Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all!

I say this now, as I am horribly delayed in a Christmas blogpost, and almost on time for a New Years post... So, Happy Holidays, everyone! 

I trust we are all suitably stuffed to the gills with Turkey/ham/nutloaf/chocolate/drink/goodies/sugar/presents... etc. I've had superb holidays so far and have alot to be thankful for. We had a fantastic visit to my sister & family in Boston just before Christmas (hence the online absence...) then a lovely mish mash of friends, family and animals since then.  I am SO full of food and rich delicious treats, that January just cannot come soon enough.  (seriously, it can't... I can barely muster the strength to make a cup of tea from my sugar low... )But fret not (says my over stuffed derier...)  I have signed up for an arse reducing, stomach gagging, muscle toning race at the start of February...

WHAT was I thinking...

Ok, so it's called 'To Hell and Back'...It can't be that bad, surely?... Um... *gags*  I am not going to go into too many details right now as it is the day before new years eve and I can still indulge till then (no, really, I can... the rules say so... ;) )  but it is very horrific and nasty.  10km of running, jumping, climbing, crawling, electrocution, swimming, drowning, gasping... etc..

On the flip side, I have my very first wedding of 2013 confirmed.  I am uber excited about this one.  It will be set in beautiful West Cork and the bride and groom are just delicious!  Really, they are, perhaps, the cutest couple since the dawn of time.  Bring on the details so I can start planning!  :) 

Wishing you all a very lovely new years eve and New years day and the very best for 2013.

Talk to you very soon.

Toodles, 
Jen :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The White Lady of Kinsale

HI!

Tis the season to be... no, wait- that's next month!  Can you BELIEVE that the shops have had their Christmas decorations out for the last two or three weeks?  Don't get me wrong, I'm all on for milking it when it comes to Seasons (If you dont believe me, ask my husband.  I have him driven domented with going up and down to the attic to get me the NEXT season box.  Luckily for him, Fall and Halloween kind of pack in the one box so he only had to do the one trip this month!) couldn't they wait until one occasion ends before pushing the next?  I mean, there is only so long a selection box can last (im my case, about 1.5hrs.  Nom nom nom)

Anyway... As you know, I live in a little port/town called Kinsale in the South of Ireland.  It is seeped in history and heritage and with them comes many many legends and spooky tales.  For this Halloween, I have combined a little writing with photos and some local spooky history for you.  I hope you enjoy and arent too freaked out.  LOL.  Without further ado, I give you: 


"The Hand".
 
 

Charles Fort stands high over the regularly rough waters of Kinsale harbour.  Dark, dreary and unusually gray, the eerie history still seeps out of every gap and crack.  With each wave that crashes around its foundations, a tiny glimpse of something very out of place and strange appears, only to be submerged again with the swell.  Everyone knows the history here.  Everyone.  And this is why nobody goes to the south eastern wall.   Ever.

“Tack”... “Tack!” Laura roared to the trainee at the helm of the Topper, a little sailboat regularly used for beginners.

The trainee pushed the tiller to the boom and the little sailboat gracefully began to turn into the wind.  Its sail flapped gently until the boat changed direction and was set on its new course, towards the little fleet of Toppers in the distance being led by an orange rescue boat.  The happy flock of triangular sails bobbed around on the light swell and the joyous laughter of the trainees was carried on the sea breeze towards the shore on the other side of the harbour.

‘Such a fabulous day’ Laura thought to herself as she scanned the group, counting boats.  It was the last day of the week long sailing course that Laura had been teaching and they had just had their lunch on the small beach in the shelter of the fort.  The last day of each weeklong course consisted of a daytrip so that each trainee could practice, prove and show off their skills learned before earning their certificate. 

She recounted and found herself a boat short again so she turned her powerboat around and drove back towards Charles Fort. 

As she approached the foundations built into the rocks, she spotted her missing boat.  The trainee was holding the boat in waist depth water trying to untangle seaweed that was caught around the rudder. 

Tilting the engine to shallow drive, she carefully manoeuvred the rescue boat through the seaweed to the boat and tied a line around its mast.

“Get back onboard and ill tow you out to the fleet.  You can lose the seaweed on the way” she said smiling.

Her trainee did as he was told and prepared the boat to be towed.

Before taking off, Laura glanced down into the water to make sure her own engine was free of seaweed when something caught her eye.  She froze.

There, about three foot under the murky water was a hand reaching up towards the surface.  She tried to focus more but could only just make out the shape of the pale blue hand, swaying gently with the seaweed in the current underwater.

Not wanting to panic her trainee or herself any further, she took note of where she was and quickly sped, her little topper in tow, to the other rescue boat in the Harbour.

As the last of the fleet was reunited, Laura quietly told her colleague, Amanda, in the other rescue boat about the hand.

“AGH!  And you are going to go back... Are you KIDDING?”  Amanda shouted. 

“Sssshhh” Laura hushed.  “I don’t want to freak any of them out” she gestured towards the group of trainees.

“But I can’t, NOT, go back.  I mean, if it’s a body...” she trailed off.

“But, but... “Amanda stammered, “I heard that some people jumped off that wall, to... you know... like, I mean purposely jump off”

The hairs on the back of Laura’s neck slowly stood to attention like a tiny army of shivering needles.

“I have to.  We can’t go calling the coastguard without making sure that I actually did see...” she hesitated, “something.  I have to be sure.”

She turned her powerboat around, back towards Charles fort, her mind racing with the adrenaline and old tales of the Fort.

 Legend has it that Wilful, the daughter of an 18th century governor of Charles fort, married an officer at the fort.  On her wedding night they were strolling on the ramparts when she saw a beautiful flower growing out of a divide in the brick on the South East wall.  Her new husband had had a few drinks (it was his wedding day) so asked the night-watchman to retrieve the flower from the dangerous edge.  He agreed so they swopped uniforms and he sat in the night watchman’s box and waited for him to return with the flower.   Exhausted after his long wedding, he fell asleep while waiting.  The governor spotted the sleeping night-watchman and shot him dead.  Wilful, still in her wedding dress, heard the shot and ran to them to find her father standing over her dead husband with a gun in his hand.  She threw herself off the high wall to the sharp rocks and ocean below.

Stories, to this day, tell of sightings of Wilful’s ghost, the White Lady, wandering around the grounds and throwing herself off the south east wall of the fort. 

As Laura approached the area, she found herself terrified to look down into the murky waters.  What if it is as she assumes, to be a body under water?  The only way a hand could be in the water like that was if a body was weighed down and facing upwards.  She hadn’t thought of what she would actually do when she found the hand again. 

After some time, she built up the courage and looked down and searched.  She searched and searched but to her relief, and a little frustration, couldn’t find anything. 

‘Did I really see it?’ she thought aloud to herself as she glanced out the mouth of the harbour towards the Old Head Lighthouse flashing in the distance.  It was only then that she noticed it was dusk and the sun was well on its way to setting. 
 

Shivering, she turned the boat around intending to head back to the yacht club, when she heard a blood curdling scream.   At the corner of her eye she spotted the silhouette of a woman in a flowing white dress falling from the Fort wall.  She cocked her head quickly and just caught the sound of a splash through the breaking waves.  Revving the engine, she quickly drove to the spot where she saw the woman hitting the water but there was nothing there.  Nothing... except...

‘Wait’ she thought to herself as she froze, ‘that can’t be right’.  There, barely visible under the surface of the water was the deathly pale hand. 

Not letting the hand out of her sight, she reached for a paddle in the boat and stretched it out into the water, nudging the hand a small bit towards her.  To her absolute horror, the hand appeared to separate from whatever it was attached to and drifted eerily towards the surface.  Looking away, Laura screamed and reached for the VHF to call the coastguard.  In her panic, she clumsily dropped it into the water beside the hand. 

She took a deep breath, and tried to prise one of her clamped shut eyes open to see the VHF when something else caught her eye. 

The eruption of laughter could be heard on the highest hill of Kinsale as Laura lifted the blue Marigold rubber glove from the water. 
 

Still giggling to herself, she retrieved the VHF that was floating in its dry bag beside her boat, and started to make her way back to the Yacht club. 

‘Silly girl’ she thought to herself, letting her mind play tricks on her.  ‘Silly silly silly. But, hang on.  What about the... ‘ 

She turned back to the fort and clearly saw the most beautiful woman dressed in white looking sadly down into the water from the wall.  The woman looked up, locked eyes with Laura and threw herself from the edge.   Laura’s screams were still echoing around the coastline as the outline of the woman grew thinner and thinner until her ghostly body was whipped away with the wind and spray of the ocean.

The End
 
 
 
So there you go.  I hope you enjoyed it and got suitably spooked for Halloween!  Have any of you ever encountered a ghost or really spooky scenario?  I do love Halloween. 
 
Toodles for now.  X

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shadow of the Mark- Cover reveal!

Hi Guys and Girls! 

As most of you know, my sister, Leigh Fallon, is a super duper author and her next book, the second of a trilogy, 'Shadow of the Mark' is hitting the shelves next year.  She is revealing the cover this coming Tuesday 23rd October and I am SO excited to share this news with you all too.  (Im one of the lucky few to have seen it- and its FAB!)  :) 
She is running a giveaway along with the reveal- please click here to enter:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here is a little taster for the upcoming book itself:

Shadow of the Mark

Life for Megan Rosenberg just got a lot more complicated.

While she evoked the air element, and her feelings for Adam intensified, a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal has been spun around her. With the Order tightening its hold, and the reinstatement of the Mark Knights, Megan has more questions than answers as the Marked Ones grow in strength.

New people arouse suspicion, the DeRises start behaving strangely, and Megan begins to unravel a destiny shrouded in mystery. It's a destiny the Order has struggled to hide,
and a destiny someone from the past?far in the past, has already laid claim to.

Alliances will be made, and friends will be lost, as the Order's dark secrets are revealed by the very thing they sought to destroy.

Sounds exciting, yes?  Yes indeed, I can assure you, it is!

If you fancy pre ordering yourself a copy, please click here:

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Mark-Leigh-Fallon/dp/0062128000/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350828346&sr=1-1&keywords=shadow+of+the+mark+by+leigh+fallon

If you can have a peek at Leigh's website here:
http://www.leighfallon.com

So, thats all that for now- I'll be back shortly.

Toodles for now!

Jen

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Impatience & productivity


I’ve been sitting here staring at the cursor impatiently flashing at me, taunting me to write a blog post and I have to admit, my brain is fried.  I (when I have two free seconds...) browse through other blogs, reading all of these funny, informative, witty and amusing blogs and think to myself- how on earth do people do it?  I mean, where do you all find the time?  I’m going with the ‘dog eat dog world so never show any signs of weakness’ theory?  LOL.  So here is my little ditty of honesty...

What do you do when you hit that wall of nothingness?  I mean, it’s not like I have nothing to do- but perhaps that’s my problem?  I have, what feels like, six millions balls in the air, juggling like a madwoman, never finishing one thing and having to jump to start another.  My day is filled with thousands of mundane tasks that all take up teeny tiny amounts of time.  I never really achieve or finish anything and still, I am left short of time, rushing to catch up at the end of the day.  (Albeit as quietly as possible as to not wake sleeping kids!)

I take my hat off to all of you stay at home successful working moms and dads- and single working parents?  You should be given some sort of huge award!

At the moment, my day consists of feeding, entertaining, avoiding toddler meltdown, cleaning, avoiding ‘boo boo’s’, cooking, planning exercise that I never get time to do and dreaming of holidays and family visits.  I do attempt to have some adult conversation during the day (week!) so I don’t go completely bonkers while humming the theme tune to ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ or ‘The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’.  

I do, on the other hand, have some superbly productive days so I think I may just be in that, ‘two kids under the age of two’ zone, where you have to keep your head down and suck it up for a few months/years (!!) until you get your own time back...  You know?  That delicious feeling when you wake up, not singing ‘Macka packa, acka whacka, icaka acka oooh’ or can have a shower at the drop of a hat... *stares off into space at the thought of a long hot uninterrupted shower* 
 
Anyway *comes back to reality*, I had one of these fabulous productive days recently.  I was shooting this band called 'The Black Stalks' who were doing a gig in Crowleys Music Centre (Fantastic spot & amazing handmade instruments!  Check out their facebook page) in Cork city and it hit me- how lucky I am.  How many people can leave their 8 week old and 18 month old at home at the drop of a hat and go and do a job that they love?  Not many methinks!  PLUS, I get to enjoy the music and craic?  Score on all counts!  Here are some picks of the lads doing their thing- brilliant band too, you should check them out (http://soundcloud.com/the-black-stalks or they have a facebook page 'The Black Stalks'.  Ooh ooh- if you're only going to listen to one song, I recommend 'March of the Clowns' :) )
 

                            
 
 


 


So here I am- it’s almost 9pm (& I started at 8am... ) and I am finally getting back to writing this.

How on earth do you to it, people?  Is there some wonder vitamin that I haven’t heard about or should I be drinking more than one cup of coffee a day???  Do you all have a structure that you work to or just wing it with achieving goals?  I would love any tips that you may have... (Even fast dinner recipes... har har har)

Tomorrow, I WILL make it out with the camera... *repeats manically to myself*

Toodles for now!  *rushes off to charge camera batteries & format new memory card*

Friday, August 31, 2012

Meet the fabulous couple...

Ok people!  As you may recall from my last blogpost, we were waiting for the Ok to go ahead with this blogpost so I am thrilled to say- I have been given the thumbs up by the bride to be!  Horray! 

 
Blogosphere, I would like to introduce you to the fabulous bride to be, Amanda!  Say Hi!



LOL.  Now before you ask- yes, yes, she is a saucy minx.  A very talented saucy minx that is.  She is a superb *takes a deep breath*: sailor, jewllery maker, friend, sister, daughter, fiance, musician, character AND photographer... say cheese!  *Click*


 
And the lucky man who is getting to marry this saucy minx?  Well, he is none other than the super Dave (yes, ANOTHER Dave.  We ladies like to stick together in the husband naming department... LOL).  He is a fantastic character, a lovely person and AMAZING musician.
 
And here they both are, as always;  Happy, content and loving life:
 
 
Their wedding will be in the fabulous Markree Castle in Co. Sligo. 
Two words to best describe?  "Oh WOW". 
 
 A castle since the 14th century, Markree is a cultural gem where the very finest in Irish Victorian and Georgian architecture can be seen and is set in 800 acres of unspoilt park and woodland.  Need I say more?   Check it out:  http://www.markreecastle.ie/  Wowsers! 
 


 
So there you go- a brief introduction to the fabulous bride & groom & location...  I cant wait until the big day & hope to share some of the photos here for you all to see.  :)   Be sure to wish them well if you get the chance! 
 
 
Talk to you soon!
 
Toodles... 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

M.I.A!


Hi Everyone!

Well... Where to start?  I must apologise as it’s been a while.  So much has happened over the past few weeks, its just insane.  We have had job changes, births, deaths, house moves, breakages, fixing of breakages... the list goes on, but things are settling down now so I can try to get back on track with normality (whatever THAT feels like... LOL)
I would like to introduce you to the main reason for my absence in the blogosphere.  Arriving in July, a little (!!!) 8lbs 8oz bundle of joy, joined his brother in a mission to abolish me of all, if any camera/work time. 

So without further ado, please meet Rónan (my ‘little seal’- arf arf arf)



He had the special treat of meeting his Aunt, Uncle & cousins who came all the way from Boston especially to meet him- what a lucky little fella.  Here they are, arent they all fabulous! 






Adding to my reason for absence- did I tell you all that I will be photographing my very first wedding?  No?  Well, that’s because the reality of the situation has scared the PANTS off me...  (Only kidding!  J) 

I have really been up to my eyeballs researching, purchasing & experimenting with new kit.  I am SO excited to be recording this particular wedding as it is for one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world.  It will be such an amazing & special day- I am honoured that she and her fiancé asked me and I take delight in recording their special day in pictures. They are both gorgeous & fabulous people and the location- oh wow... it’s STUNNING!  (I wonder would the bride like me to do a little blog post about them and the location?... J  Mmmmmmm *rubs imaginary beard in mischievous manner* Well- I know you are reading this... can I? Can I? Can I?)

Toodleloo for now!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The big Copyright...

I recently had a 'communication' regarding copyright.  Isn't it funny how differently people can take things.  For example, if I discovered that one of my images had been used by someone on their facebook page or blog, I would be happy that they liked it that much to share or use to get their message across.  I mean, how else are we to get ourselves and our art out there?  Don't get me wrong- If I turned on the television and saw one of my images being used to promote or sell something without my permission, I would probably kick up a bit of a fuss, but on the smaller scale, I am happy to oblige.  I would of course hope that my name be mentioned as photographer and most of my images have an embedded copyright message, but in the big scheme of things, the more eyes that see my work, the happier I will be.  The other alternative is that I embed my name and the copyright symbol on every image that I own but I just am not there yet- I think it takes away from a photo and If someone REALLY wanted to use an image as their own, they would just edit it out.

Ah Copyright.  It's such an interesting topic because nowadays, everything is available on the Internet and as we all know, copyright or not, it IS available.  So the big question is, 'Where do you draw the line?' 
What precautions do you take?  How much effort are you willing to put in to ensure that your art/writing/material/idea isn't used, robbed, sold...the list goes on.  On the other hand- you want to get out there and get your work and name known, so surely the more eyes that see it, the better? 

Catch 22. 

There are so many websites out there now for file and info sharing.  For photography, writing, music, art, the list is endless.  For photography, 'Flickr' for example is a popular one.  For writing, 'Authonomy' for Adult writers (and readers) and 'Inkpop/Figment' for Young Adult & children's.  For Art, for music...(I could keep going... but in the interest of time, I will spare you)

By using any of these websites, you are putting your work out there in the spotlight.  To be seen, read, listened to or critiqued.  All of which you hope to learn from and improve.  Yes, YOUR art and ideas are out there to be robbed by anyone who would want to, but really- would they?

In my opinion, 99% of developing artists out there respect other peoples art; whether that be music, writing, art, photography...whatever; and are happy for it to be out there in the world wide web for all to see, and hopefully learn and improve from.  They are a giant family of like minded people, always so helpful and encouraging to others and genuinely happy to see another becoming successful.

The 1% remaining are the paranoid and naive who think that their work is better than anyone else's on the planet and are waiting to be 'discovered' by that random big shot or agent who, remarkably enough, has to go looking for them because, well, lets face it, they are THAT brilliant.
 
Well, that's just my opinion anyway.  :)


I would love to hear your thoughts, if any on this topic as I am sure we have all had the 'copyright cloud' looming overhead at some stage.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St Patricks Day!

Wishing you a very happy St Patricks Day, wherever you are in the world!  Below are afew fun photos from the Kinsale parade but I think this dude says it all withough saying a word! 




It was a smashing day in Kinsale- the first parade in Kinsale on St Patricks day for 6 years!  And what a success it was.  The rain and hail showers even paused to let the parade and paradee-goers enjoy themselves.  Afew pic's for you.  :)



Kinsale Equestrian Centre proudly sporting spiffing green jumpers and helmet bobbles.  And very little horse poopy on the streets- well done horseys! (yes, the same Kinsale Equestrian Centre that features in Leigh Fallon's, 'The Carrier of the Mark')
Pier Road, looking down towards the Marina.

This was a hillarious float.  Who comes up with the ideas??  LOL  (Check out news RE Barryroe oil find off Cork coast)

Dunderrow 'Riverdance'.  HOW this passed Health & Safety is beyond me.  LOL  (This is a giant trailer lined with plastic and filled with water and bubbles with a load of people dancing- all the while being pulled along by a tractor... Bahahahaha )

And this sweet little cupcake wandered through the crowds. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th...





Is it just me, or are there a lot more nasty people out there lately. Maybe it's getting older, maybe is naivety, hell, maybe it's that there are, in fact, alot of nasty people out there, but they all seem to be rearing their nasty heads lately.  I would need several hands with fingers to count how many friends and family have met with a 'nasty' of late. 

As children in school, we were friends with everyone. There were no underlying meanings, no nastiness (and if there was, it was unintentional and went way over our heads anyway as we were more interested in figuring out why the sky was blue or watching in awe how that little line of ants carried the impossible weight of an AppleCore back to their nest)

So what happened along the way?  We grew up, obviously- but why should ageing bring with it, the nastiness and meanness and more to the point, why should we care what others think? 


Through the medium of twitter (and facebook), I have met so many wonderful people. Such upbeat, happy and honest people. Hardworking, amusing, helpful- overall just wonderful people. (don't get me wrong, but there are afew nasty buggers in there too, but they generally seem to keep in their own circles).  Everyone seems so happy ALL the time- but what about the non online time?  I know, I know, your probably thinking 'but Jen, you are always SO fantastic and happy', but alas, guys and gals, I too have my off days.  ;)
You know, those days when everything seems to be going against you?  Ah yes, we all know them well.  Well, today is my perfect example:

So far, I *clears throat & takes a deep breath*: spilt coffee down my front, drank sour milk, tripped on three steps, dropped my bag (upside down, contents EVERYWHERE) TWICE, got caught in the rain with freshly straightened hair.  A while ago, I was sitting at my desk in work and I had a box of grapes in front of me to nibble on.  Every time I reached for one, I dropped it.  I mean EVERY TIME.  By the time I got to the 16th one (and after a laughing fit)  I admitted defeat and stopped trying.  I then encountered several REALLY nasty, impatient and rude individuals and dealt with them as best I could.  After crawling around the floor retrieving the runaway grapes, I went to wash my hands and (yes, you know it) the force of the water in the tap sprayed me from stomach to knees.  So, hungry and soggy, I am about to scurry home with my tail bewteen my legs.  Looking forward to crawling under the duvet and hiding from the remainder of this spiffing day.  Go go the 13th! 




I hope you all have been having nice day today and so far this year and have not run in to any 'nasty' individuals.  And remember, if you do, they are not worth it.  Let them fester, they appear to be happiest festering so leave them to it!  What goes around, comes around.




I must get out with the camera soon, the evenings have been fabulous lately- I have no excuses- though I dare not touch it today!
 
For now, Toodles!
:)

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