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10 reasons to look forward to colder nights :)

Oh I know I couldn't help it. But since the summer finally arrived I am thinking - winter.

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Every time I meet new people the conversation - stereotype - hits the "weather" at some stage. Dear Irish, I can assure you it's the same in every country. If it's the Spanish complaining about too much sun in Spain or for those who moved, the rain in Ireland, the Germans about the weather being too wet or too dry... we all do it.

So here's to rain and happiness!

10 reasons to look forward to colder, darker nights:

10. Autumn shows it's beauty in most incredible colours nature has to offer!

9. Dark misty evenings are a fantastic excuse to cuddle up on the sofa in a knitted blanket.

8. Stitch and bitch evenings are a fab way to share the gossip & a glass of wine with the girls.

7. As many hot chocolates as you like!

6. Go for long walks in the cold frosty air makes dinner taste a hundred times better...

5. ...& no bad conscience for relaxing on that sofa yet again.

4. If you do exercise outdoors you sweat less...

3. ...& are loads prouder of your achievement!

2. Mulled wine!

1. Heading to that Ski resort!

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Summer in my Garden

I don't know about you, but I just can't sit down & work away on a desk full with random stuff...

...any longer!!

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The hottest day of the year - cleaning or dozing???

Instead of relaxing in the garden, embracing the sunshine & spending valuable time with our dog, I decided to spring-clean. The kitchen, living room, surfaces, floors. It's been pretty chaotic & the spring clean is long due!

After a couple of hours of playing Marry Poppins I finally sit down to do some photo editing. At least I now have space for a nice cup of coffee and my laptop.

After nearly 3 hours I am nearly. Just a couple of tweaks in Lightroom - before the system crashes & swallows my unsaved work forever.

That's what you get! Priorities, priorities... I should have saved it earlier ... nah, should have gone play in the sun right away! :)

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An awesome weekend - Monday blues guaranteed

Wake boarding, fishing, sumo, ...maybe Ballyhass Lakes in Cork will soon be your destination for a fun filled & action packed weekend!

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You might - or not? have heard about the Grassroots Wakeboard competition!

Ok, "what's wake boarding?" - Well, it's like snowboarding up a ski lift, just on the water &...differnt. This year's first Stop in Ireland was in Ballyhass Cable Wake Park.

Ballyhass Cable Wake Park is located near Cork. If you're missing the exit through Mallow you realise it is still a good 40 minutes from Cork city till you end up in the rural countryside through quiet Irish backroads. What's waiting for you is well worth the trip!

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Last weekend John Tully didn't only "fish" 6 of those yummy trout fish** - they are up to 1kg! He also fished himself a 1st in the man's opens at the Ballyhass Grassroots tour stop - well deserved, his stuff is unreal! (apologies for poor humour :))

Followed by David O'Caoimhe - or "superman" - how entertaining was that!! That's why you should never go home before the show finishes!

3rd came David Coates who has put quiet a show together - we are loving his raleys!

Let's not stop - 14 year old Brian Kavanagh made it to the men's open this year and came 4th! Brian's home cable is Wakedock in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 4 - you have to see his hight over the kicker!!! There's no hashtag for that!

Stocked about the quality and competitive level of the girls - we had comps last year with one rookie competitor only a few in intermediate and open - this year it's serious business!

The ladies' open 1st Nicole Carroll is setting high standards! Cable or boat that is!

Mila Pichet gracefully got herself the 2nd place.

Followed by Ruta Buracite - a very close race in the female comp! The standard is extreme - great to see such talent on the water!

The standard of Ireland's young wakeboard talent is simply insane - I will need to have a word with my parents! Those kids cut through glass at such young age like it's a walk in the park.

My personal highlights: Our 3-bed accommodation for the weekend was right at the park & overlooks the beautiful lake with all its activities & a BBQ in the garden - what more do you need! Sure, walking distance to all the fun stuff! It's fab for families & groups etc. who love a relaxed get away, chill in the house & walk over to the lake, mega secure & fun if you're into extreme sports like wake boarding or just relaxing with a fishing rod on the dock. I'll bring my camping chair next time!

Fishing @Ballyhass Lakes...

Some of the banter & other activities...

Next Grassroots stop in Ireland is in Dublin's urban Cable Wakedock September 5th & back to Ballyhass in October. Grassroots tour originates from the UK, so do check Grassroots tour dates in the UK. If you can't wait as long do visit or even take part in the Nationals Wakeboard competition 27th/28th June in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 4.

Stop over to the full Grassroots results here.

**no animals have been harmed, they have all been released back into the nature! Tip: Trouts are most yummy when they are in their new home for about 6 weeks and nurture on their normal food - rather then nuts, so give it some time when you want to fish them for your dinner!

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My quick coffee fix - Kenco.

Did you ever feel like a guinea pig? I sometimes do, when it comes to coffee.

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From flavour to concentration... from preparation to enjoyment - I still find it difficult making the right choice; & on top of it all a cup of that black elixir is supposed to keep me awake.

So here's my choice when it comes to a "quick fix", easy preps and a lovely coffee flavour: Kenco.

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Cara's Communion in Scramoge - Let's say "it's been bouncy" :)

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Cara's communion in the Irish Countryside. We've started the day in St. Anne's church in Scramoge. Such an important day & how busy it was for Cara! Readings & singing in church, being the star of the day. After mass we had some photo time at Cara's home, on a slightly windy hill with stunning views.

Well, what every child that receives the first communion was really waiting for...

...time to play! Bouncy castles alway make me want to drop my camera and join in! - no joking :) it's just looked like so much fun. Well I could stop myself this time but I promise, my next party will have a bouncy castle!

I truly enjoyed this Sunday, and little star Cara surely did too!

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Hell & Back - Glad to be on the other side! @Temple House Co. Sligo

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I am truly glad I am a photographer, especially on days like these. Well, I admit, I had to go to the ambulance as I twisted my ankle - how cool is that! :)

Respect to hundreds of devils who dared to run through fields, climb over fences, jump into ice cold water and were mad enough to make their ways through nasty wires fill with electricity - while wet.

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A "must do" - for your summer holidays in Ireland this year!

"You'll be grand with a cup of tea and a boat" - they said - and man were they right!IMG_8721

I always dreamt of a boat of my own. But sure I play captain at least for 4 days!

So at least for four nights 5 close friends - of whom I really only knew 2 - went off on an adventure along the Shannon. We got ourselves a sweet little cruiser with everything we needed: a toilet, kitchen, beds and an engine to bring us from harbour to harbour and from pub to pub.

It doesn't take long to switch off. Really just the first bridge that forces your busy mind to slow down at an half hour stop where we patiently waited for the gates to open. And then the reward: pure nature, idyllic scenary and fresh air.

A couple of board games, pastel colours and knitting - not to be missed. The reward is a pint and a yummy dinner at pubs along the Shannon, such as the Derg Inn. Lovely food, a very warm and welcoming team and a modern but homely interior design. The wine is delicious too.

Returning to the Dublin's city vibes wasn't as easy.

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10 random herbs and spices… Home Cooking Randomness.

I committed a bit of time to herbs and spices for all those "home cooking" lovers… We love those herbs and spices, but how to use them?Herbs_Spices08102014 (1 of 1)

We have... Chilies, Nutmeg, Paprika, Mustard Seeds, Cardamoms and Tarragon. Let's see how we can use those lovely herbs and spices!

1. Chillies

We love it hot and spicy. I couldn't imagine a world without flavour and even less without a good hot meal.

I prefer crushed chilies to powder. I'd either fry it in a dry pan in a bit of oil, just be careful and don't let it burn, or I sprinkle a good portion on raw meet and let it sit for a while before frying.

I just came across this mouthwatering recipe on Yummly.

Hearty Lean Chili. Well presented and easy to make... just use crushed Chilies rather than that vicious powder ;)

TRY IT! Add chocolate - I love the dark one with bits of orange.

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TIP: mix the herbs and spices into the meat before frying. It really makes a different on your pallet.

2. Nutmeg I thought about meat, salad or some other savory dish. But no. This might easily become your favourite oft the list: Nutmeg Cheesecake. In fairness, I think anything goes with Cheesecake really.

TRY IT! I have to admit I didn't try the recipe yet - but I sure will! The Nutmeg Cheesecake just sounds to tempting!

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TIP: if you don't use Nutmegs a lot, no need to get a Nutmeg Grater. It's one of this things that do get annoying if they aren't handy, so look into the kitchen draws, a cheese grater will do!

3. Paprika It's one of those that many just pure into every meal. From fried eggs to salad sauces. But how should this famous powder really be used?

Paprika is a spice made from dried ground chillies. Not to be missed in most dips - great for Party food Tapas-style. Though... my favourite use is in Cocktails.

Ehm... Prawn-Cocktails would be the most common.

TRY IT! Did you ever have ground chilies in a Cocktail? Bloody Mary, you really should.

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TIP: I have a sweet tooth all right. But in case you should ever bake with chocolate - which is a must really, add some spice.

4. Mustard Seeds

I am yet to be convinced of mustard seeds. Coming from Bavaria I do love my "Weißwürste mit süßem Senf" and a bretzl. But what else can you do with those little beats.

All right, by now I figured: You can grind pretty much anything. Note to self: get grinder. I think a creamy mustard sauce with pieces of boiled eggs and fish. I remember one of my first dishes I ever cooked, I was about 6 years of age and proud like a honey badger. Fish Fingers and egg mustard sauce. Nothing like a simple home cooking dish! TRY IT! Oh I knew there would be a dessert with Mustard Seeds!

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TIP: There's a fab post right here if you like to learn more about the yellow seeds: whfoods

5. Cardamoms

I admit it. I never used cardamoms. A scent of eucalyptus I find. I want to get a bag fill it with those seeds heat it up and have a long hot bath. I can just imagine how the scent eucaliptus scent would relax.

Interesting enough, I wasn't to far off as Cardamoms are used as a medicine to heal throat and teething pain. Oh and now it is getting exciting - do you love Chi Late? I love cinnamon. In India Cardamom is mixed with cinnamon and consumed as a hot drink! Well now we speak!

TRY IT! The Spice House has a yummy Chai Masala Tea Recipe - it doesn't always have to be coffee.

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TIP: Do walk into one of those small Asian, Indian or Polish shops, or visit a farmer's market - approach the tradesman for tips, they often have great tips where to get fresh spices seeds and herbs for your home cooking.

6. Tarragon

I am a philistine. What is Tarragon?

Ok, I love this one: Get yourself any homegrown plant from Tarragon to Chive. Once mature, chip it into small pieces. Get yourself an ice cube form, fill with water, put the freshly cut herbs into the form and freeze. Cubes allow you to store small portions, appropriate for your dinner. You won't have to cry over drying-out herbs - who would use a full plant of herbs in a week? The sweet scent of liquorice and vanilla makes me think if I can use Tarragon in a creamy cake or vanilla sauce. I sure will try it sometime soon!

TRY IT! Black Forest Cake with Tarragon-Vanilla-cream filling - and let me know what you think :)

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TIP: Come back for more. I promise I'll start using more of those colourful herbs and spices!

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From Blueberries and Garlic - the art of food.

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There are so many random flavours, spices & herbs out there. Mix what ever you feel is right, you might be surprised!

A good meal, ingredient or snack deserves to be photographed.

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The "Comfy Cafe" in Roscommon Town - a place for chats, coffees and DIY paninis - truly yummy!

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Here’s where you go for a decent lunch, a sweet treat or simply a nice cup of creamy coffee & a chat.

What I liked most: sipping a lovely cappuccino while listening to the sounds of Bruce, Simon & Garfunkel and Jimi Hendrix – a truly relaxed atmosphere.

Situated quiet close to the Shannon Roscommon City is one little vibrant place. It’s friendly, colourful & rustic.

When I moved here from busy and vibrant Dublin I was slightly - let's say "freaked out" :). Dublin is pretty vibrant and there is much to do. But in the end what you really need is that one happy place where you come back for a good cup of tea, lovely interior design and comfortable seating. Here’s where people know each other - where you hear a friendly “How’s it going” and people even remember your name.

The Comfy cafe is my new "To-Go" place when I do my groceries in town, visit the local shop, get my fish from the little street van, or fresh vegetables at the little market place at the quarter.

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Malahide Castle - an American wedding in Ireland. Cherry Blossom & Bubbly

Kelly_Derik_header_petite_idylle The first ever civil ceremony to take place in Malahide Castle in Dublin / Malahide.  I was flattered to be the chosen one to capture that special day of Kelly & Derik from the US.

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I've heard about it so many times. Strandhill - Shells Sea Side Cafe.

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Finally! And I am so very embarrassed I haven't been able to take any pics of the actual food!

I tried the Mackerel Pate with caramelized onions - and it's been delicious!

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The beauty of creativity - a random collection.

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If you are creative, you might be one of the lucky ones, who are free in speech, expression and passion.

From warehouse shots to Florence and the Machine themed Wood shot.

I love food, design and strolling over flea markets. Sunshine, birds & nature, diversity, drama & getting my hands dirty.

So here's a bit of a different collection of stuff that I've taken the past couple of years.

I am adding random stuff as we go a long, so stop by when you fell like it.

Enjoy!

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Mexican Cooking - the summer can start!

Mexican_wrap_header_petite_idylle You might have noticed a pattern - good bye winter, summer sun we're here! I got a new little toy for my kitchen to chop anything that comes between my hands. The result is this delicious mix for Mexican Wraps with a Chinese twist.

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Fare well Winter Wonderland… we are ready for the Summer

winter_header_petite_idylle It's been a cold couple of months in the countryside. I can't wait for those warm days with soft evenings, watching the sunset whilst sipping a glass of mojito or two.

Admittedly the white blanket that covers those fields are beautiful & I truly appreciate each season we have. Though, those cold & chilly days are great from the inside, they aren't helping if you are working on renovating little cottage with no heating - or roof.

Let's appreciate this hopefully last day of snow & hope for many sunny days to warm our hearts and taint our skin.

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hmmm….cake! Tempted to DIY your Wedding Cake?

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You might be looking into the one little thing that is shared with all your guests and family.

The Wedding Cake.

From a bright white cake to ribbons and roses, if coulourful or simply sweet, you should go for the treat you love most. I thought after my previous shoot with Lulu's Cakes, it would be great to share a couple of tips around cakes.

Simply beautiful those pretty stencils. It takes hours to learn this skill and if you have - like me - no patience, I would definitely recommend to drop into a Pâtisserie for some tasting and to be inspired. 

If you do like a bit of colour and somthing slightly outside the norm - I do love Lulu's Rose cake. The shap and form, colours and deltail - it's stunning and I would not dare to try and use this as a DIY poject, not for my wedding anyway :)

For some glam a bit of glitter and a silk ribbon works well on this white classical wedding cake. Be creative and add your one note if you like!

If you still believe that baking a cake is too hard, but you really would love to display a cake of your own why not try a "no-bake" cake? I was really excited about this one. Now, I do love a bit of baking and, though this is far from baking, I left the kitchen in a bit of a mess. But you see for yourself.

My favouite. I love autumn inside and out. It's the most beautiful season I believe and this cake just supports the warm and soft season. A beige silky ribbon, some dried flowers - you can choose the ones you love and give it your own personal touch.

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If you like Cakes - you will L.O.V.E. this!!

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Oh how Lulu's Cakes brought me right into the Christmas season.

Such beautiful cakes, when I asked where she has her inspiration from she said "I don't know, they just happen". That just shows her warm heart, love for detail and natural inspiration.

Her cakes are truly sweet and bespoke. Drop over to Lulu's Cakes for more of those yummi cakes!

Lulu has made cakes for years but hasn't lost her creativity at all. Each of her cakes are handmade with love and passion.

Every year Lulu creates a lovely bespoke Christmas Cake for her partners. Paks them into beautiful present boxes and Santa Clause delivers those cakes to her friends.

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"Fresh is Best!" and extremely yummy!

Hugos_header_petite_idylle I agree! Especially after having a taste of those mouth watering dishes.

From scallops to pork belly, I was in food heaven! If you see those blue wooden doors at Hugo's Restaurant in 6 Merrion Row, Dublin 2, do enter. Chef Kieron and his lovely team will make sure you are treated to a truly divine experience. That's quality, variety and a work of art right on your plate.

Do approach Kieron to get a bit of insight about the origin and quality of his quality ingredients - I wouldn't dare to attempt to take a connoisseur's place.

I will come back for more!

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Victorian Gentleman’s residence transformed to a B&B

Maryville_tea_rooms_header_petite_idylle The sun is out, the cows are happy. What else to do than to break the midweek routine by going up north or a lovely road trip and a bit of banter?! From Dublin to Belfast and back, with a little coffee break in the Maryville Tea Rooms.

Up and down in one day - The direct way from Belfast back home to Dublin is via Monaghan, as it appeared. The road signs in Belfast seem to prefer the scenic route.

The scenery is amazing though. So we weren't too bothered to get en route & redirected.

We’ve been up to visit a very sweet little place. A great venue for occasions that require sweet treats, coffee (pretty much applies for any occasion) and a Victorian atmosphere. The Meryville team rooms offer exactly that.

I sure will be back for some out doorsey photography. The trip offers beautiful photography of this sweet Indian summer. While in Dublin the green of the leaves insist on staying a little longer, the colours of the north bloom in a lovely orange. I was driving, no time to capture but to "awe".

Well, this is only the scenery of cookies and the Victorian interior design of Maryville Tea Rooms really :)

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