My Child is an Explorer.

If my hunch is correct, and I think it just might be, then I need to get comfortable with the idea of raising an extroverted child. I remember realising I was an introvert and feeling like ‘oh yeah, that’s it, that’s me’. I think it’s only natural to assume you’re going to have a kid that’s just like you. I mean, who else do you know as well as yourself?

Haha, how wrong can you be.

This child is an adventurer. He is bold and fearless. A born explorer. He lights up around people; smiling at strangers on the street, chatting with the man in the chemist or the woman in the bank or the little girl in the doctors waiting room. He loves nothing more than being outside, unrestrained and wildly free. He’s only 11 months young and I am already in awe of the ways he pushes himself, determined to a fault, perhaps. 

No doubt I will find the endless chatter hard. It already is and he can’t form actual words or pose impossible existential questions yet. The need to turn every possible item into a drum and drumstick, creating deafening but hearty ‘music’, seems to be an early and easily mastered skill to him. I might run ragged chasing him up the stairs, or lose the plot trying to change the nappy of a never-not-moving baby but I hope that I can find the patience to understand that we are different and that’s ok. I hope he learns the same.

Of course, things change as they are wont to do. Perhaps he will become a shy five year old or a timid eight year old, or a borderline hermit in his middle age. I doubt it but, you know, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. 

I hope that I can always meet him where he is and let him know that as long as he’s doing his best, then he’s doing pretty ok.   

Indigo + Shibori with Kathryn Davey

When Tadhg was six months old I left him (in the capable hands of his dad, not, like, on the street) for an afternoon of alchemy. I joined Kathryn Davey and a group of equally eager women (and one man!) to learn the art of shibori folding and indigo dyeing.

Kathryn lead us through the simple steps of setting up the dye bath as she poured mystical sounding powders into a vat of water. We followed her hands as she folded simple cotton offcuts this way and that – chatty and excited to get down to it.

Dipping the cloth in and out of the indigo vat tested our patience. We each weighed up dipping again for a deeper blue or unfolding the cloth to reveal the pattern. It sounds silly, but it was oddly thrilling. The whole process is a little bit magical, as first your cloth looks greeny-yellow but as it hits the air and oxygen begins to act upon the dye it turns a beautiful shade of indigo blue. The more times you dip the darker the blue becomes.

A warm sense of camaraderie rippled throughout the group as we complimented each others patterns (mostly happy accidents, we unanimously agreed), chatted about what to make next, how to make polka dots and how we’d get the blue off our hands (babywipes, it transpires). A motley mix of ages and stages kept the conversation flowing. Some people came with friends and others, like me, were alone. 

At that time it was the perfect escape. A short reprieve from the all consuming task of motherhood. I came home with lots of unique indigo shibori cotton scraps, a beautiful dyed scarf, dirty hands and a freshly buzzing creative spirit. I have some tentative plans for where I’ll take my indigo stained fingers next – keep your peepers peeled

If you find yourself in need of a creative refresh I could not recommend a workshop with Kathryn Davey more. Check out her upcoming workshops here. She also sell indigo kits so you can easily prepare a vat for yourself at home. I’m waiting for the weather to warm up so I can make a vat outside. If that all sounds a bit too messy Kathryn also sells lots of beautiful handmade goods that she has dyed using indigo and other natural materials. I have my eye on the indigo crown for a certain tiger’s first birthday. 

 

New York

Some days it feels like we never lived in California. Our life here is so far removed from anything we experienced there. Walking to walk, damp and drizzly, trying not to slip on Dublin’s cobble stones couldn’t be further from my hot and sweaty cycle through Oakland’s colourful neighbourhoods and along Jack London’s stunning waterfront. I get flashes of it all sometimes and it feels more like a weird dream than a true memory. I often find myself thinking ‘we did all that? How crazy.’ 

We flew to New York City at the end of October. It was a sort of mini break before diving head first into our new (old) home in Dublin. Rich had never been and I was excited to revisit, especially in Autumn. All that awful first trimester nausea had finally subsided and I was ready to stretch my legs and adventure for a few days.

We walked everywhere and ate our weight in everything. It was so sweet to wander and talk and have one big long uninterrupted date. We ate Shake Shack and nutella crepes and dive-y pizza and delicious grilled cheese sandwiches from Chelsea Market and amazing cookies and maybe Shake Shack again and about a million other things in between. We walked the entire length of The Highline, took the Subway across the water to DUMBO and walked back across the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked to see the Flatiron and rushed our way through Times Square (not for the claustrophic, crowd hating, slow walking averse!), we walked along the waterfront and visited Ground Zero. On our last day our paths crossed with a friend from home and we found ourselves ducking in from the downpour for pints in a pub as if we were back in Dublin. It was busy and bustling and the weather was crisp and autumnal. We had a ball and can’t wait to go back some day. Here are some photos if you’d like to see… 

Endless Summer

summer04.jpg

A few weeks ago when chatting with my friend Kirstyn she asked me how I felt about not getting a summer holiday this year. While we both took some time to ourselves over the past few months this counts as the first summer in our respective 24 years where we haven’t had at least two months of pure freedom. Oh the perks of being a student. It wasn’t something I had thought about and so her question stopped me for a second.

Truly, it feels like I have been on summer holidays since I moved to California. I think it might have something to do with the weather? I’m joking…it has everything to do with the weather. I can count on one hand how many times it has rained since we arrived. (This is not a good thing, the drought is truly a natural disaster.) However, for this Irish girl so used to a damp, cold and changeable climate being able to count on sunshine for days on end is nothing short of revolutionary. 

It is one, big, long, endless summer and it’s coming to a close. My heart is starting to beat towards home again and it’s all kind of coming full circle. Before then here are some photos to recap on the last couple of months. 

When Hannah came we spent some time exploring San Francisco before embarking on our road trip. We cycled through the city and across the bridge to Sausalito which is a cheesy, touristy thing to do but definitely worth it. I love cycling around this city. 

We spent 4th of July at Lake Anza. I read half a book, basked in the heat of the glorious sunshine and avoided the millions of kids in the water. Haha. 

These above four photos are from Jack London Square in Oakland. For about ten minutes of my commute to work this is my view. It’s stunning no matter the weather or time of day—though the morning I shot these photos was particularly stunning.

What are brothers for except playing leap frog and other weird stuff like that? We have fought and we have made up and bickered and drove each other crazy this summer but it has been nice to have him here…most of the time. 

We have spent some time housesitting and garden-sitting over the last few months. These are some of my favourite photos I’ve taken this summer. 

summer24.jpg

Hanging out in Temescal Alley is always a good idea, especially for those filled-right-before-your-eyes doughnuts from Dolly’s! 


How has your summer been lovelies? It was 34 degrees on Monday and in the high 20s today so it doesn’t look like this summer is ending any time soon. I think we’ll just have to come home to get our quota of autumn-winter chills and cosy fireside cuddling. 

Sailing in the San Francisco Bay.

Now that I’m working in Oakland I don’t get into the city much. The last thing I want to do on the weekend is sit on a sweaty bart or wait forever in line for food or deal with traffic coming back across the Bay Bridge (though, that said we do all three pretty often!). We prefer to get out into the wilderness given the chance.

However, a couple of weekends ago we braved the crowds at Fisherman’s Wharf to get a spot onboard AC Sailing’s USA 76, a former America’s Cup yacht for a sunset sail. Eoin works on board 76 a few times a week and so this was a sweet perk of having him staying in our teeny apartment for the summer. USA 76 is over 80 feet long and goes super fast. The boat is made of carbon fibre (Eoin says the boom feels crazy light!) and sails closer to the wind than a normal yacht. We got to participate in grinding and each had a chance to helm. The night was clear and the sky was a thousand stunning shades of sunset—we had to pinch ourselves as we cut through the water under the Golden Gate Bridge and took in the view of the San Francisco skyline. I don’t know how this is real life because its pretty ridiculous. 

Rich and his partner assisting in raising the main sail — the hardest task of the evening due to its enormous size. 

28360023.jpg

Me! At the helm! It was way harder than it looked but pretty freaking cool. 

It felt like we could touch the bridge at any moment but in reality there’s another 115 feet (the height of our sail) above us. 

Thanks so much to Eoin and AC Sailing SF for taking us out. If you want to see a little video of the evening check out my instagram.

It was one of those nights that makes this whole experience of living abroad all the more exceptional. I’ll always remember this night, how it felt and what we saw; it was so beautiful.