Monday, 26 October 2015

A carved Pumpkin? Or a Jack O'Lantern?

If I'm honest before our children arrived Halloween as an adult meant as soon as we got home from work we freshened up and went back out again to avoid answering "Trick-or-Treaters"! .... hanging head in shame! When our son arrived this all changed and I suppose it reignited our love of Halloween and its traditions! 

So today I'd like you to meet our turnip! Yes a turnip! My husband came home from the shops yesterday with additional pumpkins and a turnip! If there is one thing I love about my husband is his knowledge of many thing and seemingly a turnip is a tradition for Halloween in Ireland! 

So to reel it back a little where did it all begin? Within Irish folklore, a man called Jack O’Lantern was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity. According to legend a man called Stingy Jack asked the devil for a drink and he managed to convince the devil to change into a coin to pay for these drinks. Jack wanted to keep the coin so he kept it in his pocket beside a small silver cross to stop the devil from changing back. 

After some time, Jack decided he'd set the devil free but only if he agreed not to bother him for a year and that he wouldn't take his soul when he died.  The year passed and and Jack somehow once again manged to trick the devil. He convinced him to climb a tree to get him a piece of fruit. While the devil was in the tree Jack carved a cross in the trunk so he couldn’t come down unless he swore not to bother him for another ten years.

When Jack passed away, God would not let him enter the gates of heaven nor did the devil allow him to enter into hell. Instead Jack was sent into the eternal night carrying a burning coal inside a carved out turnip which would light his way as he roamed the earth. Stingy Jack became known as “Jack of the Lantern,” which became “Jack O’Lantern.”

From this legend people in both Ireland and Scotland began to create their own versions of their "Jack O'Lanterns". These were carved out of turnips, beets, and potatoes and placed outside their homes to scare Stingy Jack and any other roaming spirits. When this became a Halloween tradition, the lanterns were used as as guides for people dressed in costume on Samhain (Oct 31 – Nov 1) . Samhain is a traditional Gaelic version of Halloween. This is seen as a night when the divide between the living and the dead is very thin. The Samhain festival marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “darker half” of the year.

When the Irish and Scots emigrated to America they brought with them their traditions and Jack O'Lantern was one of them.They felt that pumpkins which are native to America were perfect fruits for carving and since they have become a big part within Halloween traditions. 

The original turnip carvings were quite grotesque and if you check here you will get an idea of some of the varieties created! 

This 19th Century Jack O'Lantern which was made with a turnip is on display Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co. Mayo

So as the people don't think we have totally lost it, lol! Here are some of our pumpkins that my husband drilled ...... no carving in our house! 

Data was researched from Irish Central and 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Netflix - When we got hooked!

Each time I turn on Netflix and look at what's recommended to view I'm overwhelmed by the number of fantastic options! There's something there for Me, my husband and I, our kids and for our family to watch together! So here is just a taster of some of our recent favorites. 

House of Cards

At this stage now I think we've all heard of House of Cards and how fantastic it is. This week my husband and I finally took the plunge to make a start on watching Season 1. Our expectations were high to start from reviews we'd read and heard. If I'm honest we were waiting to be disappointed ...... I'm only too delighted to say we weren't! From the first episode, we were hooked! Kevin Spacey who plays Francis Underwood from South Carolina is charming congressman and  with his southern accent you know there's more to the man that meets the eye. With his wife Claire (Robin Wright) by his side who too has her strengths makes them a team to admired and yet to "feared" - They want power and they will do whats needed in the politically correct way of course to do so! From only watching 4 episodes I can see both Frank and Claire taking charge in American politics and making sure they make their mark! 


As we all know mobile technology is a big part of our lives! And while there are times I hate it, there are times they have their advantages! One Sunday morning this was the case when my husband came across Bernard on Netflix. As our 4 year old and 21 month old were snuggling in to watch I could hear the giggles and laughter from the three of them as I was getting breakfast ready. When we'd finished, I had to see what it was all about so we cuddled in the sitting room to watch a little more! 
I love the innocence and yet silliness of Bernard. They are short little scenarios and when you hear laughter from your children well that to me is a bonus! He's a polar bear that seems to land himself in silly situations and bless him in his awkwardness his brought new smiles and laughs to our home!  

This is one that I just love .... this one is all mine! From day one I was hooked and when season two closed on its final scene I was raging that I'd to wait until a new season started to see what was going to happen next. 
Peaky Blinders is set in post World War One Birmingham. Cillian Murphy who plays Tommy Shelby is just oh so cool and as the series progresses we get to know a little bit more about the man who lies beneath. 
When you see a cast like Sam Neill who plays Chester Campbell and Helen McCrory who plays Aunt Polly,  you cant help but feel this is going to be good and for me it didn't disappoint! It has crime, gangster family, love and twists in between..... what's not to love!

I'd love to know your favorites? When did you get hooked? 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Updating the signage!

It's been quite a while since I've written a post let alone one that wasn't a review. Over the last few months things have been quite overwhelming for a variety of reasons and it's led me in different directions. Over the last few days I've been thinking about some things and realised it's time for me to update the road I'm taking so that I'm going in the direction I want to go. 

So what got me thinking I needed to get on the right path again? Well, as we all know life has a great knack of getting in the way and throwing us off course. Lately I've allowed myself stay off track for a couple reasons. One was that in ways I wasn't sure what I needed to do to get back on coarse and the second reason was sometimes its just easier to stay off the beaten track and walk through the woods hidden from it all. 

Over the last few days I've been trying to figure out what will help me to move forward and and feel like I'm on the right road again. The one thing which stood out was me! I needed to start focusing on myself again.  
Last year I made changes in my life to become a fitter and healthier me and over the last few months I've undone all of my hard work. While I could beat myself up about it I know that's not the right thing to do. I could "force" myself too to go on a strict diet and just get out there again but this wouldn't be the right thing either. For me, what I need is time to focus, time to plan and time to action. 
It's funny while I stayed hidden away in myself I'd forgotten how much better I'd felt for feeling healthier and even slimmer. The last few weeks, I've found it tough to look at myself in a positive light and I suppose deep down I was upset I let myself get this way. By now I'd hoped to have been celebrating being nearer to having lost 3 stone instead I'm going to have to now work on getting myself nearer to 1 stone again. 

Over the last few days I've been working on mentally getting myself in the right place and from next week I'm going to begin by using the skills I've gained from the #BeTheBestYou plan and along with the assistance of my local pharmacy Marron's to start pointing myself in the right direction and get my chirpy self back! I'm going to make changes within my lifestyle to lose the weight (again!) and maintain this in the future. 

I know that this time around my journey is going to be tougher but I know too that while I'm doing this for me first, I'm doing it too for my family and also for the future I want for us. With working on #secretproject it's given me faith that I can succeed. Its put the fear of god in me too as it means I'm taking risks but then I remind myself as to why I'm doing it and the same answers come up - For me, my family and our future! 

It's not going to be easy but I know that the future is bright and I for one really want to try and give it my all. While there are still some things in life that I'm sure will get in the way I'm going to do my best to navigate around them and keep myself on track as best as I can. 

When my journey begins with Marron's I will be keeping you up to date as to how I'm getting on. I'd love to hear how you keep yourself on track? What are your top tips?