Summer Camps

After juggling my way through the Easter holidays, the summer break looms large on my horizon and I plan on being prepared, and sane, this summer! The thought of having the kids sitting around all summer is a great motivator so I’ve been googling around and there are some really cool summer camps on offer. Continue reading Summer Camps

Egg hunts: 5 of our favourites

Easter, in kids eyes, is all about the chocolate…. and oh boy, the Easter bunny knows how to deliver this Easter break! There are some great family events on and egg hunts to keep even the serious chocoholics happy throughout the (long) Easter holidays! Ditch the diet and have some fun – you can always invent your own egg hunts at home, but here are a few good ones that are organised in Dublin. Continue reading Egg hunts: 5 of our favourites

6 Tips for Traveling through Dublin Airport with Kids this Christmas.

Since setting up shop at Dublin Airport, the things I’ve noticed that as a regular passenger I never knew before, and as a parent of small children would definitely want to know….here are some of the more useful ones.photo

1.There is a children’s play area (Terminal 1, Level 3 landside and both terminals have small playareas airside) Essentially a small soft play frame, with seating for adults, coffee shop and McDonalds, baby changing and toilets nearby. Kids have had a play and stretched their legs, nappies are changed, hungry tummies are satisfied and parent remains sane!

2. There is a “family lane” through Departures wide enough to fit a buggy, which allows you and your family a bit of space away from the madness of the security queues. Effectively like your own Fastrack channel, look out for the small signs with a picture of a buggy on them.

3. The DAA offer concierge services, ideal for those traveling alone with children who need an extra pair of hands to get through the airport. It works both ways – you can be met at the air bridge or at Departures and helped with whatever you need. (FYI, this service is also available for elderly or infirmed who might need help or the use of a wheelchair.) See www.dublinairport.com for details, Oh and Stork Exchange customers receive a discount so holler if you need the code!

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4. The ‘Lounge Service’ offered by DAA Services is worth considering if you have time to kill before a flight. It’s away from the madness of airside shopping, it has a separate playroom for children with toys and games etc, and access to the lounge bar, which is stocked with juices, drinks and light buffet snacks. Likewise holler for a discount code!
5. If you are hiring a car, the car rental yards are a shuttle bus away and not the most child friendly. You can request to collect your car at the terminal – some car rental companies will charge a fee, others won’t but if you argue you’ve lots of bags and children and would greatly appreciate the extra customer service etc…Otherwise, it would be very sensible to send one parent to rental queues and one up to the playarea mentioned above with the kids…
6. I will put my hands up now and declare I have a vested interest here ….BUT equipment such as prams and car seats are at risk of damage if checked into an aircraft hold… Be very careful, especially with car seats, as damage done might not be automatically apparent. On arrival remove the car seat cover and check for any cracks or signs of stress in the frame of your car seat. If you have to choose between what equipment to c, pick the pram, at least it’ll be obvious if it’s damaged.

5 Family Events in Dublin this December

reindeer

It’s gearing up to be a very busy season this year… there are Christmas markets and Grotto’s galore but here are 5 events which look particularly magical. Share with friends.

 

  • Phoenix Park Christmas Express Train. Phoenix Park have a fantastic event’s calendar planned throughout December: take the Christmas Express Train and while sipping on hot chocolate chugga-chugga choo choo your way through the park, past the live animal crib, past Santa’s reindeers and feel free to sing your way along…apparently the driver loves it! Arrive at the christmas market – Santa will be there for those who would like to visit. Book early, visit phoenixpark.ie for details.

Christmas Train

 

 

  • Farmleigh House deserves a blog in itself, there is so much happening there this December. Lots of good old fashioned Christmas events, like storytelling, christmas carols, Punch and Judy shows, puppet shows, christmas markets… lots of events planned around weekend dates especially. Download their Christmas Programme at www.farmleigh.ie/events .

Farmleigh Market

  • Panto – it’s kind of a must-do in Dublin, and virtually every theatre has one on – Peter Pan at The Gaiety, Aladin at the Olympia, Cinderella is a busy lady this Christmas being at both The Helix and The Cheerios Panto at The Tivoli. For those who would like something a little bit different however, The Ark present ‘A Most Peculiar Wintry Thing’ described as a music show that explores the magic and mystery of winter.
  • Imaginosity Children’s Museum – have organised a Christmas Programme that includes face painting, Grinch story performances, Elf on the Shelf storytime and lots more. As always with Imaginosity it is wise to book in advance. Further details on their website.

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  • The Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin always have a lovely children’s programme and this Christmas is no exception. Workshops on how to make eco friendly christmas cards, Christmas Markets, music and carol singing – this coming Saturday 14th looks especially festive. See botanicalgardens.ie for more details.

4 Alternative presents kids will love and their parents will thank you for!

Not that I am dropping any hints or anything, the good samaritan that I am is sharing what I consider as very cool, really practical alternative Christmas gifts … Plus if you’re traveling home for Christmas they won’t take up any space in your luggage!

dublin monkey
1. Dublin Zoo Membership
Gives a year’s entry for free and is definitely a real winner in terms of savings and scores high on the rescue card for bored children.
Individual €112 (Pass Holder + 2 children / Pass Holder + 1 Adult) or
Family €168 (Pass Holder Pass holder + 3 Adults, or Pass holder + 2 Adults + 2 Children, or Pass holder + 1 Adult + 4 Children, or Pass holder + 6 Children)
2. Imaginosity Membership
Starting from €100 for a family of two for six months the Children’s Museum not only offers holders unlimited admission, but also discounts at the gift shop, on parties and seasonal camps, plus extra free passes to bring friends, plus newsletters. Total winner for the rainy day option, which, let’s be honest, we get a lot of here.
3. Tayto Park Membership

tayto park
€130 for a year’s membership for 2 Adult + 2 Kids, and with so much to do for all age groups at Tayto Park, what’s not to love!

4. Easons Magazine Subscriptions

Starting at €58 for titles like National Geograhic for Children, a year’s subscription to a magazine is like getting a present in the post every month! There are loads of titles to choose from too, so you are sure to find something for everyone.

And two gifts they won’t thank you for…

drumkit
1. Drum kit – of any size or for any age group, that is just cruel!
2. Plasticine or maula or anything that ends up in a clumpy mess and walked into your carpet!

Diluting Santa

 

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I feel like a bit of a Scrooge here, but I’m gonna blog it anyway… Don’t you think having Santa on every street corner waters down the magic and makes him a little bit less believable? Last year my kids saw Santa four times before Christmas and the awful thing was that three of those four occasions were beyond my control. The creche, the school, and the supermarket all invited Santa to come visit. By the time we actually brought them “to see Santa”, any sense of awe and wonder was gone and really the kids were just waiting for their present. My daughter didn’t even cry… aren’t all kids supposed to cry when they see Santa, so overwhelmed are they by it all?

I suppose it does support the ‘you’d better be good, Santa is watching’ argument, given his omnipresence it certainly feels that way. It’s like the way Hallmarks has sucked Valentine’s Day dry of romance, but worse, because Valentine’s Day never had the magic to begin with. The ubiquitous Grotto commercializes an already commercialized holiday by taking away the expectation of Santa, the mystery of Santa, the scary, magic of Santa and replacing it with the expectation of sitting on some bearded guy’s knee and getting a present. And on the subject of beards… isn’t there some sort of Santa School, where to qualify you at least have to have a genuine white beard? Most of these pretenders are at best a fire hazard.

Well meaning as they are, I don’t want the creche or school inviting Santa to see the kids, or the supermarket or the shopping centres. Ba humbug as I know I sound, I am going to keep my kids away from all things Grotto this year, in an effort to bring back some of the magic of Christmas… maybe we’ll visit some reindeers instead. End of Rant!

Dublin Airport Family Services – 3 Things Every Parent Should Know!

So many of you were looking for information on assistance available at Dublin Airport, that I did a bit of investigating and I think you’ll be happy with what I’ve found…


1. The Concierge Service
This is dead handy particularly for those parents who are traveling alone with the kids, or who simply have their hands full. It works both ways – you can be met on arrival into Dublin at the air bridge and an assistant will help you through to arrivals landside, and vice versa – you will be met at departures check-in and assisted through security all the way to your gate, with stops for food and shopping of course! It costs €39.95 altogether for up to six people. Essentially it’s an extra pair of hands to help you through, but I’m working on persuading them to include a stroller in the offer – for those who think a stroller should be included, please voice your opinion in comments!
2. Family Lanes and Seating Areas Airside
So the good news is, there are ‘Family Lanes’ to get through security With a lane wide enough for a buggy to fit through and separate from the other passengers queueing to get through security in Terminal 1 who needs Fastrack?! These lanes are specifically for families with small children and cost nothing!
There are also new seating areas which are suitable for children – in terminal 1 it is beside Starbucks, with lots of space for children to play, a couple of toys, soft (fun) seating, RTE Junior on a big screen etc.
3. DAA Lounge Service (with Family Rooms)
I am so excited about this little life saver – both terminals have lounge areas with separate family rooms, where toddlers can play or tantrum to their heart’s content without disturbing fellow travellers! You pay €19.95 per person (no kiddie rates I’m afraid), but this does allow you access to the family room, and a self-service style kitchen stocked with juices, soft beverages, teas, coffees and two alcoholic drinks per adult (which is nice) and snacks such as fruit, croissants and cereals at breakfast, soup, crackers and cheeses at lunch etc. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of airside and the family room, while small, is clean, safe and virtually soundproof. It has a highchair, TV with kiddie videos (think Peppa Pig etc) toys, baby changing facilities etc. Sooooo worth considering if you’re early for your flight, or your flight is delayed. You can pre-book the lounge or pay at the door …all in all it’s a very nice way to get your holiday off to a stress free start.

The Stork Exchange are happy to offer customers a discount of 10% on all DAA customer service products mentioned above and other services including Fastrack, Executive Lounges etc You will receive a discount code with your booking confirmation. For further information on these products, check out http://www.dublinairport.com/home.aspx, or ask me!