2014 SNAPSHOT: MAY ‘STAYCATION’

“Let’s be courageous in these days. Let’s choose love and rest and grace. Let’s use our minutes and hours to create memories with the people we love…”

Shauna Niequist

Last week, it was time for a break. Dan and I escaped to the North Coast and our few days away felt as replenishing as two weeks on the beach (in some ways: the tan was lacking). I love this part of the country and love that we don’t live too far away.

I was talking to a friend recently about some reading he had done on our concept of time; how children don’t seem to think time goes by as quickly as adults do…it’s suggested that that is because they are experiencing new things regularly, so the way to make our days feel fuller and longer is to experience new things, too. We got to stay in a friend’s cottage in Castlerock, so being in a new environment made us feel like we were on an adventure, too. (I took a different route to work today and it totally made sense again – try it!)

This was the view a few yards away from where we were staying.

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We popped over to Donegal one day and I just wanted to say that if you are ever in that area, GO TO NANCY’S BARN. It is imperative that you do. We first came across this gorgeous little converted barn last year (we went twice in two days) and just had to go back: so we took the ferry across from Magilligan and paid homage. Under the direction of Kieran, a trained chef and made lovingly by his team which includes his sister, the food is homemade, fresh, sometimes traditional and sometimes more daring, and overall tres delicieux.

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A little tip: if you take the ferry over to Donegal, Nancy’s Barn gives you 10% off your bill. Also, I really recommend the carrot cake which you will find in this cabinet… (Little factoid for you: that staircase to the left leads to an upstairs area, where Kieran actually lives! Now the homey feeling makes sense.)

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We did some more eating at Crusoe’s in Castlerock, Roughan’s in Portstewart and The Ramore in Portrush. All highly recommended. I have no idea why I just listed those off for you – I’ve assumed the role of tour guide far too quickly.

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The weather wasn’t great but we made the most of it and found ways around it – for example, by bbq’ing on a little shelter on the beach.

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And found beauty in the grey and cold, angry, waves, too.

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I had taken a wee break from my goal of reading 4 books per month this year (but have you noticed I’ve been trying to keep up the ‘listening to my life’ goal, with non-topical posts like these?!) over the past couple of months. However, I enjoyed some reading time when we were away as I finished a book I’d been dying to complete and read another one. The quiet that is a part of the furniture of a reading ‘session’ and the feeling that someone is pouring into your life directly were lovely.

One of the books was ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brene Brown. Have you read it? I had seen Brene’s TED talk and was really looking forward to reading the book – it didn’t disappoint. She writes about the power of vulnerability – how learning to be uncomfortable and giving up shame can open doors to greater leadership and relationships. It struck me when we were away that resting is vulnerable: at least, admitting our need for it is vulnerable. But in stopping for a few days, in listening to our bodies, in taking time to be still, in experiencing new things, even in enjoying the grey…in engaging with vulnerability, we became stronger.

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