Winter is definitely coming. The weather is finally starting to get cold, the evenings are getting darker and there are leaves all over the ground in gorgeous reddish/orange shades. Living in Cork, this also means getting into the mindset of dealing with even more rain, but for the moment, I am cherishing the days without, where it is cold and crisp, and I’m able to head out walking with my boy. We’ve recently moved further out of the city than I’ve ever lived before since my move down here in 2009, and so have started exploring a whole other area which I’d not really paid too much attention to before. Through a curious wander the other day, I discovered a trail that went through Ballybrack Woods, behind the playground, and resolved to go back as a three so we could enjoy a nice family wander into nature. (more…)
I’ve always been a big coffee person – for a lot of my college life, I was pretty sure that if I got a cut, I’d bleed pure caffeine. Becoming a parent has not helped with lessening my caffeine levels; in order to keep up with the toddler it is recommended to be running on fumes and coffee beans! Due to this necessity, I do spend quite a lot of time trying out different places to find “my” coffee place. Somewhere that can make the perfect cup to wake me up in the morning. It’s not just about the coffee though, the service can make a serious difference (much nicer to be perked up by a nice personality as well as the caffeine hit) so I’ve definitely got a few places earmarked as “favourites” in this little city that I now call home.
I’m sitting writing this in my new apartment, praying that my data package from my iPhone holds out (how much data could a blog post take up?) since we’ve been informed that our broadband provider won’t be sending someone around until at least next Monday. I’m surrounded by most of our belongings, some unpacked, some still in boxes – the remains in the other place which we still have the keys to until Thursday. The joys of moving house.
It’s been a long journey here, and the settling in period isn’t proving any less stressful. It’s like a pregnancy in a way, now we’re into the fourth trimester of the house move, we’ve the shiny new baby apartment, and we have to figure out the best way to do things from here. I’m about as good at house hunting stress as I am at pregnancy (i.e.: crap) so I am very, very glad it’s over and done with. I didn’t realise just how much of an issue our toddler, loud and lively as he is, would be with certain landlords. One even refused to outright say it, but did attempt (very blatantly) to talk me out of living in her house – and berated me for my lack of driving skill in the process. We didn’t get the house we intended to get, we are in apartment land again, but we’re now on the ground floor in a lovely professionally run place so I’m happy. (more…)
When you’re at home with a toddler, days can get pretty repetitive. Unless you set up different things to do during the week, it can feel like Groundhog Day. Every day involves chasing a football around the living room. My life soundtrack is currently the songs from Baby Genius. It’s worse when it rains – yes, I’ve still not learned to love the rain – because as I don’t drive, there is little to do in the city centre with a toddler and outside of that isn’t much of an option. There are only so many visits to the kiddie library we can do in one week, so I decided one morning that we’d change tack and head to Chuckies Play Zone, the closest soft play centre to us.
I don’t think anyone honestly likes house hunting in practice. In theory, of course, looking for the perfect place to live, to build a home, to make your own. Visions of scenes from Location, Location, Location and finding the perfect house first go fill your head as you log onto Daft.ie or the numerous other websites advertising places to live in your area. Unfortunately, thats about as far as those scenes go; visions in your head. Unfortunately in modern Ireland, this is not the reality for house hunting. (more…)
The diet is still on, don’t worry, but some times you have to have a bit of a cheat meal. Lately in Cork, everywhere you look there have been springing up “Asian Street Food” restaurants and takeaways. As someone who quite likes her food asian but isn’t a fan of MSG, seeing that the two combined in one of these establishments was definitely a call for me to try it out. I apologise for the pictures; food blogger I am not, but having tried it for dinner one date night, I decided to try it for lunch with a friend the other day and review it on the blog. (more…)
We got a little too complacent about that lovely weather. “It’s going to be a great Summer”, we said, licking our Baileys magnums and staring out at gorgeous sunsets from the balcony after a few successive evenings of wonderful weather. “Best stock up on the sun cover and the suncream”, we said, as we walked a good ten km walk in the blinding sunshine (child fully covered, both adults getting roasted alive) to buy the damn things. They’re now sitting in the corner of the living room laughing at me. I’m not sure why I’m surprised. This is Cork, land of the rainy season all year long. (more…)
We’re getting there. Both me and the little man have been doing a lot of walking lately. We haven’t quite hit the stage of walking without clinging to something or someone (mostly Mammy’s leg or the sofa) but E is mad on the move and is so so close to proper independence. I can barely keep up with his crawling so when he gets running I’m proper done for. (more…)
Mid-March is upon us, students are stressed, wallets are stretched after the Bank Holiday weekend and we’re all being told not to look straight at the sun (like that was ever a good idea to start with). Life is hectic, but some things do help to make it not only bearable, but a thing to smile about from time to time… (more…)
It’s that time of year again folks. Paddy Day. Lá le Phadraig. St Patricks Day. (Never St. Pattys Day/Pattys Day. Just NO.) The people of Ireland go out in the freezing cold, scoffing down contraband chocolate (it’s a bible sanctioned day off Lent, don’t you know?), probable rain, to line the streets of villages, towns and cities to watch children and adults dressed up as patriotic things like octopuses, fire trucks and dragons. Theres even the odd mention of St Patrick and Christianity, which is supposed to be the focus of the day. The day tends to end with people having a single beverage and quietly making their way home after. Or something.
There are a lot of different events on each year for St Patricks Day around the country; entire festivals formed around our National Holiday. In Cork alone, theres loads to take a look at. These are some of the things that stood out for me as potential bits to pop along to – let me know if I’m missing out on any absolute gems in the comments below!
I live in Cork City Centre, so spend the vast majority of my days wandering in and around the shops and side streets, wielding my not-so-tiny buggy with the tiny man inside. Generally we seem to follow the same pattern, occasionally meeting others for lunch, wandering around shops and looking at more things to clutter up the already overly-populated house with. (Homewares are my kryptonite. Especially the tiny tiny dishes). Some shops make it easier than others for people with buggies, or children in general to come in. There are a few clothes shops in particular inaccessible due to the lack of a lift, or awkwardly narrow aisles – and yes, I have been that Mammy trying to balance the display I’ve just hit with the buggy, hoping and praying that it won’t come crashing down. Dorothy Perkins, I’m looking at you.
Where I’ve found it most awkward however is actually going for lunch, or for coffee, with tiny humans attached. Pre-baby, I could text around and organise a coffee without a thought for where we should go – sure, all we needed was two chairs, they didn’t need to be comfortable or easily accessible, and a lot of the time my shortness was the only obstacle holding me back from the high stools. These days, the priorities are a tad different. As bad as pulling a display in a shop down is, places with hot food and beverages become ultimately dangerous if there isn’t enough room or they aren’t properly accessible, and so planning a coffee date with friends becomes something of military precision – especially if you’re looking for somewhere with decent coffee. However, over the last few months I’ve found a few places which have been absolutely fantastic and baby/ buggy friendly.
When I was in college, this was a sports bar. In its current form, it is still a bar but during the day serves a rather interesting menu – their sweet potato chips are to die for – and are extremely buggy friendly. There are two small steps (not the worst for the buggy steering by far) upon entrance, and they’ve always been quick to offer help with this. Theres a choice of different seating arrangements, we’ve always found an area down the back perfect for lunch with the buggy, or if its a nice day, which it has been quite a bit this summer, the outdoor area is absolutely lovely and is complete with a shaded area perfect for hiding away small eyes from the sun. They also serve Cork Coffee Roasters as their coffee, which is fantastic, as Cork Coffee Roasters themselves have the most anti-buggy set up I’ve ever seen (narrow, narrow cafe always overcrowded – its tough to manoeuvre even without a buggy) but have rather nice coffee. Quite a nice find.
If you’re down that end of the city on a weekday before 4pm, Cafe Gusto is a lovely little pit stop. While having more reduced opening hours than its Washington St sister, it is infinitely easier to get around with a buggy and it is possible to sit on the high stools and have room for the buggy behind you. Alternatively, as with the last choice, if it is a sunny day there is a gorgeous outdoor area looking out onto the River Lee where you can sit and while the hours away. Their pastries are also lovely (Pre-diet me recommends the carrot cake with one of their lattes for a super happy experience).
It’s in the dead centre of town, serves a brunch until 4pm with the nicest sausages I’ve ever found in Cork, and you can browse baby clothes and makeup downstairs to your hearts content. I’ve been a fan of this place long before tiny tyrant came along, but it was only when I became one of the buggy wielders than I realised how good it was. There are lovely wide aisles, room to place buggies beside tables without getting in anybody’s way, and if you’ve got older kids as well as having a kids lunch special, they’ve got a somewhat play area corner. Do watch out for the predatory Pixi Foto reps who will tell you your child is gorgeous and ploy for your money (unless this is something you’re interested in).
Another place perfect for tea and cake. I have also seen staff members being called to assist customers with their trays if they have a buggy with them – its not happened to me as I tend to leave the buggy with the other person while I go up and grab, but its good to note. My only downside to this place is that it taught me the fast way how to precisely steer the buggy – their lift exits off into the homewares department, into the many breakable crockery sets – I really do wonder about the thought behind that, putting narrow aisles with lots of expensive breakables in a place thats meant to be more accessible.. but apart from that, its a fab find.
Dunnes Stores Cafe
Another department store cafe, this one is on the top floor of the shop. It’s easily accessible via lift (or at a push those flat escalators). They’re absolutely lovely here and I’ve always found them really helpful. This one is definitely dependant on time of day as around lunch time it is packed, and can be difficult to find a place to sit with the buggy. However, when its not bursting at the seams full there is plenty of room. They drop food to the table if they see you with a buggy, which is fab and means no trying to wrestle tray and buggy.
Having used this as a pit stop many a time to feed tiny man, I’ve also been approached and asked if I’d like a top up on my tea or the food re-heated once I’d finished feeding, absolutely no rush on anyone to move on out as well which I found with some other places. Sandwiches, tea or cake readily available for reasonable prices as well.
Perry St Market Cafe
I’d never actually come across this place before another Mammy recommended it to me, it opened late last year in what is apparently a former night club, but is now serving as a rather lovely cafe. Big wide aisles mean this place is a hit with the buggy brigade as seen on any of my visits in there, as well as friendly staff and massive portions. Their main menu varies from day to day, but the real crown in their jewel is their dessert counter – absolutely unreal. Food is a bit more expensive than in other places mentioned, but I’ve not been disappointed yet.
Bodega has been a brilliant haunt of ours with a buggy in tow. As well as being accessible and having a changing table, they’re also really accomodating and kid friendly. Whether you’re looking for brunch, a scone and some tea or just a place to sip a coffee while baby naps, it’s got it. Make sure to get one of the comfy sofa-style seats and you’ll happily spend the afternoon!
This is one of our newest discoveries but I absolutely love it. The Good Day Deli is in the grounds of the gorgeous Nano Nagle Place and serves delicious food and coffee, while also being completely buggy accessible. It’s also in great grounds where older kids can roam about safely, allowing you to have your coffee in peace!
Those would be the top few places I’m likely to be found, buggy parked, coffee in hand. Have you got any suggestions? Leave a comment and share the wealth of knowledge!