Or if you want feel free to recommend a designer too. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Monday Inspiration and Book I am reading this month is Spark by Norah Casey

Hello all,

Todays inspiration is Norah Casey. If your not familiar with her she was a former dragon on Dragons Den in  Ireland. She  is also a very successful magazine publisher, broadcaster, author and not to mention a radio broadcaster and a former nurse. Its a varied and very interesting career path.

I think she has enormous drive and ambition but I also love how real and down to earth she is. I like that she speaks her mind and how honest she has been about her husbands passing. That to me has been enormously brave. No one can escape grief in their lives. But its hard to be honest about it and its impact. I think Norah has done it in a way which is realistic and truthful to herself but she did not play victim. In a way I think her husbands passing made her transform her life.She said in her own words she gave herself permission to live life again.

I love that she gives back to others endorses entrepeneurship too especially amongst women. In 2011 93% of all business startups supported by enterprise Ireland were from men. 

I agree totally with her in that we are not always promised tomorrow and so use your gifts and talents to their fullest. Live your life to the fullest.

For more information:
Norah Casey 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Achill Island Trip Blog

Where: Achill Island. Mayo.
 Why They have the most amazing beaches, scenery and kite surfers too. There is really nice walks here also. I came here with my parents many moons ago and so I decided to go again.
What: Achill Island lies off the West coast of Ireland, its known for its clean beaches, mountains, peat bogs and also amazing cliffs. Its on the Wild Atlantic Way and is certainly worth a visit.
Whats there: There are a number of walks, beautiful beaches. there's tonnes of outdoor activities from hillwalking to kite surfing. Its the perfect mix of land and sea.
 How: I drove from Westport along the N59 to Mulranny and onto Achill. Note the Westport to Achill Greenway is also a wonderful amenity if you want to walk or cycle.
How much: I stayed in Anvil House a bed and breakfast. I booked on Booking.com and got it for a really good price under 50 euros. It was comfortable and they give great breakfasts too. The house is really modern and there is a cool fishtank in the hallway. Its in a good location as there is a pub down the road and there is a hotel too. There is also a Supervalu if you are like me and forget to pack a toothbrush! I ate in the Achill Island Hotel, I got a prawn sandwitch on brown bread with chips on the side and coffee. It was really busy here but there was amazing views over the bay as the sun went down. Across the road is a pier and the hotel is just before you hit the bridge onto the island.

Experience: I spent 24 hours in Achill and so here is the lowdown on what I did and where I went to. I did alot of driving so the first day I drove to Keel.  There are the most amazing kite surfers there. You can sit on the shoreline in these huts and they have armchairs ! So you can happily sit and watch.

If you cross the road over to the beach . Its gorgeous. Its a proper sandy long beach. There was more kite surfers. I had one guy wave at me as he went past! Its amazing when you see them jump in the air as in the photo below. 

Down the road from the beach you will find plenty of these fluffy lovelies.

2. Dooagh 
I drove here the tide was in and  it was quite windy. There are amazing views over the sea as you drive from Keel to Dooagh. 

I then drove to Dugort. I have to say this was my favourite beach and I even made a friend. He was too cute. The beach is gorgeous, sandy long and very peaceful. While driving here you will be able to see the bogs as well. 

Oh friend so cute!

Pros: Kite surfers are amazing to watch. The views and the sandy beaches are gorgeous too.
Cons:  I got a bit lost returning from Doogort to Achill Sound but it was fine in the end.
History:   Achill Island is the largest island off the West coast of Ireland. It was a population of around 3,000. The Michael Davitt Bridge connects the mainland and the island. The current structure was completed in 2008. The island is 87% peat bog but there are also mountains. Achill is a gaelic speaking area.

  I also did a little bit of the Grainnuailes Loop which is amazing there are such lovely views so I recommend this. But only if weather is decent and bring appropriate footwear, clothing, water, charged phone etc.

Then I went to  Grainuailes castle in Kildavent. This is a 15th century tower house and is connected to Grace O'Malley of Westport House who was a legendary pirate queen. You can actually go inside the castle as well its very well kept. Its free to visit as well.
View from inside the castle 

Finally, I did  the Atlantic Drive.  This is a must see if visiting and goes around the Currane Pennisula. There is amazing views over the Atlantic, its steep in places so check local weather conditions. Honestly, the pictures don't do it justice. It can be a little windy in places and my one flaw is there is not enough places to stop and take photos. It was the highlight of my second day and I would really recommend this.

Local attractions: Mulranny Park Hotel 
The Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms in Newport 
More information :
Achill Tourism  
 Hope you enjoyed reading.
 You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
 Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc  Feel free to share. :)