Thursday 31 December 2015

Self-Improvement Book Review

No matter how good the previous year was, I love that on New Years Eve I can put a whole year behind me and begin a new one.

Today people everywhere are most likely writing out their expectations for 2016, how to achieve them, and how to make it their best year yet. I know I am! Cue the New Year's resolutions list... I had quite a few resolutions last year but I have to say one of my best ones, and the one I enjoyed the most, was my resolution to 'Read two books a week', one fiction and one non-fiction. Granted, I didn't always make my target two books, but I made a good stab at it and in the process learnt so much.

Monday 14 December 2015

Gift giving

"Buy less, choose well, make it last" Vivienne Westwood.

As much as I can I always try to shop local and buy Irish especially over the festive season. There will still be the usual toy purchases at bigger shops - Fireman Sam and yet more Lego will make their way into our home! But, along with these, supporting small independent companies is really important to us. So this year on the blog I thought I'd write a little gift giving guide featuring some of those wonderful Irish shops and businesses that we absolutely love. I hope this post is helpful to anyone looking for the perfect gift this Christmas.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Riverbank | Country Pub & Guesthouse

Last week, with the tail end of hurricane Abigail still belting down, we set off for a night in the country.

By the time we left it was late in the evening, so we packed our overnight bags into the car as quick as we could in the biting winds and lashing rain, kissed everyone goodbye, and put the wipers on full speed. Temperatures had plummeted from the previous week and anything that wasn't nailed down literally took flight!

It was the perfect night for a country pub with a roaring fire, and luckily that was exactly where we were headed.

Saturday 7 November 2015

Cannes la Bocca Plage | Le Cabanon

I discovered an interesting hashtag on Instagram recently while browsing though Local Milk's beautiful feed. It was called #theartofslowliving. I loved it immediately. Here I found pictures of everyday things, beautiful everyday things, that sum up the simplicity of life and how truly precious it is.

And this photo I took on holiday last month with my family (Mum, Dad, Alison & Emily) really sums this up for me.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Habitat | What home means...

When Habitat decided to close its doors on College Green, Dublin in 2008 I have to admit I was a little bit devastated.. To me Habitat wasn't just a retail shop, it was a place where I used to not only browse but dream of filling my first home with its smart, contemporary, well-designed products.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Homegrown | Hallowe'en Spider Cookies

'Homegrown' is a regular recipe post using Irish products from incredible Irish producers. 
In this category you'll find recipes made with Irish ingredients, loved by the whole family, from producers who hold the same food values for quality, taste and standards as we do.

It's Hallowe'en today! No more sleeps!!

Spider-Man and Fireman Sam - who moved in with us this past week - are absolutely ecstatic!

To gear us up and get us all ready for a spooktacular day we decided to bake some cookies.

Monday 26 October 2015

Weekend Web

'Weekend Web' is a regular Monday update on the blog with links to a variety of things I've come across from the internet that I've found helpful, interesting or that I've just loved! Here's the round up...

Over the last couple of weekends I got lost in these gorgeous design books.

Monday 12 October 2015

Fig & Goats Cheese Salad with Parma Ham

I've just returned home from the most amazing trip to Mougins in the south of France. On every menu I read over there figs featured in some shape or form: fig tatin, roasted figs, wonderful cheese boards accompanied by beautifully ripe, fresh figs. They were served in sweet dishes, savoury ones, and all tasted absolutely delicious.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Fresh Coconut Water | Coconut & Chia Seed Pudding.

The humble coconut... For me, not only do they conjure up images of tropical islands, white sandy beaches and pure blue skies, they also happen to taste amazing and have lots of practical uses too. Having said that, I much prefer talking about ways to eat (and drink!) them!

Monday 21 September 2015

Weekend Web

'Weekend Web' is a regular Monday update on the blog with links to a variety of things I've come across on the Web from the weekend that I've found helpful, interesting or that I just loved!

This was what I got to tuck into to this weekend...

Thursday 17 September 2015

Mindful Mama

At the beginning of the year, I wrote the following article 'Mindful Mama' for Parent Trap the parenting section on the Xposé website. I didn't post it on my own blog at the time (I'm not really sure why to be honest - maybe I was too busy being mindful!). However, as it relates to an upcoming post 'Mindfulness with Children' I'm going to post it now.


I can’t believe it’s already 2015. For me 2014 went by particularly fast, I secretly think our three boys have a fast forward button for time though - after each new arrival it seems to speed up even more!

Monday 7 September 2015

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Thai Red Curry | Family Friendly Food

This might seem like an usual recipe for Family Friendly Food! However, because the whole family loves this dish - yep, even the little ones - I've decided to post the recipe. It's packed full of goodness and so easy to make. You can easily adjust the heat in this dish with the amount of curry paste you add, so when my boys are eating it I make sure it's mild by only adding a small amount.

I would love to be able to say that my kids love vegetables but, well, like most other kids they don't really. There is often either a whinge about them at meal times or else they spend half of the meal on a mission trying to fish them out. This dish is different though. Maybe it's the colours (or the novelty of having tiny, baby corn in there!) but they actually eat most of them in this recipe. If you do try this family-friendly meal I hope the same happens for you!

Monday 31 August 2015

Weekend Web

'Weekend Web' is a regular Monday update on the blog with links to a variety of things I've come across on the Web over the weekend that I've found helpful, interesting or that I just loved!

It's the last weekend of Summer holidays for us.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Birthday Barbecue

Wexford - the sunny south east.. Doesn't that almost sound like a faraway paradise? Well, it's not far off except you won't need your passport and there's no baggage allowance, but you might need a raincoat!

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Really easy iced coffee

The sunshine's come back! And all of a sudden I've been making these again in place of my usual morning coffee...

Wednesday 12 August 2015

How to get healthy, glowing skin.

I'm not a beauty or health blogger, but I do like to look after my skin. Since January after sticking with some New Years Resolutions - as well as continuing with a few changes I made almost 9 years ago - I've noticed a huge improvement in my complexion. And the best thing about them... they easily tie-in with a busy daily routine!

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Monday 27 July 2015

Ikea drawer revamp & Siblings co-sleeping

I don't do a lot of home decor projects in Summer, I'm far too busy doing outdoorsy things and soaking up any Irish sun we get! I did, however, finish updating the Ikea drawers in the babies room. I'm physically unable to leave Ikea furniture alone!

Saturday 11 July 2015

'Yes' Days

Do you often find that you just don’t have enough time in a day to do all the things with your children that they really want to do? Not only that, do you find you are constantly saying ‘no’? I know that children have a habit of wanting ‘the moon on a stick’ – at least mine do! And it’s impossible to give them everything they want, but wouldn’t it be really great if you could say ‘yes’ for one whole day!

Monday 6 July 2015

Loved from the web

What did you get up to this weekend? Ours was jam-packed but great fun!

Saturday 4 July 2015

Wedding Bellini | Weekend Cocktail

This day 12 years ago we were married in the capital city of Italy, Rome. When I say things like that I realise how time has literally flown!

When the ceremony finished, and the photographer gave us the nod that he had gotten all the photos he wanted, we left the beautiful church and zipped through the city to our reception, straight to the rooftop bar of the hotel, where we were served our first drink as Mr. & Mrs...

Sunday 21 June 2015

Couleurs Jardin | Gigaro

On Friday, just over a week ago, we ate at what I think has become my favourite 'holiday' restaurant - Couleurs Jardin in Gigaro, France.

We very gratefully got the chance to head to the south of France for three nights to David's parent's apartment while they minded the boys - I know... they're amazing. And looking through the photos I took there last weekend I'm realising that this time there aren't that many, which for once is a good thing!

As soon as I got on the plane, and for the rest of the trip, I wanted to switch off completely - no kids, so why not. No phones, no laptops, no iPads - I wanted to lie on the beach, feel the windy cobbled street under my feet, breathe in lots of sea air and really appreciate being there. I realise that this is not such a great idea if you're a blogger, but a super one if you're a Mama! Being constantly on the move at the moment with the toddlers (both conveniently at the 'terrible twos' stage at the same time), getting a few days to chill out in my favourite place while eating lots and lots of delicious food was like heaven.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Father's Day Breakfast in Bed

It's Father's Day tomorrow and I can't think of a better way to show him you love him than with breakfast in bed. As long as you make a plan the day before the only hard part will be trying to sneak out in the morning with the little ones to get the newspaper!

Make his breakfast as simple or fancy as you like, give him an extra hour or two in bed and I'm almost certain he'll think that his lazy brekkie is so much better than any expensive aftershave or pair of slippers!

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Loved from the Web

I hope you had a great sun-filled weekend and spent some of it outside in the glorious warm weather. We missed most of the sunshine here and headed to France where thunder storms were forecast for three of the four days we were there - typical!

Friday 5 June 2015

Pizza Night | Family Friendly Food

Every Friday is 'Pizza night' for us. But not the supermarket or take away kind...

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Weekend Web

This weekend we celebrated the wedding of one of our best friends. It was beautiful, heart-warming (I shed a monumental amount of tears listening to the speeches - that's nearly fifty minutes of sobbing!), and such great fun.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Maison Jen Makeover

About two months ago, on cue, as the daffodils started to bloom and the light changed from a winter blue to a summer glow I got that urge, like I usually do around this time of year, to smarten things up - the house, the garden, even the kids! The blog needed a bit of a spring clean too, but like a lot of things these days that took a little while to get around to.

Monday 18 May 2015

Café Gourmand

For the past nine years I’ve been completely seduced by the south of France. We try to escape there for a few days at least once a year (twice if we can get away with it!). It’s a place I know I’ll never tire of, and year after year I always find something new to discover and fall in love with. 
This is one of those things…

Friday 1 May 2015

‘Beach House’ Panelling | Part One

I’ve always thought that starting with a theme when decorating is a good idea, especially in the bedrooms.
Our bedroom - ‘French’ what else!
The babies room - A few words come to mind... ‘Nautical’… ‘Beachy’… ‘Baby’...
And our eldest son’s room, my absolute favourite - Hampton style bedroom. 

Sunday 26 April 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup | Family Friendly Food

With 9 o’clock sunsets and warm sunny days almost upon us you may be dreaming of summer salads and picnics outside, but don’t forget about soups just yet! After all, with summer less than a week away and wintery showers forecast for tomorrow… I think we all know an Irish summer is as unpredictable as they come!

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Chocolate Apple Slices

What do you do with the last of your little one’s chocolate eggs from Easter? Here’s one idea - melt them and sneak in fruit!

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Lime & Ginger Cheesecake

This recipe was a favourite of ours for years.

Thursday 19 March 2015

One year of Blogging

On the 20th of March last year I wrote my first blog post for Maison Jen, ‘Soul Food at Sea Lodge’.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Steak Tartare

How do you like your steak cooked? If your answer is “Rare” you might like this next post. If your answer is “Well done” you probably won’t!
This past week, with some heat in the Irish sun (at last!) I’ve been itching to get back to France, but I think it will be a little while before I get my fix.

Friday 6 March 2015

Ikea #2 | The Bathroom

*This blog post is the second in a series of eight*
Last year, we had a hole in our bath… I have no idea how it got there, but I do know that it happened at a very inconvenient time (as these things do) when we had a newborn and a one year old who, for obvious reasons, needed lots of baths!

Friday 20 February 2015

Wineport Lodge

If, like us, you’ve been quietly plotting an escape to chill out, unwind, and while time away doing absolutely nothing - I know just the place!

Sunday 15 February 2015

Nuts about Coconuts! | Part Two

A few years ago, when professional athletes started to drink coconut water for hydration, endurance and all round good health, I decided to try it. 

Saturday 7 February 2015

Nuts about Coconuts! | Part One

*This post is a two-parter, because I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say about coconuts into just one post!
At this stage, I’m a little over a month into my New Year’s resolutions. How are you doing with yours? I’m actually doing ok this year, so far..! One of my 2015 resolutions was to eat better. So lots more fruit and vegetables, more fish, tons more water, can’t do the less caffeine I’m afraid (I’ve recently realised that my one and only sustenance obsession is coffee!), less sugar, more coconuts - wait, what..? I know, a bit random right? But in the last year or so I’ve been slowly incorporating coconut commodities into my diet (and come to think of it my beauty regime too!). It’s something I want to continue doing, and I’m finding the benefits so good that I decided to write a post about them.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Ikea #1 | The Office

*This blog post is the first in a series of eight*
I have to admit I wasn’t sure if this post was very blog-worthy - a post about all of the things we have from Ikea, in each room of our house. But then, a few days ago I changed my mind, and decided I was going to just do it!

Saturday 17 January 2015

Hanging a Gallery Wall

About eight years ago I made a gallery wall of family photos at the end of our kitchen. It’s still there, and come to think of it so are the pictures… note to self - must hunt out some new photos!

Thursday 1 January 2015

Hot Chocolate from the Slopes

Alas, Christmas has been and gone, but before I pack up the fairy lights and head into a slightly healthier 2015 (I’ve still lots of leftover Christmas treats to get though first though!) I have one more indulgent recipe. This time for thick, scrumptious, hot chocolate. Perfect for this wet and windy New Year’s Day. Happy New Year by the way!

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