Happy New Year from Northern Ireland

Happy New Year. I hope 2018 is a fantastic year for you. Christmas seems like an age ago now and we are in to another year again. It has been the most relaxing and lazy festive season ever for us. We had Christmas lunch here with just my Mum and Dad joining us. We went to father-in-laws for a buffet on Boxing Day. We have spent a lot of time lazing about reading, grazing, watching films and chilling. It has been heaven (for most of us – my poor OH returned to work on Boxing Day and was also working on New Year’s Day) and for the boys and myself Monday morning is looked upon with utter dread as both school and work start back that day. I’m sure there will be lots of wake up calls from me and lots of moaning from the boys lol.

We had our first walk of 2018 today and went to the beach. It was so good to blow away the cobwebs. It was very cold but sunny and dry. The beach had lots of people walking and a few brave surfers out enjoying the waves.


Nature’s Playground


A Day out in Donegal Part 1 – Moville to Greencastle Coast Walk

Recently my brother and I got the Foyle Ferry from Magilligan to Greencastle in Donegal on 2 separate occasions and had a great time as we both had our cameras, several hours to explore and no children!! After a very short sailing we arrive in another world, another country (I am not getting into the politics of Ireland, the history of Ireland, the partition of Ireland here). The fact of the matter is we were in Donegal and it’s different and that’s just a fact of life – the distances are in kilometres, the currency is Euros, there’s an Irish Customs office in the harbour… It got us talking about how things will change with Brexit. At the moment we can sit in Northern Ireland at the ferry terminal waiting for the ferry and there are no checks, no staff even and when the ferry arrives we just drive on and drive off on the other side. It is so easy. No one checks my car, no-one checks our ID. What will change? Will we not be able to make a spur of the moment decision to go over the border and go for a walk? Will we have to make sure we all have ID? I am dreading Brexit. There is so much uncertainty.

Anyway this post was not meant to be about Brexit. Is is about a lovely day out in beautiful Donegal. After getting off the ferry you turn left and follow the road as it hugs the coast for a few miles and you end up in the small village of Moville.  In Moville you can park the car (there’s a car park down by the shore, with public toilets) and start the coastal path to Greencastle – the path is about 2km.

I love the shore walk because there are lots of little beaches and coves and therefore lots of opportunities to beach comb which is a bit of a hobby of mine – one of my favourite ways to relax is to walk along the beach and have a poke about. There are lots of seating areas along the way and lots of photographic opportunities if you are a keen photographer.

Lunch time for the local birds

We watched this fabulous heron for ages. It was quite close to us as we walked along the beach and it waited patiently for a while and then managed to catch a couple of fish – I could have sat and watched it for hours.

After the shore walk we headed inland. We knew there was a very old graveyard near Moville so we went in search of that. We had read that it was hard to find but we got there quite easily following sat nav on my brother’s phone. We were so glad we went because what a lovely site!  It sits on a hill with spectacular views over Lough Foyle. It’s called Cooley Graveyard and there’s a high cross just at the entrance.

Very effective rope and pulley system

Some of the gravestones.

high crossThe High Cross


The Skull House

Soup weather

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live but here on the North coast of Northern Ireland some days are definitely ‘soup’ weather days. I love soup and I make it alot. I attended a Slimming World group recently and one member was very enthuastic about her soup maker and how quick and easy they are to use. I had briefly thought about getting one in the past but very quickly dismissed it as another kitchen gadget to gather dust in a cupboard. After hearing about the benefits of having one I decided to go ahead and get one. She had mentioned that they are quite often on promotion at half price in supermarkets so I had started to keep an eye out for a bargain. In the end my OH bought me one as a wee surprise and arrived on Wednesday.

It is very easy to use:

  1. Put your chosen chopped vegetables in the base up to the minimum level, which is clearly marked inside and out.
  2. Add your chosen stock up to the maximum level, again marked inside and out.
  3. Place the lid on.
  4. Plug in.
  5. Select you chosen mode – smooth or chunky.
  6. Press start.

21 minutes later soup is ready and blended. I have used it twice since getting it. I made brocolli/cauliflower/sweetcorn and also potato and leek. both were lovely and were smoothly blended.

I think I will use it several times a week because it is so quick and easy. It is also easy to clean – the blender on the lid attachment and the base can be cleaned with a cloth. It is not safe to use in the dshwasher but to me it’s not a problem as it so easy to hand clean.

I was also surprised to see that there is a function to make soya and almond/cashew milk. As I am dairy-intolerant I generally use rice or soya milk so I think I will give that a go at a later date.

I think it will also help with my weight loss as if I’m feeling peckish and have nothing pre-prepared I can whizz up some ‘free’ (slimming world term) soup in 20 minutes. The woman who recommended them at group mentioned that she gets everything ready, turns it on and then does the afternoon school run.  When they return there is hot soup ready and it’s totally safe as it turns itself off at the end of the programme. Result!

The model I bought is the Morphy Richards Soup & Milk Maker.

I was not paid to write this post and it was purchased by us.