Thursday, 25 April 2013

shepherd's delight

I love this time of year with her pink skies and dandelion fairies and seedlings putting on a show....
pulling the car over to the side of the road to pick wild primrose so my Mom can check they smell the same as she remembers from when she was a girl.

I love waking early and pulling up the blinds, enjoying a cup of strong tea while looking out at the morning clouds....wondering if today they will break and let the sun say hello or they'll churn up a rainstorm instead.

Such mornings call for stove top porridge with an extra spoonful of honey, Skype dates with Dallas and alone time at my desk writing pages to sweet friends across the seas.

The sting of losing our little friend is still present but losing myself in sweet moments and reminding myself she is no longer suffering is the tonic that works best for now.

This weekend I will celebrate my Thirtieth birthday with a trip to London!
I'm looking forward to bike rides and art exhibitions, good East London curry and a Jack the Ripper walk~ stay tuned ^.^

Sunday, 21 April 2013

✜ Goodbye Millie ✜

It's been a dull, heart-heavy past few days here. Sadly we had to have our baby Maltipoo Millie put to sleep on Friday morning.

It was a truly terrible shock that none of us were expecting and my stomach still clenches like a fist to think that she is gone so suddenly.

She spent her first few days with us normally, playing and licking and running around the house like a normal healthy puppy, but after a few days we noticed her interest in food, water, playing with Jess and even us start to lower dramatically. She was listless, withdrawn and slept the majority of the day in her bed.

Worried, we took her to the vet who couldn't dioagnose a specific problem and said perhaps she had a stomach bug and told us to keep her on a hot water bottle and syringe her meals in to her to get some food in her stomach. After a couple more days of force feeding with no sign of improvement my parents took her back to the vet, she was so fragile, like a baby bird, and we could feel every bone in her body.

When my parents came home they didn't have Millie with them and from one look at their faces I knew what had happened. 

Apparently Millie had meningitis and there was nothing that could be done.
We lost our sweet little bundle of fluff and I'm still trying to make sense of it, we only had her a week but she was completely ours and we were hers and it feels a little more empty in this house without her here.

All we can do is to take all the love we had for her and focus it on this little rascal, Jess, who became so sweet and caring towards Millie in her last few nights.

It was almost like she knew.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

☩ smells like spring ☩


The rain reigns supreme on this Irish Isle, punctuated by flirty peep shows from the warmest sunshine.
Lady Spring is trying her best to nose her way through the grey skies and smile on the earth below.

Baby wild Primrose are starting to appear, scattered flecks of pretty yellow among the foliage that lines our country back roads.

 Whenever we get the chance we are throwing open the windows and letting the clean, sweet smell of green, wet grass fill up our home.

The puppies are seeking out the sporadic sunny patches on the floor and collapsing onto them for a few minutes of content sun bathing.

This faux-spring fever has my hands twitching and fingers itching to be dipped in plant pot earth or kneading dough. Something in the air, the sweet freshness, the smell of a new season always has me clucking to clean and bake and create.

I can't wait till the earth is warmed up enough for picnic dates, loose dresses, bike rides and trips to the blackberry bushes.

Until then I'm hunting new blooms through the raindrops on the car window, curling up with good reads and the sound of birdsong from the garden, and walking little puppy legs through freshly mowed grass.

Move along Winter, the smell of Spring is here ^.^


Monday, 15 April 2013

clean, green diet

{spinach/tomato/mozzarella salad w/ pine nuts + mixed seeds}

{poached egg w/ granary toast, sliced tomato + avocado}

{wholewheat spaghetti w/ basil, cherry tomatoes, pesto + goats cheese}

{salad w/ spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted bell pepper, avocado, pine nuts + goats cheese}

{baked sweet potato w/ sour cream, sun-dried tomatoes + mixed seeds w/ stir-fried mushrooms, chickpeas + spring onion} 

{grilled mackerel w/ couscous, spinach + chick peas}

I'm pleased as punch that I have stuck to my clean eating regime since coming back home.
My plates are green, leafy and spring-colored with plenty of oily fish, fresh veggies and good fats.
I'm feeling the benefits of good nourishment, green smoothies, herbal teas and free range eggs.
I won't deny myself guilty pleasures~ I love bread and pasta for example, but I'll only eat wholegrain varieties. And the cheese is non-negotiable!

We've been having lots of April shower weather on this damp green island... slow moving days with half-shut curtains and open fires.
A girl could get used to spending every day in her pajamas!
& being surrounded by sleepy puppy-dog goodness ^.^

Friday, 12 April 2013

puppy breath

Our country house is officially a home.
Two bonnie baby puppies are currently tug tug tugging at our heart-strings, chewing our bare toes and giving us puppy-tongue kisses with a side of puppy breath right in the smacker!


I got a bad case of puppy love!!
First we collected Jess, our baby West Highland Terrier, and yesterday little Millie was introduced to the house of fun. Millie is a two month old cross between a Maltese and a Poodle, a breed known as a 'Maltipoo'.
Both are ridiculously cute and soaking up the newness of our home and family .

Little Jessie has had full run of the house to herself for three days so her nose is still fairly put out of joint at her little fluffy rival, but slowly, slowly the growls and nips are giving way to waggy tails and bottom sniffing (the doggy equivalent of "hello"~~, sorry, I don't make up the doggy rules!!)

It will take a few weeks to get them properly acquainted, Jess is definitely behaving like the more dominant dog because Millie is so timid and submissive, but until then we are making sure to give both lots and lots of love and play.

These are the best shots I could get of them as they are on the move so much that it's hard to capture them in a still position unless they are very sleepy or asleep~~
 but I will keep posting more puppy pics (try and stop me!) ^.^

I can't wait til they bond and become sisters, to each other and to little ol' only child me!

Three cheers for smelly puppy breath!

Monday, 8 April 2013

//strawberry, dark chocolate + brie grilled cheese//

Now that I've caught your attention with the title of this post I want to share this unbelievable sensory explosion of a sandwich with you!

I found the recipe here and knew at first glance that this was my kind of sandwich~ 3 of my most favorite ingredients melted between two slices of bread ^.^

The ingredients
~ 2 slices of bread (I used a fig + hazelnut loaf)
~ sliced brie
~ good quality dark chocolate
~ 4 quartered strawberries
~ sea salt
~ butter
~ olive oil

~ First, toss your strawberries with olive oil and sea salt in an oven dish and roast at 375 for 10 minutes.

~ Butter your sliced bread on both sides and coat one slice with brie and dark chocolate pieces.

~ Lay your slice of bread on a hot griddle and top with roasted strawberries

~ Place the second slice of bread on top to make your sandwich and grill for approximately two minutes on each side or until bread is golden and the filling has melted.

~ Take a minute to worship at the alter of this creamy, cheesy, strawberry-scented doorstop oozing melted chocolate goodness before taking your first bite. 
This is essential, because the sandwich will be devoured within the next ten seconds.

The best thing about this recipe is even though it's naughty it's still very very nice.
Dark chocolate (70% or higher) is packed with antioxidants and taken in moderation very good for you.
The most fattening part of this sandwich is the brie~ so this will definitely have to a naughty indulgence....but SO worth every bite!


Sunday, 7 April 2013


We picked up our new addition to the family today!
She's a 2 month old West Highland Terrier  puppy and she is as sweet as a bowl full of cherries.
She just loves snuggles, suckling the end of your nose and earlobes and apparently the taste of mascara because she's licked  all my eye makeup clean off me!
So far we don't know if she is a Leila or a Holly.
I'd love to know what you think?

Friday, 5 April 2013

my kinda therapy

My auntie whisked my mother and myself away today to treat us to lunch and a spot of much needed retail therapy!
We ate at a beautiful little Italian Deli which also had a grocery section where I scooped up these delectable little macaroons and splurged on my porridge addiction by purchasing this lovely bottle of Irish porridge flavored with Madagascan vanilla~ I literally cannot wait till tomorrow morning when I can eat this with bananas and blueberries, although the packaging is so pretty I feel it's almost a shame to break the seal and use it!

We then proceeded to browse the shops and I immediately spotted this beautiful little bed buddy, she looks sweet as can be nestled between my pillows, I feel like she was just waiting in that shop to be bought by me!
I can't wait to snuggle with her tonight!


We then found this darling farm shop that sold fresh produce and I stocked up on brie, strawberries and dark chocolate for a recipe I've pinned that I'm dying to try out~ I'll post the results if it turns out right!
While we were there I couldn't resist adding this creamed coconut and dark chocolate fudge to my straw basket of goodies~ again, packaging, I fall for it EVERY time!

I honestly almost squealed with delight when i popped into a stationary store and found this scalloped paper punch~ i have been hunting one of these down for the longest time and cannot wait to scallop the lips of all my future snail mail envelopes ^.^
Then I almost squealed again when I saw they stocked washi tape! I told the sales girl how popular they are in Asia and she said they had only just arrived in stock the week before and they were baffled by what people would use them for!

Finally, I have to say I have the best Momma in the world who bought me a few wee treats as an early Thirtieth birthday present~ this beautiful patterned scarf and wedge sandals. my heart skipped a beat when I spotted these sandals as they are so close to the Blowfish Gypsy sandals which I couldn't get my hands on last summer.
I love you Mom!

It's been such a long time since I've been able to go out and splurge like this.
There's no doubt in my mind that a little retail therapy is good for the soul ^.^
Happy Friday, friends!

tea + blood

Finn, Kieran and me ^.^
It's been a blissful few days around this house.
We had a short but incredibly sweet visit from my aunt, uncle and beautiful cousins from London.
There's was lots of regaling of family stories from my Mother and her sister around the kitchen table, trips to the town, home baked scones, Irish stew, family bonding, hiding out in the living room in front of the fire at night and finding sunny windows to sit next to and read, relax and talk during the day.
And there was tea, lots and lots of tea.
Blood ties and good tea is a sure fire way to raise this gals spirits .


Wednesday, 3 April 2013


⋙⋙⋙ reading⋙⋙⋙

I've been scavenging through old keepsake boxes, pulling out and reading through old letters from friends past and present. Reminiscing over old travel photos and more journals I kept during different travelling trips.
I'm so happy I kept these journals as they have brought back such beautiful memories that I hadn't remembered in years and years. It's a lot of fun to view the world through 23 year old Louise's eyes again ^.~

⋙⋙⋙ planning⋙⋙⋙

The wonderful folks at Wholeport sent me these magnificent feathers and an embroidery hoop last month.
I'm planning on fashioning a dreamctacher out of these beauties.
Keep your eye out for a DIY post very soon!

⋙⋙⋙ watching⋙⋙⋙

Lot's of antiques and wildlife shows with my parents and B-horror movies at night.
'Nude Nuns with Big Guns'.
I an't even kidding.

⋙⋙⋙ eating⋙⋙⋙

I posted yesterday about my clean eating regime and I'm still loving every bite, every nut, every berry, lots of green tea...and hot buttered toast with jam, of course!

⋙⋙⋙ writing⋙⋙⋙

No big surprises here, I'm still hooked on my letter writing and I get so excited when a new reader contacts me for a mail swap!

⋙⋙⋙ listening⋙⋙⋙

I'm hooked on Phosphorescent's new album Muchacho, particularly 'Song for Zula' is just heavenly. 
But I do always come back to this tried and true track 'Wolves' from 2007~ the lyrics are just so perfect. 

⋙⋙⋙ learning⋙⋙⋙


The truth

P.S// don't forget Stars in Jars has a new Facebook page~ let's be friends!

.. ▻▻▻◈◅◅◅ ..

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

eating clean

Grilled mackerel w/ roasted sweet potato, roasted bell peppers, goats cheese + avocado

One of the best parts about this premature homecoming is the delights of the western supermarket.
Certain foods that I love were either non-existent or outrageously overpriced in South Korea and for that reason my dietary habits took a bit of a downturn.
Food shopping is something of a fetish for me.
I get such a buzz out of walking through the food aisles and scanning all the produce, their flavors, their ingredients and packaging. Selecting my favorite cheese, the ripest avocados, my favorite brand of yogurt.
Am I alone in this private joy?!
scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, strawberries + avocado

Since I've been back I've had such a kick out of filling my basket full of fresh berries and vegetables, soups and hummus and good herbal teas.

I can already feel the benefits of a well rounded, clean diet with a few naughty indulgences thrown in here or there.
organic coconut yogurt w/ blueberries + raspberries

Nutrition has always been a subject I've had a keen interest in, ever since I reads this amazing book a few years ago. I started to include more raw fruit and vegetables, oily fish, grains and pulses into my diet.
Shortly after that I visited India for the first time and spent a month in a yoga ashram where we ate a strict ayurvedic vegetarian diet.
I left that place with the most sparkling eyes and glowing skin I've ever had in my life and didn't wear make up for months afterwards.
muesli w/ soy milk, banana, blueberry + mixed seeds
Of course, good habits can be hard to upkeep and when I moved to South Korea, the yoga and the diet were soon far down on my list of priorities when I was so busy meeting amazing new friends and enjoying the night culture of beer drinking and eating barbecued meat.
Toasted granary rolls with melted cheese, avocado + sun dried tomato

Although I did try to maintain a healthy diet during the week, the price and availability of most of my favored healthy comfort foods like avocados, pesto, goats cheese and chick peas had me pining (and pinning !) for my familiar food stock back home.

rooibos +vanilla tea, green tea w/ jasmine, chamomile tea

And here I am! Taking full advantage of my access to all that is fresh, yummy and good for me.
I'm a big advocate of clean eating but I don't believe in completely denying yourself of all the things you love as long as they are in moderation. 
So I'll have that slice of bacon with my eggs and strawberries and I'll add a good dose of crumbled goats cheese to my roasted sweet potato.
And avocados, my lord avocados, I could live on them! But I limit myself to half of one a day.

A little of what you fancy does you good, and I'm feeling great!

Monday, 1 April 2013

on turning thirty

Hello there April 2013, how on earth did you get here so quick?
You're sudden arrival marks the month I will say so-long to my twenties and turn the big three-o.
I told my body to stop at 25 but it seems to have stubbornly marched on with the aging process anyhow.

It's with a certain ambivalence that I approach this milestone in my life.
My twenties has been a reckless decade, filled with abandon and reverie, travel and experience, passion and love and friendships and heartaches.
 It's been wild, it's been beautiful, and I regret nothing.

At this tipping point between my final few weeks as a twenty-something and becoming a thirty-something, I'm less preoccupied with getting older than with refocusing my life goals.
I'll take that first wrinkle, the extra cellulite and the random hairs that start to spring up in unexpected places.
That's the unending march of time and there's not one of us that can do anything to change that.

What I can do is look back on the last ten years and learn from them.
While my twenties were wonderful, they certainly weren't without faults.
 There were mistakes and bad judgments, naive decisions and just plain wrong choices. There were times were I presented myself in a way that I have since been ashamed of.
However none of those were a waste as long as I learned a little something from them and use them as a marker in my future choices and decision making.
This is my first promise to thirty year old accountable and learn from your past mistakes.

I feel like I dealt with my twenties the way I'd deal with a large bowl of salty caramel ice cream with hot fudge sauce. Savoring every spoonful, enjoying the flavor and the smell and the coolness of it and licking the bowl out at the bottom.

I've reached the bottom of the bowl.

So that flavor was amazing, but what do I want to try next? I'd like to use this new phase of my life to take care of myself, my mind and my body could do with a little less recklessness and a little more TLC.
I want to be kind and to love and to show appreciation.
 To practice acceptance with the past and to always remember that all of my experiences to date, the bad and the good, have shaped the woman I am today. 
I want to focus on the things I am good at and shape them into a career that I will love and be passionate about. I want to marry my love and be a mama and fulfill that ache I've been feeling for the past few years whenever I see a beautiful baby. 
I want to write and create, to surround myself with beautiful people and things and above all to make myself proud.

If my twenties were caramel and hot fudge I'll take my thirties without the hot fudge.
Still delicious, still to be savored and enjoyed, but a tad less unhealthy.

And that, friends, is something I'm ready to celebrate