Easter Fun in Dublin

As another school break beckoned my thoughts quickly turned to activity ideas to occupy my way-too-cool teenager for this Easter holiday. A mix of taking it easy, some study, some fun days out and catching up with family and friends were top of my agenda. But where to go? What to do?

I was delighted to be one of the Dublin-based bloggers - from the amazing Irish Parenting Bloggers Group - to be approached by Travelodge to share our tips for fun things to do this Easter in Dublin. Some great ideas there then, suitable for both young and teenage children and all budgets. My tip was Viking Splash Tours and it was the subject of one of my first ever blog posts

We needed to come up with something different for one of our days out though, for two cool teenagers. So yet again..... what to do?

Enter a competition win on twitter - yes, it IS possible to win a prize on Social Media! - and we had ourselves a little Dublin Road Train Tour to sort out one of our meet-ups. This is a one-hour historical tour of Dublin in a rather cute Road Train vehicle, that tourists love to take photos of!

It starts at The National Museum, Merrion Square and takes in lots of interesting Dublin sights and shares some equally interesting facts. Especially about Georgian Dublin and why the windows get smaller at the top - to make the town houses of the rich gentry look bigger, apparently. And how Leinster House has two different facades; the town facade on one side and the country one on the other. How it is in fact a 'two-faced building'. Which would seem to be perfectly suited, as some might say, to the 'two-faced politicians' in residence. Or so our recorded guide informed us, and I was certainly not going to argue with his astute observation!

It was an enjoyable tour of Dublin in this colourful and admittedly child-like train that some teenagers may think uncool; they did enjoy the facts though! 

The vehicle is a bit squeaky at times which can make the recorded guide difficult to hear; a problem easily remedied I should think. We did think it was a pity there was only one stop-off,  at the Guinness Storehouse, as we would have loved to stop to do a quick tour of Dublin Castle which is on our to-do list. It was enjoyable though and I thank Dublin Road Train Tours and DublinCityfm/LiveDrive for the tickets. 

We finished off our day with a quick, and free, trip into the amazing Natural History Museum , which appears in the Travelodge link above and always has something to interest all children of all ages. Fascinating, if  a tad disturbing to any adults of a squeamish nature! Of course all that factual touring means a substantial food-stop for the active teens so we took them to the relatively nearby Luigi Malone's which has some amazing lunch time deals. And some very interesting newspaper cuttings and advertisements of days gone by adorning their walls. Worth a trip.

You know, we've been slowly but surely getting around to visit all the amazing historical and fun places of interest in Dublin over the years. It really is a great city we live in and there are certainly more places for us to explore in the years to come. I have plans for some more family fun days out and if we run out of ideas, or have a new city to explore, we can always visit  Travelodge for some more suggestions :-) 



The Good Hair Day that ended in the Wars......

The day had started off so well.

I sat there in the hair-dressing chair, at the last minute appointment I was so lucky to get, with my newly shorn tresses being efficiently and gently coloured and put into easy meche plastic packets.
It is of course a time consuming operation and hard to find the requisite couple of hours to set aside for this mood enhancing, uplifting  - and therefore totally necessary for ones survival - exercise!

However needs must, I thought as the grey speckles glittered through the ever darkening fronds, and the time was found.

Oh, it was bliss, sitting there chatting to real life adults and flicking through magazine after magazine. At 11 O'Clock in the morning! I was only saying to the girl how unusual it was to be able to do this.  It was like a guilty pleasure. I was even contemplating a nice light lunch somewhere afterwards.

But it didn't take long for the guilty pleasure bubble to burst.

All it took was a phone call. And one look at caller-ID for the heart to beat faster and the stomach to drop when I saw that it was the school phoning.

But it was okay, it wasn't one of those phone calls. it was one of these - you know, the 'I forgot my text book/copybook/pencil case/jumper/entire school bag/my head (circle as appropriate) ....can you bring it.....please??' spoken in his bestest good-boy voice!

Well, it was all hands on deck as the plastic packets were whipped from my head as soon as they were ready, and my hair was blow-dried quickly and brilliantly before I left, with newly golden high-lighted hair bouncing in the Spring breeze!

A quick dash home and I was at the school just in time to deliver the forgotten item ..... and to see the cool teens hanging out, chatting before lunch break was over. Worth it for that alone ;-)

No point in going home to come back in 2 hours, I thought to myself before dashing off to get some shopping jobs done. With hair continuing to bounce in the Spring breeze..... and the light Spring showers. Noooooo.....!!

Of course the 'nice light lunch' became a quickly purchased and consumed bag of popcorn, apple and bottle of water in the car as I waited for school to finish! Phew.....

A quick dash home to deposit the boy and his homework filled school bag and it was time to put my years of quick costume changes - gleaned through many, many shows - to good use and change into my 'going out' clothes and face. It was  a quick 30 minute turnaround and all 'W' questions - especially the 'what's for dinner Mum' was met with a very prompt...'Ask your Father' before I vamoosed out the door, with ever-bouncing hair....

Straight to Milano for a quick pre-theatre dinner with a good friend. It was so lovely to have a catch-up chat.

Before long we were in our seats in the stalls of Bord Gais Energy Theatre for a wonderful performance of War Horse. Now, I'm an all singin' and dancin' kinda gal but this show - a play with music and some unaccompanied singing - was amazing. It's a heartwarming tale of a teenage boy and his World War 1 fighting horse that has been uniquely adapted for stage. The use of life-sized equine puppetry and the attention to detail is phenomenal. Watch out for the hilarious Goose too, he sure knows how to milk his scenes! The floating 'cloud' that enhances the narrative is also brilliant. The show was admittedly slow to start but it didn't disappoint. Lots of funny and poignant moments, and some extremely loud gunfire too!  A great show that deserved it's standing ovation.

It was a  perfect end to this very hectic day.....


Mrs Mop and the Cat's Miaow

She sat there watching, through eyes half closed with mid-morning lethargy.

Meanwhile, I was rushing around manoeuvering a full and heavy clothes horse from inside to out, and getting bucket and mop in place for the floor washing that simply had to be done.

She never tried to give even a half hearted attempt to assist. So comfortable was she reclining on the sofa, satiated after a full breakfast and propped up with comfy cushions, as her whole day stretched lazily ahead of her.

She's been there, done that you see. She's had her family; gave birth to them, nourished and raised them until they were all ready to leave the nest. It's just her now, no responsibilities. Her life's work on this earth is complete. 

Time to relax.

Let someone else do all the running around, pulling their hair out for a change.

At least I imagined that must have been the thought that floated through her little head, as she snuggled even deeper into her fluffy cushion-land. Giving me the most dis-interested look. Ever....

But soon she just  couldn't help herself, it's in her nature you see. And while curiosity didn't quite kill her, it certainly did get the better of her, as the lure of the long-stranded mop sloshing across the floor swiftly became a temptation she just couldn't resist.

She just had to go investigate. From a discreet distance of course.

She followed me around from room to room, eyes round and brightly inquisitive, with paw tentatively reaching out every now and then to touch the strange long strands swiftly moving to and fro; only to withdraw a tad fearfully at the very last minute.

What fun! An early morning unexpected play time!

Washing floors may be fun to you, my dear Pretty Cat, but it is most definitely not anywhere on my fun-things-to-do list. It is a chore, dear Pretty Cat ...... a C.H.O.R.E.

However, she was great company and did add some amusement to this most menial of household tasks!

Of course, all this floor washing 'fun' can be quite exhausting you know. So after a little self-grooming cat's lick of her own and a nice snack - for her, not for me - it was back to business as usual for me.

And for her.......

Oh to be feline and free!


Reasons To Be Cheerful #RTBC - Positivity All Around.

It's been a hectic fortnight filled with appointments, meetings, visits, lots of dashing here and there; some hair-pulling, a spot of worry, sprinkles of fun and a dollup of stress. Oh, and there was wine too. Naturally.

And laced through all of this were some lovely moments of positivity....

Like the first day of April that showered us in some glorious Spring sunshine with a stunning cobalt sea against a backdrop of a gorgeous blue sky. The perfect colours for World Autism Day, as a friend rightly pointed out! Sure who could resist going out walking in this.....

Like finally finding the book I wanted in order to complete my trilogy of books by Khaled Hosseini. And I have my recent listography post and the lovely Kate Takes 5 to thank for that!

Of course, when you're a tad stressed from all the running hither and tither, there is nothing better than making some time to meet with a really good friend to enjoy some  tea and cake. Or coffee, if you prefer! Thank you Looking For Blue Sky for the very enjoyable catch-up.

Then there are the secret meetings I've been having with some other good friends of long standing. Plans are afoot and who knows how this project will finally materialise. I can't tell you any more right now. It's very clandestine you see.... tell-you-and-I'd-have-to-kill-you kinda stuff! Suffice it to say that it sure will be the Tops ;-)

And of course I'm still living off the back of the lovely Mother's Day visit I made, it's even been followed by a similarly pleasant one.

It's all good really. Onwards and upwards.

I wish you a wonderful weekend, wherever in the world you are.