I have so much catching up to do on my blog which I have neglected for far too long. The summer has flown in so far and we have been so busy that I might have to write several posts to fit it all in 🙂
A couple of weeks ago, we went to a local art gallery and theatre because there was a free workshop on for kids and their parents. They got life-sized templates of people to colour in and design as their twin 🙂 My daughter volunteered herself and my boyfriend to be drawn around. She took on the job of drawing around him and the results were funny. He had a tiny head and only one shoulder 🙂 My older daughter put lots of work into designing an outfit for herself. It was a great way to spend the morning and we followed it with a trip to the cafe in the Mac too. I love the little booths there. They feel really private and it never feels like anyone is rushing you. After our coffee/snacks, we walked to the Dome to see if anything was happening there. There always seems to be some kind of creativity going on there 🙂 They were having a drop-in giant board games day, so we stopped in to play some. The girls loved the giant snakes and ladders with the inflatable dice. They played mini golf too and Operation. Then, we went to Lush. I love walking around that shop. It’s like a spa experience without the cost 🙂 The staff are so friendly and helpful and they let the girls experiment with lots of different bath bombs and bubble bars in the sink. The girls ended up getting a bright green one to take home and I got a face mask. I love how fresh their products are and the shop always smells amazing 🙂 The girls enjoyed playing with the colourful water and making a mess too 🙂
On my daughter’s birthday, we took the girls out for brunch to the Lamppost Cafe, which is a Narnia-themed cafe nearby. They got a mini fry each and my boyfriend and I got coffee and some cake. I love the decor in it and the magical feel of the place. They serve afternoon tea for kids too, so we might have to do that another time. Afterwards, we made a trip to the playground, and then we went home to prepare for my daughter’s party. I’ve never thrown a proper birthday party; I just find the idea of it too daunting, so a couple of the girls’ friends came over and they just played party games, made jewellery, ate party food and cake and had McDonald’s delivered for dinner 🙂
The next day, we set off on our holiday to Rostrevor for two days. I love when you get close to the mountains and you know you’re nearly there 🙂 There is something so special about the place and I always leave it feeling refreshed. We got some sandwiches from the local butcher’s and took them to Kilbroney Park. My boyfriend liked the grassy expanse there because he could practise his football skills. We went to the playground and then, we had a drink/lolly in the cafe. I love the fact it is perched at the top of the hill so you have a good view of the park from it while you sit there.
While we were staying there, we got the best weather of the year and we went paddling in the river a lot. It was right on the doorstep of the place we stayed in, so the girls wanted to spend the whole holiday in the water 🙂 We ate our dinner there too, which felt so summery.
We also walked to the beach. It always seems to be quiet and there even were swans in the water 🙂 Since breakfast was served later in the hotel, we went to the beach before breakfast one of the mornings. We were the only ones there and we went for a walk on the beach and looked for seaglass and rocks. We followed it with much anticipated food in the hotel. I had the vegan pancakes with berries on top and they were so delicious 🙂 The girls ordered breakfast baps as big as their heads 🙂
After breakfast, we went to Warrenpoint, which is the next town over. We found an Italian ice-cream shop where my boyfriend got the biggest tub of ice-cream for one person that I’ve ever seen. It came in a waffle cone bowl 🙂 The girls stole some of it, but he mostly managed to eat all of it unaided 🙂 We walked around Warrenpoint and went to a little jewellery shop that the girls and I love there. We always get a “souvenir” there because everything is so cheap and pretty in it 🙂 (We also visited the gift shop in Rostrevor and the girls spent their holiday money on little pocket money toys.) We went to the Victorian park there and we had a picnic on the grass.
Later that day, we returned to Kilbroney Park to do the Narnia trail. Some of it hadn’t been maintained, but the kids still love finding all the sculptures along the way. We got takeaway for dinner again and just took it to the park. I love eating outside and we were lucky that it didn’t rain us while we did. The girls had another paddle in the river and we returned to the hotel.
On our last morning there, we had breakfast in the hotel and then we drove into the mountains. We stopped at a little cottage cafe we had never visited before. There were two alpacas that lived there, right beside the outdoor seating 🙂 They were really friendly and came over to say hi. The views were amazing from the cafe’s little perch in the mountains. We got some hot drinks and sat with the alpacas. The girls’ found the cafe’s toy box, so that kept them entertained for a while.
Afterwards, we drove to Newcastle and walked onto the beach. The tide was out and there were lots of pools to paddle in. We climbed over the rocks and paddled in the sea. Then, we went to Maud’s and got an ice-cream. We wandered around the town and the girls went to the playground. We found an outdoor food van with picnic tables in the town. My boyfriend and I shared a chilli baked potato. Ordinarily, I would never think to order one, but it was the best one I’ve ever tried 🙂 The girls got some macaroni cheese and devoured it.
Before we went home, we made one more stop at Dundrum Castle. It has a viewing platform so you could see Newcastle and the surrounding areas clearly. The girls even had a look without complaining 🙂 We wandered around the castle ruins and then headed home. We stopped for a dinner at a little restaurant I used to go to as a kid. The food is simple but it’s great for families. It felt like we had been on holiday for a week. Sometimes, a short holiday is all you need to reset yourself. I will continue our summer adventures in the next post 🙂