A Holiday at Home

Last week, I took the girls away for a few days to Rostrevor. I’d never stayed there before and I hadn’t expected the panoramic views. We had a few foggy drives through what looked like images of nineteenth century Ireland. When we got there, we went to Kilbroney Park. As with everywhere we go, the playground was the main attraction for the girls. After they played (and I started to feel time standing still!) we went for a long walk to the bottom of the hill where we found the Fairy Glen. It is a little walk beside a river and its name comes from folklore that claims fairies emerged there at night time to dance. It was a peaceful walk and the girls enjoyed watching the little waterfalls and the river running. It didn’t have any added features to it, but there was something about the lighting and the water that made it seem a little magical. People in the town had made a painted rock snake that anyone in the community could add to. The girls loved stopping to look at all the designs on them. They were particularly taken with a family of ladybirds.

Later, we drove to Warrenpoint and walked along the promenade. It was a bright day and Carlingford Lough was beautiful. The girls love watching boats now, even when they aren’t going anywhere ๐Ÿ™‚ We walked along the rocky beach and then found a spot of sand for them to play with their buckets and spades. Afterwards, we walked to a Victorian park. The gardens are really well kept and the girls always love anywhere with a bandstand to dance on ๐Ÿ™‚ There was a playground there too. It started to feel like our holiday was a tour of Northern Ireland’s playgrounds ๐Ÿ™‚ After constant walking and playing, I tried to get the girls to sit down on a bench and look at the flowers and appreciate just sitting doing nothing. It didn’t really work, but I’m going to keep trying anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ They ended up getting up and sniffing each of the flowers to see if it had a scent, which I decided was just as valuable.

The timing of our trip was good because it meant that we could use the Eat out to help out scheme. We went to an Italian restaurant and the girls ate all the seafood toppings on my pizza ๐Ÿ™‚ No matter where we go to, they seem to order chicken goujons and then pinch the parts of other people’s meals they like ๐Ÿ™‚

The next day, we did the Narnia Trail at Kilbroney Park. They have a treasure hunt for kids and you start by walking into the wardrobe and finding different carvings from the story along the way.

We drove to the upper car park and did the short hike to the Big Stone at the top. The views were amazing and even after complaints from my daughter about sore legs, she said it was her favourite thing from our trip ๐Ÿ™‚

The following day, I took the girls into Warrenpoint again. It was raining heavily all day, but we just worked round the weather. They were sad to see that the children’s bookshop they wanted to go to wasn’t open that day. But the window display was enough to entertain them for a little while. Sometimes I think kids like looking as much as they like buying, because as soon as they do, the items are forgotten about ๐Ÿ™‚ I think even as an adult it’s good to have things to wish for. It gives you something to work towards and motivates you to save.

The girls spotted a little sit-in bakery, so we went inside for a drink. They had chocolate covered gingerbread men. We also found a little clothes shop for the girls to spend their pocket money in. They found jewellery for ยฃ5 each and clip on earrings, so that kept them happy ๐Ÿ™‚

We returned to the Narnia Trail since the girls enjoyed it so much. Afterwards we called into the cafe at the park for mini ice lollies/coffee and got all of them for ยฃ3 again ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m enjoying the fact you can eat out so cheaply at the minute. Even if it’s just a cup of coffee, it makes a big difference.

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We did a little tour of the village on foot. They have lines of poetry displayed on the walls and it’s like a treasure hunt finding them all ๐Ÿ™‚ We came across a cute bookshop. Unfortunately it wasn’t open, but I would like to return to see it. The shops seem to have limited opening hours. I don’t know if that’s because of the virus or because there is just a more laid back vibe to that part of the country ๐Ÿ™‚

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On our last night there, we had dinner in the hotel and then went for a walk in the Fairy Glen since it had brightened up outside. The girls seemed to slow down and take time to look at views more and the river running by the end of the holiday. I think the break did their busy minds good, and it did mine good too ๐Ÿ™‚

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Half-Term Adventures Part One

During the half-term holidays, I took the girls to Glasgow for a few days. I used to live there and itโ€™s my favourite place to visit with them. Itโ€™s a special place to me because itโ€™s where I spent my early adult years and I have a filtered version of living there in my mind that only captures the good times ๐Ÿ™‚

We started our trip with breakfast and magazines in the airport. Iโ€™ve decided kidsโ€™ magazines and activity books are a lifesaver when it comes to travelling or eating out. My kids donโ€™t have iPads so I need something to hold their attention and keep them in their seats during periods of waiting ๐Ÿ™‚

I love the fact that the flight to Glasgow only takes twenty-five minutes, so there isnโ€™t time for kids to get bored and torment other passengers ๐Ÿ™‚ We stayed in an Airbnb in the West End, near where I used to live.

On our first day there, we went for lunch in a pizza place. We discovered it on one of our visits and the pizzas are all under ten pounds ๐Ÿ™‚ We also visited an ice cream and churros shop. I love the churro bites with Biscoff ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls spotted a kidsโ€™ clothes shop they love. Sadly, one dress costs more than their entire wardrobe combined, so they just stare wistfully through the glass and make me feel like theyโ€™re deprived ๐Ÿ˜€ The exterior of the shop is decorated with little clear globes containing objects that look like toys, so the girls were mesmerised by them too.

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We arrived the day of storm Dennis and some other flights had been cancelled so we were lucky to get there ๐Ÿ™‚ We did a lot of walking around. Itโ€™s strange how much a city can change in only a few years. The deli where I used to work had closed down and so many new businesses have opened up that the streets are barely recognisable in parts. For some reason, when we visit Glasgow, my kids are happy to walk for miles, but at home they arenโ€™t keen on even walking to school ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

We called into Waterstones and the girls loved looking at the cheap plastic toys… just the reason youโ€™d call into a bookshop! They got some dinosaur finger puppets and I got some vinyl coasters ๐Ÿ™‚ I donโ€™t know if itโ€™s because the girls are getting older, but they are suddenly interested in exploring cities and rummaging through items in shops. (Well, maybe they always enjoyed the second part.)

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I love the style of the buildings in Glasgow and the little lanes that are dotted around the place. I discovered a new Vietnamese restaurant Iโ€™d like to try in one of them ๐Ÿ™‚ย Apparently you can select an option where the chef serves you surprise dishes so you donโ€™t have to decide what to order.

When our feet were getting tired and we were still waiting to check in, we retreated to a tea house I used to spend a lot of time in. It was a different experience as a student to how it is with kids! But as long as I plan ahead and bring toys, the girls enjoy it too ๐Ÿ™‚ There is an area where you can sit in a little โ€œzen roomโ€ on cushions on the floor. I had some chai tea and the girls opted for apple juice. They tried my tea, but declared it โ€œtoo spicy.โ€ At least, for once, I didnโ€™t have to share ๐Ÿ™‚

On our second day there, I took the girls for a walk in the Kelvingrove park. Iโ€™m convinced their sense of direction is already better than mine (which wouldnโ€™t be hard.) They bounded ahead of me towards the playground, like they knew exactly where it was. I love the way the novelty of a new playground keeps kids occupied for so long. They were more taken by it than any tourist attractions I could have taken them to. There is a duck pond and they spent a long time watching the ducks and bemoaning the fact we didnโ€™t have food for them.


Afterwards, we walked to the museum and spent a long time there. We saw the famous bobbing heads and the elephant ๐Ÿ™‚ There are more interactive exhibits than Iโ€™d remembered there being. The girls enjoyed playing with the dressing up box and the bed. I think it was there so they could act out scenes of sleeping princesses ย (minus the sleeping :))

For once, I actually got a chance to read some of the descriptions on the paintings. There were a couple of games for kids to play in the art gallery too. They could assemble faces, changing the eyes, noses and mouths, and stick magnetic objects onto a background to recreate a painting in the gallery.

After our visit to the museum, we went to a vegan bar/restaurant for lunch. The fire was lit, along with pillar candles and it was a lovely contrast to the wild weather outside. I took advantage of the fact I didnโ€™t have to drive and had a flavoured cider ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls unknowingly ate vegetarian chicken nuggets ๐Ÿ™‚ They usually detect every small change to what they normally eat, so that felt like dietary progress ๐Ÿ™‚ We sat for a long time. The chill-out music definitely settles my kids and they coloured in pictures of flowers the waitress had brought them ๐Ÿ™‚ The pub used to be my local and they had jazz and dub nights I went to. Itโ€™s bittersweet visiting the city now that life is so different, but I think visiting it with my kids eases any sadness it might bring with it. Creating new memories with them, alongside seeing old friends makes the place all the more special.

I will continue the rest of what we did on our trip in another post ๐Ÿ™‚