If You Go Down To The Woods Today…

Last weekend we decided to do something different for once. Weekends are family weekends. It is the only time we actually get some quality time together because the week is just so busy with work. Then you are straight into making dinners. I don’t schedule our weekends. It’s whatever happens, happens.

On Friday I thought the weather is going to stop us from going for a walk in the woods on Saturday. It was dark, dull, windy and it was raining the whole day. Saturday morning wasn’t any different to be honest. Thankfully it brightened up a bit in the afternoon. It was still cloudy but at least it wasn’t raining. In Ireland you can’t wait for the sun to appear. Go out when it stops raining and hope for the best that it stays like that for an hour or two.

We always go for walks in the park with the two buggies or go into town. Now that Matthew is four, I kind of want him to get away from being in the buggy a lot. We decided to go to Hazelwood.

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Hazelwood is a special  place for us. It’s a place hubby and I went on our first date almost eight years ago. It is actually a funny story. I won’t bore you about it now though. I might do a seperate post next time how me and hubby met.

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So we parked the car and went down to the lake first to see the ducks. We didn’t take some bread unfortunately. Next time I will remember. Matthew was chasing the ducks more than anything else. Generally there are swans, too but on Saturday there were non for some reason. Then again I find swans can be dangerous, especially when you are out with the kids, so better they are staying away.

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Off we went on a long walk through the woods. Matthew was fascinated by the tree trunks. He just couldn’t get his head around that there was no tree anymore but just a trunk left. While on the walk we stopped at the lake multiple times to have a look at the view, climbing up a hill or making a pit stop at a bench. I can definitely see that Matthew has grown up a lot. The last time we went to Hazelwood, Matthew got tired and wanted to be carried after walking just 10 minutes or so. This time he walked it all by himself and didn’t complain once. That makes walks way more enjoyable because at nearly 17kg he is just too heavy. He is breaking our backs.

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We ended our walk with a family photo on “our bench”. It is the bench I laid my head on hubby’s shoulder to show him I fancy him nearly eight years ago. It might sound cheesy but it’s true. This bench will be in our memories forever. I won’t spoil it but you will see our family photo on Friday in the next Me and Mine project. So be patient… two more days.

Afternoon Tea @ Eala Bhan

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On Sunday, two friends and I decided to go for some afternoon tea in Eala Bhán in Sligo town beside the Garavogue River. We got into the habit now of trying out all local afternoon tea places. I booked the space ahead in case it was full. But in fact normally there is no afternoon tea on a Sunday. Thanks to the owner Anthony, he still allowed us to enjoy some afternoon tea in his restaurant.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the friendly staff and were guided to our seats. The table setting was already done up in a nice cosy area by the window. We were asked whether we want to have tea or coffee. The tableware was all China.

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A few minutes later, we got the first lot of our afternoon tea food. As we were three people, we were presented with a 3 tier each. The options were a creamy goats cheese on bagel and bread, chicken pesto and egg mayonnaise. All canapes were garnished with some rolled up ham and cheese, chives or tomatoes.

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When we were finished, we took a few minutes to ourselves to make room for the dessert. We also got a top up of tea. Apart from the tea, you also get a jug of water by the way. When our stomachs were set, the waitress came with our desserts. These were presented on a kind of “chalk board” plate. It looked pretty cool. On the plate we had the choice of lemon tart, chocolate fudge cake and what looks like it was profiteroles but there was no cream in it so it was a plain choux pastry. A bit too dry for my liking.

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So what did I think about the whole afternoon tea experience?

The staff were very friendly and helpful. They asked multiple times if we were ok or if we need anything else such as more tea or water. The setup in Eala Bhán is nice and peaceful. The afternoon tea itself was a bit different as I would have expected it to be if I am honest. A packed 3 tier full of sandwiches and desserts is the traditional afternoon tea way. I suppose everyone has their own kind of ways and expectations. One or two scones on the side would have been nice too. In saying that, nevertheless we came out with a stuffed stomach.

Afternoon tea is served between 12pm – 3pm Monday to Saturday at a cost of €24.95.

*I was invited by Eala Bhán to try out their afternoon tea. All photos and opinions are my very own.

Horse Riding at Island View Riding Stables

Last weekend my friend Karo and I were very brave and decided we are going to book 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours horse riding lessons. As we don’t plan on taking it serious and making a hobby out of it I didn’t want to just go on the lunge for 20 mins and that was it. I always dreamt of riding along the beach which is also called trekking. There is no better place to do this than in Ireland. Beautiful places to see by horse.

The last time I was sitting on a horse was at the age of 12. Quite some time ago isn’t it? I used to love horses as a child. Unfortunately I was never allowed to ride a horse as a hobby. From my granddad’s side it was no problem but from my mum’s not a chance. I’d say she might have been just protective and worrying in case I fall off the horse.

There is a few riding stables around Sligo but I always found Island View Riding Stables very appealing. They are located just right off the beach between Sligo and Bundoran. You pass through the little village Grange and after 2 minutes or so you have arrived. The other reason why I find it so handy is, there are a lot of German girls working. It is nice to speak to someone who speaks your mother tongue other than talking English everyday.

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But it is not long Trekking this place has to offer. There is also lessons you can take inside or outside, dressage and jumping. If you don’t live in Ireland and plan on making a holiday out of this, they also offer different holiday packages. Simply check them out here. Sounds adventurous? Well then read on about personal experience with Island View Riding Stables.IMG-20150801-WA0001

Saturday, 1st August in the morning we made our way to the stables. It was actually quite busy. The weather wasn’t the best but that didn’t stop us from going. After choosing our boots and helmets which are being provided we got our horse. Karo’s horse was called Gyppy. She was told that she can be a quite lazy one. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of my horse but it was one that needs to be talked to and was the absolute opposite of Gyppy. He always wants to be on the go.

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There she is, up high on her horse.

We were the only 2 going trekking at that time with a guy who guarded us down to the beach. At the start I was a bit nervous I have to admit but these are so well trained they actually don’t do anything until the leader up front tells them otherwise. I found the trotting very difficult in the beginning. I just didn’t know how to hold myself in the saddle. Whereas my friend’s horse, as I mentioned at the start is very lazy, she didn’t even trot on. (Trot on reminds me of the episode of Ben & Holly where one of the elves is teaching the elves and fairies how to ride and trot a snail. Can you tell I watch too much Ben & Holly?)

Near the end then when we were almost back where we started I was more confident and loved the trotting. Something I would definitely do again.

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I took my phone with me in case we are taking pictures along the beach but to be honest I was so fixed on trying to ride the horse right that I didn’t even think of taking photos. It would be something I would love to do again in the near future. The more we do it the more confidence we gain and we might be even able to take photos next time.

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St. Patrick’s Day – Top 5 Pubs

Today I want to tell you about my favorite pubs I more than likely spend St. Patrick’s Day in. Sligo, the town I live in only has only 22.000 people so you can imagine it is small enough but the pubs are great. There is so many.

1. Mc Hughs

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Mc Hughs is great for going out in the evening times. It is the place to go to for parties like Halloween.

2. Fiddlers Creek

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Fiddlers Creek is probably the best pub to spend the whole day in. I have been there a couple of times in the last few months. Their lunch is great if you want to grab something small like a sandwich but they do dinners as well. Also next to the pub they have a restaurant. You would normally have to book it as it can be fully booked most times at the weekend.

3. Strandhilll Bar

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Strandhill is lovely because it is right beside the Atlantic Ocean. So if you are going to this pub, you are guaranteed to go for a walk in the dunes after or just along the beach.
Across the road you might even had a crepe or ice cream in Mama Johnston.

4. Belfry

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The Belfry is popular day and night. Great food, good atmosphere in the evening and very popular for hen nights or parties in general.

5. Garavogue

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In the summer Garavogue is a lovely place to sit outside and have your food and drink along the river. Inside they have these cool tables where you can make your own drinks/beers. You just have to leave your card behind.