Our mini adventure

The subject of one of yesterday’s tantrums was ‘I WANT TO SEE THE SUN!’ I’m not sure quite what he wanted me to do about it but thankfully someone was listening as when we woke up today the sun had definitely got his hat on. We both agreed that a walk was in order so after grabbing our wellies and coats (it was sunny but far from warm) we jumped in the car and set off.

I don’t know about anyone else’s children but wherever we go my toddler has to bring something. Batman joins us for the food shop, Thomas has been to the beach and today Jake and the Neverland Pirates were all packed for our walk. Fortunately, sometimes I can convince him that although it was fun to have them in car he wouldn’t be so pleased if he dropped them while we were out and about. Thankfully today I was in luck and we left the pirates to do some treasure hunting on the back seat.

Our first mission was to climb to the top of the ‘mountain’ (a small hill) and while he was keen to hold hands on the way up, on the way down it was a different matter. Though he’s tripped from running too fast before he still enjoys tackling it himself. I’m not worried about him falling on the grass, my bigger concern is the sheep poop everywhere – yuck! He however isn’t bothered about it surprise, surprise.

His other two favourite things are picking up ‘broomsticks’ and flying around on them and of course…muddy puddles. As he had his wellies on I had to agree to some jumping and splashing although as he got more adventurous even his jeans were covered. He had a great time, the problem was convincing him to get out. With a promise of a little snack when we got home he eventually was happy to leave and as we headed back to the car he gave me a few snorts (as if I needed reminding who to blame for his favourite hobby…)

mini-adventure-final

Of course by now he was getting bored and wanted to be carried but this was not a good option unless I wanted to resemble a mud wrestler. I instead suggested a race back to the car which he happily took me up on.

As we were getting in we were delighted to see six horses and jockeys walking towards us (one of the benefits of living in Kildare) and after screaming ‘hello’ at the top of his lungs he was happy that they each waved at him. After a successful outing it was time to take my tired little piggy home.

 

Continue Reading

Our holiday in Valencia!

We’re just back from a week in sunny Spain and I’ve done a little breakdown of what we did, what we ate and drank, the products I packed and where we partied (only joking, we were tucked up in bed by 11 every night so the clubs probably weren’t even open!)

Where: Valencia, Spain

Packed:

We used our check in luggage for E’s clothes and bits and pieces and we each managed with hand luggage. How things have changed! I remember a few years ago I struggled to fit all my things in a case weighing 20kg!

My star products:

image

While I’m away my philosophy is definitely less is more, partly because I like to keep my make up natural and partly because I can’t fit much in my bag! I love multitasking products as they save so much time (great for mums).

Vichy Ideal Soleil BB Cream SPF 50+: I used this product as a moisturiser, foundation and SPF! I bought the version for combination to oily skin and I can verify that it didn’t leave my skin greasy at all. It gave a great natural colour that was suitable for the day and evening.

L’Oreal Paris False Lash Superstar mascara: In the evenings I used this 2 step mascara to give me long, thick lashes and because you can create quite an intense look I didn’t need to bother with eyeshadow or eyeliner.

Garnier Miscellar Cleansing Water: This is great for removing all your makeup and is also lovely and refreshing for when you get back from the beach. My skin is sensitive so I love the fact that there’s no perfume.

Ate:

Burgers, pizza, pasta, ice cream and delicious desserts. Thank goodness we didn’t bother to hire a car so we could walk off all the calories during the day! Anyone else think this cheesecake’s giving me a lopsided grin??

image

Drank:

Estrella Damm (the local beer) for hubby and a cocktail or Sangria for me.

image

Activities:

We didn’t have a swimming pool so went to the beach virtually every day. The water was so warm; bit of a contrast to the Irish coast. E had a great time splashing in the sea and also digging sandy puddles to jump in!

image

Our main day trip was to the Oceanografic Aquarium which is the biggest in Europe. We were delighted to spot Nemo – look closely!

image

But also came across a less friendly face…

image

The architecture in the city centre is stunning and although we didn’t get round to looking up what all the buildings were, they made for some great pics!

image

We took a little train ride (great mode of transport for a Thomas fan) through the park to check out the futuristic buildings at the ‘City of Arts and Sciences’ complex.

image

However E was more interested in the Monsters Inc characters that we came across outside the Pixar exhibition!

image

Funniest/scariest moment:

On the return flight we had some bad turbulence soon after taking off. I then said to my husband ‘I don’t like this!’ Unfortunately E overheard and said the exact same thing. He then declared ‘I don’t want to fly home, I want to drive!’ In an effort to reassure him and make light of the situation I then had to draw on my best acting skills to pretend (whilst secretly terrified)that I now loved all the bumping around and that it was great fun being bounced up and down…

In conclusion: Valencia was a hit with us all so in the words of Arnie I’ll (or rather we’ll ) be back!

Continue Reading

Peppa Pig World Review

Peppa Pig World

So the day started out with us running late. We had intended to arrive just as the gates opened at 10:30am, but as we had to turn around 5 minutes into the journey to collect our sandwiches that we’d left in the fridge that was looking less and less likely. However on the positive side the sun was shining!

Not wanting to waste a minute once we got into the gates, those of us not driving applied our sun lotion in the car, we wanted to make sure that Peppa was the only one with a pink face that day!

We had paid for our tickets online and that meant that when we arrived at 11am (not bad) we were able to simply scan the barcodes on our tickets and walk straight in with no queuing. It was then a case of going as quickly as possible past the other Paulton Park rides to Peppa World. Everyone else seemed to be doing the exact same thing so it turned into a bit of a mother’s race. We bought the three wheeler with us so I was grateful that the racer tyres gave me an extra zip.

The first ride we came across was the Windy Castle so we abandoned the buggy and got in the queue. It took about twenty minutes for us to get to the front and we jumped aboard. I have to say that I was a little taken aback that the combination of the up and down and round and round did make me a little queasy (although I am a wimp) so although my toddler loved it I was actually glad to be back on solid ground when it finished.

It was now 11:45 and as is the way when you have a picnic lunch with you, we were all keen to dig in. Fortunately we noticed that the feeding session with the penguins was due to start at 12 so we nabbed a bench in the viewing area and it was sandwiches for us and fish for the Pingus (as my son likes to call all penguins).

Next up was the train ride and after another queue of about 20 minutes it was all aboard! This one was far less dramatic but the combination of being on a train and being driven by Grandpa Pig was a winner!

We’d conquered the land and the air so it was onto the sea and into the boats! As there were six of us adults (Grandma, Grandad, 2 Aunties and my husband and I) and we all wanted to be able to sail with E it was a case of all of us getting in the queue at different points and passing my toddler on to whoever was next. He was delighted that he had 3 go’ s in a row and we were relieved that we didn’t have to have the embarrassment of getting onto one of the little boats without a child – this was no 18-30s cruise.

After a relaxing spin in Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride we decided to sample the goods in Miss Rabbit’s Ice Cream Parlour. We were a little disappointed that she didn’t serve us herself but then maybe she was too busy with looking after her Helicopter Flight… However the ice creams were delicious and just what we needed to put the spring back in our step or should I say the hop.

‘George’s Dinosaur Adventure’ is known as the ‘big one’ as it is by far the most popular ride with the longest queues. My husband bravely decided to give it a go (brave as in keeping my toddler entertained in a 45 minute queue) and I am told it was worth the wait. This was definitely the highlight for E.

We  had a quick nosy in Peppa’s house and while it was fun to see Daddy Pig serving up pancakes for his family we were put out that we weren’t offered any…

We were hoping that Daddy Pig would offer us a lift home after a long day but unfortunately his car ride only took us on two circuits around the track… So after high fives and hugs with Peppa and George at the meet and greet it was time to go home and let my little piglet have a rest.

He is already asking when we’re going back…

Continue Reading

Irish National Stud Review

Irish National Stud

As E’s grandparents were over for a couple of days we decided to make a trip to the Irish National Stud and Gardens in Kildare.  It’s nice to make an effort to do something different when we have visitors and I don’t think 2 days of chasing E around the play centre would have felt like much of a holiday…

The weather was a bit temperamental but we knew that was going to be the case. I’ve got a bit obsessed with the weather app on my iPhone so we were well prepared with waterproofs and sensible shoes.

When we paid for our tickets we were informed that there were newborn foals that we could go and see so with much anticipation we headed off to the stables.

I couldn’t believe that the foals were standing and walking within hours of being born; they show our children up considering that it normally takes them 12 months! They were absolutely adorable and E was thrilled that he got to stroke one.

We decided to head over to see the older foals frolicking in the fields however as with anywhere we walk with E he decided he was in no rush. On the way he got distracted by jumping up and down on a drain cover, riding his broomstick (any stick that is a good size has the potential to fly) and debating whether to throw his coin into the fountain (lots of other people had made wishes and dropped theirs in but he eventually decided that he couldn’t bare to part with his 5 cents).

Just before we reached the pasture we spotted the amazing new playground that the Irish National Stud has built. However as I’m a mean mummy I successfully managed to distract him so that  he didn’t notice it. The rain was on its way and I wanted him to enjoy seeing the horses rather than spend our precious few minutes left of the sunshine going up and down  a slide. Fortunately he loved watching them grazing and tentatively walking around and after a few minutes the first drops of rain fell.

It was a great excuse to check out the coffee shop and we relaxed with tea and scones until the sun came out again. It is unusual for E not to need his own snack but the scones were so big that he happily helped himself to large chunks off ours. He’s always so pleased when our days out involve a pit stop at a cafe and it’s no wonder why; it’s a chance to sample the baked goods as well as trying to entertain the other customers with his constant chattering and funny faces.

Next up was the Japanese Gardens and the first decision was whether to take the easy or difficult path. We decided on the easy one as we had the buggy with us (more so we could load it up with bags, drinks, umbrellas etc as there was no way E would stay in it). It was lovely wandering around looking at the pretty plants and features but we decided that we wanted more of a challenge. The buggy was abandoned and E went off on an ‘adventure’ with his Grandad exploring a cave, a little house and climbing the steps to get to the top of the ‘mountain.’ Though we didn’t let him near the stepping stones, I successfully conquered them and was pretty chuffed although a little traumatised… Yes the water’s shallow but it’s very fast moving!

Irish National Stud gardens

With all the excitement E was getting tired so we headed home, I’m sure he had some interesting dreams after all the excitement.

I’d highly recommend the Irish National Stud for a family day out, has anyone else been?

 

 

Continue Reading

Tips for flying with a toddler!

image

We recently took a short flight over to the U.K and while there was nothing luxurious about it there are a few tricks to making it go smoothly (not that we can do anything about the odd bit of turbulence…) Here are my tips for flying with a toddler:

My first step in preparing my toddler was to count down to the day itself, we started with months then weeks then days then hours! If he wasn’t excited enough already I also compared going on a plane to ‘flying through the air like Superman!’ He was delighted to tell this to anyone that would listen.

Another part of the build up to the big day was that I told him all the relatives we were going to be seeing, however unfortunately I didn’t make this clear enough as the minute we stepped off the aircraft he was wondering why everyone wasn’t standing at the bottom of the steps ready to greet him (maybe he has a notion that we’re VIPs!)

Thankfully as my son is now over the age of two he has his own seat and this means it’s easier to stretch our legs (easier not easy we are flying economy after all), there’s more storage space and he felt like a big boy with his own seatbelt.

With no TV screens in sight the iPad was a necessity, the only thing that caused a tantrum was the volume control. While I’m sure the other passengers didn’t mind the quiet hum of nursery rhymes playing, I think ‘Let It Go’ at full volume would have had them shouting ‘Make It Stop!’

Thankfully we were assured that we could leave our tablet on for the duration of the journey as long as we chose flight mode. Whoever came up with this ‘mode’ thank you from the bottom of my heart…

I’m so relieved that we’re not at the stage (and hope we never will be) of airlines requesting that only food purchased from them may be eaten onboard. It seems to be a universal rule that when children are bored they are also hungry (I have to include myself in this) and we devoured an insane amount between take off and landing. If we had to purchase everything we ate directly from the cabin crew I think we’d have spent more than we did on the flight itself! It’s definitely worth packing up lots of supplies.

While I’m on a roll on things I’m grateful for, next up is the fact that each passenger now gets an additional handbag sized bag. While we always brought these bags with us we no longer have to stuff them up our jumpers giving ourselves a fake pregnancy bump, or into our carry on which meant many a buckled zip.

I love allocated seating. We were quite happy to let Barney entertain E while we let everyone else fight it out to get to the front of the queue. We were actually last on the flight which was ideal because it meant less time strapped into our seats while we were safe in the knowledge that we had secured three in row together. In addition we gratefully accepted the offer for 2 pieces of our hand luggage to be checked in free of charge. It’s so much easier than trying to lug a child plus all of your bags up the plane steps.

image

So, while I can’t say that I enjoyed the travelling part of our trip it was definitely less stressful than it used to be. I don’t think I’m quite ready to try it without the help of my husband yet though…

So that’s my tips for flying with a toddler – any you’d add?

Continue Reading