I am Safety First, Logic Later Mum

What Mammy sees vs What Daddy sees…

mememumdad

Yesterday, we were exploring our beautiful county, as we love to do.

We were on beaches, we found the Boardwalk, we drove off the main roads and over mountains. And as we passed Loch Salt, Mammy said to Daddy “Let’s pull in and have a look over the Glen.”

Silly Mammy.

We got out, jacketed up and started to wander.

Himself and Mini-Me took off up the hill, their big long legs like deer, bouncing over the wild landscape.

Myself and Short-Bum had to move a bit more slowly, with her taking a bit more care on the uneven and new floor below her.

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Me and Princess

I looked up to see Himself and Mini-Me standing on the horizon, in the distance, FAR too far away from me for my liking.

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They weren’t as far away as it looks, but in my head? MILES!

From where I stood, it looked like they were on a cliff, standing perilously close to the edge of a sharp cliff which obviously, they were going to fall off… In reality, there was lots of ground around them and of course they were in absolutely NO danger, whatsoever.

Still, Mamma Bear felt that unwelcome surge of Mamma-Bear-dom where I needed to get closer.

“Hi Mammy, Look at us!” shouts Mini-Me.

“Hi Darling. Be careful!” singsongs Mammy

I am inwardly screaming “GETDOWN GETDOWNGETDOWNGETDOWN!” and wondering why many long years of marriage hasn’t yet qualified us for psychic abilities so he can hear me threatening in my brain “HUSBAND, I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU DON’T GET MY CHILD OFF THAT FECKING NON-CLIFF IMMEDIATELY!”

Instead, myself and Princess make our way over to them where yes, I can see and confirm that they are perfectly safe.  I even managed to stop my inner shaking to snap some truly beautiful photographs.

“OK it’s time to come down now!” says Me, hoping the panic and fear isn’t obvious to the girls.

“Not at all! Come up so you can see this properly” says Twat boy, clearly oblivious to the utter panic that, (for no real reason) is seeping through my pores.

“It’s time to come down please. NOW!” says Me. (Frantic eyebrows not being observed)

“Pass Princess up to me so I can let HER see!” says HIM.

ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? NOOOOOOOOOO! NOT HAPPENING. FECK OFF DADDY BEAR…

“No. She’s fine here with me thanks.”

It was bad enough watching the big girl up there, out of my reach.   I’m aware that I can not pass my dislike of heights on to my girls, so I can stay quiet knowing that she has a bit of sense and knows to stay close to Daddy, holding his hand and that she won’t go too close to the edge.

The Threenager who thinks she’s a Ninja however?  No.  She is not stepping even one inch away from me.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the exchange.  There may have been expletives and growls and a short argument about me being ridiculous and him being a twat, but soon, we started back down the mountain, both cubs perfectly safe and Mammy seething like a she-witch at Daddy’s inability to see what the problem was.

Yes, I WAS being completely irrational and completely ridiculous.

NO, of COURSE Daddy would never put them in any danger or in harm’s way.

They were both perfectly safe and in absolutely NO DANGER whatsoever.  They were with their Daddy, who would never let anything happen them.

But the long and the short of it is, I wasn’t comfortable with my babies being out of my reach.  I have an overactive imagination at the best of times. While he saw a fun opportunity for #makingmemories with his girls on top of a mountain, I saw a full on, slow-motion trauma play out, as my imagination foresaw them plummeting off said mountain in my mind.

I’m also a big believer in following your gut.

While things like this never usually bother me, (I’m quite adventurous usually and I encourage them to do things that I wouldn’t do) for some reason, yesterday, it did.  It didn’t only bother me.  It absolutely TERRIFIED me. I had genuine FEAR. And when a Mamma Bear gets THAT level of fear in her belly, she must act on it.

A few Mums replied to my instastory last night by sending me similar snaps of THEIR Hims with their minions in similar situations.  So it seems that it’s a thing? Maybe it’s confidence that Daddy knows he can protect them. Maybe it’s just logic and rationale. Maybe it’s just MEN!

But I don’t think it means that we’re cowards or silly or chicken or anything else.  I think that we are Mammas and we just see things a bit differently, especially when it comes to our wee cubs.

The journey home was quiet. 🙂 We got home safely and everyone had a wonderful day. But even looking at the snaps last night, I don’t feel like I over-reacted. Because keeping them safe is all that matters and if I have to throw an absolute strop on top of a mountain, indeed I shall.

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I cwimbed a mountain Daddy!

 

Summer Fun in Donegal

 

Summer!

It’s finally here and in fairness, apart from the odd dodgy day, it’s already shaping up to be a cracker.

And now that Mammy and Daddy are done with rehearsals and the mayhem that Spring brings each year, 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 10 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 Princess’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.  Over the summer, 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 incase 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.

We’ve recently found Tank & Skinny’s on the pier in Buncrana too and it’s amazing for a coffee or brunch after wandering on the beach. So worth a visit.

Nature Walks – The girls love these.  They spend a lot of time outside in the garden, but the excitement of getting to go beyond the gate is immense! We live in the back-end 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, we just go walkies! 

Mini-Me can point out 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 – Letterkenny has two fab parks. The town park is great but it’s lacking parking, so if it’s too busy, we often opt for 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 has recently had an overhaul and looks amazing! Century Play has everything you need for a fun few hours too. Both 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  –  As you all know, we LOVE Oakfield Park and have done for many, many years. (It used to be our roseymantic strolling spot before it got huge and before we had kids!0

It’s only 10 minutes from where we live and great for family 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 Buffers Tea rooms/restaurant is lovely, but you can also bring a picnic along with you. We always bought the annual pass as it’s great value if you use the park often. I’m delighted to be a Park Ambassador for Oakfield now. The park truly 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 never gets old.

Oakfield Park also hosts events and celebrations throughout the season, so keep an eye on their pages for details.  

Lurgy Brack Farm has expanded so much and is really a world of fun!  We visited last month for the first time in many years and I couldn’t believe how big it was and how much they have added since our last trip.  There’s a charge to get it, and when we go back, we’ll aim to spend the whole day.  (We were meeting mates for a coffee and quick play so paying full price for the three of us for two hours seemed pricey, but when I saw exactly what is there, it was worth every penny.)  I would definitely pack a picnic and a change of clothes and go for the full day next time!  They have put so much thought and energy into creating a lovely escape on the outskirts of Letterkenny and it’s definitely somewhere we’ll be spending more time this summer.

We have a to-do list for summer 2019 started and I’ll add anywhere that we discover to this list as we go through.

So there you go.  These are just our top go-to days out and activities in and around Letterkenny, all year round. I’m sure you could all add your own to this list.

Here’s to a fun Sunday Fundays and some sort of Springtime weather!

I am Saddle and Sore Bum Mum 😅

Mammy’s bottom is sore.
Today, I sat upon the hard saddle of a bicycle.  The only hard saddle that Mammy is used to sitting on, is Jim’s …  you know the stationary, non-moving, non-dangerous, spinning bicycle that is BOLTED TO THE GROUND and which can NOT MOVE?

“Let’s hire the bikes!” suggested The Him when we arrived in Glenveagh.
“Oh fecking joy” thinks Mammy, but NEVER one to let The Him think her unfit or uncool or old and decrepit, and seeing the ACTUAL joy on Mini-Me’s face at the prospect of saving her little legs from the 4k walk, Mammy answered “What a glorious idea My Him. But as YOU are the manliest man in Manville, YOU have my permission to be manly and to strut your masculine Mannity by pulling the trailer containing your two cherubs.”

S-Mum’s FIRST hurdle was THE HELMET. You see my Lovelies, I do indeed have a superbly large and quite weirdly shaped cranium.  I like to think it’s all the brains, but in reality, it is a combination of genetic and bad luck.  (The last time I required a helmet was on a teambuilding horseriding day with my colleagues, when the Gobshite/man shouted to HIS colleague “Gone out the back and bring in the special hat”, before fitting me with a glorified bucket and sending me off on the spawn of Satan…a horse named Mary… shudder.)
But to my amazement, the helmet DOES FIT and so I am good to go.
S-Mum does not delight in the prospect of cycling a real live bicycle for the first time in AT LEAST 20 years, but then S-Mum sees that The Him’s bum looks quite wonderful on his manly bike and so decides to forgoe her trepidation and take one for the team.
“You go in front Darling” says The Him.
“Oh no My Him. I’d much prefer to follow you so I can see my precious minions. Be the man. I shall be a good wifey and follow you” answers I, patting myself on the back for being so cunning and clever. 😈

So off we went.  I sat on the saddle, nodded at the instructions the buck was giving me about gears or something, and wondered HOW the hell I would get out of the CARPARK, nevermind the whole way down to the castle, and back.
But do you know what?

Remember I did.

It really was “like riding a bike.” 😂😂😂
Yes, I was a bit wobbly, and yes I almost died 13 times before I got the hang of the brakes etc, but having spent my whole childhood on bikes with my sister and brother, it came back to me quickly.
I did however discover something interesting.
I have huge difficulty turning right!

Left? No bother.

Right?  Not so much. I felt like I was going to tip over.
Why? I have NO FECKING IDEA! Maybe it’s a sign that the left side of my brain has gone to mussh more than the right?
Anyway, we went, we saw, we cycled.
It was great fun.

The girls loved it, “woohoooooing” their way behind their Daddy.
After my initial wobbles, and as a result of my utter stubbornness, I actually enjoyed it…

And in fairness, the view was pretty impressive too. 😈😈😉😉
How was your Sunday Funday?

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I am Sunday Fun In W5 Belfast Mum. (Review)

Yesterday was the last Sunday of the summer holidays (and indeed of my maternity leave 😣), so we decided to take a spin to Belfast to check out W5.

Mini-Me is Dinosaur Crazy and I’d seen on their website that they had a Dinosaur themed exhibition. So off we went.

On a Sunday it opens at 12pm.

We arrived at the Odyssey at around 12.20pm and parked close to the door. There were huge bouncy castles and slides in the foyer. Mini-Me wanted to go on the inflatable slide. It was £2 for 5 slides.  She did it once then freaked out that it was “too SCAWY!” and the guy supervising it handed the Him back the money, which was unexpected but very kind. So good start!

There was no queue for W5, the staff were friendly and helpful and £32 later, we entered. (In fairness, we are now 3 adults and 2 kids. Our Bloke is 18 on Friday so gone are the days of a family pass into ANYWHERE!😅)

Immediately, the kids are entertained. Smoke signals, hot air balloons, lava lamps, interactive screens… it’s interesting from the first room.

The first floor had a brilliant exhibition of sciency stuff.  What was most surprising to me, was how entertaining it all was, even to the adults.  It’s one of those places that really does cater for ALL AGES. Mini-Me and our Bloke were equally intrigued by some of the stands! 👇👇👇

We did lots of tests and of course, with S-Mum and The Him involved, it got competitive! 😂Balance test, grip test, heart rate, strength etc. And we both lost YEARS on the “What’s your real age?” test! 😂

The Costa dock on the 2nd floor was clean and the young man was efficient and very polite. The climbing pod for kids there is AMAZING! Seriously, EVERY coffee shop should have one of these!

There is a brilliant play area for under 8’s with water features, interactive boards and floors, a huge train track, dolls’ house, doctor’s area, play shop and pretend cafe.  Waterproof aprons are available to allow kids to really get their hands stuck into the water feature. Oh, and the toilets in this section are kiddy sized!

Up on the next floor is the Dinosaur exhibition. The Interactive Screen was FABLIS! Not just for kids…we ALL got in on the action here!

I did expect a few more models of dinosaurs to be honest, but the two displays there were impressive. There were loads more games and features on this floor too, again, interesting to everyone.

Oh! And the views of Belfast from up there are beautiful.

The venue is clean, well laid out and there are lifts to each floor so it’s accessible to all. Bathrooms and Baby change areas were well sign-posted snd clean. Staff were very helpful and although it was quite busy by the time we were ready to leave, it’s a very safe and family friendly place.

Our ticket was valid until 6pm so if we had wanted to go out to one of the restaurants in the Odyssey, we could have come back in.

We left after 3 hours, but really could have spent another 2 easily. (We realised how close we were to the Disney Shop and so HAD to pop in to the City Centre!)😅

So overall, we were impressed.  I think Mini-Me will enjoy it even more as she gets older.  For Princess, there wasn’t much apart from the Under 8 area, but she IS only 9 months old! She was more than entertained looking around her and listening to the sounds.

When we left at 3.15pm, there was a queue of approximately 70 people outside, so it is definitely somewhere to go early.

We enjoyed it.  The kids enjoyed it. We were suitably impressed and we shall indeed be back.

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