It really was a wonderful week off. My sister Colleen was at home for most of the week, so we were able to spend lots of time with her. The weather was good (ish - well, when you're in Northern Ireland, it's all relative) and we had lots of fun. On Friday, Nic and I went to Belfast and basically, we got engaged! I'll front with you - there's no engagement ring, and there isn't going to be one. I don't wear rings (apart from a plastic one I bought in Paris) and I don't want one. So there's no photo of me sporting a diamond. But yeah - we really are going to get married!
Here's my lovely fiance, eating a delicious burrito from Boojum. I think it's clear from this why I want to marry this man. We have a lot of similar interests.
It came as a surprise to both of us, to be honest. We headed down to Belfast for a day out, just to dander around and have a look in the shops, and just to take in the unique ambience that Belfast has to offer. Heh. Belfast is a lovely city though, and totally worth visiting. We did all our usual things - the aforementioned Boojum burrito, (seriously there are no words for how good it is, almost worth moving to Belfast for) a visit to the Botanic Gardens, and drinks in Muriel's on Church Lane. I love Muriel's, and Nic and I always make an effort to visit there because of their delicious gin selection and fun decor. And it was over cocktails - Nic had a martini, and I had a Daisy Cosmopolitan - that we decided to get married.
Martini and Daisy Cosmpolitan. This is like a normal cosmopolitan, but instead of vodka it's made with gin - and it has crushed raspberries in it.
BLAME GIN. I've always thought that I didn't want to get married, but what I have realised recently is that it's weddings I'm not interested in. I don't want a wedding. But being married would be lovely, and a few gins in, I told Nic that this was how I felt, and he agreed, so we decided that it'd be a good idea to get married. It might not sound terribly romantic, but to us it was. I'm so happy that it's something that we decided on together. I already knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Nic, but it just feels right now to make it official.
Daisy Cosmo = Happy Roisin
I still don't want to have a wedding, so the current plan is that sometime next summer, we will get married in a small ceremony in Kent, and then have a party. Naturally enough, I will be making my dress - but it probably won't be a white dress job, just something fun. And with awesome shoes! I'll be keeping my name, too. But Nic and I will be married, and that will be wonderful. I couldn't be happier. Our families were delighted as well, which is wonderful. I still can't quite believe it's real!
So, that's one big reason why the holiday was fucking awesome. But there were other reasons too - namely, hanging out with my family and having good days out, and playing with the dogs. Nothing big - a free concert in Dungannon Park; a long walk around Benburb Priory complete with Dale Farm Choc Pop ice lollies; a visit to Armagh with my sister to tax her car (less fun for her than it was for us); dinner out with my sisters and brothers-in-law and a walk around Navan Fort with Daddy and the dogs. I'm pretty tired and I have to get up early in the morning, so I'm just going to share some photos and then get on with drinking my cava and going to sleep.
Benburb Priory, Co. Armagh. I hadn't been here for a few years - it's very beautiful and dramatic. We walked the dogs, explored the grounds, and picked blackberries in the sunshine. There's an apple tree in my parents' garden and Nic and I made blackberry and apple crumble with our foraged fruits.
This is the River Blackwater, just up from a weir called The Salmon Leap. Daddy told us how slippery the rocks were here but then had to get climbing down for a walk around. He's like that.
Mini stalked me and Nic all week. She's not normally so affectionate, but she was like our shadow and wasn't happy unless she was sitting on my chest or on Nic's lap! The wee monkey tried to break into our room a few nights, too.
Daddy and the dogs right on top of Navan Fort. This is an iron age structure outside Armagh - it's not really known what it was for, but it's really cool. The dogs loved it - there were lots of rabbits to chase - and Daddy loved it too.
My family are dog people. I visited my Granny a few times, and met my Auntie Tish's dog, Rummy. She's a shih tzu puppy and very wriggly and friendly. She was desperate to get meeting Mini, but Mini was having none of it. I think she'd have eaten poor wee Rummy if she got the chance - she doesn't play well with other dogs.
This is me with my Granny when I was nine months old. Granny gave me this photo the other day. She's been ill recently - she's had pneumonia and was in hospital for a good while. She's back home now and in good spirits, and she's still as sharp as a tack. The last time I was home, she told me that when my Grandfather proposed to her, she told him not to buy her an engagement ring. She told him that instead, she'd rather have a new suit, hat and pair of shoes to wear to get married in. She's still very style conscious at 83 - when I saw her yesterday, her socks matched her cardigan.
Nic and I went shopping with Colleen yesterday to the Linen Green in Moygashel. I never see things with my name on, but even I didn't want to buy this candle. Still - you have to admit, it's like they looked into my soul. IT'S LIKE THEY KNOW ME.
My beautiful husband-to-be, outside the Lanyon Building at Queen's University, Belfast.
I will be back in the week - I've had a week away from my sewing machine, but I do have some recent makes to show you. And also about 7,435 photos of the dog that it would be unfair to show you all at once. Goodnight!