I am Salou, Here we Come Mum

So anyone who has been reading my ramblings for a while now, knows that I have not yet been brave enough to venture into the great unknown and unpredictable world of holidaying abroad…with the girls.

In fact, I last year wrote a few posts on how and why staycation-ing was the only option for myself and my wee squad.

And yet, this year, I have decided to go for it. Why?

Maybe it’s an unqualified confidence in the fact that Princess is no longer technically a Baby and so we’ll be graaaaaaaaaaand.  Maybe it’s that I looked at my sister’s family holiday snaps and some hidden longing for family-fun in the sun took over.  Maybe I’m just getting brave in my old age.  Maybe I’m off my head.

But regardless of why I’ve finally decided to jump head first into the blue azure of sunkissed and suncreamed frolicking, I have.  And I have ACTUALLY convinced The Him that it’s a good idea.

Now.  I am one of those Book-it-all-by-myself-online gals usually.  However, because taking the two girls away is such new territory to us, we decided to do the safe and sensible thing and went through a travel agent.

Atlantic-Travel

So off I popped to Atlantic Travel here in Letterkenny.  I arrived in with NOT flexible dates, a strict budget and 324 specific requirements and 127 questions.

“Hi.  I am your WORST nightmare Lovely Travel Agent…I want to go somewhere hot but not too busy, with a flight that isn’t too long, with as short as possible a transfer on the other end, to a 2 roomed apartment in a family suitable resort, with indoor options for soft play, a children’s pool area, a kids’ club that is safe and reputable, in an area which isn’t too loud but still with some atmosphere… And the quiet and safe area must have some nice restaurants, a supermarket nearby AND be near public transport. ON THIS EXACT DATE.  Out of Belfast if possible… Please.”

Yeah, so they could have laughed and scoffed at me and my demands, but they didn’t. Within 20 minutes, the amazing Donna had 5 options printed off for me for all types of holiday in a few different places, within my date, budget and ridiculous specifications. No bother at all.

She was able to offer her own opinion on 3 of the resorts and had customer testimonies on the others. She was very open and honest with her advice about the options.  There was no pressure or obligation to book.  Just polite service with educated opinion.

I took some brochures, the printouts and her email address and off I went to peruse my options.

salou2

Salou it is so.

Being me, I had to research some more and in doing so, found another hotel on the TUI website that ticked all of my boxes. A few emails to Evelyn with more “Ria” questions and prompt answers were exchanged over the course of the next three days and when I finally made up my mind, one phonecall booked the holiday.

Within a few days, all of our details had been posted to us.

I really feel more comfortable going away for the first time with the kids as we have booked a package and so everything is thought of for us; Flights, Transfers, Insurance, Accommodation and Board. The fact that there will be a Holiday Rep there is also putting my mind at ease.

Now all I have to do is look forward to it. And pack for everyone. And plan.  And save. And worry and get there…

holiday

They say that the first step is always the hardest, but for this family holiday newbie, the first step was probably the easiest thanks to the ladies in Atlantic Travel.

Check out Atlantic Travel on  Facebook for more updates before the big event:

Call (074) 912 6193 or visit Atlantic Travel’s offices at Oliver Plunkett Road, Letterkenny to enquire about your holiday.

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Mammy has collaborated with Atlantic Travel but as always, my review and opinions are my own and honest.

I am Screen Time Dinner Mum

“Tut tut. Look at those parents using their phones to distract their child. Tut tut.
Lazy young parents of today. Not able to handle their kiddies in public. Whatever happened to conversation at dinner? Tut tut. In my day… yadda yadda fucking yadda.”

Now. Mammy did not HEAR the actual shpeel of verbal diahorrea that was ACTUALLY coming out of the older couple’s tight-set mouths, but the looks and disapproving glances at our table (and the table beside us might I add) when The Him stuck an episode of “Ben & Bolly” on his phone were more than enough to tell us what they were thinking.😡

Now. I am not one who condones screentime at the table, either at home or in public. And actually, our 6 year old does NOT get to look at a screen when we’re eating. Not a hope… but the twoublemaker? Absofeckinglutely. 😂

The couple Saw a snippet of our day. They saw the 9 minutes where Mammy’s lovely dinner had gone cold as she’d spent her time ensuring that Princess did not launch her plate at Mini-Me’s head or SPILL the glasses of milk all over our dinner.

They DIDN’T see the 2 hours of the girls playing at their Doll’s house and in their bedrooms this morning.

They DIDN’T see the 3 hours of fresh air and exercise in Glenveagh.

They DIDN’T see the 45 minutes of colouring in and general chatter as we waited to order and eat.

What they SAW was the “We need to distract the minion for a few minutes to allow Mammy to finish her food and Daddy to order a coffee trick” that most parents turn to as a last fecking resort when their Knackered child has reached their quota of sitting and behaving like a good little girl.

I’m sure they meant no harm. I’m sure they’re lovely. I’m sure they would never have allowed it. Whatever.

Did it bother me? Eh…no! 😂 But I’m pretty sure it might have bothered another Mammy. This Bad Mammy Wagon seriously considered letting her watch another 3 episodes so I could order another glass of grapes. 😂 I didn’t. Cos see, that WOULD MAYBE have been cause for the tutters to tut.

I finished my Yummy dinner. We drank our coffee and we turned off the EBSD. (ElectronicBabysittingdevice)

Then we drove our fed, watered and quite relaxed wee family home.

And we didn’t give a tut what the tutters thunked. They didn’t see the full movie you see. They only saw the blooper reel. So really, their review doesn’t matter, does it?

Now.
A glass of grapes on a Sunday night? How very dare I!? Yay!

Happy Bank Holiday Sunday Bitcheepoos.

Any fun for me?
Mammy x

I am Sunday Fundays Mum

Dreaming of summertime

Spring

It’s here. Well it’s TRYING to be here.

And now that Mammy and Daddy are done with rehearsals, our weekly Sunday Fundays must commence! Up in the morning, dress for whatever the weather is doing (layers layers layers so it can change its mind 32 times in 4 hours as usual eh?!), into the car and go!

Adventures and fun cost money, and while there are of course hundreds of things you can do with your minions, here are 7 of my favourite things to do right here at home. They range from absolutely free to the not so free but no matter how often we do these things or go to these places, the girls always enjoy them and feel like they’ve been somewhere special.

In no particular order:

Glenveagh – Now those of you who follow my blog, know that Glenveagh National Park is a firm favourite in our little family.  We go there 2 or 3 times a month and myself and The Him love it just as much as the girls do.  It’s only a short drive from Letterkenny, has absolutely NO phone coverage and has THE most stunning landscape in the country.  NOWHERE beats Glenveagh for beauty. The best thing is that entry to the park is absolutely FREE.

You can bring a picnic or try some of the insanely good cakes and food in the tearooms there.  We walk the 4k to the castle every and usually take the bus back up as Mini-Me’s legs aren’t quite able for 8K just yet! Bikes are available to hire from Grassroutes in the carpark too and you can get one of the little buggy-trailers for the minions.

The castle grounds are beautiful and while ours are too young to do the full bridal path, there is lots to occupy them (and their imaginations) in the gardens.  (Tell your minions that the gates with the stag heads are the Gates to Santa’s summer house.  Never gets old!)

The Beach – We are so blessed to have so many beautiful beaches on our doorsteps. Lisfannon Beach in Fahan is possibly my favourite place in the world.  It’s not only where I often escape for some sneaky Mam-me time, (seriously, some life changing decisions have been made on this beach), it’s also where I take the girls if we want to have some good old fashioned free fun.  It’s only 15 minutes from my house, but the girls feel like they’ve had such a treat, even if we only stop for a 20 minute run-about.

 I keep a blanket and buckets in the car, so if we find ourselves nearby, it’s easy to stop here.  I also keep a bag with a change of clothes and a towel in the boot, just in case it’s warm enough for a paddle.  There’s loads of parking and in the summertime, there’s usually an ice-cream van in the carpark.

Nature Walks – Mini-Me loves these.  We live in the backend of beyond, so in fairness, even a play in the garden can be a learning curve, but if I really want to occupy them for an hour, I plop Princess in the buggy and off we go.  Mini-Me is beginning to recognise some of the tree types (reminding me  of things that I used to know!) and there’s a gate at the end of our farm where I once told her the fairy kingdom begins, so she loves to visit there.  She stands on the side of the road talking to the gate, but in her head, she’s on a serious adventure! Fun fun fun and FREE FREE FREE!

Parks – We love Ballymacool Park.  Just outside the town, it’s peaceful and quiet, even when busy.  It’s easy to park, has lovely trails for walking and beautiful views. The little playpark is wonderful; clean and full of playthings for kids of all ages.  The best thing about this little area is that it’s fully fenced off, and so no matter what direction Princess runs in, she’s safe (and enclosed!).

Ards Forest Park  –  Simply pay €5 to park and go get lost in the woods before strolling back along the most beautiful beach. The play park is gorgeous, there’s a coffee shop and there’s even a stretch of boardwalk. Very beautiful and lots of scope for stories and imagination in the forest.  The Fairies live there you know.  And the Grufallo comes on holidays sometimes so keep your eyes peeled for footprints. 🙂

Soft Play – Some days, Soft play is the only answer isn’t it? Especially with the summer weather we get here! The most exciting thing about going to soft play, is going to soft play with OTHER minions.  It’s win:win; A catch up for the mums, excitement (and a guaranteed successful bedtime) for the kids.  Arena 7 and Century Play are wonderful and have different features that the kids love, AND they all serve good coffee.  Keep an eye on their pages for deals and rates.

Oakfield Park  –  Again, we LOVE Oakfield Park. It’s only 10 minutes from where we live and great for famiy Sunday-fundays, but also for random afternoons over the holidays. There is a charge to get in of course, but what I love about this place is that every year when they reopen, something new and wonderful has been added to the park. They add to the facility constantly.

The new Buffers Tea rooms are lovely, but you can also bring a picnic along with you. We bought the annual pass this year and it’s great value if you use the park often. The park is stunning, so well kept and beautifully presented.  There’s a play park and the Fairy tree is a favourite of Mini-Me’s.  The steam train is a real novelty.

I’ll be adding to this as we go on more adventures over the next few months.  I’ve already started our “Adventure List” for the fridge.

We have many places to return to and many more to visit for the first time. Where are your favourite Sunday Funday destinations?

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I am Screw-top Lid Mum

Is there anything more frustrating than jars?

You know jars?

With Screw top lids?
“Oh, S-Mum, you are being ridonkulous and melodramaria now.  HOW can you be frustrated by a jam jar, you silly woman?” I hear you scoff.
And usually, I would agree, but tonight, if YOU had witnessed the EPIC meltdown offered by my Princess because S-Mum here couldn’t get a FECKING JAR OPEN, you would not be scoffing.  You would be popping to the shop to buy me grapes.

And chocolate.

jam
“You want toast Princess of mine?”

“Mmmmhmmmm” she nods.

“Mammy get you toast now.”

“Mmmmmhmmmmmm” she says, wobbling her fat little arse to the fridge, where she stands grunting at it and at me until I open it.

“Will we get out the butter, my cherished cherub?”

“Mmmmmhmmmmmmm” she nods, reacing for the jar of jam from the fridge door.

“You want jam on your toast?”

“BAAAAAAAAM!” she squeals, dancing her happy nappy dance…

“Mammy get you jam surely pet.”
Except she won’t.

NO,

Because this Jam jar has not yet been opened and it seems that its lid has been welded to the jar by trolls, using their extra special concrete mix, which is completely unmoving regardless of how much you twist, or turn, or grunt or swear.
Mammy was certain of ONE thing after a few minutes.
Mammy was NOT getting the lid of the blasted jar. 😭😭
Nope.
Now, let it be known, that I am a stubborn sort of Ladybelle.  I am not beyond smashing a jar (or bottle) with a hammer to get at the contents, but considering that Princess was SCREAMING “BAAAAAAAAAAAM” at me, whilst swinging off my legs, and considering that smashing things would NOT be best parenting practise, I opted to control my temper and distract her.
I was unsuccessful.

She screamed for approximately 13 minutes, before instantly calming herself down when she heard the opening notes of In the Shite Garden and toddling over to chat to Macka Feckin Packa, leaving Mammy a sweaty, traumatised mess in the kitchen.
Did I threaten to hurt the Jam Jar?  Did I promise to smash the fecker off the back step after she’d gone to bed?

Of course not.  That would be mental…
It is sitting on the counter awaiting The Him and his Manliful Muscles to come home.  He’ll pick it up, twist it like a milk bottle and tut at me for being such a girl.

OR.

He too shall struggle with the fecking thing and I will regain a molecule of my sanity, laughing at him.
Fecking BAAAAM…

It HAS to be Grape o’clock already no?

How was your day?

I am She was wearing the Blue Jumper Mum

Mini-Me’s powers of description and interrogation are wonderful. There are departments of Intelligence all over the world who could do with hiring her.

Daddy was driving yesterday as we passed a local school.   

Mini-Me announces:

“My friend Nancy goes to that school.”

“Very good Darling.”

“She doesn’t go to my school but we’re still best fwends.”

“I wonder if they were in Daddy’s gym the day the school visited.”

“WHAT?”

“Some of the boys and girls from that school came to visit Daddy’s gym last month. I wonder was your friend there.”

“Are you JOKIN?”

“No. I’m not joking.”

“You mean to tell me that my BEST fwend Nancy came to see your gym and she NEVER told me?”

“Well I don’t know.  Maybe she wasn’t there.”

red hair

“Was there a girl there with Red hair?”

“There were lots of girls there.”

“But was there a girl with red hair?”

“Maybe…”

“With reddy Blonde hair?”

“Ehm.  I’m not sure.”

“Well it’s more blonde. Was there a girl there with blonde hair?”

“There might have been pet. I don’t…”

“It’s long and wavy and blonde… with red. It’s kind of red but a wee bit blonde.”

“Daddy didn’t notice.  There were lots and lots of girls and boys there.”

“But was there a girl there with red hair and GLASSES?”

“I…”

“Glasses Daddy.  You HAVE to have seen the glasses?”

“Daddy didn’t look…”

“They are blue…or mabye green glasses.”

Erm…

“And they might have Cinderella on the side.  Did you see a girl with reddy blonde hair and bluey-green Cinderella glasses in your gym Daddy?”

(Daddy’s eyes are beginning to glaze over…)

“I’m not sure.”

“You HAVE to KNOW Daddy?  She was probably wearing a blue jumper.”

Daddy is now speechless.  Mammy decides to help…

“Come on now Ted, she was wearing the blue jumper like”.

It’s probably a good job he was driving…