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Softplay Success!

Finding a new place that Dylan thoroughly enjoys and caters to his needs is always a bit of a struggle and a huge success when we do. Recently we found a place that ticks all of the boxes and I hope that it will be a place your children can enjoy too if you live or are visiting the area.

When Ad is off work and able to go places with us I like to go somewhere new. It means that there are two sets of hands in case things don’t go our way and another set of eyes to keep a close watch while Dylan explores! It also means that if things don’t go the right way it is someone to talk to while I bundle him up to leave, help me ignore the judging eyes and grab the bags.

We headed to a soft play called Indiana Land and we couldn’t have found a better place to spend some time together! We paid £2.50 to get in, which is a bargain for soft play. There was only a few other children there, so nice and quiet for Dylan’s first time exploring.

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He was settled from the moment we got in and couldn’t wait to get exploring. It has a nice amount of empty space which gave lots of room for running around and some great slides, rope bridges, obstacles and a ball pit. Dylan really enjoys open space because when you go to a soft play or even a park he finds it very overwhelming trying to decide what to go on. He loved just being able to running without having to make any decisions immediately. He then took my hand and wanted me to go exploring with him. Which many soft play places don’t like, so I was really pleased that they didn’t mind me going on with him to help him familiarise and get used to everything there was to offer.

After a while it was obvious that he was getting overstimulated from all the running, jumping, sliding and just having a good time. Ad then spotted a sensory room!
It had a passcode on the door so we asked the lovely workers at the reception if we could go in and they happily opened it. Inside it was amazing, big bean bags to relax on, ear defenders, several different light features that you could change the colour on, timers and a fiddle board.

 

I really liked that it had a passcode because it meant that others couldn’t just come in and out while he was having his chill out time before heading out to run around again.
I’ve never seen a sensory room at a soft play before so this really is such an inclusive place.

Highly recommend here if you live around or are visiting the area especially for parents with ones on the spectrum/sensory needs etc as it’s a struggle to find places that cater to them and this place is perfect!

The only thing that would worry me about going on the weekends would be that the freefall may be open. It was locked when we were there as it was during the terrific tots time which was a big relief if it was open and Dylan took a notion to go down it we would have probably had to leave as once Dylan gets an idea in his head it is pretty impossible to distract him.

-WeeOhana

 

 

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Sensory park!

We are always on the look out for new and exciting places to take the kids and especially ones that Dylan will enjoy and be able to roam around with as little danger present as possible. When we heard about a new soft play opening and accessible park with sensory garden we could not wait to try it out!

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I took him one day after school while we were waiting to pick up Amellia and thought we would be able to fit in some time at the soft play and the park. We headed into the “big house” as Dylan decided it was and went through to the soft play.
I’d heard a lot about the soft play so maybe my expectations were just set to high, but as soon as we went through the doors to the soft play Dylan did not want to be in it. His problem was that one side of the room was a big window and out of this window you could see the park. He just kept running to the window and the door which was alarmed and looked very easy to set off so I didn’t want to risk that. He was getting wound up pretty quickly that he couldn’t get out and a meltdown was just a few minutes away, so I decided scrap the soft play lets just head to the park.

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Now the park I hadn’t heard much about, but oh my goodness, it was absolutely amazing. It had a great climbing frame which was wide enough for wheelchairs to go up and had a rocking boat that they could go into and you rock, some big long slides that Dylan absolutely loved because he is a huge thrill seeker! A bouncy floor, swings, wheelchair swing, hopscotch, drums, giant xylophone, giant spiders web and I’m sure some other bits that have slipped my mind.

Dylan really loved the sensory garden which had all the musical things in and really enjoyed playing them and having a little dance while I played them.

We really enjoyed the park and will be making a regular trip here, I loved how brightly coloured it was because it made it all so eye catching to Dylan and I really loved how inclusive this park was for everyone. I’ve never seen a park like this before!
If you live in the area or further afield and are looking for an inclusive park I highly recommended giving this park a visit!

-WeeOhana

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Seaforde Gardens & Tropical House

Recently I took a little trip to Seaforde Gardens and tropical house with the kids and my brother!
If you haven’t been before you are really missing out! It is a simply wonderful little place with lots to do, see and explore!
We headed here on a Saturday and I would advise if you are going to head up for opening time, rather than later on in the day. When we arrived it was very quiet, so quiet in-fact that we had a brief moment of thinking it may not be open yet but it was! Though when we were leaving the car-park was full and it was really filling up inside the Tropical house.

When we first arrived we headed straight for the Tropical house to see the butterflies, terrapins, parrots, and a variety of reptiles! As soon as we walked in there was a kaleidoscope of butterflies swooping around and they also had a lovely bunch of flowers by the door so that you could watch some of them eating too! As you walked around they had little tables with sugar-water in bowls on them, and Amellia really loved watching the butterflies drinking using their proboscis. After watching the butterflies for a while we then headed into the next room which had some little terrapins and parrots in, Amellia and her uncle found it rather amusing to watch one of the terrapins try to climb out of the water and then it was on wards to the reptile room which had a snake, some cockroaches, giant snails and a few other reptiles!

We then headed out to the gardens and the maze. The gardens are simply beautiful and are filled with lots of beautiful flowers, and many peacocks happily walking about in them too. We had lots of fun exploring the gardens, smelling all the flowers and we spent a rather long time lost in the maze! It is a lovely little maze, not too big that you get really lost or annoyed at where you are, but big enough to be enjoyable and a little confusing so that you have to think about what you are doing!

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After that we went to the little play park which had a few swings slide, monkey bars, wendy house and some grass to run about on. It was a lovely little park and both of the kids really enjoyed playing here and after a play we all needed our bellies refilled so we popped to the cafe.
Next time I go here I will be sure to pack a picnic. The cafe was ok, but its menu was very limited of; ham, cheese or tomato toasties, pancakes, and some cakes. The drink selection was also minimal and didn’t have the usual things on it. Everything was home-made and the pancakes were tasty, but the toasties were pretty disappointing. They filled a spot though and we will be more prepared next time and take a lovely little picnic to enjoy at one of their many picnic benches .

We then headed back into the tropical house again before heading home. This time it was pretty busy inside, but we were lucky enough for a butterfly to land on my hand and I then placed it onto Amellias hand too, She loved looking closely at the butterfly and seeing all its different colours! We then sat on a bench and she found a caterpillar so wanted to hold it and put it back to safety after inspecting it in much detail too.
It was then home time after a lovely day as it was starting to rain and was getting very busy.

It was a simply lovely day and Amellia really enjoyed getting to spend time with her uncle! We can’t wait to head back again next summer!

For a list of other places to visit in NI click here!

-WeeOhana

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Places to visit in Donegal!

This year we went to Donegal for the second year in a row and I am pretty positive that we will be going again next year. It is just such a lovely place, relaxed, quiet and beautiful.
We stayed in Portsalon which is right on the seafront and the beach in Portsalon was also voted number two most beautiful beach in the world by the observer magazine. As you can imagine it is simply wonderful.
I thought I would do a little list of the places that we really enjoyed so that if you are ever in Donegal then you will have some ideas of where to visit!

In Portsalon there were two beach’s.
My girl loved the little one down the hill and it seemed to be very popular with the children staying in and around Portsalon. It was a lovely beach with some sand, rocks to climb on and you could also go pier diving here, they also had pedalos to rent, banana boat rides, a little shop with snacks and water sport gear, a restaurant, a bar and one thing that I would recommend you avoid- a take away chip shop.
This beach was very busy because of all that it had to offer. With Dylan not being a lover of crowds and I am very similar myself and would rather some space too we decided the other beach was better for us.
The bigger beach is a 5 minute walk from the little one, so it’s very handy. It is also beside the golf course in-case you want to play a spot of golf while away. I loved this beach because it has a lot of open space to walk, rocks with many rockpools to explore and it was so quiet! Perfect!

Another place we visited was Tropical world, it is a simply wonderful place. It has many animals that you wouldn’t generally get to see and all seem very well cared for and happy. It also has a butterfly house which is lovely and filled with many different butterflies. My little girl loved this part especially when one landed on her! They also have times for handling some of the animals, when we were there we got the chance to hold a snake and a bearded dragon! They also have a dinosaur part with moving dinosaurs, and a soft play bit too! You can come and go from here for the day too, and I would highly recommend the café beside here we went and all thoroughly enjoyed our paninis and the cake afterwards! It was delicious and very relaxed for the children too.
This would be a great day out for in the rain as the majority of it is inside and you could easily spend all day here.

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Somewhere else that we found that was good for in the rain, or just to do something a little different was a place called Arena 7. It has a wide range of things, we really enjoyed the arcade machines where you won tickets for those most amazing prizes we all loved as kids, bowling, pool tables, and the wonderful soft play. They also had a restaurant there that apparently is very good, but we didn’t try it as Amellia got a kid’s meal in the soft play and she thoroughly enjoyed it and it was all very reasonably price! We went here on a rainy day and were very surprised with how quiet it was, we had lots of fun here and what really made it a great experience was that on the door they had an autism awareness sticker.

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If you are looking for a spot of shopping Letterkenny has got a range of recognisable high street shops all next to each other. You could also head down to Donegal town for a spot of shopping in different little shops and to the craft village there which has some local craft in it and a beautiful little restaurant that was again very relaxed but particularly tasty! They were very accommodating for the children and said they could have anything they fancied on the menu and they would do a smaller portion! Perfect for my food loving little girl!

Another little spot to eat that is simply wonderful is The Curlew Café, If you love seafood you must visit here if you are close by! It is all locally sourced and in a really cosy and friendly little place. All of the food is homemade and the lady there is very welcoming and happy to chat with the kids. Along with being a lovely little restaurant it also has some beautiful unique crafts inside to. We went here last year and we visited this year and we will again next time we are in Donegal.
img_9131Rathmullen is also a lovely little village with a long beach to walk along, several restaurant, take aways, bars, play park and a boat that you can take across to the other side to do some more exploring! On this beach we found rather a lot of starfish and Amellia loved rescuing them and putting them back into the sea. Surprisingly we also found lots of starfish here last year too! Maybe you will be lucky to spot some too! =]
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There we go, a few ideas of where to visit if you are in and around Portsalon in Donegal =]
-WeeOhana

 

 

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Our Summer Trip!

We got to spend a lovely week in a beautiful little part of Ireland in Donegal. To be precise it was Portsalon, one of my favourite places thanks to last years holiday, this years and memories from when I went there when I was younger too!

We stayed in a beautiful little house with the most spectacular view over the beach, out to the sea and over the mountains. People complain that Portsalon is too small, and that there isn’t enough to do there, but to me that’s just perfect. I would much rather be there than at a really busy touristy place! This was the view from the house the first day we arrived. Spectacular, I had already decided I didn’t want to come home.
img_8944We went with my mum and dad too which was lovely as they have moved away from us now and unfortunately don’t get to spend that much time with the kids anymore. When we arrived the kids settled in pretty quickly exploring the house while I brought the things in from the car, put food in the fridge and got Dylan’s bed ready for the night.
We brought Dylan’s bedding with us to try to help him to settle into the travel cot and make it a little less overwhelming for him and I went about making the room as dark as possible as he is used to his room being very dark!

We didn’t really do much while we were away, but this was the aim as it was meant to be relaxing though I have now realised that as a mother you never really do relax and in fact on holiday it is even more stressful as you are in someone else’s house and don’t want the kids to break anything and are trying to ensure everyone is happy, gets fed when they need to etc!
We spent most of our time at the beach, but we also explored the little towns close by, did some shopping, went to the wonderful Tropical World and ate in some yummy places too!

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The first day we went down to the beach Amellia couldn’t wait to go and explore in the rock pools to see what she could find! She had a lovely time off with my dad and Dylan was happily sleeping in his pram. After a while he woke up and was ok after a little while playing in the sand and drawing letters in it!
The second day that we went to the beach Dylan was funny at the start again and on the third visit after a little bit of coaxing he was running in and out of the sea! It was simply wonderful to see! Amellia really enjoyed playing with him in the sea too and was so lovely to watch! She also found some starfish when out for a walk with my dad too!

We also ate in some rather yummy places. Dylan ate his usual on holiday and I didn’t want to try anything while away to upset him etc. Amellia though got stuck right into a lot of things and loved trying different things!

We found a soft play that was close by too that the kids really enjoyed on the rainy day that we got. It was a lovely little size and wasn’t very busy either so was perfect for them both!
img_8986Amellias favorite things on holiday was some teddy fruits that were in the house when we got there. She had grampy playing with them every second that she could and still talks about them! She also made up a little song that really made me giggle!

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All in all the trip was a success, Dylan did brilliantly and showed us very clearly when he had enough and went and sat in his pram or pulled to get lifted. A few times he got upset but generally it was quickly resolved. The only thing that he struggled with was bed time, every night I had to take him out for a drive and one night it took 4 hours worth of driving to get him to sleep! Amellia really enjoyed spending time her grandparents and it was a simply lovely time.

I can’t wait to go back again soon and shortly I’ll do a blog on places we really enjoyed that we went to and places that weren’t the greatest! Means it will be there for when I go next to refresh myself and to help you if you are heading down in that direction anytime soon! =]
-WeeOhana

 

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Garden & Park Fun!

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Dylan has recently got extremely good at writing the letter A, generally with both hands at the same time! As soon as he goes into the back garden he is looking for the chalk and tries to ensure that ever single gate panel has an A on it.
Amellia loves it when he writes the letter A, as she says that he is looking for her when he is doing it. I adore the fact that she is starting to enter his world and accepting that he interacts in other ways, and I for one will not be telling her that he just has a huge love for the letter A and writing it and that it doesn’t mean this!
He can also write a few other letters, but A is in a strong first place at the moment, along with his favourite colour; brown.

We all went to the park the other day and had such a lovely time, Dylan had me going down the slide and climbing up on the cargo net so that I could help him, well by help, he was clung to me like a limpet.. it made manoeuvering him to the slide pretty difficult but with daddy close by we made it safely!

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We then went on the swing basket, after a while I told Adrian that it was his turn!
Look at this beautiful capture I got! I love it!
Amellia snuggling into him with the most beautiful smile while she held his hand and him accepting it, Dylan playing with her hair and daddy with them both safely beside him with the most loving & happy smile on his face!
Perfection, the three most important people to me, all having a lovey time together and I have this wonderful snap to look back at and smile!
Though I must say I’m pretty jealous he didn’t snap a picture of me with the pair of them.. but he is a man, this is why woman take selfies, otherwise they wouldn’t be in any pictures with their kids! lol!

-WeeOhana

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Rose Week

Recently my lovely friend who I went to visit in Newcastle recently that I told you guys about here, came over to visit her family and to see me and my wonderful two!
It was a lovely surprise, as she had told me before that she was over but I had completely forgotten what date we were at with Amellia being off school the days seem to all just merge into one!
When she messaged me the day before asking me what I was up too, I had to hold in the excited squeals and stop myself from jumping about so that Amellia didn't ask what was happening! I decided not to tell Amellia so that it would be a big surprise for her as she hadn't seen her in a long time and is always really excited to see her and enjoys talking to her on Skype!

We decided to head up to lovely park that is close to her mums house where she was staying, what we didn't know though was that it was rose week and they had a fair and everything going on! Thankfully we arrived early, so it was very quiet and we got parked easily and the park was quiet.
img_8667We went for a lovely walk and we spotted some really beautiful roses and had lots of fun pointing out the different colours! Louise & Amellia also both really enjoyed rolling down a hill together! (Can't believe I wasn't quick enough to grab a snap of it!)

img_8689Amellia enjoyed smelling all of the roses and other flowers around, though from this picture it looks like she is about to ingest this one! She really enjoyed seeing the flowers, and was really pleased and surprised whenever she knocked on the houses door and out came Louise!

img_8666We all headed over to the park for a little play after we had admired all of the flowers, had races and rolled down hills! It was great that Louise was with us as she went off with Amellia and I was able to follow Dylan about to ensure that he was safe and concentrate on taking him to where he enjoyed and could put him in his pram when it was all getting too much.
I placed him back in his pram after a little while of going over the bridge and down the slide over and over again, and headed off to find where Louise & Amellia were!
We then headed back to the pram, but some of the food stalls had opened so, Amellia got to have a lovely little lunch of a crepe followed by an Ice Cream that Louise treated her too! =]

 

When we got back to the car after enjoying a lovely lunch the place was starting to fill up and people had just abandoned there cars left, right and centre. I think we got there and left at a perfect time, as its never fun trying to relax and enjoy a walk if a place is full of people! As we then drove back towards Louise's mums house Dylan fell asleep in the car and Louise suggested that we stop off at a little park close by and she would take Amellia out for a play and I could sit in the car!
They seemed to have a lovely time and I rather enjoyed just chilling in my car reading my book knowing that Dylan was happily sleeping and Amellia was off having a blast!

I can't wait to see her again and neither can Amellia!
Thank you Louise for a lovely day!

-WeeOhana