Pumpkin cake

by Alison, 27/11/2014

For Halloween we bought a pumpkin. A massive pumpkin. 7kilos to be exact. In my defence it was the only one I could find. As we only bought it on Oct 31st I never quite got around to carving the beast and instead it remained as a lovely decoration in the house. However it would have been a disgrace to let the whole pumpkin go to waste so I had to try make as much as I could from it. 

Atlantic Equipment

by Alison, 25/11/2014



When we started the blog, we also also joined Gorse and Coconuts on Facebook and Instagram.  I had never used Instagram previously but it quickly became my favourite social media app. I love getting visual insights into people's day-today worlds, I like how easy it is to search for images and how it can help you to make a connection with someone. It was  through Instagram that I first heard of Atlantic Equipment.

Van life

by Alison, 21/11/2014

One question everybody who is interested in going to Iceland asked us is 'Is Iceland expensive?'. The answer is yes. Iceland unfortunately is expensive. But then again so is Ireland. When we travel in Ireland we tend to stay in hostels, B&B's, friends houses or camp. We don't stay in hotels or fancy places so I didn't expect to do this in Iceland either. 

Reyjavik- through foreign and local eyes

by Alison, 18/11/2014

Sometimes it's cool to be a blogger. There is no way to say that without sounding a bit hipster and a lot like an eejit. Nevertheless it is true. Within the short-time we have had the blog, it has helped us to meet and contact with people we may never have otherwise. One of these people was Audur a lovely and engaging lady who spent a morning showing us around Reykjavik.

Aurora Borealis

by Alison


Mention these words and the first things that springs to my mind are the song Pocahontus by Neil Young, The Northern Lights trilogy by Philip Pullman and light blazing across the sky. The northern lights were the reason to miss the midnight sun and visit Iceland as the days draw shorter.

Back to the blog


by Alison, 11/11/2014

Hello again. Sorry for the hiatus but hopefully we are now back and ready to chat. I could discuss a lot of reasons for why we haven't been blogging this past month. Some of you would be interested, some wouldn't. When it boils down to it though, there is no point creating content for contents sake. This is a place to explore passions, to find a voice, to share and collaborate. Slowly I'm finding much like in my non-virtual life, sometimes I am full of motivation, and ready for new experiences and sometimes I just can't decide what I want to do so I end up doing very little. 

Autumn colours and a friendly encounter


by Ollie, 15/10/2014

I love being outdoors.
Last Monday was no exception. It was my birthday, the sun was out and autumn was in the air. So I decided to bring my camera and go for a walk in the Glen, a beautiful, as the name would suggest, little valley with a fast flowing river that ends in the Inagh estuary.

Time for a wander

by Alison, 12/10/2014
In four days time we are heading to Iceland. We booked the flights the night before Ollie left on his last work trip. While he was away communication was limited to text messages and since he has been home we have been to the nationals in Bundoran, moved house and he has also gone to Holland for training. Suffice to say we are still in the planning stages of the holiday. 

You look like sunshine

by Alison, 10/10/2014

Not too many words in this post. I just wanted to share some images of the new board (taken before it was all waxed up). Now that the weather is starting to turn its nice to have a bit of sunshine still hanging around.

Lahinch Longboard Competition 2014

by Alison, 07/10/2014

Sunshine, swell and light off-shore winds. Perfect conditions for surfing and an almost unheard of combination for a surf competition. The Lahinch Longboard Competition is run by the West Coast Surf Club over one weekend in September and this year it had it all. 

Irish National Surf Championships 2014


by Ollie, 01/10/2014


Last week Alison competed in the longboard competition in Lahinch and she was flying! That day she came out on top and brought home a beautiful longboard shaped by Ian Johnson.
I was on the boat somewhere in the Middle East so I didn't get to see her surfing, but needless to say I was super proud of her.
Fast forward a week and the Irish Nationals were on in Bundoran, an excellent opportunity to show her prowess on the shortboard.

Caramelised blackberry and apple cake

by Alison,  2014

It might still feel like summer outside but this cake to me looks, smells and tastes of autumn. It is warm, rich and chewy packed with seasonal fruit and a hint of cinnamon. It makes me think of golden light and shortening days. Of walks in woods, and the need for boots, hats and wooly jumpers.

Night skies


by Alison, 14/09/2014


Last night the northern lights were supposed to be visible from Ireland. If they were, I definitely missed them. However thinking of them reminded me of this image I took a month ago on a trip to Achill. It was a windless evening in Achill, which is remarkable for such an exposed spot. Driving by the lake from Keel village to Dugort both myself and my parents were struck by the amazing natural and man-made light shining across the lake. 

My Dad had been the designated driver for the night and was kind enough to bring me back to the house to grab my camera gear and try take a couple of shots. Unfortunately the streams of moonlight were gone by the time we returned but the calmness of the water and the starlight made for new perspective on a spot I have seen countless times before. 

Night time photography brings a whole new array of problems and possibilities and is something I rarely engage with. Luckily we have a plan up our sleeve for late October which should provide plenty more opportunities to develop this skill and possibly to see the northern lights!

Winter is coming

by Alison, 9/09/2014

Last Monday was the first day of Autumn and with the change in seasons a beautiful swell arrived. The parking lots were once again filled but this time it was as much with a sense of anticipation and expectation as it was with people. Hope for the days surf and for the coming winter season. 

Blackberry curd and lemon cake

by Alison, 2/09/2014

Duck season! Wabbit season! Duck season! Wabbit season! In fact both Daffy and Bugs were wrong because as far as I'm concerned, it is blackberry season (If I have totally lost you, here is the link to this classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, click here).

Sea shore foraging

by Alison,  21/08/2014

Summer is drawing to a close. There is a sharper note in the air and our summer town is starting to calm. To be honest though, I don't know where the summer went. While the weather has by all accounts been beautiful for Ireland, I feel like we missed it. Even the two weekends we got away, while fun, coincided with terrible weather. Mist, wet and rain. Thankfully our local coast is stunning and it's not hard to get out and enjoy yourself, if you time it right.

Ladies who slide

by Alison, 17/08/2014

Once again we spent the August bank holiday in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. We love this little seaside town and for us it has plenty of happy memories. For the third year in a row it was the Co. Sligo Open which brought us there on this particular weekend.

Take a minute

by Alison, 11/08/2014


Ollie took this photo when out exploring last week and I love it. I want to walk out to the end of the dock, lay down and make pictures with the clouds. 

Ollie has gone back on the boat and it feels like now its time for me to put my head down and get lots of work done. Work life and home life are starting to feel busy. This sometimes means being very productive or it can just mean stressing over little things. Maybe its better to just sit back and take a minute. 

The Blog Awards Ireland- we need your help!

by Alison, 8/08/2014

This week we are feeling a little bit proud. We have been accepted for the long list for the Blog Awards Ireland.


Our blog has been nominated for four categories: 
  1. Best Newcomer Blog
  2. Best Lifestyle Blog
  3. Best Group Blog
  4. Best Blog Post
The first three categories will be short-listed by a panel of judges and this will be announced on the 22nd of August. Fingers crossed some of them like us.

For the last category, Best Blog Post, we need your help. This short-list will be decided by public vote and then these will be judged by a panel of judges. So in order to reach this short list, we need your help. More accurateIy we need your votes.

The post that has been nominated captures a lot of what we love in life- golden beaches, beautiful waves,  great food, freedom to play and beautiful light - all the amazing things living by the ocean, warm or cold, brings. Click on the picture below if you would like to see the full post.

http://www.gorseandcoconuts.com/2014/06/surf-eat-surf-eat-surf-eat-then-repeat.html
If you do like the post please vote for us. To do this click here to go to the voting site. You are able to vote every 7 days and we would appreciate any votes you give us.

Home brewing


by Ollie, 07/08/2014

You'd think after all the foraging we've been doing lately there would be no elderflowers left in the County, but we left enough for some elderberries to be foraged later in the year.
We had a big pile of elderflowers anyway, so I thought I'd have a go at making elderflower wine.

Summer berry tart

by Alison,   29/07/2014

I love summer fruits. I know you can get berries at any time of the year these days but they taste even better when they are home grown and only travelled a couple of counties rather then countries. There was nothing better as a child then going to pick berries ( eat berries) or seeing the stands for Wexford strawberries on the side of the road and your mum suddenly pulling over to pick up a punnet.

Camping in Connemara



by Ollie, 24/07/2014

Last week we went on a trip to Connemara with two goals in mind. The first one was to have diner at Dillisk, the beautiful pop-up restaurant at Aughrus Beg. This goal was achieved easily and with great delight. Click here if you would like to read more about Dillisk. 
Our second goal however, required a bit more work. The aim was to go camping on the slopes of Mweelrea, Connaught's highest mountain.

Destination Dillisk


by Alison,  20/07/2014

Last weekend we were lucky enough to go to Dillisk. Dillisk is a pop-up restaurant that is currently running in Aughrusbeg, Connemara, Co. Galway. I say lucky enough because this pop-up is now fully sold out. We had never been to a pop up restaurant, so we didn't know what to expect.

Elderflower foraging

by Alison


Inspired by our trips with the Wild Kitchen and our previous successful blackberry picking we decided to try something new this year. We choose another native Irish plant. The Elder tree is common all over Europe and Ireland is no exception. It is an amazingly versatile tree with its flowers, berries and wood having a variety of uses including cordial, vinegar, tea, champagne, wine, chutney, jam and (for the fellow Potter fans out there) wands.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

by Alison, 04/07/2014

We were in Dublin last weekend to see the Pixies. Arcade Fire may have been the headliners but the Pixies (and Ham Sandwich) were definitely the main event for us. While they were awesome we can't exactly recommend that you go and see them as sadly all their dates in Ireland are over. We can on the other hand recommend that you go to see the following exhibition.

Rise and shine

 by Alison, 01/07/2014

Sunrise and sunset surfs are beautiful. The light, the colour of the water, the lighter winds. However despite this and the fact that we live by the sea, my pre-work surfs are pretty minimal. When we are away morning surfs are pretty much the routine however I find this much harder when I have to head to work after. Sometimes it makes me question my dedication to the ocean as I hear the alarm and instead of getting up I roll over for just another 10minutes. Even with the warmer weather and bright mornings I find it tough to leave the pillow behind. Having somebody else counting on you to show up makes all the difference. Even better when that person is right beside you.

Hanging

by Alison, 25/06/2014

Ollie is coming home and for the first time this year he will be home for more then two weeks. Looking forward to hanging out and having some adventures.

Surf, eat, surf, eat, surf, eat, then repeat

by Alison, 20/06/2014

It's midsummers, its Friday and its international surf day. It's flat and I have something bordering on a cold. Luckily I have a hard drive full of beautiful memories to stoke my surf filled heart. Another week in Nicaragua, another stretch of coast filled with firing surf breaks. 

Seaweed walk with the Wild Kitchen

by Alison, 19/06/2014

We met Oonagh O'Dwyer from the Wild Kitchen at the Burren Slow Food Festival. We went on her foraging walk and loved it (click here to read about it). On the second day of the festival we happened to run into Oonagh again and she surprised us by inviting us on one of her seaweed foraging walks. She had a photographer, coming to meet her the following weekend and she thought we would enjoy meeting him.

Burren Slow Food Festival

by Alison, 15/06/2014 

Just before Ollie left we went to the Burren Slow Food Festival in Lisdoonvarna. What with all the rush of moving, I never actually wrote about it. This was the first year Ollie and I went to the event though it has been running since before we arrived in Clare. It is a celebration and demonstration of the growers, artisan producers and chefs working in Clare and around Ireland. The philosophy of this movement is 'Good, Clean and Fair' meaning great tasting food, environmentally friendly production and sold at a fair price for the producer and the consumer.

The cottage

by Alison, 09/06/2014

Its been a busy couple of weeks. I'd love to say that this was because the surf was pumping and that I didn't have time to write because of all the salt water flowing around me. Unfortunately this wasn't the case. In fact I think I've been land based now for nearly three weeks. When I lived in Dublin, I wouldn't even have noticed this. In Lahinch, it feels like you have all but given up on surfing. The main reason for this is we finally have a home again.

World Oceans Day 2014


by Alison, 08/06/2014

This is something that popped up on my Instagram feed during the week. A day to reflect upon and honour the beautiful blue ocean that keeps our planet healthy and gives us so much joy. 

Emerald Vision


by Ollie, 03/06/2014

For my last birthday I got given a savage present by Alison; a full day photography course with local wildlife, surf and landscape photographer George Karbus.
My birthday is in October, but due to circumstances I only got to use my present last week, half a year later. Even so, for me it was one of the highlights of the year!

Friday night lights

by Alison, 23/05/2014

Finally, it's the weekend. It's been a long week and its time to re-set and recharge. Luckily we live in a beautiful place that gives you plenty of opportunities to do this. 

Isla de Ometepe

by Alison, 20/05/2014

Situated in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe is an impressive sight. Its two volcanoes rise gracefully out of the water adding depth and perspective to this enormous lake. The island is only accessible by ferry and in our opinion is well worth a trip. We were trying to maximise our beach time on this holiday and for this reason we only spent two days on this beautiful island. However the island is quite compact so even with only two nights to spend there, we came away with lots of happy memories. 

Dubai


by Ollie, 16/05/2014

So far I've only spent about 2 weeks in Ireland this year. Work and holidays have kept me busy in 2014, traveling across the globe. My last destination before I came back to County Clare again: Dubai.

The Seea

by Alison, 12/05/2014

In theory the thought of surfing in warm water without the need for a wetsuit sends happy shivers of anticipation down my spine. However there are a couple of advantages of being incased in neoprene from head to toe. First off, only very small portions of the body are being blasted by the elements and it is easy to protect those that aren't. Secondly having a wetsuit means that everything stays where it should.

Popoyo, beach haze and lazy days

by  Alison, 08/05/2014

Prior to traveling to Nicaragua we knew very little about Nicaragua or its surf breaks. Popoyo was the one spot that everybody we talked to mentioned.  After our brief stay in San Juan del Sur we were ready to start life at the beach and we choose to head directly to Playa Guasacate. This beach has the closest access to Popoyo.

Live in the sunshine...

by Alison, 06/05/2014

''Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air' Ralph Waldo Emerson

A mantra, a wish and when we get it right a reality. Life in Ireland can feel like this too but when I read this quote it brought me back to Nicaragua.

Fantastic Mister Fox

by Alison, 21/04/2014

This morning we had a new neighbour come to visit our garden. Even though I'm from the city I've seen plenty of foxes. In fact I've seen an awful lot more in Dublin then I've ever seen in Clare. Including one avidly chasing after a football on the cricket grounds in Trinity College. However city foxes tend to be skinny and pretty unhealthy looking. This fox or vixen was a beauty. Hopefully it wasn't a once off visit.

Hot cross buns

by Alison, 20/04/2014

Happy Easter :) I sound like a broken record at this stage but Ollie is still on the boat so I'm spending the bank holiday hanging out with friends, surfing, enjoying the sunshine (yes, its beautiful out here) and eating lots of lovely food (Thanks for the burger Bill). 

Colour and colonialism


by Alison, 13/04/2014

While we were in Nicaragua, we weren't really focused on seeing towns. We wanted golden sands, blue skies and waves. However it can be hard to stop being a tourist and when the surf got small we took a side trip to Granada. 

Shore-shots Irish surf film festival 2014


by Alison, 09/04/2014

I've been mentioning surf culture a lot in the posts about California. When I say that, I really mean California surf culture. The movie images and ideas that were probably my first exposure to surfing. However they are not something that resonates with my daily experience of surfing. They are a vacation, a luxury.  This experience of surfing is a far cry from home.  

Dinner and a movie

by Alison, 05/04/2014

Tonight I am going to the Shore-shots Film Festival. Shore-shots is the Irish Surf Film Festival and is in its second year. We missed it last year and this year we were really looking forward to it. So much so that we bought our tickets while in Nicaragua. Unfortunately as I mentioned in the drop scone post Ollie is in Qatar and can't make the festival. Buying tickets in advance is always a gamble where he is concerned.  However thinking about tonight reminded me of our last visit to the cinema.

Bing


by Alison, 04/04/2014

Heading to California, my mind was filled with ideas about surfing and surf culture. Surfing brands whether we like it or not are a permanent part of that culture. While some brands are youth-centric, throw away fashion items that mould and shape them-selves to the times, there are those that manage to hold past and present in the same space and make items that I think any surfer would covet. 

Drop scones

By Alison, 01/04/2014

We have been back in Ireland just over a week now and I want to say sorry about the silence over the last fortnight. Internet signal in our last place in Nicaragua was poor and the past week has been a bit of an adjustment to reality. Ollie is already on a boat in Qatar and I am back my day job. Spending days in a car or office are hard to adjust to after the freedom of the beach. The last thing I have wanted to do in the evenings is sit at the computer. My promise to myself is to start sitting down and focusing on editing the holiday photos in order retain the holiday feeling and to be able to share them here. While I try tackle that mammoth task, I wanted to share the following with you.

All before breakfast

by Alison, 16/03/2014

 Every morning here has been pretty special. For me just to wake up and not have to go to work makes a day pretty awesome. However to wake up somewhere tropical, with the sea a stones throw away and the knowledge that surf and sunshine are guaranteed, well that's hard to beat. 

Let's talk about wine


by Ollie, 12/03/2014

Ever heard about the Santa Ynez Valley? No? Well, neither had we until we came to California, but we found out in a very pleasant way that it is another one of California's beautiful wine growing regions.

Ola Nicaragua!!

by Ollie, 08/03/2014

Having spent 2 amazing weeks in California, we were buzzing to get to our next destination: Nicaragua!