Book Shopping, Autumn Displays & Retro Games

This week, when the girls were at school, I decided to go on an artist’s date to the museum to look at the art. I never get a chance to look at it properly when I’m with the girls since they like to race past every picture πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, the galleries were all closed so I ended up looking at a photography exhibition they had instead and I had a look in the shop for inspiration πŸ™‚ Then I found a sunny spot under a tree in Botanic Gardens and read my book/listened to music. I brought a picnic and it was strange being there when it was so quiet. Usually when we go, there are so many people you can barely see the grass, but I felt like I had the place to myself πŸ™‚ I called into an independent book shop to have a look and treated myself to a couple of books. I found a postcard too that I decided to display as a reminder to myself not to neglect my writing πŸ™‚ There is something about buying from a local shop and going home with a paper bag that feels more satisfying than ordering online and having them delivered to the house.

On Friday, I went for a coffee/shopping date with my mum. We had coffee and croissants/scones in a nearby cafe. It was really sunny and there was classical music playing, and the place had such a relaxing atmosphere πŸ™‚ Afterwards, we looked around the charity shops. I found some books and we both got clothes for Β£1 πŸ™‚ I always pass a flower shop near my house that looks so cheerful in Autumn, so we went to look at the seasonal displays. They have some beautiful Autumn wreaths, but I decided to attempt to make my own as they were quite expensive πŸ™‚ I still love shopping for ideas even if I’m not physically buying something. My friend reminded me of a lunch offer in a pizza place, so we got mini pizzas and salad and had a chat before I collected the kids πŸ™‚ I love the blues music they play there and the chilled feel to the place.

On Saturday, I made pancakes for breakfast and we listened to jazz and enjoyed not having to rush out of the house as quickly πŸ™‚ Then I took the girls back to the museum since I knew it was meant to rain a lot πŸ™‚ The interactive rooms for kids were back open, which the girls were very excited about, and they had added some new activities. The girls enjoyed putting a pot and a skull together. They did some hieroglyph rubbings and made some paper fans. I like looking at the vintage toys too. I just love looking at items from the past and seeing how carefully constructed they were. The girls both love looking inside the dolls’ houses – each one captures a different era and they had an obsession with pressing the doorbell of the wartime one because it plays an air raid siren noise πŸ™‚

The girls love the nature area too and they completed a treasure hunt in it where they had to find hidden stickers around the room. They like building birds with the revolving pictures too πŸ™‚ We finished our trip with a visit to the art room and the girls drew some pictures with the watercolour pencils there.

When we left the museum, I was surprised to find that it had stopped raining and turned sunny. We found a covered seat for our picnic and there were people practising tai chi in the background with gentle music playing. It was soothing to watch and listen to it while we ate. The gardens are so Autumnal-looking now and we found so many conkers, which the girls were happy about πŸ™‚ I still find looking for conkers fun and it’s a really mindful activity too. I love seeing all the casings and fallen leaves on the ground too. It makes me want to make Autumn art πŸ™‚

Afterwards, we went to the palm house to see the pretty flowers. I loved the contrast of the pink and red ones. The palm house is still closed, so we explored the park and then went for a walk around Stranmillis. I love that area of Belfast in October. It just really suits all the seasonal colours and I love the tree-lined streets. We stopped for ice-cream/gingerbread coffee at a cafe and sat outside in the sunshine. It was really tranquil.

Today, we were at my parents’ house and we went to Sketrick again. I never tire of looking at the views there and we were watching the seals again. They were jumping up out of the water today. The girls liked using binoculars to look at them again. My daughter insisted on stealing some of my mum’s make-up, so she and I put blue glitter on our faces before going out πŸ™‚ We all made some name bracelets together and I made one that said “hopeful” instead of a name bracelet, to remind myself to remain that way. Then, we went upstairs and my mum found lots of old games, books and dolls from when she was a kid/from when my sister and I were kids. There were some teddies and dolls from the 60’s which always appeal to me. I even found a pretend library card inside a book that my sister and I had made for a game when we were kids. We found a game I’d forgotten about with little pegs you move to the centre and you have to push a clear globe with a dice inside it to roll the dice πŸ™‚ We also came across a retro version of the fishing game that wound up to make the fish move and open their mouths instead of the one we have the relies on batteries πŸ™‚ My mum made us some hot chocolate bombs. They were lovely and it felt like the right kind of weather for it πŸ™‚

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