Christmas

Eco Friendly Christmas Gift Ideas For Nature Lovers

With the global focus on Sustainabilty many of us are conscious about making our Christmas Gifts more eco friendly in some way. So what do you give the eco conscious person in your life as a Christmas gift that will please them and support sustainable enterprise? I’ve put together a few ideas….

Giving a gift that encourages in interest in nature, the planet and buying local are all great gift ideas for nature lovers. This list is intended to inspire and encourage exactly that.

Give the gift of an Eco Friendly Experience with a Gift Voucher…

There are lot’s of exciting experiences that are nature friendly and encourage awareness yet still manage to be fun! Here are my personal favourites each of which I have either experienced myself or know someone who has and can 100% recommend!

Beekeeping Courses Croan Cottages
Beekeeping Courses at Croan Cottages

You could buy a Gift Voucher for a Beekeeping or Smallholding Course at Croan Cottages or go wild on a Water based adventure with Boyne Valley Activities. I had an amazing trip with James where he took me out on a Canadian canoe for a heritage tour – read about it here >>

Day On Water
Heritage Tour on a Canadian Canoe with James – Boyne Valley Activities

How about gifting a Seaweed Cookery Kit or a Beach Walk and Cook Up with the Sea Gardener or join a group for a Wild Food Foraging Experience with Crann Og Eco Farm… Both are run by fabulous people and you will learn how to identify wild food and even get to sample some with other like minded people.

Irelands Ancient Feast Sea Gardener Forage and Feast EcoActiveEvents
Irelands’ Ancient Feast with The Sea Gardener

Many of our members offer workshops and events throughout the year and you can buy gift cards or book in advance for most of them – for example Bumblebee Farm offer a variety of workshops and events throughout the year from Wreath making to Flora, Fauna and Food Events.

edible-flower suppliers-ireland
Edible Flowers from Bumblebee Farm

Another nice gift idea is to give the Gift of relaxation and mindfulness with a Yoga Voucher at AnantaYogaStudio or a holistic massage at Soul to Sole Therapies – we Irish don’t do enough of this sort of thing and it is SO GOOD for you! Seriously, if you do one new thing in 2020 get a massage regularly and go to a Yoga workshop or class, even just once!

All of the above are wonderful nature friendly things to do and make great eco friendly gift ideas but of course there is also the option of visiting an eco friendly destination and staying in some authentic yet cosy accommodation and here are a few of my favourites that I visited on my ecotour:

Give an Eco Break as a Gift this Christmas!

Glamping at Rock Farm Slane
Glamping at Rock Farm Slane

Give the gift of an eco staycation at Rock Farm Slane – They offer very cosy and pretty glamping yurts and shepherds huts. You can even enjoy a tour on their electric bikes like we did or just chill in the outdoor hot tub! Or treat someone to a wholesome farm based BB break at Lough Bishop House with Christopher and Helen ( Helen makes the most amazing granola!)

Helen and Christopher Kelly of Lough Bishop House
Helen and Christopher Kelly of Lough Bishop House

If you REALLY want to get away from it all I can heartily recommend a stay at Tawnylust lodge in lovely Leitrim! Nuala is a charm and her ecofriendly cabin is a world away from our busy lives. She can even help you plan a local experience such as canoeing, foraging, walking or an electric bike ride. We love Nuala and her Guna!

tawnylust lodge
Tawny Lust Lodge Leitrim

Family breaks with an eco ethos that will delight kids of all ages is an eco break to The Three Towers at Slieve Aughty Centre! Beautiful rooms, organic food, horse riding, fairy trails, arts and crafts, pizza nights – it has everything for a really special family staycation!

The Three Towers Eco House

Fancy gifting a trip to West Cork with a nice cuppa over the outdoor fire? Top Of The Rock Pod Pairc is the place to go for walkers, nature lovers and those just looking for a bit of peace and quiet.

stay at Top Of The Rock

So you see, there are lot’s of great eco friendly businesses offering sustainable services and gifts that won’t cost the Earth… Tell them Roz sent you! 😉

Reduce Christmas Waste with Zero Waste Festival Ireland

The next Zero Waste Festival takes place 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday 2nd December at the Green Door Market in Bluebell Business Park, Dublin 12.

Zero Waste Festival Ireland will bring you talks, workshops, info-stands, swap-shops and a market, all dedicated to helping you reduce your waste this Christmas. Christmas can be a difficult time to keep your bins empty and your recycling pile small, but during this day-long event you will get tips on cutting down on waste from food and packaging, gifts and wrapping, decorations and festive dressing and even pre-Christmas cleaning!
From making better choices of materials to reusing and upcycling what is already created, there will be something to be learned for everyone, no matter where you are on your journey. For your first foray into Zero Waste, stop by our
info-stand for a quick primer or sign up for a talks&workshops pass for more insight.
Zero Waste Festival Ireland is a volunteer-run event and this time there is free entry to the info-stands, swap-shops, market and drop-in workshops. A talks&workshop pass (€10/€8 concession) is needed to access the talks and
workshops on the mezzanine level. Tickets (€3) are also required for the ‘Tree-Planting with Santa’ children’s event.
More information, schedule and tickets to the event are available from the website www.zerowastefestival.ie, on Facebook @ZeroWasteFestivalIreland, Instagram @zerowastefestirl and Twitter @ZeroWasteFest.
The zero waste movement is an environmental lifestyle adjustment aimed at minimising landfill waste, through cutting down on consumption, choosing reusable, recyclable and compostable materials (in that order) and trying to
repurpose materials as much as possible. It is based on the 5R’s – REFUSE what you don’t need, REDUCE what you do have to buy, REUSE what is already available, RECYCLE what can’t be used anymore and ROT (compost)
the rest.
For Tickets, location map and more information visit www.zerowastefestival.ie/2018-12-festival/

Norway Adventure 2015

Adventure Burren are Heading to Norway

Christy from Adventure Burren is putting together an overseas skiing trip to beautiful Norway in February 2015!
Christy was recently invited to Norway where he experienced firsthand some of their fabulous walking and riding trails. He is now putting together plans for a skiing trip there during the February mid term of 2015 (exact date to be confirmed) .
Minimum number of 8 people are required and the cost will be around €1,800 including travel on SAS plus, accommodation, ski hire, lift passes and lesson everyday, guided cross country one day and transfers.
If your interested in being included on this trip then contact Christy directly to register your interest at christy@adventureburren.com

Christmas Walks in the Burren

Adventure Burren will be doing a number of short walks over Christmas. They will be listed on our Facebook page as they will be weather dependant so check back regularly at Facebook.com/AdventureBurren
For more information on Adventure Burren visit their profile page here >>

Friluftsliv Experience from Bratt Moro on Vimeo.

Last Minute Offer New Years Eve Break in Wicklow

Celebrate the New Year in a Beautiful Wicklow Mountains Cottage

A friend of mine has this great offer (special reduced rate) for his gorgeous 4 bed country cottage available to rent this new years eve for a week. If you fancy seriously getting away from it all with some friends then this is for you! 
Aughavannagh Cottage was recently described by The Irish Times newspaper as “High in the Wicklow Mountains, just the most picture perfect example of a country home. It retains the 19th century cottage feel, but with all the comforts of a good home away from home.”
“Beautifully Restored” said The Daily Telegraph. “A beautiful, traditional Irish cottage tucked away in a forested valley in the Wicklow Mountains” said The Sunday Business Post. The location is magnificent – adjacent to the Wicklow Way walking trail and below Lugnaquilla Mountain which rises to over 3000 feet behind the cottage and is usually snow-capped at the New Year.
There is amazing scenery and great views from the cottage which has four bedrooms and is on 5 acres in a gloriously private setting. Yet it’s easy to get to – a little over an hour south of Dublin via a magnificent mountain drive. Brilliant for hiking, walks in the woods, climbing Lugnaquilla or simply lazing about welcoming in the New Year in front of a log fire.
Gorgeous kitchen and properly fitted out – so if you feel like cooking the kitchen is fully equipped – great oven and hob, microwave, food processor etc. (and we supply the essentials such as dishwasher tablets).
We also provide things like fresh linen and towels, as well as hair dryers and an iPod docking station so you don’t need to carry them around the world with you.
And if you prefer to do nothing but sit back and relax, Aughavannagh Cottage is an absolutely idyllic spot to chill out and recharge the batteries. We also adore the lovely friendly pub in Glenmalure just over the mountain in the next valley.
The special New Year’s rate of €700 applies to strict maximum of 7 people from Dec. 31 to January 6
We welcome all of our guests personally and we’ll have the cottage ready with just the right amount of decorations and a supply of logs to complete the picture. See link here www.holidaywicklow.com/#/wicklow-cottage-for-christmas/
Contact info@holidaywicklow.com or +353 (1) 535 6650
 
new years eve offers wicklow

New Years Walks in West Cork

Mini Walking Breaks over the New Year

Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre

New Year Walking weekend

Why not join us at the Top of the Rock for two days walking over the New Year period on:

  • Wed 31st Dec – Fri 2nd Jan

The two day break includes:

  • Two nights in a Luxury / Standard pod
  • Glenilen Breakfast bags each morning.
  • One evening meal at our local award winning Willie Pa’s restaurant
  • A guided walk on the first morning and guidance and pick-up from end points of other walks you may wish to undertake.
  • PRICES for the two night break : Luxury pod €99 per person Standard pod: €75 per person sharing (bring own duvet, towels etc) Children:extra €20 each.

A warm welcome awaits you!

Contact David and Elizabeth Ross
Rockmount, Drimoleague,Co Cork.

Call +0035528 31547 or mobile 0861735134

Email: david@topoftherock.ie
www.topoftherock.ie

We spent the final night of our Eco Tour at Pod Pairc, Read our blog here >>

Visit Pod Pairc on Trip Advisor Here >>

Christmas Recipes

Festive Drinks

Mulled Wine Recipes
Nothing quite says Christmas like mulled wine – albeit a marmite drink, you either love it or hate it! There are so many mulled wine recipes out there that we thought we’d put our favs here for you to try.

Jamies Mulled Wine Recipe

We especially like the sound of Jamies Mulled wine recipe although it may be slightly more expensive than others (vanilla pods and star anise can cost around a fiver) but I reckon it’s so worth it!
Ingredients include:
2 clementines
Peel of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 lime
250g caster sugar
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg
1 whole vanilla pod, halved
2 star anise
2 bottles of Chianti, or other Italian red wine
View the full recipe here >>

Martha Stewarts Mulled Wine with Brandy

Fancy something with a bit of bite? Then Martha Stewarts Mulled Wine with Brandy is for you!
Ingredients include:
1 bottle (750 mL) light-bodied red wine (such as Beaujolais)
3 ounces brandy
1/2 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
4 strips lemon zest (3 inches each)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
View the full recipe here >>

Non Alcoholic Mulled ‘Wine’

And for the wonderful designated drivers, pregnant ladies, kids and non alchohol drinking peeps, a warm spicy recipe to get you in the festive spirit!
Ingredients include:
1 litre orange juice
1 litre cranberry juice
2-3 cinnamon sticks
5-6 cloves
7-8 all spice berries
Slices of orange to serve (optional)
View the full recipe here >>

EggNog

That Christmas drink that we have all seen on so many American sitcoms is becoming popular on this side of the water too. Here are two Eggnog recipes to try:

Alcoholic Eggnog

This recipe brings to mind one of my favourite cocktails – Brandy Alexander which I first had in New York in the 1990’s. I am definitely giving this a go this Christmas!

Ingredients
6 eggs
2 extra egg yolks
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup bourbon
View the full recipe here >>

Non Alcoholic Eggnog:

12 medium egg yolks
11/2 cups (one and a half cups) or 320 g white granulated sugar
4 cups or 1 liter of 4% or full fat milk
2 cups or 500 ml heavy cream (31% fat or higher)
1 tsp ground nutmeg, or adjust to taste
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
View the full recipe here >>

Silly Season For A Reason

How To Stay Cheerful This Christmas

Silly season has begun. You cannot turn left nor right without being bombarded audibly, visually and mentally with images of sparkly parties, beautiful women, fabulous clothes, hi tech kit, romantic breaks and general festive shenanigans! Which is all fine but what if, like many of us, your skint?
All this bombardment can get you down no matter how pragmatic you normally are about the ridiculousness of wanting material things that we don’t actually need.

So here are my top tips for staying upbeat and feeling happy this silly season!

Luxury Pampering for him and her!

One of my favourite luxuries is a bath in the daytime ( I guess this will be an extra luxurious thing to do now with the water charges) followed by a massage. This can be done very very cheaply yet feel just as wonderful as attending a beauty spa by doing the following:
(My partner and I take turns and try to do one each once a fortnight)

  • Layout a towel on your bed
  • Light a few nightlights to create an intimate relaxing atmosphere
  • If you have essential oils or a scented candle light one to give a relaxing scent
  • Prop up some pillows to make a head rest that your partner can rest his/her head on yet still breath!
  • Turn the heating on for 20 minutes beforehand
  • Using the free TuneIn App on your smartphone turn on Calm Radio ( or use any soundtrack/music you like)
  • Have some nice body oil ready – I make my own body oil which is quite cheap (as you get lots to last a very long time and can use the ingredients for other things too) using almond oil, essential oils (jasmine and ylang ylang) and coconut oil.  This smells delicious and feels great on the skin nourishing it and not greasy at all.See recipe link below.
  • Massage away 😉

Clear Your Mind 

  • Yes I know, It’s winter but to be fair it has been exceptionally mild to date – regardless of the weather wrap up and get out for at least a half hour every day.
  • I realise many people have to travel to work and back and don’t have the choice to get out in the daytime so instead make a point of visiting a mate in the evening ( walk round to them if in a lit up area eg city) or head to a local community area together – eg Sports grounds and go for a brisk walk whilst you chat.
  • Alternatively get some exercise by cleaning the house in time for Christmas- two birds with one stone! – Break the tasks into small ones so you don’t feel overwhelmed!
  • Concentrating on a specific task like cleaning or baking is great for letting your mind wander and chilling out.
  • PLAY MUSIC – music makes you feel good, it lifts our spirits and sing along – let it all out!
  • Telephone a friend and have a good old chinwag!

Eat Well and Stay Healthy

  • Forget detoxes, weight loss and diets.
  • Focus instead on eating well even it if is as small a step as alternating one meal a day – for example the Happy Pear boys have a new cookbook out full of super recipes ( now this I would like for Christmas!) including lot’s of healthy but yummy brekkies – I would consider this an investment in feeling good!
  • One thing I noticed on my recent Ecotour was the energy that the people I met had, all of them fitting so much into a day. I also noticed that they all had one thing in common, they ate healthily and as I was usually eating with them so was I. I now love aubergines, pumpkin seeds & honey muesli although I am still pretty crap at knowing what to buy etc!
  • Ultimately drink more water – that alone will make you feel so much better.

Make It Personal

  • Making Christmas presents is not just to save money – it is very enjoyable and you’re teaching yourself a new skill too. YouTube has loads of great footage for making all sorts of things that make great gifts. How about natural cosmetics that feel great, cost less than expensive creams and can be tailored to suit specific tastes?
  • For example this year I have made rosehip oil (for younger looking skin) the method for which I got here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw5XqumbBBQ
  •  I have made my body oil from the following ( and altering slightly – leave out the beeswax for an oil) website http://wellnessmama.com/3765/homemade-lotion-recipe/
  • Another one I am planning to make is lip balm from this website here: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-natural-lip-balms-recipes-to-make-your-own.html
  • Chutneys and Sloe Gin also make great presents.
  • If you can sew and someone you know likes cooking then try making them a bespoke apron!

Buy the Gift, Not The Price Tag

  • Most of us still like to buy a gift for those we love and there is nothing wrong with that but try to put some thought into it.
  • Whether your shopping online or offline you will be bombarded with suggestions, offers and adverts so first think about the person you’re buying a gift for. What do they really enjoy doing. Is there something they need that they don’t have or have expressed a want for? It doesn’t have to cost the earth – literally!!
  • Be aware that your being targeted – step back, close your eyes and breathe – do they really need that dress/bag/gadget? Is it worth getting yourself into debt? Don’t you think your loved ones would prefer to see you happy and well over Christmas and spend time with you – if not, are they worth it?

So To Summarise:

  • Listen to music and SING
  • Chat with friends – make time to call them or pop round
  • See what you can make as gifts
  • Drink Water
  • Go for a walk or clean the house
  • Don’t be a target- avoid getting into debt
  • Be yourself and spend time with those you love.

Happy Christmas 😉
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Christmas Flower Demonstration Workshops

Christmas Flower Demonstration Workshops

Create the Perfect Organic Christmas Flower Display with Ruby Harte Floral Design, West Cork

Thursday 4th December not only sees our return to Mahon Point Farmers Market but the start of our Christmas Flower  Arrangements Workshops where you will learn tips on the best and longest lasting foliage to use, preparing winter flowers and professional wiring techniques to help ensure the very best for the arrangements you will make and take home with you.
Choose from the following dates:

  • Thursday 4th December 7pm to 9pm cost €35 (2 hour duration)
  • Saturday 6th December 11am to 4pm cost €65 (5 hour duration)

Bookings are now being taken for both workshops.
You can contact us by ringing Steve on 086 8251380, messaging us on Facebook or emailing us – rubyharte@eircom.net
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Slip Away for Christmas

An Eco Friendly Romantic Christmas Break

I love this! A Christmas Getaway in lovely Leitrim
I visited Nuala during my recent EcoTour and stayed at Tawny Lust Lodge which has magnificent views and wifi! So you can get away from it all- yet share your pics to envious friends online 🙂
If your REALLY lucky it might snow…

Special Christmas Offer


Christmas Offers Leitrim
No fuss, no crowds, no hassle… Tawnylust Lodge
Nestle in the Leitrim hills in this gem of a location for Christmas and New Year.
Experience a real break.
7 nights luxurious self-catering €349, dates flexible,
sleeps up to four
FREE seasonal welcome pack
FREE guided walk
FREE maps and advise on where, what and when in the area
Christmas Dinner available locally or delivered Christmas Eve from Award Winning Riverbank Restaurant
For more info: www.irishecotourism.com
tawnylustlodge@gmail.com
Nuala 087 9172143
Tawnylust, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim

Christmas Gift Vouchers Crafts Courses

Give the gift of a new hobby!

bespoke door handle for a restaurantRecently we met up with the lovely Linda Mulloy of The Glasshouse Studio in Westport Co Mayo and were enthralled with her beautiful designs, many of which were made by her students.
 I personally found the fused glass very exciting as you can add other materials to the process embedding it into the glass itself to create really bespoke pieces that make great gifts or practical applications in the home or business – indeed Linda showed me a project she was working on at the time which involved embedding a tiny kettle into a glass door handle for a UK based restaurant – brilliant!
Christmas gift vouchers can be used for a weekend at the Glasshouse, Westport, either learning Glass Fusing or Stained Glass and cost €180. This includes not only the course but all materials too.
Vouchers can be used for any weekend course during the year. New courses start in March 2015.
For more information or to purchase vouchers visit www.blueglasshouse.com
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