Low energy – taking it easy

Hi All,

I’ve been doing a smattering of posts lately with little to say as I’ve been a bit run down! I’m not sure if it’s remnants of the (very mild) dose of COVID I had recently or if it’s overwhelm at the state of the world this last year, but whatever it is, I’ve needed to learn to rest and be still these last weeks. Normally I’m a fairly active person, but just the thought of walking to the shop or going to the gym (which up til now I’ve done nearly every day) was too much. I’ve still been getting in the water everyday, and reading a lot of Agatha Christie books, but I’ve had to reel it in when it comes to gardening activities and my usual exercise.

Going for a walk today was so refreshing, both for my body as well as my mind. I’ve been half-cocooning again while I take this break and too much familiarity and not enough novelty really isn’t good for anyone! I was reminded of how lucky I am to be living coastal and to have these beautiful tree-lined roads right above our beaches.

The village where I live has been very chaotic lately with all of the summer visitors, and it’s been a bit of a challenge to adjust to noise again! However, I’m trying to train my mind to think ‘hey! LIFE around me again! Activity! PEOPLE!!’ So long as they are happy noises, this is a positive thing!

This pandemic has taken a bigger toll on my mind than I realise. My creativity has been ‘flat’ for about six months now, and only last week did I pick up my camera again. I think a lot of the brain fog we are experiencing is the lack of new sights and sounds and stimulation from different daily experiences. My routine became suffocating; and there was so little I could do to change it up after two years of having restrictions on travel.

I love where I live, but I cannot tell you how excited I am to travel OFF this Island! I made two attempts in the last two months. The first trip was cancelled because I caught COVID, and more recently my brain fog made me forget the right date of the flight, and we missed it. I’ve never in my life forgotten a flight!! So, I may try in the next few months again, but only when the chaos of air travel (hopefully) calms down again.

Until then, I will rest and try to create each day to be slightly different than the one before, to get out of this rut of monotony.

Love, Flora

Framing my Art!

Believe it or not, I have been taking photographs for years, but this is the first time I have printed them large-format and framed them. The result…..

‘Maum Valley Cottage’
‘Little Fox’
‘Tony’ (again!)
‘Quiz Dreams’
‘Maum Turks’

I know it may seem like such a small thing, to frame a photo, but for me it was a motion of taking myself and my art seriously. Giving it the proper attention it deserves, and displaying it properly. Digital photos are an achievement as well but, for me, seeing them on paper and in a frame in a home has really brought a feeling of satisfaction that I haven’t had before.


The beginning of Vixen’s Garden

You see a pile of soil… I see a blank canvas. And free therapy. THIS is MY season. 🥰 …. Contemplating so many possibilities, and putting some ideas into action!


Early shots. Courgettes emerging and politely keep their hats on til the last minute
Tucking in the spuds. Hoping for an abundant harvest in a few months!
I am VERY excited about the rinsing of the seaweed. 😂🤦‍♀️ Mainly though, I am just happy growing season is here again 🥰 Please excuse the product placement (IKEA bag) because it is actually the best thing on earth for people with mucky outdoor hobbies. (Firewood, seaweed, herbs, mushies, wet rain gear/ boots/ picnic, moving house, etc…)

Hello 2022! Life Updates.

Greetings from a new home, a new year, and (hopefully) a fresh start to the Springtime! I haven’t written in quite some time, and to be honest, I didn’t have a lot of inspiration these last months. My mind and energy was elsewhere, and in order to create I need to be in a very specific mindset. Relaxed, connected, awake….and I haven’t felt that way for some time. A lot of that was due to things happening in my personal life, and moving to a new part of the country, and a great deal of it had to do with all that is happening in the world right now. I am not someone who is capable of watching the news on a daily basis and not feeling absolutely crushed for days afterwards! However, these last weeks, I made a point of tuning in to what is happening to our friends in Ukraine as I didn’t feel like it was right to turn away. However, as important as it is to bear witness to the suffering of other beings, and NOT turn away from it, I needed to look after myself. Therefore, I am checking on things in a VERY limited way. It has taken about two weeks to feel mentally balanced again, and the positive thing that has come out of this is that when I made the decision to save my head, I ‘randomly’ met three new friends in my new community and each day I meet them to do Qi Gong on the beach and get into the sea after. These women are wonderful, they ‘speak my language’, and I am so grateful to have a new little circle of people to enjoy. Just taking that hour out each morning to move my body so gently but effectively, and then dipping into the sea after has made such a difference. I nearly feel like picking up my camera again! For the first time in about a year.
A little update: I have moved to the ‘Sunny South-East’ of Ireland. And the name is accurate; this was the mildest winter I’ve had in my 16 years of living in Ireland. It made such a difference to my energy levels.
New things since my last post back in June of last year:

1) I have a garden outside that I have permission to whatever I like with. The house belonged to my landlord’s Uncle who passed away two years ago. As I was reviving the garden beds and doing a tidy up (I’m doing them as no-dig beds … shout-out to Charles Dowding whose course I am doing at the moment!) I was finding little forgotten carrots and radishes in the earth. It was really touching to know that the man who planted these has since passed on. The soil was so healthy – biggest earthworms I’ve ever seen! – and I can tell he treated his gardens with a lot of love. His name was Bob. So I have officially taken over as garden steward for Uncle Bob!

I’ve inherited a beautiful little Nebelung cat named Tony – I was officially bonded to him as his Human a few weeks ago when I had him microchipped with my name and number, a big moment! 🙂 I am super allergic to cats normally so when I was connected to this cat through my partner who had just taken him in (he turned up on the farm where he was working as a stray) and it transpired he is a hypoallergenic breed, I was skeptical. However, it appears we can co-habit fairly easily. He doesn’t shed at all, and the small amount of allergen he gives off I can handle more or less, but I did have some uncomfortable asthma-type allergies happening these last months which I am hopefully will adjust eventually. When I am at home he is my little shadow. This means endless cuddles and being followed around by what is basically a hot water bottle on legs. No complaints from me!

I have joined a choir in the city nearby, and each week is like a bit of medicine. You simply cannot leave a choir practice NOT feeling great! We had our first little street performance last week and it went super well.

Let’s see, what else….between the garden outside and telling everyone I meet that I am a plant maniac, I have made three new connections to volunteer some time at a nearby community garden, a flower farm, and a garden centre.
So, there are a lot of new opportunities and connections occurring after a relatively quiet and somewhat isolated winter. It is tempting to fill my calendar with all of this but a large part of me is patiently (and some days not so patiently!) waiting for my creativity to wake up. I miss MAKING. I feel like these last two years of COVID, and especially in the winters, I have taken / consumed / self-comforted and the urge now to give / make / and share is coming on so strongly. It may be a good time to take another look at The Artist’s Way….I’m an artist, and yet I am looking through the photos I have taken these last months and only one really stands out. So here it is.

I will keep you posted on the happenings in my life in the coming days!

With Love,



I had a little walk around Waterford today. I don’t live in the city and I don’t come in often. And each time I do, it feels like I am somewhere in Scandinavia! This area is called the Viking Triangle – which makes sense! – Look at it….they were here around 1,000 years ago and still the infrastructure remains.

Happy Birthday

Today my hero would have turned 99. I met her when she was 62 and I was …zero, actually! I had the pleasure of knowing her for 33 years. She taught me most of what I know about being a decent human and a strong woman, and I respected the heck out of her. When I was little I went to church with her on Sundays just to be with her (and I liked the singing), and when she left her church due to their being not just slightly backwards and bigoted (for which I was so proud of her), she remained my full-time spirit guide in life. I miss our talks immensely; no one comes close to knowing me as well as she did. She never told my secrets, and when I was old enough for her to tell me some of hers, I vowed to do the same.
I would say that it’s unfortunate we were not contemporaries, because it would mean she could go the next two-thirds of my life alongside me, but I do think she was meant to be those few phases ahead of me in order to teach me so well.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Grandma Madeleine, I miss you xx

Merry christmas

I’ve had a Christmas tradition for about 33 years now. I’m not religious, nor is my family, who I am often separated from this time of year by an ocean. However, I’ve been watching the Sound of Music every year since I was in kindergarten. My Mom was a huge fan of all of the great musicals – something she passed on to me – and this one was often on television in the winter. I watched our VHS version so much that I remember where all of the tv ads fell…and the snowy screen that appeared when Mom had pressed pause while she was recording it. In my 20s when I was travelling home / back to my home in Ireland at Christmas, I’d often watch it on my laptop in the airports. And, here I am, in my cottage, putting on the DVD. I don’t think there is any other film that brings so much comfort.

Julie Andrews is simply an ANGEL. That is all. I adored her as a child, no matter what the film (Mary Poppins, hello???). And now, at 36, I am altering my adoring gaze from her to the Von Trapp children; the way they look at her mirrored my awe as a little one. She really must be as wholesome and beautiful as I imagined her to be. Kids aren’t THAT good at acting. 😉

Merry Christmas from my fireside to all. I am about to Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do into the evening! xx

I’ll Fly Away

Tonight I am learning how to play I’ll Fly Away on my banjo. I’m a clawhammer rookie and this tune is great for a beginner.

What a beautiful song. So simple, and yet it is one of the most loved gospel tunes. It was written in the 1930s by a cotton-picker-turned-accomplished-composer in Oklahoma named Albert Edward Brumley. I aways associated it with being a joyful song to sing at a funeral, or a song that Grandparents would sing to you at bedtime…but I just read that he wrote it while he was breaking his back picking the cotton…dreaming of flying away. So, perhaps not entirely about death, but that’s what the song ended up speaking to us.

I sent this tune to a friend in Japan and – imagine my surprise WHEN – he told me that his mother heard him playing it and said she recognised it! She doesn’t have a word of English and hasn’t ever left Japan. Albert Edward would be chuffed!

There are thousands of versions but this is one of my favourites as it is so stripped down, and yet still makes you feel so peaceful. Mississippi John Hurt doesn’t seem to know all of the words, but it doesn’t even matter.


The lyrics:

Some bright morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To that home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away

The Book Pile

Behold: The Book Pile. I have developed a very naughty habit of starting books, and then casting them to the side when another book catches my eyes. Commitment issues? 😉 I think it is time to re-train the brain to focus properly. No more loosey-goosey reading habits. Although, I will say, it is interesting how a book I am reading will lead me to discover another one non-directly. It’s like one book lights up the path ahead…a bit magical, that.

I have decided to spend the winter season getting through these books. Not in any big rush or with any pressure (what is the point then?!), but it will feel very satisfying to inhale all of these and expand the mind throughout the dark months. I tend to read better late at night, and since it gets dark here early these days – around 4:30pm – I will hopefully be able to get into The Zone early on and get tucked into a book each evening. I have a comfy armchair, lots of firewood, and plenty of time during the Covid business.

I’m happy to say that ALL of these books are my top recommended ones from the last year. I have no reason for not finishing them in one-go. I blame it on somehow developing a short attention span. Netflix, social media, being bombarded with 30 second clips and soundbytes…when did life become so fragmented? One weekend last month I read two big books on bees and it felt so gooooood! Between Friday evening and early Monday morning. Just like that. I have missed that feeling of full immersion in literature. I feel like I haven’t had that feeling in so long. TOO long.

All of this can be fixed. My brain wants something to focus on for longer than 4 minutes. I’d venture even further to say that it is CRAVING a reading marathon.

Fire is lit. Away I go! X

Goodbye social media

Hello cyber-world,

I’ve bumped off of social media after foraying back into it these last few months. I am happy to instead make this site my ‘nest’ for the foreseeable future. Having just one place to call ‘home’ online is appealing to me. Too much time is wasted when you have posts all over the place to monitor. Just writing those words made me cringe. When did social media become a task we need to see to each day?

I have to say, although I made many new connections with fellow creative-types, good people, and local businesses during these crazy times thanks to Facebook and Instagram, the slightly sick feeling in my gut remained. I rarely ignore that feeling. Something has gone so wayward with all of this. I am fortunate to be a Xennial (look it up, it’s a thing!), which means I came of age in an era without smartphones and techno-fever. I know the difference. Friends who are only a few years younger, maybe late 20s, early 30s, have never BEEN without a smartphone or social media. So how do they know that it’s not good for them? The way we interact with the world and communicate is different between us as well. I see it.

I was definitely at my happiest when I was 20, had just moved to Europe, and had nothing on me but a backpack and a book with lists of hostel names in it. Oh, and an email address. For an account I needed an ‘Internet Room’ in a hostel to check. Remember when the Internet lived in a room?

It took me about six months to buy a mobile phone, and I don’t recall feeling lost without it. I went out with people for drinks, we were fully tuned in to one another, we wrote things down on napkins, turned up at meeting points at the agreed time….it just felt so free. I haven’t had the smartphone for a few years now, and recently my workplace bought on for me as we are now working remotely….I have to admit, I hate turning it on. It feels like a leash is being clipped on to me.

Saying that, it is now a task I have set myself to find other ways of creative social networking. If we weren’t in lockdown at the moment, in-person would be ideal. The old fashioned way! However, the current times require a bit more alternative thinking. Personal websites, I hope, will make a comeback. When you hit that Deactivate button, you really are stepping out the door in many ways. But I find it becomes unbearable to stay ‘inside’ for more than a few months.

I was watching some of Jaron Lanier’s talks lately. He said something very powerful. That his proposed mode of fixing this mess requires some of the population to remain outside of social media, and that that is the starting point for finding a way to turn it around. If you are on social media, you are ‘under the spell’ and not able to participate fully in the change that is ahead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCTlcj5vImk is one of Jaron’s talks, for anyone who is also interested in this.

I continue to be surprised at the depth of my internal response to the effects of social media. Both on my own brain, as well as society at large. It terrifies me. And ‘terrifies’ still isn’t the word I am searching for. Maybe the word hasn’t been invented yet.

Dreaming of Atlantis

Photoshop. The ultimate game of escapism!

At the beginning of lockdown I realised, sadly, that it would be quite some time before I was footloose and fancy-free in the green spots taking photos again. So, I went through my huge archive of landscape photos collected over the years and started playing with them. I am totally new to Photoshop, but within minutes I was completely absorbed. You can create whole WORLDS on this!

This one I titled Atlantis. It turned out better than I expected, as it was my first play at photo processing. I’ve done a little series over the last few months and this one is probably my favourite. It has elements taken from all over the West of Ireland. Mayo, Clare, and Galway are both mixed in here. Three of my favourite places to explore near where I live. So it makes sense it is close to my heart.

Hot cocoa

My friend’s mother got me into this daily ritual of having a cup of hot cocoa at the end of the workday. I don’t know when she started it herself, but when I used to call up to visit her after work in the evenings, she’d sometimes have a little chocolate circle around her mouth. I knew she was ‘on the cocoa’! My friend always said to me ‘oh God if you see her like that before she goes out, please tell her to wipe her mouth! People will think she is crazy!’ It had never occurred to me. When I see people with messy faces and chocolate on their teeth or mouth, I consider them to be people who are enjoying their life.

Chocolate is definitely part of enjoying life. So every day when I ‘clock out’, I warm up some cocoa and reboot before beginning my evening. My day job doesn’t particularly inspire me, but I am very fortunate to have it right now. It is my hope to change direction career-wise in the coming years, but until then, I mark the transition back to my Real Life at 5pm with a cup of deliciousness. Particularly as the sun is gone here by around 4:30pm these days, this is a super cosy start to my evenings. There is also this decadent and downright naughty feeling to it that sets the creativity loose again after feeling stifled all day. Bring it on!

Cheers to you!