Sunday, 14 August 2016

Summer in Ireland

We're just home from our fab, but oh so wet, annual summer holiday in Donegal, in the north-west of Ireland. Every year our extended family rent a large house together and have a week of craic in this beautiful county. Now, I don't ask for much from the weather – I have lived in Ireland all my life so am well aware that Ireland has 4 seasons and you can't escape the rain throughout any of them – but the past 7 days were just beyond the pale. I can abide a bit of rain – heck, we're not even fair weather walkers and will brave almost anything – but I am talking non-stop, sideways, torrential rain almost all of the time. And if you don't see rain in these photos it was a very rare break when we declared "look, no rain - quick!" and jumped out of the car for a quick explore before it started again. So disappointing. Especially since last years holiday was plagued by rain the whole week long too. As the week went on the weather got progressively worse. Except for the day we left! Typical.

First day, and a wee touch of sun!

I'll curb my bellyaching about the weather for a bit to show you this wonderful contraption... Behold... The YippieYo. This arrived all the way from Germany, just before our holiday, the perfect holiday companion for an active family! 

The story of the YippieYo begins in Germany, in the 1960s. Heinz Hofelmann, an active father of two  wanted to be able to take his kids on long outdoor excursions, but couldn't find any suitable means of transporting them. Sound familiar? Story of my life! Therefore, he built a type of vehicle for his sons, specially designed to negotiate rough terrain and uneven ground. The YippieYo is basically a cart, except it has one axle, which makes it much more flexible and manoeuvrable. With this little cart, Heinz enjoyed lots of adventures in the woods and meadows with his sons. How wonderful that must have been for them all! And so, the original version of the YippieYo was born.

Now, this idea has been taken and developed by YippieYo with the help of a renowned German design and construction firm, and remodelled it into this totally new category of outdoor all-terrain buggy, suitable for all outdoor environments and every day use, all in keeping with the highest safety standards.

So, why YippieYo? Here's a little bit about the innovation and quality of this product:

Innovation. More freedom with children in the great outdoors – that is major benefit of this new all-terrain “Crossbuggy”. Specially designed for off-road use, the buggy has to meet a range of special requirements – performance and manoeuvrability on tough terrain, long-term durability, as well as safety and comfort for two little passengers - demands that only a real all-terrain buggy can meet. Thanks to the patented frame construction and the innovative design, the YippieYo Crossbuggy is pioneering a totally new category of child transport devices.

Performance on every surface. The YippieYo all-terrain buggy is at home on any and every surface. The low centre of gravity, the one-axle frame construction, a special suspension system, the lightweight aluminium design and specially selected mountain bike components make the YippieYo a top-class buggy with genuine off-road qualities. The one-axle construction and the “pull instead of push” concept make it highly manoeuvrable and help it to overcome any obstacle in its path.

Quality and sustainability. The YippieYo all-terrain buggy is manufactured using corrosion-resistant aluminium. The metal is formed into shape by means of a state-of-the-art tube-bending technique. Each element undergoes a separate tolerance test before being welded by hand to create a robust framework. Manufacturing is carried out in Switzerland, while the assembly takes place in a large sheltered workshop that employs people with disabilities. All the other components are purchased from renowned brand manufacturers within the EU. The chassis is totally 

The YippieYo is designed to hold two kids, and definitely not your almost-30-year-old Auntie Sarah, although as you can see, it held her larger bottom just as well. 

So, what did we make of it? Well, to start off, Noah (2) wasn't sure. Jack (5) happily hopped aboard and enjoyed the ride, whereas Noah had to be coaxed. However, after watching Jack, Noah came round and got in himself. After a while they just sat back and enjoyed the journey. 

At 6 months pregnant, I wasn't really in the position to pull this for very long, so that was left up to my husband and my Dad. They said it was robust, well made, and easily manoeuvred with a great break. However, there is no doubt that this inevitably gets heavy to pull. This would be best suited to small children, or kids - like mine - who are prepared to jump in and out, walking some of the time and getting pulled along at other times.

I was also sent a lovely detachable bag that sits just the back of the YippieYo, big enough to hold some bits and bobs for the kids. Plus, two LED lights that make the buggy a bit more visible. 

I think it's safe to say, I haven't seen anything else like this available on the market. Noah is just too big and independent for baby wearing now, but can't walk as far as us, so this bridges the gap. Plus, Jack can jump in too.

This folded up nicely to fit into the boot of our car. Of course, it could never be hugely compact - it is what it is. But I imagine it is about the same size as a double buggy in your vehicle.


I best be off to start sorting out the mountains of wet, sandy and grubby clothes. The car needs to be unloaded, vacuumed and cleaned, and we have a serious lack of food in the house. The holiday is well and truly over. It's almost time to start thinking about back-to-school gear too! The summer has gone in quick. 

Thank you so much to YippieYo for sending us this bit of kit. No doubt you'll see it popping up again and again throughout my outdoor posts!

And please. To whom it concerns. Can we place an order now for some awesome (or even slightly decent) weather for next years holiday?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Summer Daze

How are your summer holidays going? Is childcare a pain for you in the summer months? Do your kids love the long days off? Or do they fight like cat and dogs? All the above here! Sometimes the days seem to fly in, and then others a day seems like an eternity!

However, this week has been beautiful, weather wise. Last week was a bit iffy at times. But sure we'll  take what we can get! 

Snes Tee Zazzle

Here's our busy week that was!

1. American chum visits
2. Pappy turns 85
3. Can't stay awake
4. Beautiful blooms
5. Glitter
6. Granda Bill
7. Wedding guests
8. Cuddles for sleepy

Monday, 4 July 2016

Design your own!

Hello July. The weather is anyones guess. We just have to take it hour by hour at the moment, which is no fun when the summer holidays begin TODAY! The wildflower around at the moment is just lovely. I like the idea of those wildflower bombs that you just fire into your flower beds, and up come these beauties. How can these be considered weeds?

So every Mammy has the right to a couple of photos of their kid on the first day of school (especially P1!) and the last day? Right? Well, Jack can get well and truly sick of being photographed (I don't blame him) which is why I try to photograph him as candidly as possible - usually. I wanted a wee photo of him on the way to his last day of P1. He wasn't best pleased. As you can see. Look how he's grown though! Size of the biy! And that 'tude!

So, that's P1 over and done with. How that year flew. Jack doesn't seem one bit sad about it being over. He looks forward to P2, but is just so excited to be off for a couple of months. As usual, I'm wondering how to pass all the extra time, especially when it rains! The fighting and bickering between them has already started.

(Fortunately for me, Noah will still play happily in front of the camera!)

So, we're waiting for a break in this morning's torrential rain to walk the dog. Fortunately though, while we have been waiting we have the best rainy day activity to pass some time! This amazing Lala and Bea Design your own PJs kit! 

These very light grey, (almost off white) 100% super soft organic cotton PJ's come in a lovely little screen printed tote, with 5 fluorescent coloured Dylon permanent fabric pens. They also have some stencils if you need a bit of help. 

I found it very difficult to hand over control! Whatever is drawn onto these jim-jams is permanent! I really wanted them to look good! So, I got my professional artist husband to design the top (I think he made an amazing job of it) and Jack and I designed the bottoms. I let Jack draw whatever he wanted on the back. So far, he has drawn this "dinosaur, being bitten by a T-Rex and bleeding, surrounded by fire ants."

 (I think it was only because of the boredom of being stuck in the house that camera-irritated Jack hammed it up a bit for the camera this morning! Silver linings!)

Jack of course loves everything Daddy chose to doodle on his jammies. Cartoon men - yas. Funky patterns - yas. T-Rex - Yas yas yas. And who are the snails? That's Speedy and Ben. Jack's pet snails. I thought they would be a very low maintenance pet, and on one hand they are. But man, can snails poop? Their tank is disgusting. But Jack is very fond of those dirty bugs.

We really loved the PJ's. They are great quality, as you would expect of Lala and Bea. They would make the perfect gift for an older child who really loves doodling, or a younger child with artistic parents! We keep in touch with a lot of my husbands university art-graduate buds, who now have families of their own too. I reckon they would love a pair of these as a gift! Could they hand over control I wonder? The pens still haven't run out, even after a lot of colouring, so I can vouch for the quality of those too.

Thank you to Lala and Bea. These PJs are a hit!

Smile? I shan't.