Good grief, I can't believe it's Tuesday evening already. This week is going to slip away without me accomplishing anything, if I'm not careful. I'm taking steps though, one of them being writing this blog. I'm good, aren't I? Virtuous and all that jazz. Heh.
I thought about writing a comprehensive blog about the week Nic and I spent with my family in Northern Ireland but I think instead I'll just give you the edited highlights. My dinner is in the oven, you see. We had such a good week, and of course it just flew by! Our first full day at home was Sunday and it was rather lazily spent. My sisters were away, so my parents, my brother and Nic and I headed over to Cookstown for a browse around the shops. Actually, we mainly went because there is a cafe there that my dad just loves. He likes it so much he'll drive 15 miles for one of their peanut butter and banana bagels. That's what we did, and the bagels were worth the drive! We spent the afternoon watching Laurel and Hardy DVDs with my mum and dad, which was great fun indeed.
Monday saw us pottering around in Dungannon. The weather was grand - cold, but dry, so we went up onto Castle Hill to get a good look at the view:
Dungannon might not be much of a tourist spot but as it's my home town I always enjoy a day rambling around it, with the obligatory coffee in Menary's of course! Nic and I walked home via the Black Lough, which is also very beautiful:
My official photographer (Nic) thought this would be a good place to take an outfit shot for me:
Smurfette dress (Colette Patterns Macaron) and Converse, worn with the Fever Paddington coat. That dress is staying blue, by the way!
We spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday pottering around the house, which was lovely. Nic undertook his scientfic experiment to see which crisps taste better, Tayto or Tayto:
He's not too sure about the Tayto we bought in Dublin...
Looking a bit happier here, with Tayto in Dungannon (clearly this photo is taken in a supermarket, we did leave the house once or twice!)
Happiness. Tayto NI are the clear winner here. I wish this was one big bag, but it was an 18 bag multipack.
I wanted to get in on the action too.We didn't buy both big bags.
Tayto NI FTW, then. This wasn't the only shopping we did in Tesco. I don't usually like to shop in the supermarket, but neither of us could resist the clothing sale and so Nic bought a few pairs of jeans (for the first time ever, since I've known him. He looks good in them, though!) and I bought a dress. I don't like the idea of cheap throwaway clothes but the garments we bought, while not exactly classic pieces, will be worn and loved and well cared for so I didn't feel overwhelmingly guilty. Nor do I feel guilty about the two Max C dresses I bought in the sale in Paul's of Aughnacloy - photos to follow when I wear them, but you can get a preview here (I bought the blue one, and Nic bought me the red one)
We were blessed with gorgeous weather on Tuesday and Wednesday so made the most of it. My parents' fruit trees were bearing fruit, so we picked some plums and some delicious sweet apples:
Nic picking some plums
A crop of delicious sweet apples
We also spent some time with my parents' dogs, Paddy and Minnie, taking them for a walk out the road and up the hills around our house:
Minnie is every bit as evil as she looks
On Thursday we headed to Ballymena with my parents and my brother. My brother had an appointment at a specialist dentist and was told he'd be unable to drive home, so my dad drove. I'd never been to Ballymena before, and I thought it was pretty nice. Good independent shops and charity shops, and a few really nice cafes. While my poor brother was being worked on by the dentist from Little Shop of Horrors, I did some shoe shopping. I bought these United Nude heels, greatly reduced in the sale:
Shoes number 32: United Nude peep toe heels
Nic was in need of a nap when we got back from Ballymena, so I went out with Daddy. He was doing a bit of work in the home of my first ever teacher, Mrs Connolly, so I went along with him. It was so nice to see her again - the last time had been when I was five years old or thereabouts, and she was exactly as I remembered her! Later that evening Nic and I went out to my favourite bar in Dugannon, Hagan's. We were meeting my good friend Paul, and a few drinks in Hagan's has become something of a tradition. It was a fab night, and we even had our photos taken for the Hagan's website! (as yet they haven't gone up)
On Friday we caught the bus down to Belfast. It was such a lovely day, a bit cold and changeable but the right sort of day to see Belfast. I had a browse around the various vintage shops while Nic bought some comics, and we had a delicious lunch in Little Wing Pizzeria on Ann Street. In the afternoon we went up to the Lisburn Road to meet a dear friend, E. She and her boyfriend had just got engaged so it was extremely exciting to see her and catch up with all her gossip, and hear some of her wedding ideas! On our way home from Belfast we called in to see my grandma and aunt, before getting home for dinner.
On Saturday we were flying back from Dublin, but luckily our flight wasn't leaving too early. We had time to stop in Aughnacloy to have breakfast in Coffee Bean and call into Essential Hair, so I was able to say bye to both of my sisters.
It was a thoroughly lovely week at home and it really did me good. It was wonderful to just spend time with my folks and I came back to Leamington feeling much more like myself. It makes me very happy to see Nic with my family as well, he fits in so well and is able to cope with the relentless teasing he gets from them!
Also, it was a very educational week. Nic and I don't have TV so a week of watching TV at home taught me LOTS. Mainly that I don't need TV, but some other gems I picked up included:
1. Shoulders are your best friend, and they're also the greatest gift you can give to yourself (thanks fashion stylist lady on Ireland AM)
2. Shoes are designed to be worn on your feet (seriously)
3. You can sleep in a tent hanging off the side of a cliff (this was in a reality show in the arctic with Shane Ritchie)
4. Don't call round to Gerard McSorley's house unless you have been invited. He doesn't like it. (I learned this when watching Veronica Guerin)
5. If you need to stake out a cowboy builder, Dominic Littlewood is your man.
So, all in all it was a very enjoyable week, and I'm already looking forward to getting home at Christmas. I have some outfit shots from this week, but I'll share them with you in a blog post tomorrow.