Me in Mid-Ulster

This day 29 years ago Charles and Diana got married. At the same time my poor mother was in Altnagelvin hospital having me. While she was in labour nurses kept popping in and out of the room to see the TV in the staff room! They were afraid of missing the Royal Wedding. It was well over by the time I eventually arrived at 6pm weighing 6lb 13oz.

So, 29. I’m kicking the ass of thirty officially now. It’s a bit of a strange feeling. I didn’t think I’d care about getting to 30… but I do!

Anyway, I went back to Dungannon this morning to coo over the dressing table again. I think it might be my birthday pressie. I still loved it today which is always a good sign.

This is the dressing table I fell in love with at HFS in Dungannon. It’s so unlike my usual taste; Im more of a simplicity kinda girl. But this is class.

We have got a little bit more done on my Son’s Doctor Who mural above his bed. He now has a weird Vortex thingy and K-9. The next stage is the cyberman, but i’m so busy that I just have not got around to doing it. I probably won’t get a chance tonight either.

Doctor Who mural

We're getting there!

I keep thinking “Oh I must write about this or that” and I never do, but I thought i’d have a wee quick update today.

Remember the pink pussy cat?
Way back in the late 90’s we’d all head to Cookstown to Clubland (or as they call it here ‘the clubland’ not sure why, Cookstownians seem to stick a ‘the’ on the names of places) Well, anyway, ‘the’ Clubland is reopening on Friday night under the name ‘Heaven’ so here’s hoping it all goes well for it. I always wonder how often I crossed paths with my hubby when we used to go there. Seems so strange that we didn’t ever meet way back then.. given that he was a regular! I wonder if they’ll still have Blast off at the beginning of the night!?

Still, they could have done something with the outside of the building…

Clubland, Cookstown

Hope it all goes well for Clubland. Cookstown is becoming a great place for the young’uns to go now, with Sense seemingly packed regularly (I wouldn’t know. 2 children and 8 weddings this year have left us completely out of babysitters!)

Today I had a mystery shop to do in Dungannon at a Fast Food restaurant. It was my first time in Dungannon in quite a while. I avoid the town, I’ve never warmed to it but I happened to call into the Oaks centre while I was down there today and I saw a gorgeous dressing table for my bedroom in HFS. I shall be taking the other half down there. I want a dressing table for my birthday and I have seen some nice ones recently but this one blew all others out of the running. It was gorgeous!

Arklow was a bit of a strange destination for our summer break, but with something like seven weddings so far this year, there wasn’t a chance to take a fortnight off and head somewhere lovely and sunny. We had a look around at some hotels in and around the Dublin area to grab 4 days in the twelfth week but they all seemed to be booked up. My other half works in a hospitality based job and he had a word with some of the reps and one suggested that we head to Wicklow for a few days. He recommended the “Arklow Bay Hotel” saying it was in a good location and great for children. But to quote “Don’t expect the Ritz, but it’ll be a good trip”

Hubby booked it. I checked it out on Tripadvisor.com and it had very hit or miss reviews. So we didn’t hold our breath. The price for the package was very good, and so we weren’t losing a fortune if it turned out to be pants. But we need not have worried. I think we might have had the best holiday that we’ve ever had. True, it was far from the Ritz, but the staff at the hotel were brilliant. Very friendly and totally family orientated.

They run a kid’s club all day every day and this ends with a kid’s movie in the evenings. Our daughter was too wee for this service, but our son went to see the film every night that we stayed there. This was his first taste of freedom. We’ve never let him go anywhere by himself before so he reveled in getting to meet the other children for the film at the end of the day. He was the youngest there, but that didn’t bother him. On the second night he fell asleep during the film, but when we went to sign him out the girl said she had not rang us as she didn’t want to worry us and he was fine. My worry about kid’s clubs is that anyone could take your child when you’re not there, but each child was signed in by the parent and signed out by them too and they were all kept in the Conference room by the staff, so they were as safe as could be.

On the first night we practically sat outside the conference suite as we were over-protective parents but we eventually relaxed and had a drink in the lobby. Our two year old daughter played with other children in the lobby and everyone was having a great time with a lovely atmosphere. No one batted an eyelid at the noisy, happy children. I’ve never stayed anywhere like it before. Most places have staff who glare at you, dare your two year old laugh.

Not a hotel to go to if you are hoping for a quiet, peaceful break. But if you have children under the age of ten then this might be a place to try. The leisure centre that they have there is very nice too. The children loved the pool. Now I must say at this point that the bedrooms are quite small. But that wasn’t much trouble once we got used to it. Meals in the restaurant were delicious and the breakfast was great too. It was self-service so I would recommend getting there early as it might get a bit cold later in the morning.

So, thumbs up Arklow Bay. It can be very hard to find somewhere that really caters for families. But you certainly managed it for us.

We went to Dublin Zoo last week on our way to Arklow. We’d heard good things from friends so thought it was worth a trip. The children are mad about penguins (!) so they were looking forward to seeing them. I wanted to see the elephants and the other half wanted to see the monkeys. We’re all very choosey about our animals obviously.

Of course the day we had earmarked to go there ended up teeming with rain. But we braved it anyway. And actually it was ok as there were lots of little places that we could shelter under when the rain was at it’s worst. I was really impressed with the zoo on the whole. The animals pens were clean and they were all well cared for. The paths were wide with plenty of room and it was easy to push the stroller around. Of course madam in the stroller wanted to walk for most of the time so I looked like one of those mad women who pushes an empty pram around. Or perhaps a vagabond, as I ended up putting my handbag and the changing bag on the seat.

Anyhow, the two children loved the experience and what was great was that there were always viewing areas built at preschooler level, so we rarely had to lift the kids up to see anything- they could look in and see by themselves. It turned out that the Rhinos were the favourite animal of the day.

However, this seemed to be the most popular attraction of the day:

Jedward at the Zoo

Yip, that’s Jedward. With incredibly flat hair in the rain. We were standing looking at seals when we heard this commotion behind us. Jedward and about a hundred teeny-boppers walking past.

So anyway, the Zoo was great. Expensive at £40.50 for the two adults and one child (DD was free) but we had a great day and would go back in a couple of years when the children will understand a bit more.


Rhino at the Zoo


Flamingos

We’re just back from a trip to Dublin and Arklow and so I have loads to write about if I can get myself together. I swear there must be 16 loads of washing to do first though.

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