Too Soon?

I am counting down the days. No…not until Christmas. This is related to that holiday but this magical day comes ever so slightly sooner. Only 18 days to go people…18 days before we can all dig out and dust off our collection of Christmas jumpers! YES!

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What do you mean you don’t have a collection of Christmas jumpers? What…you don’t OWN a Christmas jumper?! Wow you are missing out my friend, on this joyous, festive item!

If you have read my ‘Little Old Me’ page you will know that I’m a sucker for an awesome looking jumper. I am often mocked for my strange love for this item of clothing. A lot of girls are shoe or bag fanatics, but me, I love jumpers in all their forms. From crazy prints, unusual styles to just a plain old comfy jumper. The king of all jumpers has to be…the Christmas style pullover of course!

I have one or two that are just desperate to make their annual appearance.  However, whilst waiting for some work to render, I thought I would peruse the H&M website to see what new items they have in. H&M is always a winner when it comes to jumpers and cardigans. Good quality, good fit and still a reasonable price.

Just look at these beauties I found online…

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Ah I want them all!

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I am definitely tempted by the middle navy jumper for this season. It’s a classic print with the traditional top third coverage. I just love the combination of wintery colours that would go really well with various coloured jeans that I own. Pair this with ankle booties, a cute bobble hat and a warm winter mac and a jobs a good’un.

I know the Mickey Mouse print and the My Little Pony design aren’t exactly screaming CHRISTMAS, but hey they are still magic based and what is Christmas without a little magic! I seem to be drawn to Mickey Mouse designs lately. I am currently typing this whilst sitting in my mickey mouse print pj leggings from Primark. Suuuppper comfy! I just love the ensemble that the model is wearing. Mixing the monochrome Disney print with a red checkered shirt underneath. Just seems to work!

Who says jumpers are just for day time ay?! Mixing two of my favourite things: jumpers and the colour green. I would wear this jumper to a December date night or to a festive jaunt to the pub after work on a Friday. I love that it’s still casual but the subtle sparkle dresses it up a little. Perfect for the up and coming festive season. I would definitely team this with skinny black jeans, heeled boots, a simple long necklace and a clutch bag. I would keep the accessories minimalistic so they don’t clash too much with the jumper.

I can’t wait to have a little look around the shops to scout out the new wintery christmas stock. Won’t be long before I’ll have to start thinking about Christmas shopping. Ah I love this time of year! If it wasn’t for the constant rain, then this would be my favourite time of year for sure!!

You guys got your Christmas attire at the ready? Not long now!

Just remember:

A jumper is for life, not just for Christmas.”

Erm…unless it’s a Christmas jumper.

-MooFace-


 

Links

Dear Santa Jumper – £14.99

Green Pattern Knit Jumper – £29.99

My Little Pony Jumper – £19.99

Navy Jacquard Knit Jumper – £19.99

Reindeer Jumper – £24.99

Mickey Mouse Print Jumper – £12.99

Red Snowflake Jumper – £14.99

 

 

 

Fancy Dress Fun Times – The Spooky Edition

Now I’m a girl who loves any excuse for a chance to play dress up! It allows me to stretch my creative muscles and to embody someone/something else for the evening. For one party I went as a dinosaur within a cardboard/paper mached Jurassic Park jeep!! That is why I bloody love Halloween. Even the bah humbug Scrooges of the fancy dress world come out to play. I know Halloween usually involves the usual costumes: black cats, vampires, skeletons, but hey…why mess with the classics?! You can take these original ideas and add your own touch to them to make them unique.

Sadly I have no parties to attend this year but I think me and the fella may stay in, throw some scary films on the tv, carve some pumpkins and paint our faces! Painting faces is always a must! I thought I would put together a little post for those who may need some last minute ideas for this coming all hallows eve.

Skeleton

skeletonCostumes

With this skeleton theme you could go three ways with this: full on get up, just the artistic face, or rock a skeletal outfit. If you don’t feel comfortable with your whole face painted, you could don a skeletal themed outfit like this adorable ASOS dress. If I were to wear this I would also go for a 90’s style black choker like in the photo, black nail polish and some chunky blocked heeled boots for sure. This swing dress is really cute and fun and would make a nice causal house party style outfit.

I think I would probably go with choice number two. I would go with a cool black outfit, which means I could wear it again over the festive period. I would either go for a long floaty black dress, or something like this gorgeous ASOS strapless jumpsuit. With this jumpsuit you would be able to accentuate your makeup by bringing it down to your chest like the images at the bottom there. I have actually used these images before as reference when painting my friend Luke’s face a couple of years back. The shapes are quite simple but it’s all about the blending to get those deep hollow shadows.

ASOS Scuba Bandeau Jumpsuit with Peg Leg – £40.00

ASOS Halloween Skeleton Heart Swing Dress – £22.00

 

Vampire

vampireLook

I like using items of clothing for costumes that I already own or buy pieces that I would like to wear again on other occasions. With saving to travel at the moment this is a must for me. With this vampire look you could use many different items that you probably already own in your wardrobe. Velvet items, LBDs, Skinny jeans, anything red or black really. I fell in love with this sexy little velvet lace crop top from River Island. You could team this with ripped skinny jeans, or leather trousers for a sexy femme fatale look. Again I would wear this with chunky block heeled boots and accessorise with Halloweeny themed jewellery. I also found this amazing knit dress from Nasty Gal that has this fun red lip print, I thought this would also be a good choice for a vampire theme.

I love the really creepy style makeup there on the bottom left. Teamed with some faux fangs this would certainly win in the heebie jeebie stakes. Or you could also go down the sultry road with smokey eyes, winged eyeliner and team this with deep red lips. This would work really well with the velvet cami and jeans look.

Nasty Gal Kiss and Tell Knit Dress – £48.48

River Island Red Velvet Lace Cami Top – £22

River Island Black Ripped Knee Lana Superskinny Jeans – £35

 

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

dayofthedeadlook

This is one of the themes I am toying with this year. I would love to create a colourful style face design like the image just above. I love the intricate swirls along with the bold eye designs. Nick has painted this style on me before a couple of years ago, which was fun. This costume is all about the face, the floaty dress and the flowers. There are many images out there on the interweb that you can use as reference for the face painting design. The main features are the dark eyes ringed with circular patterns, the forehead and chin designs and the delicate skull features woven in.

To finish off your facial masterpiece you’ll need flowers and the bigger the better. Loose messy hair with some floral detailing. You can find many floral hair accessories around in the stores but I chose to add this purple wild rose crown, made by Stephanieverafter, to the image collection. I came across this company when I joined The Blogger Programme and watched some of the ‘Blogger Box Openings’ on YouTube. This name kept popping up so I took a look at the site. I thought her crown pieces would be perfect for such a costume. I loved this purple colour, very Halloween.

ASOS Jarlo Sienna Maxi Dress with Lace Hem Insert – £22.00

H&M – Long lace dress – £29.99

Stephanieverafter – Purple Wild Rose Crown Amethyst – £14.00 

 

Monster

MonsterLook

Okay so the images I have above aren’t quite the big green fluffy kind, but I thought that if you wanted to go as something a little different, something fun which doesn’t require hours of paper macheing or spending your Halloween evening sweating in a monster onesie, this could be a more playful and girly alternative. Ok I am in love with this monster tshirt and clutch bag!!! Look at their little faces. I would actually wear/use these other times apart from Halloween. You could team this tshirt with anything from a black bodycon midi skirt to leather leggings to denim shorts. So many options with this fun top. I would definitely team this black ensemble with these vibrant monster themed nails. As for your makeup, you could go as crazy and creative as you want, you are monster after all. I quite like this messy, distressed glitter look with bright polished lips.

ASOS Cropped Boyfriend T-shirt with Halloween Monster Face Print – £12.00

ASOS Halloween Monster Face Clutch Bag – £15.00

House Of Holland Nails By Elegant Touch – Mental Monsters – £7.99

Porcelain Doll

DollLook

Last year I went to a Halloween party as a broken porcelain doll, as you can see from the top right hand picture. There’s Nick in his awesome homemade Frankenstein’s Monster costume! He even had a mug to match. I wore a very 70s style shift dress that I bought from Primark many moons ago and tied some black ribbon around the waist to bring it in. I teamed this with black lace up heels, frilly ankle socks and a skull bow headband that I bought from H&M. I used bright purple eyeshadows for my doll eyes, teamed with false eyelashes on both my upper and lower lashes. I applied a generous amount of bright pink eyeshadow to my cheeks and placed red lipstick to just the centre of my lips to give me that delicate doll look. To finish the whole costume I carefully painted black crack marks across my face and then used white paint to add highlights. This gave the cracks more dimension.

These are some of the images I took inspiration from for that night. I found these dresses and thought they would work really well for a doll outfit. The shift style dresses really seem to work well for this costume idea as they kind of create a girly girl, dainty look.

ASOS Free People Cami Slip Dress with Lace Detail – £78.00

Missguided Bibi Chiffon Smock Dress Navy Floral – £19.99

Missguided Berangaria Black Caged Sleeves Swing Dress – £24.99

Missguided Agatha Oversized Smock Dress Daisy Print – £24.99

I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to dress up as yet…something that involves some coooool face painting and makeup I think! Do you know what you’re going to be yet? If not I hope this may have given you some inspiration. How about sending me your cool Halloween looks this weekend?! YEAH!

Have fun guys and ghouls!

-MooFace-

What Every 20 Something Moo Face Needs

So I turned the grand old age of late 20 something last month and was amazed by the wonderfully thoughtful gifts that were bestowed upon me. One such gift was bought by my older brother and his lovely wife. It was this…

Ukelele1

ukelelecollection

Yes I was bought this beautiful ukulele for my birthday! I couldn’t believe it, I was so surprised! They also bought me a set of spare strings, some picks and an electric tuner. My fella then allowed me to open one of the gifts from him…a beginners guide to the ukulele.

I’m so excited to learn a new instrument. I’m not a complete newbie to the world of music, I was a pianist (hehe pianist) for 9 years. Nothing professional mind, just a hobby. I was always drawn to music when I was younger and when the opportunity came up at primary school, I begged my mum to let me take lessons. Now I don’t blame my mum for being a tiny bit hesitant, as a youngster I had a bit of a habit of picking up a new hobby and dropping out once it seemed like I was gonna take it seriously.

Ballet: dropped out once I had all the gear
Brownies: dropped out once I had the uniform
Horse riding: no I didn’t drop out once I had a horse, but after my mum bought me a riding helmet for Christmas.
I wanted to try everything and I’m so grateful to my mum for allowing me to do this at her expense and time. The only things that seemed to hold my interest were swimming: 8 years and piano: 9 years.

With both these hobbies it came down to school. I couldn’t take the early morning swim training sessions and weekend galas along with my school work and I dropped piano because I struggled to practice for my grade 5 whilst trying to study for my GCSEs. In the end I chose school as I knew what I wanted to do with my life needed good grades.

But I have always kept that interest in music. Having a piano in my life isn’t really an option for me at the moment and then I started day dreaming about playing the ukulele.

“Why not a guitar?” I hear you say.

I have tried playing Nick’s electric guitar and I did enjoy it, but there is something about this miniature music machine that just captures my heart. I like the idea of being able to take it with me on our travels, play sweet mellow music and getting everyone singing. That is if I manage to learn how to play it…

Struggle number one: If you have read my post ‘Big Hand Big…Nails’ you would know that I have rather large hands and long fingers. Nick says if he painted my hands blue I would look like I have one of those Go Team foam finger hand things :-/ the meany! Now these beauties worked a treat when I played the piano! I was able to stretch out wide for chords with ease. Now when I have to press the chords on my ukulele, it’s a little challenging to squish my hand into those positions. It feels like hand yoga! I’m sure with time and practice my hands will get used to it.
Struggle number two: My lovely long nails! I am lucky to be blessed with large long canvases that I paint and decorate often. My piano teacher used to always ask me to cut my nails to avoid the tapping sounds on the keys but I refused. In netball I would rather take a hard hit and have one of my nails fly across the court before I voluntarily trimmed them all. Now I have had to. I tried to keep them long but I have the issue where the tip of my nails are touching the fret board and my fingers aren’t actually touching the strings. Waahhhh! But I’m dedicated to the cause and have trimmed my nails to a manageable length.

My brother would like me to learn two songs before I return home for the Christmas holidays. I’m glad he gave me this challenge. It puts me under pressure and gives me a deadline to aim for. I have to admit, after starting this first one it may only be one for Christmas, but hey…better than nothing right?! So the song I have chosen is…‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers. It’s a catchy song and really good for beginners. I started watching YouTube videos to help me out and they’re great! YouTube is such a great source for learning new skills. I’m still at the early stages. I understand what I have to do but my brain and my hands aren’t quite cooperating at the moment. But I will get there with practice.

ukeleleGif

So I will keep you informed on how I’m getting on and if I do actually manage to learn how to play it, I may even record it and post it on here. Ah more pressure!

If you have any other ukulele newbie song recommendations please let me know!

So that it is all for now from your ukulele playing Moo Face. Have a good weekend guys and girls

-MooFace-

I Gained the Gift of Eloquence…Apparently

After our hiking adventure we chose to spend the rest of our holiday being traditional tourists and visiting the sights that Cork had to offer.

We were staying at Sheila’s Hostel for a couple of nights to save ourselves a little bit of moolar. It wasn’t as fancy as the brochure makes it look but it did the job. It was in a good location, close to the centre of town and the staff there were friendly and really helpful. We again had a shared room but it ended up being just us two, which was lovely. The place is great for travellers but if you’re looking for somewhere to have a good nights sleep, this isn’t the place for you. The big heavy doors need some kind of mechanism on them to stop them slamming because that is all you hear through the entire building. The only other problem was that our room was windowless, which meant that it got very very warm in there. Oh well…for £15 each, a bed is a bed and we didn’t spend that much time in there anyway.

For our first full day in Cork we decided to catch a coach to Blarney Castle. Nick’s grandparents told us about this earlier on in the year and said it was a must see. It wasn’t too far on the coach, even though my feeties were more than happy for the journey to last longer. It was a glorious sunny day so this was perfect weather to do a bit of sight-seeing. The Blarney Castle was built around 600 years ago and is situated within the most beautiful gardens that you can wander round. As you follow the path up towards the castle, its structure just seems to appear from behind the trees and looks like a scene out of a movie. The path was lined with trees that were wrapped in knitted covers, which was super cute and added a little quirky colour to the surroundings.

BlarneyCastle

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This castle is a partial ruin but you are still able to visit the various rooms which gives you a good idea of how large and grand this building must have been when people were living there. Now the main thing to do when you come to visit the Blarney Castle is kiss the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that if you kiss this stone you will be gifted with eloquence. Now I must confess that I had to google this afterwards as I didn’t have a clue what this word meant, but I went and kissed it anyway as the word sounded pretty positive to me. Did they put this stone at the bottom of the castle at an average person’s height? Noooo don’t be silly, they aren’t going to just give this eloquence away. This stone is placed at the top of the castle, but low enough that you have to lie on your back, hold on to two bars and lean yourself back down a hole and stretch your neck out to kiss this smooth rock. Now I’m not the greatest with heights. I’m not terrible, but you know when you get a little wobbly and butterflies in your stomach. I went first whilst Nick had his GoPro rolling. A guy who works there tells you what to do and holds on to you gently as you lean yourself over the edge. I stupidly looked down towards the ground waaaayyyy below me before I kissed the stone. I didn’t realise I would have to stretch so far for it. Now Nick’s turn, he passed me the GoPro and I pointed the camera towards him as he kissed the Blarney stone. Here is where I may have made a little bit of a mistake. I assumed that when Nick passed me the camera that it was still rolling from my stint. Errrr turns out it wasn’t! DOH!

"crap!"

“crap bags!”

I think I’ve done this before on our travels on one or two occasions and I felt so guilty that I decided to purchase the over priced touristy pictures that were taken. It was the least I could do for missing him in action. I’m pleased I got them though, how cool are they!!!

IMG_5007

For once we weren’t in a hurry to be anywhere or to reach a destination at a certain time so we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and went on a little stroll around the surrounding gardens.

I would definitely recommend a visit to the Blarney Castle if you are ever visiting Cork. I bet these grounds look breathtaking in Autumn when all the leaves have changed colours and the sky is clear.

Hope you enjoyed my little post.

-MooFace-


Links

Sheila’s Hostel – We had a 4 bed room (bunk beds) with an en suite and this cost us £15 each per night.

Blarney Castle – This cost us about £10 each for entry to the Castle and the grounds.

What’s That I Hear You Say? I’ve Been Back From Ireland For Ages and STILL Haven’t Finished These Blog Posts?! Yes I’m Rubbish!

packingUp

The Last Leg of The Wicklow Way

With our tents packed up we couldn’t quite believe that this would be our final day of hiking. By the evening we would have completed 100 miles, The Wicklow Way, in just 5 days! For two inexperienced hikers this would be a massive feat. I’m really glad we got to stay in this beautiful little town. It was so quaint with the bunting everywhere and the small local shops.

Tinahely

ChopChop

We headed off in the direction of our final destination, Clonegal. Just 15 miles to go. The sun was shining and the path was mostly flat, which was lovely. However, even with such flat terrain, after 4 days of intense hiking our bodies were struggling. Every sign we passed we were counting down the miles and trying to predict how long we had left. After the first 5 miles we took cover from the midday sun and let our feet breathe. The thick socks and crazy heat had caused my feet to break out in heat rash. Grim! I let my feet enjoy the breeze and wriggle room for a while until the sun started its long decent. As much as I didn’t want to I had to put my poor feeties back in their boot cages ready for the next 10 miles. Just 10 miles to go!

We hit a long straight road, it was so long that we couldn’t even see where it would end. These past two road walking days were very different to the earlier days. Not only because of the terrain, but the effect that this terrain had on our motivation and our moods. The paths were easier on our bodies, but the views were not as breathtaking and distracting from the task of hiking. My feet were happy for the Tarmac below them, but my brain missed the valleys, the breeze whipping my hair across my face and the challenges of getting across to the next map marker.

About half way down this long old road a car passed us and pulled over just ahead. A very kind lady offered us a lift to the next town. We looked at each and then back at her, our heads slowly turned to the comfy empty seats that lay just behind her. It was so tempting but we had come too far to bail now. We thanked her but declined the offer. As she drove away we wondered whether we had made the right decision. I’m happy to say we did.

At the next junction we decided to have a little lunch break. Gas cooker, flavoured rice, water…done! I lay back on my bag, just listening to the sound of the world go by, staring at the sparse clouds that littered the sky. I was actually starting to enjoy this outdoor living. I kind of felt like I did when I was travelling round Asia. Nothing to worry about but getting to our next destination. I am really looking forward to planning our BIG travelling adventure. We still haven’t ironed out the details…but we will be very soon.

LunchBreak

After packing up our lunch things, we headed down the road and reached a cross roads. Were my eyes deceiving me?! Could it be? There was a sign for Clonegal and it actually said “1 mile to go”. If we could have sprinted there we would have. We did pick up the pace a little though…well as much as our legs would actually let us.

Clonegal

VerySlow

IrelandTracks

Before we knew it, there it was “Welcome to Clonegal” We hugged the sign with such excitement! We’d only gone and bloody done it!! 100 miles in 5 days! We had completed The Wicklow Way!

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MadeIt

Bridge

With no pubs open, what with it being in the middle of the afternoon in a tiny village we parked up on a bench next to this gorgeous river and admired our surroundings. Such a lovely little place to finish our hiking adventure in.

We were informed by some fellow Wicklow Way hikers that the only place where we would be able to catch a coach to Cork, was in a town 4 miles away! The thought of walking another 4 miles sent shivers through my body. The two hikers were staying over night in Clonegal and getting up early to head to Bunclody. We couldn’t face getting up super super early for another morning of walking and we just wanted to kind of get it out the way. So with our bags and boots back on we headed south. This time however we wouldn’t be turning down any lift offers and actually stuck our thumbs out to hitch a ride. I have never done this in my life and never thought I would!

After about 10 minutes of cars passing us by I gave up on the idea of this actually working. I kept sticking my thumb out though, just in case. As we struggled up a steep hill a small car passed us….and actually pulled over at the top. It had only gone and bloody worked. Irish people…you guys rock!!! This guy, probably around my age, was also heading to Bunclody and said he was happy to take us! YES! So we all got chatting…you know, the usual conversation questions. Where have you been? Names? Where have you come from? When I mentioned Essex he looked back at me in the review mirror:

“You don’t live near Bas Vegas do you?”

Now only people from Essex seem to know of and ever call Basildon Festival Leisure Park, Bas Vegas!

“Er…I actually don’t live that far from there. How do you know of Bas Vegas?”

It turns out he had lived in London and Kent for years and had often visited friends in Basildon. I mentioned I went to university in Kent and…small bloody world…we had both gone to the same art institute around the same time.

mindblown

He was a wicked guy and told us the best places to head to for dinner and areas to avoid when he dropped us off. Driver man, who ever you are, I thank you dearly!

After dinner the guy behind the bar told us of a park that we could camp in that wouldn’t be any trouble. This was my least favourite wild camp of them all. It wasn’t like a foresty park, it was a football/rugby park where a lot of people walked their dogs and carried out their evening jogs. I didn’t feel sheltered from prying eyes and felt very uneasy as I got into my tent. Nick kindly gave me some weapons to help me feel safer. A mini shovel and a swiss army knife that looked like it had come out of a Christmas cracker, I think it did actually come out of a cracker last year. It would have to do! I fell asleep hugging my defensive weapons of choice.

I felt much better in the morning once all my stuff was packed up and my wild camping days had come to an end. The next part of our holiday was much more traditional in the way of a city break. A coach to Cork to take in the sights, the food and the local booze!

Hiking mission – DONE!

-MooFace-

Day 3 & 4 – A Tough Old Slog

Sorry for the delay in my blog posts, I know I said I wouldn’t drag these out but these last couple of weeks have been just plain crazy hectic! Still trying to find the balance between working, socialising, blogging and I now have two new skills I want to learn but I will reveal these in another blog. Ooooo intrigued? So to continue with these Irish adventures…

Day 3: Lough Dan – Glenmalure

I awoke slightly groggy, cold and keen to get packed up and back on the road. I accidentally didn’t zip my sleeping bag up fully, so the chill woke me up during the wee hours of the morning. I also made the mistake of placing my backpack at the bottom of tent so I wasn’t able to stretch out fully. Something I duly noted for my next wild camp. Once up and packed away and with our tummies rumbling we decided we wanted some proper grub for brunch so we headed off in the direction of Laragh. After some food we would then continue onwards to Glenmalure. The flies returned with a vengeance and tormented us for the first hour of up hill climbing. It was safe to say that I wasn’t in the best of moods.

Signs

After the climb we steeply descended into a little forested area just outside Laragh. A quaint wooden bridge crossed a pretty little river and we decided to explore this beautiful spot and clambered over the rocks for a cheeky photo opportunity.

river3 river1

river2

Laragh is a small picturesque village with only about 360 residents along with many Wicklow way hikers coming and going. Not far down the road we found a lovely little restaurant with outdoor seating so chucked off our bags, took a seat and ordered two pints of Guinness without even perusing the menu. Our first genuine Irish Guinnesses and my god did they taste good. I ordered lasagne, garlic bread and chips for lunch and it tasted like the best food I’d ever eaten. Screw you Nutrigrain bars!!! I sat there with a gigantic grin on my face as I enjoyed my gorgeous carbtastic meal.

Lasagne
firstGuinness

Content in the moment, chatting away about the journey so far and enjoying each sip of the stouty goodness, we soon forgot where we were and our mission for the day. We still had 15 odd miles to cover before the sun went down. We begrudgingly downed the remainder of our pints, paid the bill and got back on the road.

I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep, my achy legs or my belly full of Guinness but I struggled! It may have been all these things?! The Wicklow Way crosses the main valley floor in Glendalough and the gradual incline soon turns into a strenuous steep climb up large stone steps along side the Poulanass waterfall. I didn’t even have the strength to admire this view, which was such a shame. I just kept my head down, the sweat joining my tired tears as they dripped off my nose. I had to really push myself up to the top. Once past the waterfall the path continued to climb but not at such a dramatic gradient. Nick saw my tear-stained face and suggested we took a break. He asked me what was wrong and I literally just burst out crying. I had no energy, no drive and the number of miles we still had to cover over the next couple of days was really playing on my mind.

“I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this. I’m so tired and my legs and feet are killing me”

After a cuddle and a nutrigrain bar I had calmed down enough to carry on. This was a tough day. The path just continued to climb, weaving back and forth, snaking up the mountain side. The gigantic trees seemed to home in on us, blocking any form of view and restricting any glimpse of a potential peak. I could see that Nick was starting to struggle too. We were so tired and the lack of view and conversation meant we only had one thing to think about and that was walking. One foot in front of the other. With the silence that surrounded us, our footsteps sounded like a marching beat. We tried to keep to this rhythm and pace to keep us going. Left, Right, Left, Right, Keep, Going, Keep, Going!

After what felt like a lifetime the trees started to thin and eventually gave way to the most refreshing chill and the breathtaking view of the valleys far below.

HighUp Sheep

At the beginning of this climb, down in the valley, we were surrounded by hundreds of day walkers, bagless and carefree. As we ventured further and further up the numbers dwindled and people were replaced with sheep. Greeting us with their baaass and one even decided to follow us for a bit. This brought back memories of going to Wales when I was younger. My auntie and uncle lived in a small seaside town, but they lived further up a mountain track. After dinners we would often take walks up into the mountains to walk off the yummy food and feed the local sheep.

My silent prayers were answered and the path started to descend down these giant stone steps. I let gravity do its thing and let the weight of the day carry me to the bottom of the next valley. Suddenly we came across a road and that meant only one thing…we were close to Glenmalure, our stop for the day! We were meant to be wild camping that evening but we both had had such a strenuous day that we caved as soon as we saw the sign for the Glenmalure Lodge.

“I don’t care what it costs, I will put it on my credit card. I just need a shower and a nice comfy bed for the night” I said to Nick

It was the cutest little place and our room was actually rather large with a power shower and a bed so comfortable I almost forfeited going to dinner to just lie there. I’m glad I didn’t though. This image below was my burger…..how awesome is that?! Not just a normal burger, a burger with all the tasty trimmings piled on top. We spent the evening eating, drinking and celebrating finishing such a tough day.

Burger?


Day 4: Glenmalure – Tinahely (The Big One)

Day4

I slept soooooo well and felt 100 times better about what lay ahead of us. After a lovely breakfast we headed out into the sunshine and made our way…UP! aw man you had to be kidding me!! Yep we headed up hill to our first peak of the day. This was also another scorcher of a day (I thought Ireland was supposed to be rainy and cold). There wasn’t much shade about so any we did come across we would take shelter and rehydrated.

This climb only lasted about 45 mins which was very short compared to yesterday. A breeze decided to join us and I felt in good spirits. I eyed up the path ahead and knew today would be a beautiful one.

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I looked over to see Nick’s head down and pain on his face. His boots had caused many blisters from the previous days and even though they were bandaged up the pain was obvious. I tried to keep the conversation light to take his mind off it until I knew he just wanted some peace and quiet to push through. I popped my headphones in and just passed through the miles, walking in time with the tunes.

At around 1pm we came across a little patch of grass next to the road with little boulders to perch our bums on. We thought it was probably a good idea to get out of the sun and refuel for the second half of the day. Nick seemed to perk up as his feet gave up complaining so much, knowing they would not be getting any rest any time soon. After a little Irish jig in the road, no kidding, we thought best to carry on.

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I love the homes they have around this area of Ireland. They are either these perfect, American looking houses with massive drives, show home style gardens and panoramic views or they are these cute cottages painted in cray cray colours. Look at the one below. Now I love the colour green but I would never think to myself…I’m going to paint my entire cottage and surrounding walls bright green. Hats off to this home owner though. So many different colours were dotted around the tiny villages, I loved it! It reminded me a bit of The Wizard of Oz.

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After we hit the 20 mile mark I realised that this was the furthest I’ve ever walked in one go. The pain in my toes and my shins was getting worse but I continued to hobble along knowing I only had a couple more miles to go! I could just about lift my feet off the floor. When I saw the sign for Tinahely I almost cried. When I saw the pub I actually did cry. These were tears of joy and pain at the same time.

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The barman in the pub was such a gem, he showed us to a table and brought us two big pints of water straight away along with 2 menus. I ordered Guinness and beef stew and Nick ordered fish and chips. It was GORGEOUS! It was so rich and filling. Really perked me up after completing this 22 mile day!

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Camp

The barman asked if we already had somewhere booked for the night. When we told him we were looking to camp he very kindly informed us of a field near by that a lot of Wicklow Way hikers stayed in with no trouble at all. I’m still taken aback by the kindness and generosity of the Irish folk. I can’t imagine being able to wild camp so easily in England. As the sun started to descend we pitched our tents and got ourselves ready for bed. It was a little weird camping in a field where people could see us so easily. The sound of cars passing over the bridge reminded me a little of home and it wasn’t long before I curled my tired achy feet into my sleeping bag (backpack at the side of me this time :p) and drifted off into the land of nod.

Only 1 more day of walking to go…1 more day.

To be continued…

-MooFace-

Day 2 – I see pride, I see power, I see a badass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody

I woke up pretty much in the same position I fell asleep in, I was that tired. It took a while for my brain to re adjust and remember where I was and what went on the day before. As I stretched, my achy muscles soon jogged my memory of the 20 miles we’d completed previously. Instead of getting up straight away, I decided to just lie back and enjoy the feeling of being stationary and relaxed. I knew today was going to be tough with my already achy limbs.

The grey clouds soon dispersed and left us with a glorious sunny start to the day. With our bellies full and sunscreen applied we headed downhill to pick up the Wicklow Way where we’d left off. We were told that day 2 of the route was the most beautiful and this seemed to be true from the get go.

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Our route took us through a leafy forest path down a very welcoming hill. With the sun on our faces and a gentle breeze keeping us cool, we were both really excited about the day ahead. We knew it would get tough but with such a beautiful start it made us realise why we chose to take on this challenge.

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As we took on our first winding up hill climb of the day, we paused to look back over where we had come from. Down in the valley we could see the Knockree Hostel below, planted in the hillside amongst the greenery. Even after only an hour of walking, we had come so far already. We rounded a corner and the path levelled out. The cliff edge slowly revealed a secret as we drew closer to the edge. An amazing waterfall lay in the valley. I could see people milling around it, having picnics and dipping their toes in the icy water. We were really hoping the path would take us down to it, would have been such a lovely stop for lunch. Sadly the path crept around it, keeping us high in the mountains.

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We headed down our next rocky hill and came across this beautiful spot for a quick lunch break. If we had known the day before that this area was here we probably would have carried on a little bit further to reach it. It would have been the perfect wild camping spot, and there was evidence that people had had the same idea. It was a grassy area, flat enough for the tents and was right next to the Glencree river. It was really picturesque. With my bag off my back and my shoes off, I let my toes wriggle in the breeze. I leaned back, with a Nutrigrain bar in hand and my eyes closed. I was content in the world at that very moment.

Before we left, we took the opportunity to fill up our water bottles. Being such a warm day, we seemed to be racing through our supplies. It was lovely and cold and crystal clear. We did add a chlorine tablet though just to be on the safe side, didn’t want to risk any dodgy stomachs whilst out in the middle of no where, hehe. Feeling refreshed and stocked we continued on our path. Our next challenge: getting up through Powerscourt Paddock and up Djouce Mountain. Not quite to the 700m peak but close at about 650-655m.

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As we hiked, we chatted. We chatted about all kinds of things along the way: from future travels plans, to films we liked, food, friends and family…but we kind of got distracted. It wasn’t until we reached the bottom of a hill that we decided to check the guide book. Silly Sallys! Our surroundings didn’t seem to match what we were reading in front of us. Luckily we came across a couple who pointed back up…way up, where we had just come from. We had missed out turning and was forced to bow our heads and struggle back up the hillside. We had added 2 miles onto our day. This may not seem much but when the next part of the trek is up a 650m steep gradient, those 2 miles feel like 10 :p

We found that shouting out a bit of Cool Runnings helped us get to the top. We’re so weird sometimes ha ha.

I see pride, I see power, I see a badass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody

We did make it though, we may have been over taken by mountain bikers (how did they do that?!) but we made it. We quickly dumped our bags and fell into a heap on the floor. My god was it beautiful up there! We could see for miles. The peak had been conquered. Errr or so we thought….

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…we turned the corner of the mountain to see that the path was continuing to climb. Shit! We still had about 100m to climb. ha ha. This path was very thin and hugged the mountain side. Sheep stood on tiny rock platforms, hopping around making it look so effortless. We could hear the sound of water running and checked our depleting water bottles. We’d stumbled across the source of a stream, coming straight out from the rocks. Again it was crystal clear and so refreshing to drink, no need for a purifying tablet this time.

The path became a lot easier once it turned into wooden sleepers that carved our path ahead. They trailed off over the edge of the mountain and out of sight.

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These sleepers took us all the way to the other side of Djouce Mountain to a spectacular view overlooking Lough Tay. Perfect photo opportunity as you can see. Poses at the ready…

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We took a short break here, the sun was warm but luckily we had the wind flowing up over the mountains to keep up cool. We took a seat and admired the gorgeous view. Peace and quiet, just the sound of the wind rustling our hair. Sadly this lough was a little out of our path but we were hoping to reach Lough Dan to pitch our tents beside that night. It had been a long day and we were looking forward to getting our shoes off and eating a ‘cooked’ meal.

It was surprising to see how much deforestation was going on within the Wicklow way. We were often passing acres of stumps, which was sad to see. The next description of our route instructed us to follow the sleepers down the hill and through a forest until we reached the road. We could see down the mountain side, see the sleepers, see the road but there wasn’t a single tree either side of this path. Even though new trees had been planted in the empty patches, it would take decades before the forest would be restored to its former glory and then I’m guessing these would be cut down as well. Just seems such a shame.

As we hit the road the tiredness started to kick in. My feet started to burn and my muscles were pleading for the end of the day. We had the chance to follow the road and head straight to a campsite in Roundwood, however we both agreed that we had come that far and we might as well stick to the route and wild camp as planned. I was rather nervous about my first experience wild camping. I was worried that we would get woken in the early hours of the morning by an angry farmer kicking us off their land (understandably of course). Nick pointed out possible locations along the way, but I was nervous by neighbouring houses so we carried on in the direction of Lough Dan.

As we passed through a field on the way to the lough we found ourselves in a large open space with what looked like faded patches of grass caused by tents. There was a water tap and even a pub style bench. This was a campsite…but with no one around. It wasn’t long before we realised we had stumbled across a campsite used by girl guides and boy scouts but was evidently closed for the week. With no one around we picked a spot near the back. Even though it was clear that nobody was going to come across us, I still found myself talking in a whispered tone.

Nick was keen to pitch the tents first but I was still nervous about being found so we agreed to wait a little longer for it to get a little darker. It was dinner time. A gourmet meal of super noodles. It may not look like much but my god it hit the spot. After a day of Nutrigrain bars, noodles was a welcoming dinner.

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Now the only problem with this campsite was the midges. Loads of them, and flies…everywhere. I tried covering my face with my checkered shirt whilst I pitched my tent but I couldn’t take much more of it. As soon as our tents were pitched and our belongings were slung inside we dived in to escape the hordes.

Me and Nick decided (much to my dismay) that we would take a 1 man tent each. They were lighter to carry and evenly carried between the both of us. Luckily, pitched right next to each other, we could still easily chat. Not that the conversation carried on for long. We were both so exhausted from our brilliant day that our voices soon descended into silence.

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“Nick do you think someone is coming?! What if they find us? What if they mug us?”

I woke Nick up. Whilst clutching my sleeping bag, I tried to listen out for footsteps approaching but I could only hear the sound of my heart beating fast in my chest.

“Don’t you worry, no one is coming, no one will find us here. Go to sleep, sweet dreams”

I soon relaxed and the tiredness swept over me. Before I knew it I was fast asleep. Nick on the other hand was then kept awake for the next 10 minutes by my snoring. Oops!!!

To Be Continued…

-MooFace-