The Promenade Café is located just down from Teddy’s Ice Cream in Dun Laoghaire. Peoples Park is around the corner and there is a lovely walk along the coast to Sandyford so you can work off the calories from lunch. I noticed the Promenade Café soon after it appeared but it took me a little while to get down there. After a busy morning with Amelie at the Cuidui play group in in Glenageary I decided to stop for lunch before heading home.
The steps are quite tricky to negotiate with a buggy alone. I must admit after the stairs I was worried that this place would not be baby friendly at all. I was wrong. I was greeted by a lovely woman who directed me where I could park my buggy and showed me to a table. The only high chair was already in use, luckily I had brought the sackn’ seat so Amelie was fine to sit at the table with me. Some age appropriate toys and books were delivered to my table to amuse Amelie while I had a peak at the delicious looking food on offer.
The decor is designed to make you think you are in a little French Café, there are all sorts of treats like boiled lollies and homemade relishes to buy that are on display on the walls in between the classic art nouveau posters nicely famed and dotted around the place. I had cottage pie which was very hearty and really hit the spot. For dessert I had a mouth watering slice of cheese cake that was all together far too large I am actually ashamed to say I finished every last mouthful.
Great Café experience, baby friendly yes but baby practical not so much. Stairs, table layout and overall size of the venue poses problems for Mums with more than one child.
We attempted to return the next week, four Mums and four babies… not a chance. We all managed the stairs only to realise there were no tables big enough for us all to sit at (most tables are for two) and no way could we park all the buggies without completely blocking the door. We resigned to try again another day and tottled down to Poppies where there is always room for us and the babies.
It was a beautiful day and this is a photo taken just by the car park, I love rainbows!
Last week super model Gisele Bundchen made another controversial statement, saying that "Sun Cream was poison" Of course this sent cancer activist in to a frenzy, and called her an irresponsible role model. Her camp then responded saying that " The translation was misunderstood" and that Gisele was simply stating that a lot of sun creams have harmful parabens and chemicals in them, and to choose a natural alternative. Does she have a point? I have done my own research on this matter and I believe this statement to be true. Now I am not saying at all to go out with no sun cream on. I am as white as can be and I have very sensitive skin as does Dylan. The reason most conventional sun creams can cause cancer is because it contains toxic chemicals in the form of artificial fragrance, chemical colors and petroleum products used as fillers and stabilizers. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin where they enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc on the immune system. Artificial fragrances, just by themselves, may contain dozens of carconigenic chemicals that damage the liver, the heart, and even promote systemic cancer. How ever there are other alternatives out there. Organic Childrens Sun Lotion SPF25 in lavender is a wonderful product that has been made without parabens, lanoiln, phthalates, artifical perfumes, petrochemicals and colourants. Its a myth that you need to use Sun Block or factor 50 to protect your self and your child. I spent many years living in Asia, Australia and New Zealand and one Doctor I spoke to, said its actually better and safer to use maximum SPF 25 and to just reapply it every 2 hours. Rather than to slather our selves in SPF 50 and leave that on all day, and that block the sunlight out altogether. We seem to forget that the Sun has many benefits to us as well. Providing us with essential vitamin D. So instead of slathering our selves and our babies in SPF chemical ridden sun block, choose a more natural alternative and cover your little ones up with hats and a t-shirt.
At the age of 13 my mum sat me down for the big chat.. no not that one.. but the one where she tells me "Darling you need to start using deodorant!" She then produces a pretty purple bottle of deodorant that smelt like a perfume. Ever since that day I have used spray deodorant and not had a second thought about it. That was until I got pregnant. All of a sudden I was very aware of everything I was putting in my body and on my body. Our bodies are the largest organ we have and it absorbs everything. So when you are not only thinking about your self but you are growing a helpless little life inside of you, you of course question everything. To my horror I found a whole lot of nasties in my moisturizer and in my deodorant. Did you know that many deodorants and anti-perspirants contain aluminum which has been linked to breast cancer. Most commercial deodorants contain a cocktail of chemicals which many consider potentially harmful, including parabens, which are thought to increase possibility of fetal damage in pregnant women when used in excess. So I went on the hunt to find a deodorant that did not contain any of the nasties. I have tried Toms organic brand, which personally I don't rate that highly. They smell nice but for me they didn't work. I need something a little more heavy duty. I was then put on to Salt of the Earth deodorant that my sister Sophie uses. They have just bought out a spray deodorant which I am pleased to say is fantastic! It are a little more expensive then the commercial deodorants but I personally think its worth it. Salt of the Earth retails in most good health food shops and Chemists for £4.99.
Today we have our third travel tip that might help you if you are travelling solo with a small baby. So far we have talked about having a great sling or baby carrier, how convenient a portable fabric high chair can be and today we will cover a great (big) baby bag. The bag that I chose to take with me to Australia worked out very well. The only downfall I found was that it was too large to really use again on a daily basis, though it has proved very handy for overnight or weekend trips as I can fit all of Amelie's stuff in it. Essentially a long haul flight to Australia and 30hrs in transit is just like a night away, if you look at it like that it is easy to stay calm and relaxed and even enjoy the journey. There are a lot of different baby bags on the market and different bags that might suit you. Make sure you are totally happy with the bag you chose to take away, if you have any doubts it probably isn't right for you.
Baby Moov Changing Bag
What is it: The Baby Moov changing bag is a large Nappy Bag with buckles designed to be used with only one had. It has so many features, two different transparent bags, a removable changing mat, a cooler bag, a dummy cover, document holder and a fleece blanket.
Why you need it:
The Baby Moov had everything I needed to go to Australia and was the perfect size small enough for carry on luggage but large enough to fit everything that I needed. The document holder was perfect for passports, visa's and health records. The two transparent bags were ideal, I used one to take some of Amelie's snacks in, the other I used for the liquids I needed for myself, a small moisteriser, sanitiser, and a little makeup. The cooler bag was perfect for bottles (though I was still breastfeeding) and the frozen baby food I took to last the trip.
The removable changing bag was perfect, I was able to reach up into the overhead locker, unclasp the changing mat that holds all you need for a short outing with your baby (nappies, wipes, Vaseline and a clean vest and baby grow) with one hand and pop down to the bathrooms to change Amelie. I also was able to take this with me on day trips in my hand bag during my holiday.
To be honest I did not take the blanket with me I didn't find it very soft or cozy for Amelie and opted to take the blankets out of her cot. Overall though I found this bag to be perfect for my holiday. I have loaned it to a friend of a friend now to take on another long haul flight so I look forward to hearing her feedback, which of course I will share with you.
Oh and lastly there is this great zip that runs around the base of the bag revelling a pocket that is just perfect for filling with enough nappies tp last any length trip no matter the delays that might crop up along the way.
Where you can get it:
I purchased my baby moov changing bag from Euro Baby on the second floor of Euro Cycles in Dublin, you can find them at the address below. They also stock quite a good selection of buggies, toys, childrens bikes and trikes and other baby accessories.
Yesterday we posted a blog and talked about the hug-a-bub. I found it to be very useful when travelling to Australia with Amelie. A good baby sling or carrier is essential when travelling solo with a small baby, especially over long distances. There are a few other things that I feel really helped me on my travels. I discovered a great fabric, portable high chair in the Coco Markets in Dun Laoghaire and took it to Australia with me. I do not know what I would have done without it.
What is it:
The sack’n seat is a great invention, a fabric take-anywhere highchair. It secures your baby to any chair so you can feed them anywhere anytime, even in those less than baby friendly restaurants and café’s that don’t have highchairs. By slipping the fabric over the back of a chair and using the two clips to secure it to the chair and around your baby. When the sack’n seat gets dirty, as it most definitely will just throw it in the machine with the rest of your laundry.
Why you need it:
It is absolutely essential when you are travelling, be it a day trip to the Zoo or half way across the world.When in Australia I spent a lot of time staying with different family members and if they did not have a high chair I could just use the sack’n seat. Waiting in departure lounges in the airport, the sack’n seat was a god sent, all you have to do is slip it over a chair and away you go… feeding time on the go made easy.
Where can you get it:
I purchased Amelie’s sack’n seat from the Coco Markets in Dun Laoghaire. The wonderful ladies from the Mayfly store have a stall there; I assume you can find them in their store also at the address below:
Recently a friend of our asked us to come to coffee to have a chat with a friend of theirs. She was about to embark on a long haul flight to New Zealand with her 9 month old baby girl. Knowing that I had completed the long haul flight Australia with Amelie and that Tara had jetsetted all over with baby Dylan she was keen for any tips we could give her. We thought that we could share some of our travel tips with you.
We thought that we would begin by sharing with you some information on three items that I found to really took the pressure off when I travelled unaided (without the husband that is) to Australia with Amelie. We were in transit for 30 hours and each of these items made me feel confident before I left that I was fully prepared to make the journey. Having confidence and feeling prepared was wonderful and calming, I believe that a calm mummy equals a calm baby and I really enjoyed the adventure I shared with my baby girl.
Today we will tell you about the first item, the next day the second item and information on the third item will follow on the third day, makes sense right? On Friday we will post our top ten travel tips for mothers travelling alone with small babies. I hope that what we share with you will give you confidence to travel with your babies and the calmness to enjoy the journey not just the destination.
Essential Jetsetting Item #1
What is it:
The Hug-a-bub baby sling that is made from 100% natural and organic cotton with an ergonomic design. It allows you to carry your baby horizontally (great for breastfeeding mums) and vertically. I wore it every day when Amelie was small and when I was in 30hours in transit to Australia I could not have lived without it. The sling is one long piece of fabric that secures your baby against your body so snug with excellent head and neck support for babies from birth.It does not strain your back or shoulders like other slings and baby carriers I have tried. My Mum gave me this as a gift when Amelie was just two weeks old. I used it then and still use it now that she a year old.
Why you need it:
I travelled from Dublin, Ireland to Adelaide, Australia on my own with Amelie when she was 8 months old. I had to carry my hand luggage, documents and Amelie all on my own. The hug-a-bub allows you to have both hands free all the time while you carry your baby. It also allows you to bend down without your baby coming away from your body. It is only a piece of fabric so if you are not using it, it is very light to carry and does not add too much to your baggage limit. It promotes closeness with your baby from a young age so they just love it and come to know that hug-a-bub time means relaxing time with their Mummy. Any time Amelie gets in the hug-a-bub even now at a year old she either sleeps or knows she is going to share a peaceful relaxing time with me. It is just like the most amazing cuddle in the world.
Where can you get it:
The Hug-a-bub is designed in Australia you can purchase it online from the website
This week both our babies celebrated their first birthdays. We threw them little parties to mark their special days. We spent a little time decorating, baking and planning to make sure there was a good day had be everyone attending. Here are some photo's of the parties and we will share some of the recipes that we used very soon...
Yesterday was Amelie's 1st Birthday so here is a special message to her...
Happy Birthday to my baby girl, you are the most wonderful, amazing and beautiful child I have ever laid my eyes on. I am so proud of all that you have achieved in your first year and look forward to helping you grow and learn for many more years to come.
And her are just a few photo's of her first year in the world...
Amelie in Holles St. Hospital
Amelie taking a nap with her Daddy
Amelie napping... it was one of her favourite things to do...
Amelie taking a nap with her Mummy
Amelie's first friend... Dylan of course!
Amelie's first festival... the Festival of World Cultures 2010!
Amelie's first Halloween (in Australia)... Wonder-Baby!
Poppies is a great little café, restaurant located at the top end of Georges Street quiet close to The People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire. It is just opposite a great babies store called Tiggle (a relatively new addition to stores in Dun Laoghaire).I frequent Poppies often either with friends who have children or alone with Amelie.
The well-spaced tables allow plenty of room for buggies and high chairs, I have met three other Mums and their children at Poppies on several occasions and found it to be quite comfortable. Like many other places they only have two high chairs so you may have to hold your baby on your lap or leave them in the buggies if you are in a large group. I have also seen a huge number of mothers here with their toddlers and small children it seems to cater for families well.
The food in Poppies is fantastic and uses locally sourced ingredients. I have often called in purely for a nice fair trade coffee and their amazing homemade carrot and walnut cake. Having tasted a good number of things from the menu, I can say I am not so in to the ‘Poppies Chicken’ it looks interesting and impressive with a cornflake and almond topping but as a signature dish I was not blown away, it is a little dry and plain. On the other hand I highly recommend the saucy and flavorsome Shepherd’s Pie served with Avoca style salads or a baked potato. No clear children’s menu but they have a lot of things you would happily feed your kids, what’s more is they have a god selection of fruit available for a healthy snack.
A fun marketing idea and eco-friendly initiative has been adopted by Poppies, they sell their own travel mugs and stainless steel water bottles which they currently have on promotion at 50% off, and I was lucky enough to get the travel mug filled with a hot, creamy take away latte when I last purchased one.
If you didn’t have to place your order and pay your bill at the counter this place would be a little closer to perfect for mothers and babies. They staff are lovely and deliver great service each visit. The next time you need to warm up a little after a trip to the playground in People’s Park poke your head into Poppies and you will leave full, cozy and satisfied.
On the 18th February 2010 at 10.10pm Dylan James came in to this world and changed my life forever. How times flies and its now a year on and he is the most lovable caring little boy and I couldnt be more proud. I can' wait to share this journey with him and watch him grow.
Chemicals are everywhere in the home, when it comes to cleaning it is so easy to go overboard and fill our cupboards with a different spray, gel or soap for every different problem We can become obsessed with disinfecting and sterilising everything. How healthy can this be for our children? Older generations survived without all the chemicals and cleaning products in fancy, over engineered, heavily packaged plastic bottles and so can we. Here are a few tips to help you eradicate the chemicals from your home and make for a clean, green and healthy environment for your children to grow and play in.
There are some great eco-products on the market and I will dedicate a blog to some of the best ones available in Dublin soon. First I want to go back to the basics and give you a few hints on cleaning the home without chemicals. Baking soda and Vinegar can clean most things and are essential in keeping your home sparkling, lemons can help remove odours and essentail oils can give your home a lovely aroma not sure where to start? Read on for a few handy tips:
To clean chopping boards
Use a cloth and vinegar to disinfect and clean wooden chopping boards
To clean floors
I love to use my H20 steam cleaner on our floors. I give them a quick sweep and then fire it up. It uses steam (no chemicals) to remove dirt and even sterilise my floors. (Ok this isn’t exactly basic but I couldn’t leave it out)
To clean chrome
Use undiluted vinegar to polish clean and shine.
To remove fridge odours
Place 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate soda in an open container and leave it in the fridge, I also find a few slice of lemon left in the fridge does the trick too.
To remove grease stains in your clothing
Forget expensive satin removers full of chemicals you’ve never even heard of. Either add baking soda to the wash load or pre-treat the stain with a baking soda paste.
To clean counter tops and kitchen surfaces
Sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth, wipe and then rinse with clean water.
Use a couple of drops of lavender oil in water in a spray bottle as a last risnse on your bench tops for a pretty fragrance in your kitchen.
To clean mirrors and glass
Mix 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 & a half of water in a spray bottle, and wipe clean with paper or a dry cloth this works so well.
To clean aluminium
Use a solution of cream of tartar and water.
To clean silver
Use toothpaste instead of toxic sliver cleaner to clean silver it will come up really well. If you want to get a great polish on your silver try boiling water with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda in a pan lined with aluminium.
To give your house a lovely smell
Trdae in the 'glade' and chemical infused home fragrances for some essential oils diluted in water I like tea-tree or lavander best. Fresh cut lavander looks stunning and also smells so much better than anythign you can buy in the cleaning isle in the store.
As you probably know by now Angi and I are very in to doing as much as we can to try and be as eco friendly as possible. A fab book I have just come across is Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan. Its got lots of great tips to keep your house free from chemicals yet keep it clean. Its also got great list of products to use when you are pregnant and also to use on your baby. It makes for a great baby shower gift or a great present in general for any Yummy Mummy who is conscious of this beautiful world we live in. And the best thing about this book its only $10.89 from Amazon...whooo hoooo
I went on Friday to Brown Thomas with my auntie for some brunch before we set about our day. As the weather was miserable we thought we would treat our selves and go browse around the department store Brown Thomas, fondly known as BT. Where everything is marginally priced higher than you would find anywhere else, but it does all look so pretty and the staff are so nice and it even has carpet in the elevators. It also has a restaurant on the 3rd floor which I had heard some good things about. Not one for missing out on a new place to see if it was baby friendly and chic, I was rather excited.
The cafe is very stylishly decked out with slick decor. It is very much a place where Ladies who Lunch would go. Everyone in there was dressed head to toe in designer and did not have a hair out of place. I did feel slightly under dressed going in there on a friday morning. How ever I was greeted by a lovely hostess who took my buggy and hid it around the corner out of view! To my surprise they had 3 high chairs and one was promptly bought over. Luckily we sat next to a lovely elderly couple who had recently just had their first grandchild so they were quite enamored with Dylan.
The menu was vast but they didnt have anything on there that babies or toddlers would like. I don't think Dylan is ready for the goats cheese salad of quail egg tart.
Breakfast is served until 11.30am everyday so I decided to go for the scrambled egg with bacon while my aunt had the french toast. The food arrived quickly although mine was a little cold. The portions were huge and even just to look at the site of the scrambled egg piled high on my plate was enough to make me feel a bit queazy. Dylan was not interested in my breakfast thank goodness, as the bacon tasted funny and the eggs were dry. The french toast looked like a big lump of bread fried with honey on the top. We were never asked if our meal was alright or if we needed anything else. The waiter was in fact quite somber and rude. Even with Dylan beaming up at him he didn't crack a smile.
I personally would not rate this restaurant very highly at all. Its over priced for the quality of food, even if they do give you a huge plate of it.
Baby changing facilities were down in the basement 4 floors down, they were nice though and were worth the trek down there. They also had a rocking chair where you could sit to feed your baby. The Restaurant as you can gather is most defiantly not a pro breast feeding place. Infact its not a pro baby place. If your looking for a quick coffee while you are spending an obscene about of money in Brown Thomas, or you fancy a people watching tea break with baby then this is a great place to go.
I am sure I just had a bad experience,
High Chairs- Y -3
Baby actives - N
Hello all the Mummies out there, I hope you enjoyed our last review on Tonic in Blackrock. We will keep posting weekly reviews to help you discover all the baby and family friendly cafes and restaurants in Dublin South. If you have missed our reviews go back and read them so far we have posted reviews on:
- Giddy Goose Cafe, Dun Laoghaire
- Sea Green Tea Rooms and Emporium, Monkstown
- Muggs Cafe, Dalkey
- Tonic Restaurant, Blackrock
This a quick blog that might inspire you to do a little arts and craft. If your children are older why not get them involved too. I have fallen in love with the Art & Hobby stores that are in Dun Laoghaire and Blackrock. There is something special about hand made gifts, invitations and cards plus I love to get creative.
Arts & Hobby stores have: - Excellent children's toys (brightly coloured wooden puzzles and fabric hand puppets are some of my favourite) - Endless art supplies for all my creative ideas (some of which I really should complete!) - Exceptionally friendly staff who always give great advice and excellent service.
Art and Hobby - Blackrock
My latest little project was to make invitations for Amelie's first birthday. I really wanted to do something special for her birthday because she is so special herself.
Here are some photo's of what I did.
Rubber stamps, blank cards & envelopes, an ink pad and some markers are all you need!
I stamp the cards lightly then go over the outline in a black marker for a better finish
I did the lettering myself but you could print it or stencil it
I put a photo of Amelie in every card and the details of the party.
One more stamp on the envelope and it's all done!
Check out the Art and Hobby stores in your area for some great ideas on how to get crafty. It is fun to have something to work on other than the house work and gets you away from the tv and computer for a few hours in the evening and gets the creative juices flowing. I forgot how much I loved creating things with my hands and I can't wait to get crafty with Amelie as she grows up.
Apologies for being a little late with this weeks review. I just could not find the time to get to a computer this weekend, I had a lovely lunch in Oliveto Restaurant in Dun Laoghaire with Tara and her family on Saturday (Review coming soon). On Sunday some of my girl friends and I popped in to Sea Green in Monkstown (Review #2) for lunch and a belated birthday celebration. The food was excellent and a glass of prosecco was a nice touch to the overall experience. This week I have reviewed Tonic in Balckrock, the first restaurant to feature on our blog. I have to say it is my favourite place in Blackrock thus far to take the babies aside from the very generic Starbucks for coffee and a snack I have struggled to find anywhere that is worthy of visiting again but the search continues. If you have somewhere you would like the Jetsetting Babies to review just let us know.
If you live on the South side I am sure that you have a few fond memories of Tonic and Suite 54 from you pre-baby days. Or maybe you even get a baby sitter now and again to have a night out (where you don’t have to trek into town, ) get in a bit of a dance and to sample one of their award winning cocktails. What to do though if you have the kids and you are in Blackrock? Tonic restaurant mightn’t be the first place that comes to mind when you are thinking baby and family friendly, though possibly it should be. I love to visit Tonic on the weekend after the Blackrock markets or a trip to the park with Amelie. A really unique, nutritious and tasty kids Sunday menu has recently been launched. It is full of food you would love to cook every day for your kids at home; these guys understand there is more to feeding your little ones when you are out then chicken gougons and chips… they even have a baby bowl which will not disappoint even the smallest of critics. The menu does not disappoint us either. I really enjoy the smoked duck waldorf salad and you can’t go wrong with a steak. The coffee is of a very high standard and there is a delcious list of desserts to match.Don’t be daunted by the few stairs as you enter, just pause a moment and someone will be at your side to help you around the venue with your buggy. Once the few stairs are negotiated there is ample buggie parking space, highchairs and changing facilities so you wont need to go anywhere in a hurry. This is our diamond in the rough, check it out before it becomes too well known and there isn’t room for any of us anymore.
High chairs - Y x 2
Baby Changing - Y
Children’s Menu - Y
Kids Activities - Y Colouring
These photo's of Amelie were taken before we arrived at Tonic we were shopping in the Frascati Shoppig Centre and she even got a free balloon from Shrek in the Blackrock markets. The camera battery then ran out so no photo's of the venue but check out their web site it is very detailed and has some great shot of the food and of the venue itself.