Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Instagram September Roundup

 I've done something similar to this awhile back and I thought I would revisit doing the Instagram roundups for you all. I know some of you don't have Instagram accounts so I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the highlights from this month and see what we got up to. Let me know if you this is something you would like to see again.


At the beginning of September we were on our hols and it meant the first time for Lillibug to be on a plane. Lillibug loved every minute of the journey and keeps asking us when we are on our way to the airport again!


Our destination was Paris and we had an amazing time seeing all the sights, the Eiffel tower was our first stop but it didn't make my top 4 places to see in Paris (read my top 4 here).

The biggest surprise which we managed to keep secret from Lillibug was our trip to Disneyland! Oh my I can't even put into words how unbelievably magical it was for us all. Lillibug got to meet her favourite characters and dress up as Snow White for the whole day.


I particularly love this picture of Lillibug on the slight because she is having a full blown conversation with Sven and Olaf and asking if they could come home with us on the plane.


It was so special finishing off our Disneyland trip by watching the fireworks and light show.
My love of writing letters and keeping in touch with friends is getting better, especially with the Irish Beauty and Lifestyle Bloggers Inspire PenPal project. I got paired with Claire from Claire by Reverie and I look forward to her letters all the time now!
I finish off with my love of stationery and inspiring quotes.

I would love for you to head over and check out my Instagram account and give me a follow, to see more pictures like this. Leave your Instagram links below too for me to check out.



Monday, 28 September 2015

Irish National Stud and Gardens

Myself and Lillibug recently made our way to Kildare to the Irish National Stud and Gardens, and we had a fantastic day out, just the two of us! It was a great opportunity to bring Lillibug to a place my Daddy brought me all the time when I was a child, so I couldn't say no when we were kindly invited.


 In 1900 Colonel William Walker a purchased the land around Tully. From there he established a magnificent bloodstock of horses and also created the Japanese Gardens. It was then, in 1916, Colonel William Walker gifted the bloodstock to the British Government, thereby creating a National Stud along with Newmarket's The National Stud of the United Kingdom. After Ireland established a new government in 1943 the stud was then acquired by that government and became the Irish National Stud Company LTD.  The stud has become renowned the world over for it's thoroughbred horse breeding facility and winning stock. Today the stud is still a working stud breeding winning horses and has a prestigious breeding course. We also get to embrace this industry and the gardens with over 115,000 visitors to the stud each year.


The Japanese Gardens were absolutely stunning and when I looked back at my camera I had taken over 100 pictures of the gardens alone which is really unheard of for me! Lillibug really enjoyed the gardens too and was looking for fairies. I tried to tell her the story of the gardens by incorporating the fairies into the journey of the pathway of life and she was interested. The Japanese Gardens gives your senses an overload of beauty but it creates a peacefulness inside you as you stroll the pathway.


The Irish National Stud also has a museum that houses the skeleton of the famous racehorse Arkle! Lillibug thought the skeleton was the most amazing thing she had ever seen but then again she did think it was a dinosaur! Also just outside the museum there are jigsaw puzzles on the wall which Lillibug loved so I really love how kids are also getting a great day out and learning along the way.


Among the paddocks and stables you will find "Living Legends", the great racehorses who are now in retirement, and the "Frolicking Foals" where you will see the future of horse racing. My favourite part was seeing the stallions, who are very busy during the breeding seasons (starting February) meet mares from around the world! Lillibug's favourite was seeing the Falabella, the smallest of horse breeds.



 St. Fiachra's Garden was another of Lillibug's favourite spots within the stud, possibly because she made friends with the ducks here and they followed us on the pathway. St. Fiachra is a descendant of a King of Ireland and was known as a healer, a gardener and notable for his charitable work. He is the patron saint of Gardeners so it's very apt to see the attraction now present at the stud. 


The land and attractions really fill the senses and make for a wonderful day out for the whole family young and old. Bring a picnic and make use of the picnic areas or dine out in the restaurant which also overlooks the Japanese gardens. 


The facilities are brilliant and everything thought of from wheelchairs available to borrow, a playground, baby changing facilities, and accessibility for wheelchairs and prams. We enjoyed the picnic area and settled there for our sandwiches, and the ducks came to say hello which Lillibug got great enjoyment out of. I would also like to mention that the staff were so friendly and so helpful, it was something I heard more than once from others as we walked around too. We finished off our day at the stud with the most delicious ice creams.



Irish National Stud and Gardens
Website/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Getting in the Mood for Disneyland & Paris with Netflix

So I've decided to stay on the Parisian theme on the blog, and if you have read my previous posts it will probably come as no surprise why (yes we went on our family holiday there). I wanted introduce a bit of Paris to our Netflix watching but also Disney as we were going to Disneyland too! I wanted to show Lillibug a taste of where she was going, and we were so lucky with our choices for her, and of course myself and Kevin had to have our fix too.

Anastasia
 
This underappreciated gem from the late 90's focuses on the story of the young Princess Anastasia who is separated from her family of Russian royalty trying to track them down again. While the first half of the film is set in Russia, the second part sees our heroine travel to Paris to try to make contact with her last living relative. The song "Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart" shows plenty of the sights, and we were able to point these out to Lillibug in the hope she would recognise them.

Hunchback of Notre Dame

While this is seen as one of the "darker" Disney films of the 90's, the setting and songs mean that it's not quite as scary as parents would have you believe. Like "Anastasia", there's plenty of famous Parisian sights but as the title suggests, the whole film revolves around the cathedral at Notre Dame. We had a great time convincing Lillibug that it was indeed Quasimodo ringing the bells while we were there!

The Three Musketeers
 
This was one that Kevin and I watched ourselves one evening, as Lillibug didn't seem to interested in it at the time. Maybe when she's a little bit older! Both of us had seen it when it came out originally, so it was a bit of a throwback for us. While it's not as much fun as say, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" it's still lots of fun, mainly because the excellent cast are on top form and there's plenty of entertaining swordfights!
 
 
 
What would you watch to get you in the mood for holiday's?

Sunday, 13 September 2015

4 Must See Sights in Paris


As you may have guessed.....I've been to Paris! This was my third visit and there are four places always on my list to revisit when I'm there. So I want to share them with you, some are your typical and unusual spots, but I have some gems too.

Arc de Triomphe 

The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (Triumphal Arch of the Star) is situated at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. On the arch you can find the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath the vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Just above the tomb is an eternal flame which burns in memory of those who were killed in war and are were not identified. 

 

The view from Arc de Triomphe to me is one of the best in Paris, I would definitely recommend it over the Eiffel Tower. There is a lift also to bring you to the museum and then a short flight of 46 steps to see the panoramic views.


I would also recommend because the Arc de Triomphe is situated on a roundabout (a scary roundabout) that you take the pedestrian underpass to get across!



Church of Saint-Sulpice

You may have expected me to put Notre Dame on the list but the Church of Saint-Sulpice is one not to be underestimated or missed. Saint-Sulpice is the second largest church after Notre Dame and has some beautiful interior architecture. The mismatched towers go unnoticed to the eye at first some say this ruins the overall look but I like it. The interior is stunning which feels very open and the natural light makes a difference to the feel of the structure. I've yet to hear the magnificent towering organ played in this beautiful church but hopefully one day.


Situated inside the church is a gnomon to help determine the time of the equinoxes. A meridan line made of brass lays across the floor. You may have learned about this if you read "The Da Vinci Code". 

"In the south transept window a small opening with a lens was set up, so that a ray of sunlight shines onto the brass line. At noon on the winter solstice (21 December), the ray of light touches the brass line on the obelisk. At noon on the equinoxes (21 March and 21 September), the ray touches an oval plate of copper in the floor near the altar." wikipedia 



Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay is still my top museum to see! I can't go to Paris without visiting and seeing the collections of my favourite artists which are Monet and Van Gogh. The museum is in the former Gare d'Orsay a railway station which was the terminal for railways of south western France. The museum nearly got demolished and then it was saved and listed as a historical monument. The museum is fresh, open and well laid out.


The museum was also loved by Lillibug and unlike the Louvre it is a much more relaxed feel and doesn't take as long to see everything.

 La Basilique duSacré-Coeur 

The Sacré Coeur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart) which is located at the summit of Montmartre, which is also the highest part of the city. It is not just a religious symbol but also a political and cultural symbol. The construction of the church finished in 1914 and was consecrated in 1919 after World War 1. The basilica stays white throught the years thanks to the form of limestone that has calcium carbonate.

The Benedictine Sisters of Sacre Coeur live adjacent to the basilica and if you are lucky enough to be visiting while they are singing at mass, you will find yourself in a very surreal and peaceful state of mind.

I have no pictures of the interior of the Sacré Cour due to pictures being forbidden (not that is prevented others!). The dome of the Basilica is open to visitors to see the amazing panoramic view of Paris. Your Paris visit pass will also be helpful as you can use not only for the metro but the funicular so you don't have to walk the whole way up!

I hope you find the list helpful and if you have your favourite sights to see in Paris, please share them in the comment section.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Mini Sephora Haul from Paris

So as you may have gathered from my Facebook and Instagram posts I was recently in Paris. One thing I really wanted to do if I had time was to visit a Sephora, and so it happened while we were strolling along the Champs Élysées.


I've heard so much about Sephora over the years but as you can see I only came out with some Sephora own brand products. I noticed that a few things that I had on my wish list were a bit more expensive than here so decided it wasn't worth it. I am happy though with the products I bought. 


I picked the Express Nail Polish Remover (€7.95) and I've already given this a whirl, and I'm really impressed. No more fussing or spilling nail varnish remover and when coming back in my suitcase I didn't worry about this spilling everywhere. There is a sponge inside and you just stick your nails in leave for a few seconds then, voila! Nail varnish off!

I also picked up a nail clippers (€7.95) out of desperation from all the walking we did the first two days and my shoes had started to really dig in.. Also I completely forgot to bring a nail file with me and, of course, I had chipped some and they kept getting caught in things, so I happily picked up Sephora's own brand files. They were €3.50 for a pack of two.

Then I came across the bubble bath and shower gel in Cotton Flower. It's a really subtle scent and I love it. It was the packaging that caught my eye as these came in many different colours and scents and it was €7.95.


The first thing I looked for in Sephora was the face masks, I've heard so much about them and this set was perfect! These are €3.95 each but the set was around €23.95 if my memory serves me right. I've tried one already and I really liked that it was a fabric mask. I didn't notice a difference staright away but the next day I really saw a change in my skin.

So that's it for my mini haul, maybe next time I go to a Sephora I might go a little wilder!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Lillibug's First Day of Montessori

Today was a big day for our Lillibug, she started Montessori!


The excitement was in the air this morning and Lillibug so proud of her schoolbag. With a bit of hesitation from me I eventually left her off as she got stuck in and made friends straight away. While I wasted my morning in shock at the quietness of the house I eventually got my act together thanks to some words of encouragement from friends and family. It was only later that I realised I was super excited to go and collect Lillibug.

Time flew by this morning......except for the last fifteen minutes, and I couldn't wait for Lillibug to tell me all about her morning! On our way home she told me about the fun she had, her new friends and how she liked her teacher. It might take me a few days to find my rhythm with all this time I have now but one thing is I'm very proud of my Lillibug as she takes another step growing up!

We chose Montessori for it's educational approach which was created and developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and she opened her first class in 1907! The main objective is to develop the child's independence where they have freedom of movement within the classroom, kids get to work independently without direct instruction. This creates choice, independence and finding what they like. Also practical activities like pouring, washing, etc is also taught. All the senses will be stimulated within the Montessori class.

How did your kids first day go? Are they enjoying the new social aspect of being with their peers?

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