Belfast Mela, Elmer’s Farewell & Haunted Houses

I’m finally getting round to writing about what we’ve been doing recently. There is so much to catch up on that this might end up being a bit of a fragmented post 🙂

Before the summer finished, I took the girls to see the rose garden in Botanic Gardens. I love the scents and colours there at the height of summer. They love running around the little maze too and smelling all the flowers. We spent some time in the museum while we were there and they got to do slow drawing on the IPads in the art room. They spent ages drawing and painting on them and it really did seem to calm them down. We followed it with the nature room and they worked on a puzzle and some treasure hunts. They love examining things under the microscope too. I love the museum; for a free activity, it offers the kids so much and reawakens their curiosity. After we had finished, we went to see a film screening in one of the museum lecture theatres. There weren’t very many people there so it almost felt like a private screening 🙂

We attended the Belfast Mela with my mum and my boyfriend. It began with a parade of all the different costumes and with drumming. The girls loved the giant rooster. There was so much to do there that we didn’t have an empty moment. We had a picnic in the grass and listened to some live music, the girls got to do crafting and made little Chinese paper baskets. They also got to make little Latvian paper dolls. We went to a Mad Hatter’s tea party where some actors put on a funny party for us. My mum and I bought some Vietnamese coffee and a little percolator to go with it. We finished the day with a Caribbean cooking demonstration. It was really interesting to watch and we got to try the meal when it was ready. It was a chickpea curry served with a flatbread the chef made.

Before September ended, we made full use of our passes for the open farm. I love going there on a Friday after school with the girls. It’s just such a contrast to the busyness of the week and the school run. We were lucky enough to see the puppies before they left for their new homes. The girls loved holding them. There is something so calming about being around animals. Another day when we were there, we got to see the ducks being taken to bed. It was so funny because they walk in single file from the pond to their enclosure 🙂

We did parts of the Elmer trail in Belfast when it was on over the Summer, but we didn’t get to see them all, so I took the girls to Antrim Castle for their farewell ceremony 🙂 We got to see the one from my daughter’s school. It was interesting getting to see the whole collection before they are auctioned off. It was a very rainy day, so we had our picnic under a tree and the girls did plenty of tree climbing before we left.

I’ve been painting a lot recently and I added some more prints – both physical and digital to my Etsy shop. They are available here:

The girls made some pop art posters using items in their art boxes. It was a slow sort of craft and didn’t involve too much preparation. (That’s my favourite kind at the moment!) My daughter made a card for a friend. It reminds me of whenever we used to do decoupage as kids with my mum. There is something so soothing about paper crafts.

There was a Junior Rangers day at Windows on Wildlife. We arrived and got to look around before the talk started. The views from the place are calming and the girls liked using the binoculars to try to spot birds. They had a nature table that the girls enjoyed looking at. I wasn’t sure if they would pay much attention during the talk, but it was aimed at kids and it was about urban gardening. The man that took the talk explained how to create a simple pond in your garden to help wildlife. We ended up making one of our own later that day using a washing up basin 🙂 The girls enjoyed adding rocks to it.

I have been enjoying pumpkin latte season now that it has returned 🙂 I have spent many hours in cafes, happily writing and drinking pumpkin spice 🙂

At the weekend, we went to a craft morning in the local library. They just provide a craft idea and the supplies for children to work on them with their parents. The girls made turtles and parrots. It kept them quiet for a long time 🙂 Afterwards, we went to a cafe near us with a play corner for kids. The girls got a teddy bear’s picnic and some mini wraps and we relaxed and chatted.

At home, the girls also made some sticker llamas. I love the little craft kits from the pound shop. They’re so quick and easy to use. I also got some plain postcards while I was there and fingerpaints for the girls. I don’t think you’re ever too old to finger paint and they both enjoyed it as much as when they were toddlers. It still made the same amount of mess though!

While my daughter was at a birthday party, I took her sister for “coffee” and we had a little shopping date. When we got home, the girls made some “haunted houses” with some timbit boxes from Tim Hortons. We have used them for crafts before and they’re versatile so I always hold onto them now 🙂 They worked on their own designs and I let them paint/draw whatever they wanted. Sometimes all a kid needs is an empty box and some poster paints 🙂

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