Summer Lovin…💛

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School is definitely out for summer and lots of changes and fun lie ahead…

In recent weeks, Josh graduated from pre-school, we totally overlooked that he should have moved into the summer camp room with his pals-this is still ongoing with a bit of a confused and upset boy on our hands of late. But the sun has been shining at its best and we have already been on a few adventures.

This summer is a special one, the summer before my first born starts school in September so I have decided to make an album at the end of the summer on all that we did as I think it will be a special memory to have in years to come and this sunshine will certainly help.

I will post what we are going each week to give a few ideas if you need them, I know I do sometimes and hope you find it useful.

So far some things we have loved:

·         We went to Dublin Kite Festival in early June which was a brilliant day out.

·         We’ve had 2 beach visits due to the amazing weather too.

·         Strawberry Picking was definitely a highlight so far.

Handy parks and playgrounds-Hebert Park, Cabinteely Park, Milltown Park, Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, Ranelagh Park, Deerpark, Rathfarnham Castle Park is always a good one too.

Other regular activities we love to do is go to the local library-we’ve signed up to their Summer Stars reading for the summer, a visit to Airfield as we are members, up to the Dundrum safari for a run around and maybe an ice cream, a bit of baking and painting, the usual activities and more recently just have water fun in the garden.

It is nice to get out and about too so keep an eye for some of our summer plans over the next few weeks on Instagram. I always gain ideas and insight from others so I think sharing activities is a really handy way to keep everyone busy and ‘sane’ this summer!

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Martinhal Memories

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It started with the smell, better described as a scent really…. We had just completed a 3 hour car journey after leaving the rare sunshine and headed into clouds, we’d had a row with the car hire after appalling customer service and none of us had brekkie {rookie error} but when we pulled up at Martinhal all that floated away….

The welcome is just wonderful, bags taken from you-kids given goodie bags and check in easy. Everything is explained and for anything you need to know further the reception/concierge team couldn’t be more helpful.

We had booked the deluxe suite which had a sliding partition. Josh was on the sofa bed and Max in a travel cot. On arrival there was flip flops for both and a mini dressing gown for Josh, complimentary water and 2 nespressos a day! There is a potty, baby bath, toilet step and child toilet seat in the bathrooms and I loved to see they also used voya products. Every night little chocolates were left, our sheets turned down and on our last night a small bottle of port was left for our departure, just lovely.

Then it was time to explore…. we headed to the main kids playground and planned on getting a light lunch in M Bar which overlooks it. The kids club is directly beneath so was also going to introduce the boys into their also. The sun started to peak out so we enjoyed lying around for a while when the boys ran around in delight on the trampoline, zip wire, swings and sand area. Adjacent to this area is a basketball hoop and mini football pitch so lots to do. The indoor kids pool is just behind this area and with big bean bags dotted about its a perfect place to chill for a while as a family.

The only negative was our lunch. We ordered a chicken wrap and chips to share, mini homemade burger for Josh and a homemade meat/veg baby food mix for Max. However it all took over 45 minutes to come, we’d ordered wine and beer in the meantime, the kids were happy playing but we were starving. When it came it was tiny, Josh’s burger was small and dry and Max devoured his purée but for his age more texture should have been considered-he generally would eat what we do but I thought the idea was so good id give it a try. When our food arrived we were not overly impressed based on the standard of the rest of the hotel and the whole bill came to 35 euros which felt expensive for what we got and I left hungry. I think they are missing a trick on their food offering and coffee’s too but it is about the only trick they are missing as everything else is so spot on! And in saying this the breakfast were absolutely amazing so that is a lovely start to the day…

The whole resort is so well thought out, at the back of the hotel the spa area/gym with an indoor and outdoor pool are situated and has a lovely relaxed but luxurious feel. Ideally this would be adults only for when kids go into kids club but kids were playing in the indoor pool as the weather was not ideal and with a hotel that is fully focused on kids that didn’t bother me and we had one child who refused to actually go into kids club..more on that later!

The pool hangout is as cool as it sounds.. a wonderful large pool area with big ‘fatboy’ bean bags & towels at your disposal, a bar area with BBQ food and the best part is the kids pool is shallow and heated. The whole ambience is very family friendly and added to that the kids club came down one of the sunnier days to entertain the kids, as I said everything is thought of!

And last but definitely not least is the amazing kids club they have that is complimentary once they are over 19 months, the baby room carries a small fee. Both my kids go to an excellent crèche part time but I didn’t know what to expect from this and I was pleasantly surprised. It was bright, spotlessly clean and lots of fun toys/areas for kids to enjoy along with the staff being so friendly and engaging. Every morning/afternoon they had an set activity and they also had extra things going on throughout the day. Unfortunately for us Max wouldn’t settle at all but it wasn’t for want of them trying  but Josh loved it and in his time there he coloured, made wool bracelets, has his face painted, did pony trekking, had a party with Rafi and Rosita (the fox mascots) and enjoyed healthy snack time too. He only went in for an hour or two a day but it was great respite for us and he loved the escape too I think 😉

Martinhal is a luxury resort with kids considered every step of the way, a unique offering for travelling parents. It does come at a price but when you have a couple of kids I felt it was justified and coming away I felt we got value for the cost plus there are several room rates available. One additional service we used was Travel Counsellors, the booking, price and payment options was made more seamless by using Travel Counsellors so if you are thinking of booking a holiday I’d really recommend checking in with them before you do!

*just a note to say we paid for our holiday in full, I do know one of the Irish Travel Counsellors reps but if I was booking this style of holiday again I’d jump at using Rob in the future.

Simple Sunday’s

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Some recent posts have been focused on family life and sometimes the imbalance of the ‘trench’ years-we are all living it and loving it most of the time and over the almost 5 years of being a parent I have found in most aspects keeping it ‘simple’ is key. Not overcomplicating things makes it easier for all whether that is food, activities, games, crafting, baking, plans…

After one hell of a couple of weeks it was time to get a routine back, get back to basics and set this next month off on the right foot.

Weeks are so busy, set routines, shopping, working, cooking, cleaning, sleeping-sort of, baths, play, swimming, playball, jobs, more jobs, luas, bus, creche drop, creche collect-the week just flies by but the weekends are for catching up… sleep, family, friends and fun!

Saturdays usually have some plan attached, Josh normally has swimming, me the gym and then we might have one or two things to get done or people we’ve planned to meet… More often than not Sunday’s don’t and more so recently and this works well for us. It’s becoming our sacred family day. Sometimes later in the day Ian might go watch a game or I’ll nip to a perfectly pitched yin yoga class but the day is spent together, usually just the 4 of us. It might be a playground and coffee, it might be a road trip to one of our favourite spots or it might be a slightly more planned visit to something we’ve seen that’s on or somewhere we’ve wanted to visit… it’s usually the best day of the week.

By keeping it simple, not over complicating the day it tends to set the week out better and once the boys are in bed-a good meal, a dose of Netflix and a yummy treat with a cuppa usually sets up the week ahead on the right foot. It’s a formula that works so we just need to stick to it!

If only every Sunday was this sunny it would be an easy one to stick to!

Worst side of me…

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How is it that the people you love the most see the worst side of you. Apologies for the tinge of ‘whiney’ posts on here lately but a bit of reality and reflection has been going on in my world and I have always used this blog as a diary in some regard and will continue to do so with honesty too.

It was just recently, one of those weekday evenings when it all started to unravel-picked the kids up from crèche-both in crappy/tired form, got home later than planned due to traffic, no apples when Josh wanted one-cue tantrum, Max’s teeth were at him…the water was cold for baths for some reason, dinner still needed to be made and I realised we hadn’t one of the main ingredients. Then Ian was later home than usual-the boys had snacks at this stage (whatever I could find), they had tepid baths and were in their jammies but I was still not out of my uniform and had made no in roads to dinner. The minute he walked in the door-I was grumpy and frazzled, a state my husband sees me way too frequently these days.

The days I am with the boys they mostly get the best of me, we have fun, laughs, cuddles & go on adventures together but they are 2 energetic boys so 11 hours later I am usually tired so make up is off, cosies are on and my mind is elsewhere-onto the jobs I didn’t manage to get done when Ian walks through the door and I usually just want 5 minutes down time before the bedtime routine begins. Having said that, the boys can see an awful frazzled side of me when I snap unnecessarily and they look at me with confused faces! #mummyfail Please tell me I’m not the only one, I’m fairly sure I’m not!

On the days I am working, I’m not sure anyone sees my best side but even that journey home with the boys is pleasant more often than not-we sing, we play eye spy and catch up on the day.

This is a cycle most people are in whether working full time in the home our out of the home-the only difference being in my world it is split in 2. It does show me however there is no perfect way, no perfect balance for all but you make the choices that are right for you and your family and ultimately our option is best for us right now.

What we do try and do to compensate is date night once a month-a few hours out of the house just the 2 of us can re do all the snappiness, cross words and lack of proper conversation and attention to our own relationship. It is essential and having a grandparent, albeit just the one there to give a bit of ‘time out’ when required is a super support. For the boys, especially the older one I always give some sort of explanation if I’ve been unjustifiably crabby-it makes him understand it’s not his fault or worry in any way and it seems to do the trick. Not to go too deep but keep it light and to the point.

And don’t get me wrong it works both ways-I aint seeing the best side of my husband either-its knowing this and working on it that matters-knowing that we are the foundations of our family and once in a while to actually put ‘us’ first! Its lucky for all the love I say, with a good dose of understanding too…

2018 where are you?

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Hello spring are you there? Sure we are almost at summer and I’ve heard a lot of people say it doesn’t even feel like the year has even gotten started. I for one feel the exact same.

2018 was always going to be a year of change for the Felton’s. Ian started a new job, Josh would be starting school and we would be changing up our childcare as a result. We planned to get savings underway to finally get a chance to clear some small debit and look to getting a mortgage maybe next year. The world had other plans…and I’m not even talking about the snow that set everyone back a little.

In January we got news of Josh’s teeth, this had a knock on affect on a lot of things. I also found a lump on my breast that after several weeks of monitoring/doctors visits it turned out fine, thank god. I had also been struggling with my anxiety since later last year and these 2 events along with a number of small things going on in the background made it become unmanageable. I cant put my finger on the exact trigger but it also started to affect my mood/outlook and as much as I hate to admit it I think Josh picked up on a couple of things too and that was what spurred me to head back to my GP. I have been taking a low med for a few years now but decided to up my dose, my concern was Max is still feeding once or twice a day and I didn’t want to contend with stopping that too so the GP assured me that the % was so low that the benefit outweighed the ‘risk’. The cliché is a cliché for a reason-happy mama, happy babas so I went this advice and I’m slowly seeing the benefit. If something is not working try and change it for the better..

I am a real believer in if you have a positive mind, positive things will happen. In this crazy world we live in it can be hard to not let a bit of negativity drip in. However I have found more often than not that if you wake in the morning, you have a bright outlook suddenly even small things start going your way-‘you catch the bus, there is a place for you to sit in the coffee shop, the thing you hoped would be left in the shop is…there is a parking space’-you know the drill. With kids the predictability of life is challenging, the lack of sleep, the tantrums, the sickness that you can contend with on a daily basis, but this is stuff that all parents deal with on some level so moaning and groaning about it doesn’t help anyone it only puts you into that negative mind-set….and on the flip side you have kids that bring you daily joy and love and that is hard to beat. I have had to adapt my ways as most parents do, go with the flow a lot more-let go of the little stuff, focus on what is really important at any given time and that has been good for me-that’s what kids do-they ground you.

I wish for security for our family, I work part time but even looking at returning full time would not pay the dividend required to secure a home. We would love to grow our family at some stage in the future but right now that seems like a big mountain to climb. I think hope has to return, I read a quote recently-dreaming is a form of planning and as a natural planner this quote sticks well with me..but right now over planning ain’t for me!

So here’s to dreaming, here’s to positivity and here’s to the rest of 2018 kick starting the way so many of us thought it should!

Alternative Easter Treats

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Well Easter hols have begun, Josh won’t be in pre school on Mondays and Tuesdays like he normally is so we will be finding things to do over the few days and I’ve some nice things planned for over Easter weekend too.

However this year we’ve had to be a bit more mindful about what is predominantly the main focus… Chocolate!!

So we have plans for a hunt in the garden, albeit a less chocolate filled one, some easter crafts and a few non chocolate treats from the Easter bunny too. Of course there will be a little chocolate-the poor child loves the stuff so he will get some, I’m not that cruel but it’ll just be more limited and I’ve had to become a little more inventive.

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Luckily I’m working with Dealz this easter and picked up some amazing bits in store for crafting and small little easter themed gifts for the boys. There are colouring books, bonnet making kits, egg cup painting, partyware and also plenty of chocolate treats too in store.. At €1.50 it makes it easy to buy some bits to keep the boys entertained without breaking the bank.

So if your stuck for things to do or want to pick up treats, Dealz is the place for you!