Highlights of 2014- Treasure your memories and they will last forever....

To round off the year I have decided to recap with photographs that I took throughout the year.

I don't want to bore you with too long a post on the New Year so below are just a few of the highlights of 2014;
  • Completed Blogging your Way E-Course with Holly Becker from Decor8
  • Holidays included visiting- Venice- Italy, Kotor- Montenegro, Athens- Greece, Islands of Mykonos, Kefalonia and Corfu 
  • Short trips around Counties Cavan, Meath, Fermanagh, Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Longford and Leitrim
  • Dining at Richard Corrigan's Virginia Park Lodge 
  • Joined Instagram
  • Spending time at home enjoying life in the Irish countryside
  • And most importantly enjoying time with friends and family

Around my Home 2014
From top left: 1) Dried Hydrangeas 2) My living room at night 3) Kitchen dresser 4) Hall table 5) Library /Study/ Attic Room 6) Stocking up on fruit 7) Cath Kidston in my bathroom 8) Re-arranging my dresser 9) Christmas at home

My Lifestyle 2014
From top left: 1) Reading the Glass Painter's Daughter 2) Cath Kidston inspiration 3) Sketch I bought from car boot sale 4) Writing away at the kitchen table 5) Walking around the farm in my trendy Hunter Wellies 6) Reading The Hidden Cottage 7) New Mission Statement for my blog 8) Notebook from The National Trust 9) Long nights at the wood burining stove.

Happy Christmas to each and every one of you.....

Happy Christmas Everyone. Hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday with family and friends. I went to my parents for dinner after Church and then visited my inlaws and wrapped up the day watching TV with husband. It was a lovely relaxing day. It even snowed here in Ireland this morning to add to the festive feel. Hope you are having a lovely time and relaxing.

My Tree through the Seasons...

You may have noticed that I post a lot of photographs from around home and the farm on my blog. Below are a few images of my favourite tree which is on the top of the hill at home. I have started to photograph the tree through the seasons, below I have Summer Evening, Summer Day, Autumn Sunset and Winter Sunset. It is both amazing and wonderful to see nature and the landscape change around us through the seasons. Have you a favourite tree?

Christmas at All things nice...

The Christmas decorating is almost complete here at home. My husband has the large tree put up in the sun room, it is around nine foot tall. It is so big and full that I can put the Christmas cards through it for decorations. It is a real tree that he cut from the local woods. I always love having a real Christmas tree in our home. I was busy decorating it this evening. The smell is lovely. We also have a smaller artificial tree in our entrance hall too. I have to finish the garland over the fireplace nearer the weekend as the foliage dries out fast. Hope you are all set for Christmas now.... I would love to see some images of your home at Christmas.

Christmas Decorating using Winter Foliage

Hope everyone has a nice weekend. Imagine we only have one more weekend left until Christmas. I started decorating the house this weekend, using lots of foliage I picked in the hedges and woods around  the farm. I have just a few more decorations to put up and more holly to pick. Here is an image of the arrangement I put on my entrance table in the hallway, do you like it? I might add some more holly to. I'm getting my Christmas holidays on Thursday :) Have you all your decorating done? 

All things nice... on Instagram

So I eventually got an instagram account
If you would like to follow me, here is the link http://instagram.com/allthingsnice_4life/
I have nearly no followers yet as I'm just getting to grips with it...

Hope you have a nice weekend. 

Christmas Jumpers? Will you or won't you?

Do you wear Christmas Jumpers? I have seen some pretty ones this year, although I like them I don't wear them.  Here are four I found over on asos. Asos has a great range of clothing online and I love browsing through their website.

Christmas Jumpers are fun! I perfer the blue and white snowflake and reindeer one. Have you bought one this year, if so I would love to see a photo of it?

{Images asos}

Winter and What I've been up to.....

What have I been up to lately?
Below is a little collage of photos I took recently. I have spent a lot of time indoors as the weather hasn't been great. Today was miserable, however whenever I go out I bring my camera with me.

From top left:
1.Sunset yesterday evening over the lake shore- how beautiful is that sky.
2. A lovely graceful swan on the lake
3. Sparkly fairy lights on my kitchen dresser, I visited IKEA a few weeks ago and bought more fairylights.
4. Reading The Hidden Cottage- I'm enjoying it but reading it quite slowly.
5. A winter walk in the local woods- the landscape is just beautiful in Winter.
6. Eating fruit this weather to keep the colds and flus away.
7. A visit to the park.
8. Another evening sky at home, spot my favourite tree too.
9. Our cottage through the hedge.

What have you been photographing lately? It is hard believe it is the 1st December, I'm listening to Michael Buble Christmas and drinking tea at the fire. Roll on Christmas......

Exploring the Lake at the Back of the Hill...

I have looked into some of my old photo archives and decided to post some of my older photos. Hope you like this image of the lake located at the back of the hill. As you know I live in rural Ireland and our home is surrounded by beautiful lakes and rivers, there are three within one kilometre of our house.

Do you like Winter in Ireland?

Do you like winter time in Ireland? I know it can be a bit damp and cold but it can be lovely to have an excuse to stay indoors in a cosy living room with an open fire or alternatively when it is dry outside, wrap up warm and go for a nice stroll in the countryside... Here are a few photographs of what I am talking about....
 Ready to light the fire and keep cosy in Castle Leslie (Image from Co. Monaghan)

Walk along the by roads and country lanes to see the colourful leaves adorn the place (Image from County Cavan)
Dusk setting in on an evening walk (Image from County Cavan)
Even the cats are keeping warm on the farm 
and ducks are enjoying themselves (Image from County Leitrim)

Do you like Antique Lace & Vintage Fashion?

Remember I posted at the start of the month on November through the Years. As I have been blogging since 2009 I decided to feature some of my old blog posts from November in years gone past. 

So this week I am featuring some images from a blog post from November 2010 entitled Antique Lace anyone?? This post featured Sheelin Antique Lace Shop & Museum based in Bellanaleck, County Fermanagh. Since 2010 it looks like Sheelin Antique Lace has expanded to include Vintage Fashion. Their website and Facebook has some beautiful images- so feminine and sophisticated. The shop has a real boudoir feel to it. It looks amazing! It appears they have also opened another shop in London- Sheelin Lace London. I recommend that you follow Sheelin Lace on twitter or visit their websites Sheelin Lace and The Sheelin Antique Lace and Vintage Fashion

{All images from Sheelin Lace}

An Excuse to Keep Warm and Cosy at the Fire...

The start of November tends to be a bit like the calm before the storm in the build up to Christmas. The Christmas adverts are on television now and lots of Christmas stock in the shops. I shouldn't even be mentioning the big "C word" yet as we still have 6 weeks to go.

This weekend we decided to take it easy and relax, apart from some house work.  It is chilly out today and you just want to stay indoors and keep warm at the fire. We have the wood burning stove on and the living room is nice and cosy for the long night ahead. So time for some cooking, reading, blogging and watching TV. In the meantime, I have gathered together the images below for you. I am drawn to them as they all look like warm snug interiors from my travels around the Castles of Ireland.

November Through the Years...Blogging since 2009

I have been blogging since November 2009. That's five whole years! Where has the time gone. I have now decided to dip into my blog archive and show you what I have blogged about each November since I started. A lot of things have happened in my life since 2009 including building a new home on the farm, moving to the countryside, getting married, getting a new job, completing an accredited training course and getting older and wiser with age (I hope). I have now been blogging for over 5 years and hope to continue with my blog for as long as I can. It has become a hobby and rather than watch TV at night time I blog. As I work full time I rarely get to blog during the week, only at night. 

I hope you like the blog posts I have taken from my blog archive and today I will feature November 2009. 

November 2009: This year I wrote about the wonderful book "The Goddess Guide" by Irish Author Gisele Scanlon. It is full of beautiful images, illustrations and inspiration for all Goddesses out there! Six Goddesses appear throughout the Guide; The Home Goddess, The Office Goddess, The Earth Goddess, The Luxurious Goddess, The Urban Goddess and The Sex Goddess. Which one are you? I think I might  introduce my own  seventh Goddess- the Countryside Goddess. That's me with a little of The Home Goddess thrown in for good measure. It's 2009 since I blogged about The Goddess Guide and I still love it as much now. It would make a great gift for Christmas too :) 

{Images from The Goddess Guide}

Cosy & Warm at Home in my Country Cottage...

It's beginning to get a lot like winter at home...
The snug in my home is nice and cosy with the log fire burning away, my fairy lights sparkling and candles burning.What else would you want apart from a warm mug of tea.... The days are getting dark so quickly.
Hope you are warm and cosy where ever you are...

Halloween at Home...

Do you celebrate Halloween? I am not a fan of Halloween, but when I came across these lovely images from IKEA Live Hemma I just had to post them...

{Photographer Roland Persson, Food stylist: Elisabeth Johansson}

Halloween at Richard Corrigan's Virginia Park Lodge

Last Sunday myself and some family members went to Richard Corrigan's Virginia Park Lodge which is a beautiful old hunting lodge in Virginia, County Cavan owned by Michelin Star Chef Richard Corrigan. This was a Halloween themed dinner as part of Virginia Pumpkin Festival which is an annual Halloween festival run by the local community in Virginia.

Upon arrival at the Lodge, you enter through a splendid tree lined avenue which sweeps around to the front of the Lodge into the yard at the rear. There are plenty of stone outbuildings which I presume were originally the stables/mews of the lodge. These appear to be accommodation for the lodge guests. The rear entrance of the Lodge is through an archway with lots of neatly stacked logs  piled for the many open fires dotted throughout the building. There are plenty of  small rooms and alcoves with open fires, wood paneled walls, luxurious leather couches and ornate wooden furniture. You will find lots of wellingtons, fishing rods and a few guns too in the mudroom!

We had our meal in a marquee in the front lawn. With the name 'Pumpkins, Pigs & Pints' there was obviously a Halloween theme to the menu. We had plenty of pumpkin, pork and pints of local ale and lager.  I am not a drinker so I could of done without the pints- a nice cup of tea would have suited me better. Overall the food was  tasty with lots of flavours. It was an enjoyable experience. I am not a good cook or chef and definitely not a foodie so my visit here was all about the feel of the place, the heritage, history and the luxury of the old lodge. Richard has done a great job on conserving the heritage of the building while decorating it to feel homely and stylish. It was a wet afternoon so we didn't get time to explore the gardens, however, I have heard they are beautiful with lots of woodland walks. The walled gardens along with the poly-tunnels in the Lodge Gardens are supplying Richard's London Restaurants- Bentley's an oyster and seafood restaurant off Piccadilly and Corrigan's Mayfair. I would recommend that you visit the new website Virginia Park Lodge and keep a watch out for future events. In my opinion this is just the beginning of a great new luxury country retreat in rural County Cavan.

One of the Most Beautiful Places in the World...

Apart from home (which is on a rural farm in Ireland), Mykonos is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. I love the white washed buildings with the pastel blues, greens and pinks. The azure blue skies and aqua coloured ocean adds further to the charm. The old churches and windmills are so pretty juxtaposed with the low buildings and blue skies and hilly terrain beyond. It is so clean, tidy, bright and relaxing. The cafes and bars are stylish and everything looks so good in white. I fell in love with Mykonos and hopefully some day I will get a chance to visit again.....

What is the most beautiful place you have visited? Is there one place that will always be in your memories for its beauty and uniqueness?

Some Shabby Chic Inspiration....

What can I say, I love shabby chic interiors, so feminine, pretty and romantic. There are so many gorgeous images on pinterest of shabby chic interiors in homes across the world. Rachel Ashwell is synonymous with Shabby Chic- just take a look at the images below and you will understand why. They are all from Rachel Ashwell who is a designer, author and entrepreneur of all things Shabby chic. She even opened her own shabby chic hotel The Prairie.

My home on the other hand is more country cottage with natural wood and textiles than shabby chic. While I love shabby chic and vintage items, I only have pops of it about the place. Shabby Chic is basically where you choose your furniture and accessories for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear. Some items can be distressed to look like they are antique and this is a big trend in home furnishings in recent years. The colour tend to be soft muted tones. Feast your eyes on the images below from Rachel Ashwell- aren't they stunning!

Shabby Chic from Rachel Ashwell
Shabby Chic from Rachel Ashwell

Where in Ireland?

Ireland is so beautiful with spectacular scenery around every corner you take. This summer while on my travels I stopped of at this beautiful waterfall, but can anyone guess where it is? What county is it located in?

This is one of Ireland's many hidden gems....

A Cool Cafe and Bar....

On my travels I came across this very stylish coastal theme cafe and bar called Alley in Mykonos. I love the interiors and decor with the white and baby blue. It is really stylish and fresh. Outside is as nice as the interiors. Funky chairs and stools, rope lights and pretty flowers.. We stopped off for a drink to cool us down one of the days while out and about.
P.S. That is not us in the photographs, I don't know those people but it was difficult to get a photograph without customers in it. So it was a matter of wrong place wrong time.

Do you like these interiors? Do you know of any other stylish cafes or bars?
{Images my own aka All things nice...}

{Images from Alley}

Ireland in Autumn

October in Ireland is beautiful, look at the blue skies and the beautiful array of colours in the hedges and trees. I went for a walk today around the farm, the photos show you the wealth of natural heritage here in Ireland. There is also a photo of some of the buildings dotted around the landscape including the calf house, the old hen house and a view of our cottage through the hedge. As the saying goes 'Pictures speak louder than words'. Enjoy

Some DIY Around the Home

Here is some DIY I did over the summer, but never posted it. My birdhouse which my Dad made for me was beginning to get a bit weather beaten so I decided to paint it using Ronseal Wood Sage paint. I think it turned out pretty. My shrubs are still small as they are only planted a year but they are coming along well. Did you do any DIY jobs over the Summer? You will also notice that we now have the wall to the rear of the house painted and it looks much better. So we don't have that much work left outside the house. The next work to be done is finish the sitting room which I painted over the Summer months too. I will post some photos of it as it progresses. Hope your enjoying the weekend.

An Afternoon in Athens

I hope you are not getting fed up with my holidays posts, just one more this week and it is Athens. Athens and Greece overall really surprised me, I didn't think it would be as nice as it is. I was blown away with it. If you haven't visited Greece you really should, I love it now! Athens was very warm around 35 degrees the day we visited. There was a lot more trees and landscaping than I expected and wow what can I say about the heritage particularly the archaeology- it is amazing! After all, Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world- the cradle of western civilization. We visited the Acropolis, the Hellenic Parliament, the Olympic Stadium and Plaka the oldest historical neighbourhood in Athens. Here are a few of my photos.


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