Candepop

We are two mums and two toddlers, Cal and Edie, (two dads and new baby Elliott as well) living in Ireland, with a whole world of fun things to see and do.

 

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Meeting the Octonauts at Sea Life

Explore! Rescue! Protect! Yes, we’re big fans of the Octonauts in this house so we just had to go when we heard Captain Barnacles and Peso were coming to Sea Life in Bray. Once we arrived we were given an Octonauts crew hat to wear and a series of questions to answer as we went around with a promise of meeting the two stars at the end. We spent lots of time admiring all the inhabitants of the aquarium, the hypnotic rays being a favourite. Edie also got to touch a starfish, hermit crab and anemone in the touch pool which was quite a thrill. Regular feeding times meant we watched the rays, turtles and piranhas having their brunch and we were highly amused by the amount of crumbs the rays dropped, and unsurprised at the speed at which the piranhas devoured theirs. Finally we got to meet Barnacles and Peso, Edie was slightly intimidated at first (they’re very big) but moved in for two big hugs before we left. We headed home with two Sea Life medals which Edie wore as proudly as Muttley. Sea Life is a great place to visit either way but the Octonauts made it that little bit special. Keep an eye out for added extras like the Octonauts visit included in the price on their site here and as always with Sea Life, tickets are reduced if you book online. Next up, Shark Week!

The Fairy Tree, Marlay Park - Paul O’Hare

Like all magical places, knowledge of it passes word of mouth or you stumble upon them quite by accident. Such are the ways that people find the Fairy Tree in Marlay Park. People don’t always know who started it, or why. Its just a home for the fairies, a place to post your innermost wishes, or leave little gifts for the “little people”.

The Fairy Tree was started by a dear friend and colleague Paul O’Hare who works as an art instructor with adults with learning disabilities in St Michael’s House, Templeogue. He began the project, under the blessing of  Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, with his students in March 2010 when he installed the top towers along with the little door at the base. That April they installed a small window with a table and a chair in the hollow. In August 2011 they added new towers and a staircase with the help of a Danish student doing a placement in the centre, Helena. In 2012 they added two fly towers and Gandolph’s tower set on the right wing and later that year a new opening door on the right side of the tree and started the process of installing solar lighting to light the interior. This year in April they installed the fairy bedroom with 3 horse shoe style windows.

Paul has a brilliant imagination and has great plans for the tree in the future. On my last visit the tree was covered in drawings that local children had left for the fairies, and parents have brought many a toddler to leave their soother for the fairies! But its not just children who are under the spell of the fairies as many adults leave their inner most wishes pinned to the tree for the fairies to grant.

So next time you are walking through the woodland area in the park, keep your eyes open for the towers in the top of the tree, it really is a magical place.

Ballyhoura Forest Holiday

We’ve just returned from a staycation in Ballyhoura Forest Luxury Homes. Our party consisted of 4 adults and 4 smallies ranging in age from 3 and a half years to 3 months. Our holiday home was very nicely kitted out with a double bedroom with en-suite and two twin rooms that share a large family bathroom with bath. The kitchen/dining area/living room is open plan with a stove fire and all the amenities you could hope for. On site there are three playgrounds suited to various ages. I was impressed by the play area specifically for toddlers with a sandpit, slide and rope bridge. The next play area has a climbing wall and various balance activities and would suit 8+ age group. The final area has a basketball court and zip line so is perfect for any teenagers. The area has plenty of outdoor activities but is specifically targeting mountain bikers and ramblers with plenty of treks through the forest surrounds. The location is just on the Limerick/Cork border with some lovely sites to see and due to its close proximity, a visit to Fota Wildlife Park is a must. A great venue for a family break.

Mo-To - Modern Vintage Toy Cars: Candylab Kickstarter Campaign

So this just arrived into my inbox and went straight to the top of my want list. The perfect toy car, wooden, virtually indestructible and inspired by the classic American cars of the 50s and 60s. Since I first looked at the site an hour ago their Kickstarter campaign to fund the first production run has increased by about 10 grand so it appears I am not the only one to like a collectible, perfect car with the pretence that it is for the kids. Check out their video and pledge yourself an early Christmas present here.

Ballyroan Library - Box Architecture

I am a lifelong, hardcore library user (and librarian) so there was no chance Edie wasn’t going to be brought to the library as soon as she could hold a book. Luckily for us the newly rebuilt by Box Architecture, award winning Ballyroan library opened up in April this year and we have been regular visitors since (we would probably be living there half the time if it hadn’t been for the amazing summer weather). Edie spends hours perusing the enormous selection of children’s books, enjoying the many cubby holes, window seats and comfy reading areas provided and always brings a large selection home. There is also a huge children and adult DVD/blu-ray section with all the Disney movies and box sets you could hope for. Storytime for children aged 3-6 is held on Tuesdays at 3.30 and there is a CoderDojo in the pipeline for older kids. There are tons of activities for adults and children held throughout the year with everything from writers’ talks to puppet shows so far. There is a dedicated exhibition space which has hosted a number of eclectic exhibitions. Full details of all library goings on can be found at the Ballyroan library Facebook page.

Babble for Babies - Replay Theatre Company at the Mermaid Arts Centre

So happy that Mina’s mum accidentally bought an extra ticket for this that myself and Elliott will be availing of. Babble for Babies sees the Replay Theatre Company performing “a vocal wonderland” for babies age 0 - 18 months. Elliott will be at the top end of the age group but I think he will really love it. Performing in Mermaid Arts Centre 5th and 6th Sept but soon to visit the Pavilion and Draiocht among others so check out their site to find a venue near you.

Culture Night 2013

Now in it’s 8th year Culture Night is a seriously good night for anyone with slightly older kiddos. Arts and cultural organisations across Dublin and a number of towns around the country will open their doors, free of charge until 11 at night. So combining the excitement of an interesting cultural tour with being out late, a really fun evening out for the bigger kids. 

There are so many options but free bus and luas transport and organized Family Culture Trails should help you make the most of your night out. Check out the full programme and list of venues to plan your night out here

Video Credit: Culture Night 2012 from the perspective of Myles O’Reilly

The Ark - Roll Up! Roll Up! A 4 Floor Celebration of Circus

This summer The Ark invites you to run away with the circus with their interactive, theatrical exhibition Roll Up! Roll Up!

I headed along with Miss Mina (aged 2) and Master Seb (3 months). The venue was bright and colorful and decked out with all sorts of circus paraphernalia. The exhibition spans 4 floors of the Ark, starting in the basement where there are photos of the Fosset family and a projection of different circus acts. We are brought to the big top by ring mistress Lizzy to meet the horse handler and learn how to walk like a circus horse. This is accompanied by a film of two young acrobats who work with the horses in the circus. Up to the next level and we meet the clowns and are given a very entertaining history of some of the most famous clowns. Finally it’s story time and an enchanting tale is told of the night the big top gets struck by lightening. After the exhibition is over the children are invited to take part in a workshop where they make crafts associated with the circus. Mina was a little young for this activity and The Ark recommend the workshops are for 4+. 

Mina really enjoyed her day at the circus and left with hopes to visit the Fossetts soon.

Roll Up! Roll Up! runs Tues-Sun until the 31st August and admission is 9 euro per person.

Smories

Cal has fallen in pre-school love. With a brown eyed girl who sings the nursery rhyme “Wind the Bobbin Up” on Smories.com.

We came across Smories while trying to work out what was this new song Cal had started singing since summer camp. All we could make out was something like “wind the bubble up, pull pull, clap clap clap”. The wonderful world of Google brought us the actual nursery rhyme and Smories brought us the tune.

I’m not sure if Smories is still active, but either way it’s a wonderful resource of stories and nursery rhymes, as told by kids for kids. Simply click from image to image to discover new tales and songs. Simple and safe, and Cal for one is definitely smitten.

AJ’s Toy Snow Boarders

Last year Santa very kindly included a pack of AJ’s Toy Skate Boarders in Cal’s Christmas stocking and since then many adventures have been had. The little green men have travelled far and wide with us skating over cars, plants and fences and many have been left behind on the way (clearly no moral code exists for these plastic men). Now as their numbers are dwindling a new and exciting winter replacement has been created, Snow Boarders. With 8 different poses from and 24 boarders in the very reasonably priced pack I think we may be seeing these hand bag friendly toys very soon. Check them out here.

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