Monthly Archives: October 2013

The National Leprechaun Museum – Dublin


Obviously the first thing you do before visiting a city with kids is to google “things to do with kids in…”. That is exactly what I did and was duly informed by the results that the National Leprechaun Museum was a great thing to do with kids in Dublin.

So I was somewhat surprised on arrival to the museum with my three utterly soaked children in tow – it rains a lot in Dublin so when borrowing a pushchair make sure you borrow the rain cover for it too – to be greeted by a fellow, possibly half leprechaun, telling us that it was quite gruesome and scary and really an attraction for adults. He was very friendly, helpful and well meaning but this was not good news for us! Having bigged it up so much to the children we were not going to be able to get out of this easily and so we pressed ahead, though not quite on our own time frame.

You have to go around on a set tour. They start every 20 mins and last about 45 minutes. It was a strangely busy day we had picked and so we were informed we’d have to return in an hour for our tour… This gave us time to find a café, get some cake and wonder if we were making a massive parenting mistake attempting this “adult” museum with tired and wet children. Our nerves were exaggerated further as we discovered the quirky and brightly coloured café we had chosen, around the corner from the museum was subtly covered in soft porn. The back of my menu had a (rather lovely) picture of a naked man at a window and Orla’s menu had a naked lady with fine breasts staring at her – hmmm! The cake and coffee were good though and the colours were rejuvenating.

Anyway, the hour’s gap gave us a chance to nip into a shopping centre and buy Orla some new, dry, leggings and some snack to ply her with during the tour – worked a treat, parenting win!

So – tentatively we returned to the museum with significantly lower expectations and squeezed into the first room where the tour began. Well, the first thing that made this great was the fact that unlike the chap on the desk who was possibly half leprechaun, the young guy giving us the tour was most definitely of leprechaun decent! Full sized but nimble, sprightly, cheerful and fun he really knew his stuff and was engaging and interesting.

After the first room we are guided through a series of enchanting and interactive experiences, a tunnel that makes you a giant, then a giant’s house that make you feel as small as a leprechaun, a rainbow and an enchanted forest. Our semi-leprechaun guide delighted us with stories of fairies and giants and encouraged us to make wishes in the magic well.

Perhaps he was toning things down for a tour with lots of kids on it but I didn’t hear anything that our, fairly sheltered, children would have been scared by and they were so enthralled by the clever scenery and lighting effects that they were quiet enough for us all to listen to the stories. “Museum” is perhaps the misleading part of the whole thing, there are no stuffed leprechauns or tiny fairy costumes behind glass. In fact what you get is an interactive theatrical experience of Ireland’s mythology which appeals to adults and children alike. Moving through at a reasonable speed, the children don’t have a chance to get bored and the adults are able to listen and learn. There’s no trying to read interpretation boards whilst chasing little ones around display cabinets, you just watch, listen and absorb – definitely the way forward in my book!

So, if you’re in Dublin then give it ago and if you’ve got kids don’t be put off by the chap on the door – they’ll love it!

The museum is open everyday 10.00 – 18.30 and they often have special evening performances for adults.


Full ticket prices and directions are on their website –

Adults = 12 euro

Children 3-11 = 8 euro

Family (2A + 2C) = 34 euro

ImageBoys in the Giant’s House

ImageIn the enchanted forest for story telling

ImageA pot of gold – obviously essential for a leprechaun museum!

ImageThe wishing well

It’s not like a normal fridge. It just has champagne in it!


My father phoned this morning to make arrangements for this weekend when we descend on his single man town house in the centre of Dublin with our three young children.

“Ok, so the next thing after you get off the bus is the fridge – It’s not like a normal fridge you see. It just has champagne in it!”

Luckily I know from having seen it before that it is capable of containing food and other, more appropriate beverages for small children – unlike the one pictured above, his house fridge is in fact a big American style thing – though admittedly I have never seen anything in it other than champagne.

“We’ll have to go to the supermarket to get things like… ‘food’… but you’ll have to come with me as I wouldn’t know what to get – you’ll know about cereal and stuff like that so I’ll wait for you to get here rather than get it wrong”.

If I’m honest, I’m beginning to feel a little bit anxious about this trip, perhaps booking a premier inn would have been safer – I’m sure some champagne will put my mind at rest though and soften the blow for dad when his various works of art get scribbled on, woollen carpet wee’d on, Farrow and Ball walls are painted with grubby hand prints and delicate crystal glasses smashed! Watch out Dad – the Dean’s are on their way!

The sound of silence


Orla is noisy! To be honest, as a family we are all pretty loud but Orla is particularly into yelling and shouting at the moment. On a Wednesday she goes to a child minder so I can work more effectively (I do work Mondays and Tuesdays but I’m never quite sure how I have managed to get stuff done by the end of the day, it just sort of happens). I drop her off before dropping the kids to school.

On a Monday and Tuesday she shouts at me the whole way home from school because she wants to stay and play. I open the windows and turn the volume up on the stereo. This morning after I dropped the boys off the car was silent – I had never before fully appreciated that moment of clam and actual excitement about the day ahead knowing I could achieve so much without interruption. Then it dawned on me – From February 12th I shall not experience that sound of silence and anticipation of achievement for a whole year.

Making new friends


An ambition for our travelling experience is to meet new people and make new friends all around the world. People from other places and generations, with different cultures and lifestyles to our own. People who have experienced different things to us and know about different stuff to us. Meeting new people and making new friends was one of our favourite things about having WWOOF volunteers on our farm and we are somewhat isolated from “new people” at the moment.

Yippee – our adventure will be starting early in this respect! We are heading to Dublin in half term to see my Father for a few days and to have a little “test run” of travelling with the kids, as lightly as possible in both mind and matter. It just so happens that one of my favourite family travel bloggers is over in the Emerald Isle at the moment and we will hopefully get the chance to meet up. Their kids are a similar age to ours and they have been travelling since May 2012, which puts them in the “mega” camp in my head. You can read about their epic adventures on their blog Travel with Bender.

I told the team about meeting new people who have been travelling for ages over tea last night and suggested we think about some questions to ask them about their experiences. They were as excited as me. Alfie thought of a question he would like to ask their children, “was it a little scary when they first set off on their travels?” I said I thought that was a great question! I’d like to ask the parents the same.

Sam’s of Fowey


When travelling with kids a great tip is to find out where local families go for food, entertainment and so on. Going to fancy restaurants is great on holiday and for special occasions and I’m all for kids experiencing and learning to behave in such places. But the reality is you want to enjoy your meal too and not feel stressed out about the kids making noise, dropping food or loudly announcing they need a wee (or worse).

As we haven’t actually departed yet I thought over the next couple of months I would tell readers about a few of our favourite family restaurants and activities here in beautiful Cornwall as it is a holiday destination for so many families and well worth a visit.

Yesterday I asked Rob if he would sort dinner out for me to have a night off from cooking – “Yeah sure” he said. Come 4.30pm I asked what he’d got for dinner…. “ummmm…. Shall we go out?” Ergh, ok, but Orla is majorly tired and grumpy, very few places are open before 6pm and we’re all starving (We eat around 5pm in this household). “I know” he announced excitedly… “Sam’s”… GREAT! Shoes on, lets go…

Sam’s is a seafood restaurant in Fowey, a beautiful seaside town on the south coast. In the hight of summer it is heaving but just out of season it’s delightful, alive but mellow, sort of like a town relaxing on the sofa after a big Sunday dinner; enjoying the conversation and playing some games.

You can’t book at Sam’s and if you are coming in the evening, particularly in the summer, you may need to wait for a table in their funky bar upstairs. Definitely not a hardship if you indulge in one of their “like you’re in London” cocktails. But lets get real, not many other people go out for dinner at 5pm so you’re straight in with attentive service.


Established in 1988 and originally a burger bar, Sam’s has a reputation for great food and a lively atmosphere. It is also an ideal place for taking the family. The staff are welcoming, they have high chairs and nappy changing facilities and an extensive children’s menu. No processed sausage and chips nonsense, there’s Moules Frite (my kids favourite!), calamari, fresh locally caught fish, battered and served with mushy peas and there’s a variety of Sam’s famous home-made burgers with salad and fries, to name but a few.

The venue is ideal for entertaining children and a family game of I Spy is a must with so many things to see and spot, electric guitars and retro posters on the walls, chefs in Bermuda shorts and various rock and roll memorabilia. It’s colourful enough for the youngest kids to play, we do “something that is red/green/purple” for the non-spellers of the family. The other great thing is the music volume for families, not too loud you can’t chat and play games but loud enough that you’re not worried about disturbing other diners with random infant shrieks.


The food is simply spectacular and it’s a great place to get kids into more unusual foods. We shared a portion of shell on prawns and a portion of calamari to start. Despite prawns being a firm family favourite the kids had never pealed their own so teaching them how to was great – everyone loves messy food! The boys had mussels for their main which they adore and are very competent at extracting from their shells with another shell. I had a trio of fish and rob had a burger – both of which were cooked to perfection and demolition in the blink of an eye.



The staff made it clear on arrival that we were welcome to bring our own baby food or give her bits of ours on a plate they would happily provide, but Orla had the fish and chips; you wouldn’t believe how much that girl can put away! These little touches can make such a difference to your enjoyment – It’s miserable to be made to feel unwelcome because you’ve brought baby food to avoid allergy issues or you don’t want to have a full child’s meal for a one year old.

You really can’t go wrong with the menu at Sam’s and there is something for everyone. Personally I would steer clear of their salads though. It’s like they try too hard with all sorts of sprouts and veg in there – give me a simple leaf salad with a delicate dressing any day but I’m not that into “just lots of raw stuff”. It’s hardly a criticism though, they’re just not my thing.

After dinner the kids love a stroll onto the jetty by the harbour masters, (a great spot for crabbing too if you happen to have the kit in the car) and it’s a nice opportunity for you to enjoy the view across to Polruan in the evening light. Man I love living in Cornwall… Um, why are we going? Oh yeah, I remember, but we’ll be back here.


So what’s the cost of this great family dining experience? Well, It’s not the cheapest place in South Cornwall – there are table table pubs in the bigger towns with deals that are phenomenally cheap if that’s what you’re after. It really isn’t costly though. For the five of us, two starters, two adult mains, three kids meals, 4 soft drinks and a glass of house wine (I know – I’m a lush!) we paid just over £50. The mains are massive, even the kids ones, and to be honest we could have easily done without the starters as the boys didn’t manage all of their mussels. For the quality of the food and the overall experience it is great value for money. It’s also consistence – you can’t fail to enjoy yourself and the food, which in itself adds value.

Sam’s of Fowey has got to be one of my favourite restaurants for early evening family dinning, welcoming, fun and serving great food. The kids love it too. So if you’re coming to Cornwall with the kids give it a go and let me know what you thought.


Further details:

Sam’s Fowey is on Fore Street and is open 12-9pm every day.

Tel: 01726 832273


Parking: Early evening and out of season parking is easy in the small car park in the middle of town but out of season you’ll need to park in one of the towns other car parks and walk in. You need pay and display before 6pm.


NB. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any discount or payment for this review. Also, apologies for the terrible photos… I forgot to grab the camera!


Adult? Fine, whatever!


So having joked about being rather lax on the “being an adult” malarkey (the washing is still out there), this week has proved to me, yet again, that I am an adult, whether I like it or not.

We had stayed after school to play in the park, Alf was monkeying around on the climbing frame Patrick, despite being small for his age holds his own with the bigger boys because he is physically and verbally competent. He was playing with boys a couple of years older. Gradually it became apparent that they were picking on him, having snatched the stick he was playing with they were chasing and teasing him with it. Alfie shouted from the climbing frame “Oi, give him the stick back”… watching from a distance I let it play out, it’s no good to step in too soon and it wasn’t too serious. One of them complied and Patrick, who had been making a bee line for me turned and went back for the stick. But the second boy blocked his way and it was getting out of hand… I stepped in and announced we were going home. Now this is where being an adult is fun. I wasn’t mean or scary, I know one of the kids pretty well and his parents read this blog, but I said firmly “look boys, he’s only three – don’t you be picking on him, he’s a lot littler than you”, Pathetic perhaps, but I felt empowered having never stood up to the various bullies in my own childhood! It’s funny how so many thoughts can rush through your head in an instant. I didn’t want to harm Alfie’s relationship with this kid because they are friends. He’s a really sweet kid and to be fair Patrick can be really annoying, although in this instant he was innocent. I felt empowered, although my three year old looked deflated.

The next day Patrick didn’t want to go to pre-school, he even told Alfie he would pretend to be sick! Wow, I remember pretending to be sick… almost every day! Man I hated being a kid at that school – the bullies were bad enough but the teachers were bitches! I’m pretty sure I was older than three when it started though. My mum is also now following this blog, perhaps she can clarify?

Well, I’m a grown up now…. so I phoned the kid’s parents 🙂 Then I told Patrick and he was pleased enough to go to school. Rural communities don’t tolerate that nonsense, it’s a small school and we all know each other. When we got to school I was filling in his teacher when both boys burst into the pre-school chiming “sorry Patrick, we’re really sorry”, one of them looked like he’d been crying. I could see on his face he was chuffed and justice had been served. After school we were getting in the car and both kids passed by waving “bye Patrick”, apparently they’re great mates now!

They are nice boys and don’t mean him any harm but games get carried away and it’s easy to pick on the littlest one. I enjoyed being the spectator one hell of a lot more than being the victim. And from my own childhood experiences of nasty horrid bullies I can talk to my lads and help them to understand that generally it’s the bully with the problem and not them.

Anyway, moving on from the plus side of being an adult (Sorting out the bullies for your kids, in case that wasn’t clear, I’m not sure it was?). I kinda feel like we’ve had our fair share of cancer scares this year. Back in May, doctors thought Patrick might have lymphoma or leukaemia and he underwent various tests and appointments and now hates going to the doctors because it’s “soooo boring”. I haven’t shared this yet but it’s one of the key reasons we’re heading off travelling – you never know what is round the corner. Let’s do it while we can and while we have the most important thing in the world – our health!

Except that I now need to go for a mammogram and ultrasound next week thanks to a breast lump I noticed on Sunday… Great, just great! I’m not actually concerned… I wouldn’t be posting it on here if I was! We are pretty good at taking this kind of stuff in our stride but stress like this is definitely the more rubbish sides of adulthood and something I could do without right now!

So there it is… my week, and it’s not even Friday yet…. Time for another cup of tea…