Apr 16 2014

Win $2,500 With Blurb!

Make a Book About Your Favorite Person and You Could Win $2,500 from Blurb
(This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.)

Did you know that Blurb might give you $2,500 to read about your favorite person? All you have to do is make a book about a loved one filled with all sorts of kind words, creativity and insight, and if selected, you could win the grand prize! For every book you make (there are seven different categories, so seven different chances to win) you will receive a 30% discount on the printed product. Go to Blurb to check out the details of the contest to see what the categories are and when the entries are due. The 30% discount on My Favorite books will be applied at checkout when you use the promo code: MYFAVORITE. (And, even if you don’t enter, you can still get 30% off on all My Favorite books or save 15% on all printed orders through April 30th!)

Not sure what to write about? Take a look at what some of the people at Blurb say about their favorite people.

Deal Link: save 15% on all print book orders

Contest Link: 30% off My Favorite Books and Contest
Enter to win the My Favorite Person contest and win $2,500. All My Favorite Person books are discounted 30% off.

Details: Entrants must create a Blurb book and submit by dates on the website based upon the category selected. Entrants may submit a book for each category. Books must be made with Blurb (not another print company) to be considered.
Valid: Contest entries must be submitted by 4/28 and 5/31, based upon respective categories. The 30% off discount is valid through 5/31.

Mar 25 2014

I Love Blurb Cookbooks!

unnamedHow to Make a Blurb Cookbook

Ever thought of putting your favorite recipes into a beautiful book you can give as a gift or pass down the generations? Blurb is a company that lets anyone create beautiful books from their favorite content, and get those books shipped in any quantity (even just one copy). Not a designer? That’s ok, Blurb’s free BookSmart software is an easy route to a great cookbook.

What’s the best way to get started? Holding off a bit. It’s tempting to want to dive right in, but thinking a bit and getting organized is worth it in the end. Make the most of your time by dividing each step into chunks so you can tackle them at different points in your book-making process.

And here we go:

1. Organize: Gather your recipes and do a process of elimination. Once you’ve narrowed your favorites down, you can gather accompanying images—just make sure you’re giving the recipe and image files the same name to make it easier when it’s time to upload. Keep everything in one folder on your computer.

2. Flow it: Next, determine how you want your cookbook story to flow. Do you want to sort your recipes by age, popularity, or even something else? Once you’ve determined the order, you’ll have done the bulk of your creative decision-making.

3. Get the tool: Download our free book-making tool, BookSmart, choose your book size (Standard Portrait and Standard Landscape are the most popular for cookbooks) and input your title and author name. Then choose “Cookbook” as your starting point — this will give you the best layouts for the job. Then pick a source for your images — from iPhoto, your computer, even Flickr or Picasa. Lastly, choose a theme. Now you’re ready to put together your cookbook.

4. Lay it out: This is where the real book-making comes in. BookSmart will provide you with 20 pages in our standard recipe layout, but you’ll find plenty of alternate layouts in the “Choose page layout” panel on the upper left. You can also add additional pages ­­— including photo pages — by clicking “Add Pages” in the top toolbar.

5. Just add copy: Our layouts provide space for stories, introductions, and those all-important ingredients and directions. Paste in your copy and you’re golden. Then garnish with photos. Don’t forget to run BookSmart’s spell check feature.

6. Preview and review: Click “Review book” and go through page by page. If you’re not a natural-born proofreader, ask a friend to take a second look.

7. Order: Make any last minute edits, click “Order,” and follow the prompts to checkout. Remember to order extra copies for friends and family—or sell it in our Bookstore. Order now and save 15% on all print book orders through April 30th with code TAKE15%.

That’s it, you’re done.  Congratulations!

(This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you purchase through these links)

Feb 28 2014

A Rare Treat – The Aurora Borealis

One of the amazing things about living far up in the Northern most part of Ireland is the exciting prospect of being able to see the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Last night was one of the most spectacular displays in a very long time. Some amazing photos are flooding Facebook today as photographers are sharing their pictures with the world. I ran out with my camera at about midnight last night when I first heard they were visible, but I was about 2 hours too late, and didn’t get to see them. I have been excited all day at the prospect of seeing them tonight, and have my camera and tripod packed up and ready to go. Unfortunately conditions are not favorable tonight, so I will have to be patient and wait for the next time. I am so disappointed to have missed the show last night!

But here are some photos that you might enjoy!

The Northern Lights at the Giant’s Causeway – 27th February 2014

If you are interested in seeing if they will be visible where you are, here are some useful websites to bookmark – I know I will be checking them out every day over the next few weeks!

Real time Kp numbers – if they are above 4, then there is a good chance of seeing them.

Space weather alerts and warnings – If you see green on today’s date on the G1, G2 or G3 rows, then be prepared!

Magnetic Field - If the Bz dial is showing negative numbers, then the chances of Aurora sightings are good.

Aurora Forecast

Inishowen Tourism Blog

Here are also some Donegal Facebook pages that you might enjoy if you are interested in the latest Aurora photos:

Donegal Weather Channel, Donegal Photographic Tours, Visit Inishowen, Adam Rory Porter Photography, Martina Gardiner Photography, Rita Wilson Photography and Buncrana Camera Club

Nov 23 2013

Chiptuning by RaceChip – How to Easily Boost the Power and Economy of Your Motor

What is Chiptuning?

The engines in all modern cars are controlled by an electronic control unit or ECU.  Within this unit there is a memory chip with data that has been provided by the vehicle manufacturer. The ECU uses this data to directs the operation of the engine – ignition timing, air to fuel ratio, turbo boost and more.

Chiptuning refers to the different methods that can be used to alter the data that the ECU uses; it can refer to replacing the memory chip, reprogramming the chip, or adding an additional ECU. Altering or replacing the typically conservative data programmed by the manufacturer can result in greater power output and economy, provided it is carried out properly.

The different approaches

The data which is used to govern the engine can simply be completely replaced by simply exchanging the memory chip that is in the ECU for a chip with data which allows for different ignition timing, fuel ignition etc.

Another approach, and one which has become more popular than replacing the chip, is getting the existing chip reprogrammed (or ‘remapped’). The individual carrying out the chiptuning in this way would usually reprogram the chip by using the onboard diagnostics interface (OBD). He plugs a computer into the vehicle’s OBD port and introduces the new data. These two methods can result in greater power than the third option (see below) but there are disadvantages, risk of engine damage and inability to carry out diagnostic tests.

The third way to change the data is to add another ECU (sometimes referred to as a tuning box) which acts in the same way that the manufacturer’s ECU but uses a set of data which increases power and performance. This method offers significant advantages as it can easily be removed, allowing the original ECU to take over engine control. This is useful when it time for the vehicle to be sold. In addition, with the right setup the original engine protection program that the manufacturer installed is retained, so you good a boost in power and economy without the risk of engine damage.


RaceChip are a chiptuning company based in Germany; they have been in operation for over 18 years. RaceChip only use the the third option outlined above – that of adding an additional ECU. Their systems always leave the original engine protection data in place, so there is no risk to your motor. The ECU is easy to install (you can do it yourself in 15 minutes) and there are no structural modifications to the vehicle or the existing ECU.

Their basic system – which costs a mere €129 – can give you the following benefits: up to 25% more performance, up to 20%more torque, up to 1l / 100km less consumption. Those are very impressive figures indeed. True, you may get a greater output by replacing or reprogramming the chip, but is it worth the risk when RaceChip’s inexpensive system offers so much?

Chiptuning that is not carried out properly can actually result in poor performance and economy, and even engine damage. Therefore, it is advisable to only tune an engine by use of an additional ECU, one which allows the engine to be governed by the engine protection data programmed by the engine manufacturer. RaceChip systems certainly are the way to go.

Nov 12 2013

Blurb’s Chicken Soup For Your Soul!

It can be really hard buying books for people as gifts. After all, you never know just which books they already have. And then when you do find the right book and give it to them, how do you make it really personal? Put in a book plate? Write an inscription? How do you make the whole thing totally them?

These personalized “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books are one really great way to do it. Not only do you get to choose from five different story themes, you can personalize it in ways you just can’t with a conventional book. As the title suggests, these are stories meant to comfort and heal.

Your custom “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book will truly be a book for them because the book is printed with their name on the cover, as the recipient. And it’s truly from you because your name is printed on the cover as the giver. You can even include an inscription inside the book and on the back cover. Even add a photo to the back.

There are other nice options to choose from, like the type of cover you’d like and the type of paper. It takes just about five minutes to make it a truly custom book. And chances are, it’s something they’ll love forever. And a 60-page book starts at just $24.95.

There’s a quick video here: Chicken Soup for the Soul that shows you how to fill in all the info using a simple online tool. The books are all done by Blurb, so you know the quality is going to be great.

Get started here: Blurb’s Chicken Soup for the Soul Book

Here Is A Discount Code Valid Until 11/21/13! Save 25% when you spend $50 or more on print books with code: SAVING

Affiliate disclaimer

Oct 20 2013

Huggler Books


Aug 26 2013

A Busy Summer!

Phew, it’s nearing the end of August, and we have had such a busy few months!  Although we haven’t been able to travel anywhere abroad, we have had quite a few visitors, and have shared some of the sights of Ireland with them instead!  We have also made many new friends, which means that we have got more places to visit in the future!


My dear sister and family were able to visit us from the US! It had been about five years since their last visit, so it was sooo great to see them.  They came up to Donegal for a week, and we took them on a tour of our beautiful beaches, we ate fresh seafood in Malin Head, picked and cooked mussels from the beach, went to see the Giant’s Causeway, the rope bridge, and much more! We even had the amazing and unusual occurrence of some warm weather and sunshine!! It was such a wonderful few days.. We are planning a longer trip to Georgia to see them as soon as we can, so we are keeping an eye open for great flight deals with companies like US Airways!

We also had fun with a family visiting Buncrana for to months, my cousin and his wife from Wales, and a big  group of Germans from Augsburg!  It has meant a lot of trips to the Giant’s Causeway and the rope bridge, but it is always fun! And I even managed to cross the bridge once :-/IMG_6460

Travelling abroad is such a wonderful experience, and hopefully we can visit some more countries in the near future, but travelling at home can be fun too!


Jun 18 2013

You Can’t Get Fresher Than This!

One of the best things we have done since moving here is discovered the delights of fresh ingredients.  On our list of ‘To-Dos” with any visitors is going to get fresh mussels for dinner.  There is nothing quite like driving to the beach, and walking out on the sand when the tide has gone out, collecting a bucket of fresh mussels and oysters, and cooking them!  Cleaning the barnacles from the shells is not so glamorous, however, but definitely worth it!

Blurb Cookbook Mussels

We have tried two recipes – both equally delicious!

The classic mussels in white wine: Fry some onion and plenty of garlic in a shallow cast iron pan, add some white wine and reduce slightly.  Add a good slug of fresh cream, some ground black pepper and chopped fresh parsley. Tip in the cleaned mussels, put a lid on your pan, and steam until the mussels are open. Discard any that remain closed. Don’t overcook them or they will be rubbery! Serve with crusty bread and chilled white wine.

For something a bit different, and equally tasty (I have my sister to thank for this one!): Fry a chopped onion, plenty of crushed garlic and some fresh grated ginger.  Add some chopped chilli (not too much that it will take over the taste of the mussels, but enough for a little bit of a kick), and 1/2 tsp of tumeric, 2 tsp ground cumin.  Stir in 1 cup of water and 1 3/4 cups of shredded fresh coconut. Sprinkle in some fresh chopped coriander.  Steam your mussels as in the previous recipe, and garnish with some more fresh coriander.

This sounds like a bit of a strange combination with mussels, but believe me, it’s so delicious you will be spooning up the juices with your mussel shells and drinking it!!

When you try out new recipes, be sure to snap some photos of this finished masterpiece.  You can then collect all of your favourite recipes into your own special recipe book. I am in the process of putting together a cookbook using Blurb of all of our favourite family recipes. This will make a great gift for close friends and family! It’s so easy – you should try it too!!


Jun 13 2013

May & June Photos – Donegal

Apr 29 2013

A Few More..

Despite wind and heavy showers, we had a lovely morning out in the Culdaff area.. Here are a few highlights for you!