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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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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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Jumping Fun!

Recently I have been teaching my lovely girly to jump with the help of a lovely friend! She seems to be really enjoying it and doing really well at it!

img_4304-1We started off slowly doing lots of trotting poles and raised trotting peoples and here are some pictures of the first day we jumped! =D

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Credit to her sister for catching these shots for me! IPhone cameras always impress me! Coupled with a good camera person too! 😛
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Hope you enjoyed the pictures, because I surely enjoyed getting her this far and can’t wait to be jumping more! =D
Have a lovely day!
WeeOhana xx

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Mums & Tots!

When I was at my CDC appointment with my little man they recommended a mums and tots group that was just for children who attended the unit as they know how hard it can be to go to other mums and tots with lots of children/noise etc! So I thought I would give it a bash!

When I would go to other mums & tots he couldn’t handle the noise, amount of people, amount of toys.. everything was just a giant sensory over load so he would go into a meltdown. This would consist of him screaming/crying/throwing himself to the floor/hitting his head off the floor/running at walls/scratching at himself.. people would stare, which made me feel extremely anxious, upset, judged and many other things. The leaders of the mums & tots would come over and sing/give him toys/try to help.. but obviously that just made it worse. Obviously they are trying to help and didn’t know what else to try/do.. so I ended up leaving and taking him to the car to settle him down, I would say to myself that maybe he would like a different mums & tots, that I would try others. Believe me, I tried several different mums & tots, I think I went to all of the ones in my area, but in the end I gave up. The longest I managed to stay at one with him was 15 minutes. When we first went in, he hated it, So I gave him my phone and sat him on my knee for him to watch Morph and accept what was going on around him and hopefully join in. A lady beside me made a comment about how he should be off playing with the other children and enjoying himself like a normal child rather than sitting playing on my phone. I didn’t even bother to reply.. I picked him up and left. I made a group decision for him and me, that we wouldn’t go back to a mums & tots for a long time.

Until when I was at my CDC appointment and they told me about the mums & tots I thought it sounded fantastic, it still took me a few weeks to go to it, to get over my anxiety of the looks/ what ifs and so forth! When I went, I couldn’t understand why I had put it off!

Its a fantastic mums & tots ran by a wonderful group. When we first went in, he wasn’t too happy.. so the lovely ladies there got out the bubble machine and then went away from him. He sat on my knee for while watching the bubbles, then he got up and started popping the bubbles then ran off and saw all the other wonderful things they had. The ladies then got me stuff to fill in while chatted to me about what they did and what was going on with my handsome man.
There was only 5 other children there, in a big hall with all the toys spaced out and a wonderful sensory room. It was fantastic, he pottered about by himself happy as larry without a care in the world. It was wonderful to see, and I chatted to a few of the mums, some of them in a very similar situations to me, it was great to speak to others who are going through the same sort of thing, who know what its like to still be feeding your two year old 10+ month food.

We now go every week and when we pull up outside the hall his little face lights up and he starts flapping in the wonderfully excited way that he does! Its great, to get out of the house and for us both to enjoy ourself and relax.

Is there anywhere that your children especially enjoy? Places they really don’t like?

WeeOhana xx