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Beautiful Walk!

It was a glorious day on Tuesday so after mums & tots I decided to take advantage of our recently purchased National Trust membership again!
We went to Mount Stewart again which is where the wonderful park that I blogged about the other night is! With it being just Dylan and myself I decided that we would go on a little mini adventure on one of the walks as we didn’t have loads of time and I couldn’t wait to see what else we had been missing!
First of all, at the entrance I was greeted by a lovely pair of ladies, and one of them was actually the one who I took out the membership with so she was very happy to see me and was asking how I was and my little girl was, which was lovely! There was a beautiful little café that I was going to pop into on the way out to grab a quick coffee, but we spent so long exploring around the lake that I didn’t get enough time!
I was kicking myself as I had forgotten to bring my camera with me, but I must say I am very impressed with what my IPhone 5 captured!

As we rounded the corner and went out on the little platform, this is the beautiful view we were met with. Breath-taking.

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DylanDylan so peacefully sat and looked at the view and watched the water ripple. He really enjoyed watching everything going on, and it seemed to really relax him. I pointed out the ducks to him and talked to him about the trees and everything else that we could see.

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We then rounded the corner to see the most perfect little family of swans! I couldn’t believe how relaxed they were and just completely ignored the people around them! I knelt down beside Dylan and explained to them what they were and all about Swans, while leaving the older people to get as close as possible without being in the water.. I was just waiting for one of them to fall in! Dylan then started to look for a new biscuit so I took that as a hint to move on and see what else we could find!

We found a bench with a beautiful view, I sat and enjoyed the view as Dylan finished his biscuit.. If you haven’t worked it out yet, Dylan really love biscuits! Digestive biscuits, in-fact.. he would eat them all day long if he could! I fell in love with these beautiful little blue flowers too, I’m not sure what they are, but they are adorable and just beautiful!

IMG_6275We then found one of the swans grooming and making themselves look as pretty as can be! Just magnificent! Nobody was around so I told Dylan a lot about the view, the swans, what we had seen and what we could see.. not that I don’t like talking to him in front of others but you do get some odd looks sometimes!

IMG_6239ducksMy favourite find was this little duck family chilling out beside the lake, they were so relaxed and happy in the sun! I managed to get pretty close to them, but I didn’t want to push my luck, or scare them either as they were only babies! They were very happy with mummy duck close by and it was just adorable to see them so happy and relaxed. This was our last find of the walk, and I think my most favourite. I really loved seeing the family of swans too, but with all the people trying to get really close to them it took away from the enjoyment of watching them relaxing and taking a few snaps from afar!
All in all, a perfect walk and I would go everyday here with Dylan if I didn’t think the staff would start to give me funny looks! 😛

I can’t wait to be heading back very soon and to see how the cygnets and ducklings have grown. With how relaxed Dylan was here and how beautiful the views were, next time I’ll be sure to grab a coffee at the start from the café to take round with me!

-WeeOhana x

 

 

 

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Mount Stewart!

Recently I decided to become a member of the National Trust! I don’t know why I haven’t done it before with so many great properties so close to me, but I decided that I would get a lot of use from it this year with both the kids able to enjoy it now!
Our first trip out using our membership was to Mount Stewart. We had heard about the new park that had been built there and when we woke up on Sunday and it was a glorious morning I decided that once I had fed and watered the kids I would take them out to see what the new park was like!
Amellia was very excited and just couldn’t wait to get going, and was even more excited when I let her know that it was only a 15-20 minute drive. A beautiful drive to along the Strangford lough with a spectacular view of Scrabo Tower!

When you go through the gates to Mount Stewart if you are wanting to go to the park go straight on at the round about and park in the first car park on the right! Once parked and you have everyone bundled out of the car, you then head to the little hut just in front of the car park! We got greeted by a lovely man who chatted to us about the park and told Amellia & Dylan to have a wonderful time! He then pointed us in the way of the park.. walk down the path and first left is up to the park but it is a barked path so not great for prams! We choose the second left so that I could push the pram up easily.. well not really easily it is a pretty uphill path but it was ok, We stopped to admire views and then hunted out the entrance to the park!

img_5865The park is based on letters wrote by Lady Londonderry while she was away in Spain to her daughter. They are trying to get these books republished so that they can help the park come alive to all the children who visit but for now you can check out some snippets from the books here.

As we ventured in I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting to find, I thought it would be a cute little park, but I was wrong, It was an amazing, large, very open, with wonderful made play features in! Whenever we arrived nobody else was there as it was early on a Sunday morning, so it made it perfect! I parked the pram in the middle of the park, lifted Dylan out and we set out exploring!

My little girl loved spotting all the wooden animals about the park and was on full charge mode to find them all in a record-breaking time! There was lots of them all crafted into different animals! I was so impressed with them all, the detail on them was incredibly! By the time Amellia had raced around and found them all, Dylan was still busy inspecting the first on he found in great detail! My favorite was the cute little octopus & Amellia loved this rabbit the best!

Onwards to explore! There was stepping-stones.. well stepping logs in this case! Climbing frame, balance beam, seesaw and lots of other wonderful things all made out of wood! It was just simply amazing. While Amellia was happy exploring and climbing on everything possible, Dylan really enjoyed pottering about in the big open space in the sun!

At the far end of the park there is a big open space which Amellia and Dylan spent a long time in, drumming on the stepping logs, running about and digging in the dirt! Dylan really enjoyed this as he has only just accepted the feeling of dirt on his hands, so they both sat down for a while and played in the dirt.. and ended up covered! Typical!!
There was also a big wooden chair at the end.. which I tried to get a lovely photo of my pair in.. obviously it wasn’t successful, when do those pictures ever go well, right!?
img_5920We spent two hours here, running about, laughing, climbing on things, watching a honey bee on a flower, practicing our balancing and enjoying being outside without being to restrained on where we could wander! Dylan wanted to stay there for a lot longer than I expected, he normally really likes new places like this for about thirty minutes then realises that it is somewhere new and starts screaming to leave. I think what really helped here was that we had gone so early so we were the only ones there, there was lots of open space between everything so lots of room to potter about and enjoy the fresh air and it was such a large area that I only had to turn him round a few times to keep him close by so that I could see Amellia too!

When it was time go he came over to me and put his arms up, so I picked him up and walked about for a little while showing him the wooden animals again so that Amellia could have minutes before leaving!

We then were going to go to the cafe to grab a spot of lunch.. but silly mummy forgot her purse, doh, so we had to head home for some lunch! The kids cannot wait untill the next time we visit, which will be very soon and I will remember my purse next time!

You should be sure to pop by and visit Mount Stewart if you are wondering where to head for a day out with your family! I will be sure to let you know about all the other hidden gems around the Mount Stewart gardens whenever we have explored further!
-WeeOhana x

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Garden Center & Play Park!

The other day we took the kids to the garden center to investigate the new play area, but we weren’t too sure what we would find! We were really shocked when we walked around the corner and saw the most wonderful little play area!
The first day we went was a weekend so we really didn’t stay that long as there was quite a few older kids and after Dylan being pushed twice I knew he was going to lose his rag soon and didn’t want to push him too far after having already had a good 30 mins playing and everyone else being happy! We let the kids choose one thing each on the way out as they had both been fantastic and who doesn’t like treating there little ones every now and then!

My little girl chose the unicorn and has named it..”Pink Fluffy unicorn, dancing on rainbow.” Not quite sure where she got the name from seeing as it isn’t even pink.. but as long as she is happy! She chose this unicorn as it is just like her little brothers rabbits that he takes everywhere! If we ever lost those rabbits there would be trouble! I am going to have to buy a few spare and swap them about so that he gets used to them.. I had intended for the second bunny to just be used at bedtimes.. but as time has progressed he has now taken a shine to them both. and he would take them everywhere if I let him!
Dylan chose the peter rabbit push along toy! As soon as he picked it up he wouldn’t put it down! I love the selection of toys and clothes they have at Donaghadee Garden Center, lovely little bits! =]

We headed back the next day as we knew there would be fewer people, or at least fewer big people with school being back! Dylan had so much fun!
We had a fantastic time! My hubby and I got a lovely little lunch, he had the stew and said it was phenomenal and I had a lovely painni! What was even better was that Dylan got to happily play while we got some food! He was so happy pottering about and exploring by himself!

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He loved this big wooden tractor a lot! You could pretend to drive it, climb all over it and move the gear stick! He had so much fun driving it, especially with our table where we were grabbing a bite to eat right beside it! He is very much a mummys boy at the moment and doesn’t like me being out of his sight! He even follows me from the living room to the kitchen!

It also has a lovely little wooden barn which has steps up one side with a little bit to explore up the top and then a slide to get down! You can also go under the barn too which Dylan enjoyed! He must have ran up the stairs then down the slide about 50 times in a row before he even started to tier!

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Another amazing thing that they have is a little ball shoot thing! You put the ball at the top and it rolls all the way down,he really loved this! So much so that I’m thinking of making one in my back-garden for him! Its a fantastic thing and so very simple to make as it is made using guttering!

I will be going back here many times, in-fact I think I am going to be a regular! A fantastic little place and undercover for Dylan to play in and quiet! It is also great because even though you get your lunch etc from inside the cafe it is closed off away from here so you aren’t worried about the noise etc annoying others who are eating!

Well worth a visit if you are ever near! =]
WeeOhana xx

 

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Time Apart!

I think whenever you have more than one child it is important to make sure they get to spend time with you separately and for things that fit there age or wants as well! Especially whenever one of the children in your family has a special need, as it really does effect everyone’s life in the family. I always find myself feeling guilty because whenever I take my pair out together it is aways known that if Dylan isn’t happy we will have to leave. As much as this isn’t fair on my little girl, it is what has to happen. She is very good and if Dylan isn’t happy whenever we get somewhere she knows that she gets five minuites then it is time to go. Unless I’m  having a day where I want to take on the world and can ignore the looks. I always feel incredibly guilty when we have to leave, especialy if we haven’t been there long.. i think it is hard as a mum as well to accept that your child doesn’t really enjoy what the majoirty of children love. A trip to the local park can be upsetting for both my children, as it could be too nosey/buzy etc for Dylan which then means we have to leave. It is also then upsetting for me as I then feel bad that my little girl has had to be disappointed etc! Though I am very good at keeping a strong front on infront of the kids!

My husband and myself decided that in the new year we would try and do things seperatly at least once a month with my little girl, as she loves things such as going out for dinner, going to the cinema or going shopping for some new clothes! These are some of the top things that my little boy really struggles with, but it isn’t fair for her not to experience these because of that! This month it was my turn, so I decided that I would actually bring her down to see my mum and dads new house in Dublin! Obviously this is something that I wish we could enjoy as a family, exploring a new city/parks/shops/restuarants/musuems but he really wouldn’t be able to cope at all, espeically with staying somewhere unfamiliar too! Hubby had the weekend off so me and my wonderful daughter headed off!

We have had a fantastic time! The drive down is approx two hours long, and she decided to chat the whole drive down. It was wonderful, we chatted about such a range of things, from why there was a tractor on the road to how come they hadn’t  invented time travel yet so that we could just appear at nanny annd grampys without having to sit still for so long! (Sitting still isn’t her strong point!) Once we got to my mum and dads it was bed time really, but not without a tour around the house and some food to fill her little belly!

The next day we all headed out for a walk around the park and to get some breakfast! It was a lot colder than we expected though so we really didn’t get too much of a walk done before everyone thought there hands were going to fall off! We then found a little market and got a crepe for breakfast and picked up some rather wonderful Macarons handmade by a little French woman, they were incredible! I am actually pretty annoyed I only bought one box of them and wish I had got another box to take home with me! They were just super scrummy! 


It was then home time to warm up and let grampy watch the rugby! We spent this time drawing lots of pictures, watching videos on the ipad and chatting to nanny about everything that crossed our minds! After the rugby was over and we were all bathed and ready we went out for some dinner! We went to a lovely little Chinese down the road, which served food nice and quick (perfect for kids!) it was also really tasty too so it was a winner! 

Today we got up and thought it didn’t look as cold as yesterday, so headed off to the beach for a walk.. wha a terrible idea! If you have me on instagram you will have seen how windy it was! If you haven’t you should add me, I would love a few new followers and people to follow! =] ;] (weeohana) << my instagram

After the beech we went to a park and for some lunch! We then popped to a nice little shop and picked up some dinner and Amellia loved looking at all the fish they had there for sale! 


It was then home time and Grampy had more rugby to watch! But not before playing a little!


We then headed to our room and snuggled on the bed while everyone else was busy. I really enjoyed the time just laying there together and relaxing, something me and her never get t0 do anymore! Tomorrow we are heading home and I really look forward to the conversations we have in the car on the way home! Also to get home and give Dylan a really big snuggle,and my hubby of course 😛 

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend and have a good week! 

WeeOhana xx 

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Delamont Park

Today we had a lovely family day out, and you are from Northern Ireland or are over here visiting I really suggest visiting Delamont Park! It’s just a thirty minute drive from Belfast center and a five minute drive from Downpatrick It’s also a very affordable day out, we have found that many places you will go and visit cost rather a lot of money for a family of four to get in, but to get into Delamont Park was a tiny amount of £4. Which is amazing considering all that is there!

There are several different walks and are all sign posted and you also get a map whenever you go into the park which shows you where the routes go, how long they are and what you can find along the way! We opted for one of the shorter walks because we had the children with us, and we didn’t fancy having to carry little miss around the walk when her legs got tired! We went for the 4km walk, there are ones which are also shorter than this and also longer so there is a walk for everyone to do! The only thing I would say is that on the map you are given it doesn’t give you any sort of idea of the terrain, the path was excellent and very easy to push a pram along, though is very stony. I think having our baby jogger GT made it easier to push with the big wheels I’m not sure how easy a pram with slandered wheels would have been to push! My little girl found it a little difficult as a lot was uphill which we hadn’t really thought about, but she kept going with a bit of encouragement! She particularly loved seeing the sheep along the way and stopped at every one to try and entice them over with some grass..this didn’t go in her favor! Along the walk were some incredible views, and things to stop at. Several little stone beaches, a bird watching area, and many more but we were enjoying the walk so much we didn’t stop at these things, though I will make a point of ensuring we do this when we go back!

When we first arrived we started with our picnic, there was so many benches and open bits of grass to sit on so lots of space for whenever it is busy to enjoy you picnic without many around you! My little one was eager to sit on the grass and have hers, so this is what we did and had some lovely little sandwiches before we headed off on our adventure! #

After our walk we went on this wonderful little train which is designed to look like Thomas, it runs along a 1KM track and was really enjoyable! The little ones loved being on a train and really enjoyed it and I took in some of the wonderful views around while really cherishing the time we were spending together!

Next stop was the play park, what little ones don’t love parks right! Well this is one that is truly going to be enjoyed by any park lover. It is just wonderful, lots of wonderful wood climbing frames, slides, puzzles and much more. I really liked that they had a climbing frame for all ages! There was a big and a little one like you would find in more parks, but also a medium sized one too, which my little girl really enjoyed. She likes the big ones but wants you to go up them with her and with it being a bit busy, I wasn’t for climbing up with her and getting in the way of everyone! She went off and enjoyed the big one for a short while but wanted to play with her brother so spent a lot of the time on the little one with him, which was great as there was no one else on it! There was also a zip wire which she really enjoyed. As well as there being some great climbing frames/ balancing things/slides etc there was also a lot of open space to run about. My little boy really liked this as he likes to just potter about and explore the world around him rather than climbing on climbing frames and going on swings etc!

 

Beside the park there was also one of those metal gyms that are becoming increasingly popular, and there are also some of the single gym items placed along the walks too! Just in-case you were wanting to go there to jog/workout ..

We ended our day by then going out for dinner and coming home and having a lovely bath! Both the kids are now fast asleep in bed, and we are just about to settle down to watch a move! All in all we had a fantastic day and will be back to Delamont Park very soon; in fact we enjoyed it so much we are going to get the season pass so we will be visiting it many more times! I will let you know if we find anything else about in Delamont Park that we think is a must see while there.. but for now, you should really go there, enjoy the peace, views, beauty and nature. Oh & the park and the train if you have little ones with you!

Let me know if you go for a visit and what you think! =]

WeeOhana xx

 

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Holi Fest- Belfast!

Today I took my eldest to something completely different to what we would do in our day to day life; Holi Festival!
Holi Festival is one of India’s most energetic and colorful celebration, Holi translates to colour in Hindi! The festival of colour or Holi is to celebrate the start of spring! I love Spring, who doesn’t?! The start of nicer weather, beautiful flowers everywhere and one of my favorite parts is all the baby animals. My sister Laura told me about the Holi fest and asked me if I wanted to go, I watched a quick video and knew it was somewhere myself and my daughter would love, We had to go!

We waved goodbye and left the boys to go and do the grocery shopping (Such fun!) while we were dressed in white t-shirts and ready to party and get covered in paint! We got there and up pulled my lovely sister and her friend Jools right beside us! Perfect timing or what! Off we went, a bit unsure of what to expect but knowing it would be a day full of fun!
As soon as we went through the doors my little bundle of energy just couldn’t stop moving and looking at everything, she quickly had a go on one of the rides they had and then headed to the “baby corner!” What a fantastic idea it was! It meant my sisters friend could eat in peace while we made some creations! First of all she put hand prints all over a piece of material they had on the floor, which she loved! Then on to make a lovely little bag which I will treasure forever! It has, my daughters hand print, My sisters and mine on it!
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How cute is that? Even better was that it was free, a lovely keepsake and kept her still for oh.. maybe three minutes? Then she made a multi-colour little flag type idea, which she loved and danced about with all day..
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As you can see.. she really has no fear or shyness in her, she just has a giant love for life and moving a lot! She loved trying to copy the dancers and was having all the fun that she could possibly have! It was then time to go and get colourful, to keep her still in the que I bribed her with a crepe and water to re-hydrate her after all the dancing and charging about in circles.. it was then time to go and cover each other!
This was all the fun and then some more, we started by just flinging it out of the corner of the bag.. that didn’t work too great! If you cup your hands and fill it with the colour powder and then throw it at each other! One thing they didn’t warn you about was the taste of it.. vile. The only way I can describe it is; have you ever sucked on the end of a ballpoint pen and then the ink exploded into your mouth? Yeah.. like that! Disgusting. So keep your eyes and mouth shut!! My next piece of advice is.. Have fun! Act silly, run about, dance and have the greatest day ever!

Look at all the smiles, colour and fun! It was a fabulous, different and wonderful day out! We will be back next year to throw more colour everywhere, dance and celebrate the start of Spring!

To top the day off.. we came home and Amellia got a bath and it turned purple which made a perfect colorful end to her day, and I have also just wrote this while eating a Cadburys Easter Egg, no better chocolate out there!

WeeOhana x

 

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Gruffalo Trail

The other day we set out on an adventure, to find The Gruffalo!

First of all we had to start with a little drive in the car.. and the Sat Nav trying to make us actually drive through the forest.. but we figured out where we were really meant to go and got parked and ready to head out! We had went on a week day, and it wasn’t overly lovely weather so it was a bonus that the place was quieter than we had expected! We had also taken a picnic with us.. but with little grass space and it being a bit chilly we ended up eating in the car! There was picnic benches for if it is a bit of a nicer day whenever you get a chance to visit!

The Gruffalo Trail is by the Colin Glen Visitor Centre, which has toilets and a cafe in also which is very handy when traveling with little ones! I would made a suggestion of reading the book the night before too.. we decided in the morning to go so we didn’t really think of that! We had forgotten what order all the creatures come in though we still enjoyed, but with a refresher for little minds and yours it may make it even more enjoyable!

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This is the entrance to the very exciting Gruffalo Trail, when we first saw this we thought they may have snippets of the book throughout so thought it would help refresh our minds, but this is all the words there is!

As you are walking if you keep a look out in the trees there are little picture signs that show you and your little ones which animal is coming up next and what to keep there eyes peeled for! It also adds extra things too look for, so keeps the excitement for the whole walk! We found that the walk took approximately thirty minutes, that includes stopping at all the figures for pictures, picking up sticks, looking in the river and all the things little ones enjoy to do while out on an adventure! You can carry on walking but we decided to turn around once we had met The Gruffalo, as it was a little chilly and she was already saying her little legs were getting tired. She was also highly disappointed that we didn’t meet the real Gruffalo in the deep dark wood.. but when we explained that he had been and that this was where we had stood etc she then loved it again!

The first stop was the little mouse
dsc00498.jpgI say little loosely as the figures were all of fantastic size, quality and detail! They looked exactly as they are pictured in the book and in great condition seeing as there will have been lots of children clambering over them all! My little girl just loved the fact you could touch, poke, climb on and do whatever you really wanted to do with them!

Anyway.. I wont show you pictures of all the animals you met along the way, its good to have some sort of surprise, right? 😛

I would recommended the Gruffalo Trail, but I’m not sure it would be a whole day trip even if you did keep walking, as after that it is just forest and I’m not sure how long you can walk or how far little ones who like the Gruffalo could walk! Even so, it is a great little trip for half a day or the such with the walk and then some food! It is close enough to Belfast, so it depends were you come from for how long the drive is really! I can imagine this would be very busy on sunny days, especially weekends or when the children are off for Easter/summer!

Here are my favorite two with The Gruffalo!

dsc00526.jpgYep, Little man slept the whole time while the other ran about thoroughly enjoying the fresh air!

If you are ever near Belfast and have a few hours to kill, now you have a new place to explore!

WeeOhana