Hello Dublin

Ok so it’s been more than a little quiet around here lately. Life has been busy, we’ve been running around exploring and living life to really document much of it, and to be honest I just haven’t felt like writing that much. Fast forward to right now, I’m sitting at a dining room table, with a cup of tea, it’s raining, I had a scone for breakfast and we are in Ireland.

Yep that’s right, we’ve gone a bit more wayward and said goodbye to the other side of the pond, and made another transatlantic move to the fair green isle. First impressions: It’s good. Wet, cold and almost like being home but not quite.

Moving as always is a bit of a whirlwind, with never ending goodbyes, packing and logistics. I’ve not even begun to process any of this and reflected on my thoughts at saying goodbye to Utah. Moving sucks. Saying goodbye sucks, but life moves on, and as always different seasons of life bring new and exciting opportunities and challenges.

Going forward I’m excited to share this season, with new adventures in Ireland and Europe, old adventures, challenges of parenthood, catscapades and general life updates. So tell me what have you been up to? What tips do you have for international moves, let me know in the comments.

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My 6 favourite moments of 2016

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We have a storm blowing in this week, lots of rain, and then more snow to replace all the piles of snow that have so far melted. We’ve been hibernating with cosy socks and lots of hot chocolate. It reminds me of a big storm last year, just as winter was fading, and as we camped out at the hospital having just welcomed our first child into the world. We emerged bleary eyed, bewildered, overwhelmed, excited and full of love. Its fair to say 2016 was a whirlwind, it was a pretty epic year globally for all sorts of reasons, although we were in our own little bubble for most of it (and still are). There are so many moments of 2016 that could be my favourites, but these are the ones that instantly spring to mind that I thought I’d share with you, seeing as I neglected to blog about virtually anything. One of my last posts was my trip to LA, which wasn’t a bad start to 2016, although I’ve got to be honest anything pre-baby feels like a lifetime ago!

When I started this post I thought it would consist of a few trips, a handful of amusing stories and mundane personal achievements, such as finally cracking how to make Yorkshire puddings at altitude and re-watching the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. #lifegoals. As it turns out, my 2016 highlights have all been about (unsurprisingly) babies, adventures, making the most of opportunities and spending time with friends and family. So here are the top 6 highlights.

Babies. Having one.

This is so huge it doesn’t even get a number, as the most obvious ‘moment’ of 2016 and many moments since is the life altering crazy world of becoming a parent. We are still very much learning and hope to get it down in the next 10 years or so. It’s undeniable that becoming a parent changes your whole world, not least because your entire perspective changes.You are now responsible for this teeny tiny person night and day, and you will nurture and teach them the ways of the world. I’m proud to say that so far, in the first year, we’ve managed to survive and even take a few trips and regularly leave the house, it’s been pretty awesome so far.

1. Montana and heading North.

Aside from the wonderfulness of parenthood, one of my favourite bits of 2016 was a trip to Glacier National Park. If you follow me at all on Instagram you may have seen some pictures of this stunning park back in the beginning of summer. We decided to go on a bit of a whim, whilst one of my best friends was visiting, and had only a vague idea of what to expect. Lake McDonald was stunning, the ‘Going to the sun road’ was one of the most beautiful and spectacular roads I’ve ever driven along, and later driving through the meandering roads of Montana was beautiful. We also managed to camp with a teeny tiny babe – which was great, even if we were terrified of being eaten by a bear, and we popped into Yellowstone National park on the way back for good measure. This is still one of my favourite parks, made even better when eating ice cream and putting the world to rights with your bestie. We still have yet to spot a bear though.

2. My tribe

This year feels really special, because I’ve tried to invest more time into new friendships, building those relationships and investing into Salt Lake City as my current home. Living abroad, there is always the feeling of wanting to go back home. I’ve accepted I may never shake that, but I also would hate to have squandered my time fruitlessly whilst I’m here. So I’ve committed to being present in everyday life, to saying yes to opportunities, going on adventures, and investing into friendships. Home can be whatever you want it to be, and for me it’s been a real gift to have several homes, and several tribes, especially now we have our own little family. We have also been lucky enough to have some ‘old’ friends come out and visit over the summer, which has meant showing them exciting places, hanging out and catching up, and although it’s not as frequent as I’d like, face to face time is the best. We also got to spend the early part of the Christmas holidays back in dreary old Blighty, eating roast dinners, cream teas and hanging out with dear faces.

3. Sunrises

We have seen many, many sunrises in 2016, but some of my favourites aside from dancing in the kitchen with a newborn, were with some amazing friends who visited from San Francisco, twice. First we got to visit Mesa arch and take some pretty epic photos just before our lives completely changed, and then again at Bryce canyon at the end of the summer. There’s not much better than seeing the sunrise, in a beautiful location with beautiful people.

4. Vancouver Island

Just before summer started, before the glorious warm weather, we got to take a trip up to Vancouver and stay on Vancouver island. It was a trip of firsts, this was our first family holiday, first international flight with a little one and it was just what we needed. We stayed for a handful of days on Vancouver Island, which was beautiful, we loved seeing seals and walking along the beach. As an extra bonus they had a lot of imported English treats, which made my day. We also visited Victoria and ate lots of seafood and kept an eye out for whales. I’d love to go back to go further north into the more remote parts of the island and pretend to be a pirate for a few days exploring Salt spring island and the surrounding islands. We also had a fantastic time exploring Vancouver, eating ice cream and walking around a big city. I really enjoyed Stanley park and the huge trees, as well as being right next to the coast. On the way we also got to go through Seattle, which I’d like to spend more time exploring.

5. Visiting Mars

AKA Scenic byway 12, in Utah. This is another favourite drive, we were lucky to go twice this year, and it’s like nowhere I’ve ever been. For the first trip, we got to spend some quality time with Kiwi Nana, starting out in Bryce, having spent some time walking in Zion, sampling local delicacies, and hanging out. Seeing the red rocks always gives me a thrill, and driving highway 12 is a bit like going to Mars, so is a lot of southern Utah. The highway twists and turns through some of the most dramatic scenery, we stopped at Escalante petrified forest and sunned ourselves by the lake, dreaming of more adventures, then we ended at capitol reef, where we picked apricots, saw petroglyphs and ate pie.

6. Being a palaeontologist/geologist for the day

This is the stuff dreams are made of. When our San Fran friends came to visit we went on an amazing trip to Bryce and again to Mars (See above). At the start of our trip we got to go back to Delta. To U-Dig fossils, which we visited the previous autumn. For a few splendid hours we all got to lose ourselves smashing rocks, chiselling rocks out of a huge rock wall and sifting through dust and rock to find treasure aka trilobites. It was the best kind of fun. Getting dirty and sitting in a huge pile of history. I absolutely felt like I was in an Amelia Peabody adventure, even though it wasn’t Egypt, and it wasn’t mummies, and it may not quite have been dinosaurs bones, trilobites are actually slightly older, but it definitely ticked the bucket list and childhood dream category.

And that’s the highlights of 2016. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.

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Mince Pies and Fairy Lights

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I still can’t quite believe I’ve had nearly a whole year off from writing. Writing in almost any form, at the minute completing a shopping list is about my level! But there is something extremely therapeutic and rewarding about capturing these thoughts and adventures on this little ‘ole blog, even if most of the time we are too busy enjoying them to worry about documenting any of it. And that’s ok, that’s the way it supposed to be.

Surprisingly the sleep fairies aligned this morning giving me a short window of time that didn’t need to be filled with anything immediate, and I’ve already showered and had breakfast. Life goals right there.

At some point I’ll do a bit of a wrap up of 2016, as its been quite a year! But for something a little lighter today. We recently went back to the UK and indulged in countless roast dinners with many trimmings, spending lots of time with family and friends, leaving us feeling like we have already half done Christmas. Whilst for some the holidays may not be a joyous occasion, especially as there are so many ‘should’s’ wrapped up in these few days. In a bid to not treat Christmas as something to be done, or checked off the list, and ignoring all the should’s, here are the top 5 things I have and am doing to enjoy these holidays.

  1. Holiday baking. At a recent yoga class we all discussed what our favourite part of the holidays are, and tried to narrow it down to one thing. This was pretty tricky. For me it has to be the food. When else do you get to eat so many delicious treats. I love baking, all year round, so having time to make and decorate cookies, make eggnog – delicious by the way! and my favourite every year, mince pies, is a real treat (have you seen all the puns so far *smug face*).
  2. Fairy lights. You cant have too many. Which is good, because the fairy light monster sneezed all over our house. But they are amazing, I might just leave them up all year.
  3. PJ’s. Be it pj’s (matching!), lounge wear, sweats or whatever, I’m fully embracing the chance to have a few lazy days. I’ve stocked up on popcorn and am choosing some movies. Anyone got any favourite must see Christmas movies?
  4. Snow. Our Christmas plans aside from the above are to make a snowman. We will be in Utah where it is looking very much like we will be having another white Christmas. 10 inches of the white stuff in fact! Whilst kiwi will be hankering after a beach and bbq, I love going for a walk in the snow, and this year being a big kid and making a snowman. It’s been so long I’m not even sure I know how!
  5. Go on an adventure. Once the turkey is finished – we are forgoing it this year, pigs in blankets as a main? followed by cheese. Sure why not! But after lazing around eating all the chocolate, get outside, go somewhere, do something. We plan on walking,  skiing and visiting a state park, then after all of that, playing some new board games!

 

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Hi! How have you been?

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Why hello there, it’s been a bit of a while hasn’t it. Several months in fact. Several crazy beautiful months where Kiwi and I have had many adventures, and baked countless cakes and undoubtedly eaten lots of cheese. WordPress has even changed its format so now I have no idea where most of the buttons are.

You may have seen extracts of our wanderings on Instagram, and now summer is over, the autumn leaves are just about holding on before the snow arrives. It’s still deliciously warm yet the nights are dark earlier, I’m vaguely aware the clocks go back soon, and we are in the final few month of this year.

Life, well life has been momentous, I mentioned way back on the blog we would be expanding, and we did by welcoming a gorgeous new baby back in the spring. We have never been happier and are finding our way within this new parenting club, and learning how to be a small family.

I never intended to have a break or blog hiatus, it kind of just happened and here we are. I’ve missed it. Recently I have begun to find snippets of peace and quiet to sit and type, and I’ve wanted to think about what stories to share and reflect on what I wanted to blog about.That means plenty of more talk about cats, travel, baking and parenthood, I should think these stories will be less frequent, but it’s nice to be back.

January Favourites

January has been fun, we had a lot of snow and Kiwi has been enjoying lots of snowboarding at the numerous resorts close by. So far as soon as it warms up and the snow starts to melt within a few days we have another snow storm. It’s been nice to watch out the window and enjoy wintery walks.

Whilst we had some time we visited Capitol Reef, one of the smaller national parks and admired the rocks and went petroglyph hunting. There’s been a fair old amount of baking in the house, mostly as I am still adjusting recipes to work at high altitude – this is a real thing and really annoying! I think though I’ve got my favourite brownie recipe to work. Now I’m waiting for mini eggs to start hitting the ships to add these in!

We have been seeing a fair few sporting events, first basketball and then a gymnastics meet. I really enjoyed the gymnastics, I’m always so impressed at the athletes physicality, this was a great weekend. We have also been invaded for Sundance film festival, this takes place just up the road in Park City, and you can even Uber a helicopter to take you around! Craziness! We attended a few screenings which was very exciting.

At the end of January I went on a trip to LA for a long weekend, it was great to walk along the numerous beaches, eat many ice creams and enjoy the warmer weather. So that’s life lately, and snuggling with the kitties of course.

 

Frocks & Socks – The Fall/Winter edit

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It’s been a while since I did a capsule wardrobe update, but I’m still loving this concept! I created a ‘Fall’ wardrobe, forgot to photo it and then Winter arrived, and many of the same pieces stayed put, with a few swaps for warmer layers. I find it interesting to see that I’m very much led by colour each season, whereas my summer edit was full of blues and stripes, the Fall/Winter one has many more autumnal colours.

What have I learnt so far… mostly that you need far less clothes than you think you do. Having less makes sure the items I do have I really like, they fit well and wearing them to death is a pleasure. You would think you would get bored of having the same few things to wear, but it makes finding things so much easier.

This time around I didn’t have as many bottoms – mostly because other than jeans, leggings and a few skirts why would you want to wear anything other than leggings when it’s cold?! I also didn’t really bother too much with shoes. What’s the point. I had a lovely knee high pair of boots I wore before the snow arrived. Then the snow came. So my show requirement it mostly do these boots work in the snow, are they warm, are they comfy and how waterproof are they. Then it’s big boots for snow days, warm boots for dryer days, and brown ankle boots for when its warm, dry and there isn’t much snow on the ground. I could include some more pairs, but I wont wear them so I didn’t.

Of course Winter makes me want to live in knitted jumpers, cosy socks and all the scarves. Now there are the smallest signs of spring I’m looking forward to thinking about my spring capsule. But here is my Fall/Winter edit.

Tops: Tshirts x 4, Vest x 2, Long sleeve top x 3, Shirt x 3, Jumper x 5, Cardi x 4, dress x 5, Bottoms x 4, skirts x 2, shoes x 3 = 35

Strawberry T, Gap: Blue T, New Look: Green T, Old Navy

Grey T, Gap: Black vest, Old Navy: White vest, H&M

Long sleeve stripe, New Look: White long, Old Navy : Dotty long, Dorothy Perkins

Green plaid shirt, Old Navy: Grey plaid shirt, clothes swap: Dotty shirt, Old Navy

Maroon knit, Thrifted: Striped knit, Gap: Navy wool, Gap

Striped Knit, Gap: Blue Knit, Old Navy: Blue cardi, New Look

Peach cardi, New Look: Navy cardi, Next: Grey Knit cardi, Fat Face

Blue dress, Thrifted: Navy lace, Apricot: Black dress, Old Nacy

Orange cat dress, Thrifted: Stripe Knit dress, Gap

Grey wool, Old Navy: Black leggings, Zara: Grey leggings, Gap

Jeans, Gap: Floral maxi skirt, New Look: Bird skirt, Thrifted

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Snow boots, Bearpaws: Snuggly boots, UGG: Brown ankle boots, Thrifted