blossoms and benches

This tree decided to share some of its beauty with the foot path.

This tree decided to share some of its beauty with the foot path.

Green leaves, pink blossoms, and flowering vines dancing across stone hedges. Dublin, spring looks good on you.

It’s been a very long winter. I spent so much time feeling cold that my only wish was for summer to arrive so I could finally warm up. I forgot about spring, the season that spoils us with beautiful growth and teases us with anticipation for great things.

The city is lit up in colour with flowers blooming in gardens, pots and trees. I also love the rogue wild flowers scattered across the grass where they shouldn’t be. I need to give myself extra time to walk everywhere because I always get distracted and smell the flowers. My latest addition to the soundtrack of my life is “Flowers in your hair” by the Lumineers since I’m constantly sticking flowers into my curls while humming the tune.

One of my favourite pass times is hanging out in a park, drinking coffee while sitting on a bench or journaling with my back against a tree. Here’s an inside scoop on the parks I frequent in Dublin:

Stephens Green

Stephens Green

Stephens Green

Yes, given its location right next to Grafton street it’s almost always bustling, but it’s still a park worth visiting. There are ducks and swans swimming in the pond, plenty of flower beds, benches, and a beautiful small bridge. There are also a few trees that have a PERFECT cove for you to nestle into. I love to grab a soya cap from Butler’s on Grafton Street and then relax in the park for a few minutes.

Mystery park on Long Lane

There’s a beautiful park just off of Long Lane, close to Camden Street, but I’m not sure what it’s called. It’s much quieter and smaller than Stephen’s Green, which makes it a great place to read a book. At this time of year the pink blossom trees are in their full glory and there are tulips and other flowers for you to enjoy.

Palmerston Park

Palmerston Park

Palmerston Park

Yesterday I discovered my new favourite park while getting lost looking for a gym that I’m sure doesn’t exist. As soon as I walked in I fell in love with it. It made me want a picnic immediately. It’s quiet, has great trees, and is full of tranquility. It is the perfect place to have a peaceful picnic while the day drifts away.

Spring puts joy in my heart, a lightness in my step, and flowers in my hair. It’s a good season.

Even the vines climbing sidewalk hedges deserve some attention.

Even the vines climbing sidewalk hedges deserve some attention.

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How’s Howth?

Welcome to Howth.

Welcome to Howth.

Howth, a suburb of Dublin, is an idealistic fisherman’s town at the north of Dublin Bay. I’ve never been to Newfoundland but I imagine it would look similar.

Howth lighthouse.

Howth lighthouse.

I'll take one in every colour, please.
I’ll take one in every colour, please.

There are old fishing boats in the harbour, multi-coloured house fronts along the esplanade, and houses atop hills over looking the sea. The smell of fish lingers in the air and there’s shop after shop selling all sorts of seafood.

Howth is only a train ride away from the Dublin city center and there are always lots of times to choose from. It’s a half hour trip and costs about six euro for a return ticket.

It’s a small, sleepy town with just the right amount of shops and cafes. If you feel like grabbing a quick bite and sitting by the sea, there are several places that offer fish and chips for takeaway. If you have a a little more time, there are restaurants with beautiful seafood dishes where you can stop in for some tapas and a bottle of wine. The first time I went to Howth it started to rain so my friend and I went to a small restaurant and sat on a bench by the window and watched the rain meet the sea. I had an incredible seafood paella and enjoyed every warm moment before heading back out to walk to the lighthouse. Sometimes on my day off I take the train to Howth to just grab a coffee, go for a walk, and pickup some fresh cod to make for dinner. Bliss, I know.

Seafood paella by the seaside

Seafood paella by the seaside

Even if the forecast calls for sunshine it can always rain at the drop of a coin so I always go prepared — rain coat, toque, and umbrella. Rain or shine, Howth is beautiful and well worth the visit.

It's fun to grab some fish and chips and sit by the water when the sun's out.

It’s fun to grab some fish and chips and sit by the water when the sun’s out.

This little birdy hung out with me while I ate my fish and chips :)

This little birdy hung out with me while I ate my fish and chips 🙂

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Fisherman’s boat, sans fisherman.

This is me in Howth.

This is me in Howth.

Oh autumn, how I love thee.

au·tumn

noun /ˈôtəm/
autumns, plural

The third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from September to November and in the southern hemisphere from March to May

– the countryside is ablaze with color in autumn

autumn leaves

– he was in the autumn of his life

Canadian

Change. Change is good.

I’m partial to always having a little bit of change in my life, so I can appreciate seasonal change.

Of all of the seasons, autumn is by far my favourite. Yes, I would even pick it over (gasp!) summer.

Autumn is especially beautiful in Canada’s maple tree regions. I spent last year in Australia and I’m pretty sure I completely missed “autumn” because it was just a slow transition to slightly “cooler” temperatures. Winter began and I frantically asked my friends, colleagues, bus drivers, “but what about autumn?!” Needless to say I was very pleased that I got to experience autumn in Canada this year.

In the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, the fall season consists of lots of balmy sunshine, cool nights, and temperature highs ranging from 15-20 degrees Celsius. In the towns you’ll find lots of beautiful yellow or red trees but the mountains remain green. I had hoped that there would be more colour changes but with such beautiful weather who could complain?

Hiking in Kalamalka Park in September.

Otter Lake by Armstrong, BC in October.

I also spent a couple of weeks in Ontario this October. Ottawa is BEAUTIFUL in autumn. It takes me about 20 minutes longer to get anywhere because I’m constantly distracted by the beautiful colours around me. Trees turn different shades of orange, yellow, and red, and it makes regular day tasks more enjoyable. Driving to do groceries is beautiful because of the long tunnels between tall golden trees. Walking to get the mail is beautiful because in the distance the Gatineau Hills look like a blurry water colours painting. Walking through a forest is beautiful and almost sensory overload – hearing the leaves crunch beneath your feet, seeing amazing hues in every direction, smelling the  earth and fallen leaves, and feeling just enough cold in the air to make you feel alive.

My brother, Isaac, and I in our family’s maple bush.

WE LOVE AUTUMN!

Top 5 reasons why I love autumn:

1. Natural beauty.

2. Thanksgiving (my FAVOURITE holiday).

3. Pumpkins. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, decorative pumpkins, pumpkin patches. All. Things. Pumpkin.

4. Fall clothes (layers, boots, knits).

5. And, thank goodness, it’s not winter.