Another Day Trip Destination: Kilbroney Park Narnia Trail

Two weeks ago I shared with you the new family forest trail at Slieve-Gullion . My friend Karen tipped us off about a similar destination, The-Narnia-Trail at Kilbroney Forest Park. We hadn't been to Kilbroney before, but we had driven past the entrance to it several times whilst staying down in that direction. It's situated right outside Rostrevor, near Warrenpoint, which means if you are Bangor or Belfast based, like us, it is a bit of a hike, but given that it's summer you can take a day and maybe fit in Slieve Gullion too. We were staying not too far away, in Teepee Valley one night and Hanna's Close the next, but I shall tell you about them shortly.

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Kilbroney Park has a large carpark which is free. The set up is a bit like Carnfunnock in that there's a good sized, free play park, and a multi-level restaurant/cafe. Plenty of free to use toilets too, and by the looks of things mountain bike trails and rentals. The day we were there there was a guy doing horse drawn carriage rides, I think it was about £3 an adult, £1 a child.

As for the Narnia Trail itself, it's great. I love any sort of sculpture walk, so these trails are right up my street. It's worth asking directions, as there are signs all over the place, but to actually get to the trail from the carpark you have to go down through the building and then down to your left, past where the outdoor gym equipment is. 

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The trail then begins with a giant wardrobe, of course, and it's well signposted throughout. It's a lot shorter in length than the Giant's Lair walk; I'd say the Narnia one is only 1/4 mile in a small loop. You do go off road so to speak, down through wooded areas & over lawns. It's definitely worth a day trip however, with the added bonus of one of the citadels looking a little like Elsa's castle! 

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This Year's Sunflowerfest Will Be Super Refreshing Thanks to Vita Coco.

 This year Sunflowerfest, the all-ages, mid-summer, Northern Irish, family festival will have a unique chill-out zone where festival-goers can kick back and escape the summer heat while rehydrating with complementary Vita Coco coconut water. Sunflowerfest’s Bliss will include a range of local music, complementary therapies and all-inclusive yoga sessions for kids and adults, offering an opportunity to refresh and unwind during the weekend-long festival 31st July – 2nd August.

I've always fancied attending Sunflowerfest, as a beginners' festival event, to let my son experience the atmosphere of an open air music event. Perhaps this year will be the year? For further information visit www.sunflowerfest.co.uk 

Yogi Helen McAleer celebrates this year’s Sunflowerfest ‘Bliss’ line-up, sponsored by Vita Coco coconut water.

Yogi Helen McAleer celebrates this year’s Sunflowerfest ‘Bliss’ line-up, sponsored by Vita Coco coconut water.

The 30+ Blog Collective: Open to Join Now!

Are you a blogger aged 30+ ? Fancy joining a network of like minded men & women, discovering new blogs & being listed where brands and PRs can easily find you? Then you need to join Hayley, londonbeautyqueen's Blogger Collective. Join for free here 

30plusblogs and start meeting new bloggers straight away! And thank you, Hayley, for putting so much work into making this network for us.

 

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Target Dry, Your One Stop Shop For Your Family's Rainwear.

The lovely folks at TargetDry , a local company with a world wide product, sent Michael and I a raincoat each from their 2015 collection. It was just in time for us heading off to the North Coast of NIreland, a holiday which always requires a rain coat, even in mid summer.

I chose the Elle mac in a pac, which is in the sale at the moment for just £19.99 There a half a dozen prints to choose from and a wide range of sizes. I love bright colours so picked the turquoise with white polka dots, very me!

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Also in Navy

Also in Navy

It's very lightweight, and dries out really quickly after a downpour. That means you can pack it away in its bag quickly, you aren't left carrying it when the rain goes off. I'm pleased to report that it's easy to get back in it's bag too! The lightweight fabric means it's not horribly sweaty like raincoats used to be. The hood is fold away and it's a great size, I hate getting a hood that doesn't cover your full head and you're left with tell tale fizzy hair at the front. 

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Michael was sent the Oscar rocket print jacket. Again it was lightweight, so I just threw it on him to wear most of the time we left the house. Lots of pockets for change or a camera and easy to fold up and stick in my handbag with my raincoat. 

I found it's actually handier to stuff some raincoats in your bag than carry a big, family sized umbrella round all day.

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Even in the sun the fabric is breathable

Even in the sun the fabric is breathable

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Target Dry has a wide range of designs of coats to choose from. You will find something that suits you, and now is a great time to visit, as the whole site has 20% off, including summer sale items. 

I've my eye on the Layla as I've wanted a good, yellow, classic raincoat for a few years now. 

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And boy did we need our Target Dry jackets during last week's stay! This is us during a downpour in Portrush!  

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Last Minute Bargain Getaway? Usual Kennels Completely Booked Up? The Cottage Cattery is Your Answer!

Phoning round to book Mrs Meow in to some kennels,  ANY kennels last week was proving tricky. Obviously everyone had been smart enough to book ahead. Now there wasn't even one place left for me to have Mrs Meow stay while we were away in Portstewart for a week.

Luckily I stumbled upon The Cottage Cattery  

http://www.thecottage-cattery.co.uk

 

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At first it was a polite no, they were booked up, BUT they then asked would we be able to use their pet sitting service. Instead of Mrs Meow going to them, they would come to her. 

For £7 a visit, someone will swing by your house, feed your animal, change their litter tray, give them a little bit of the attention they are missing from you, and do other little chores you may have such as putting out the bin, or picking up your post. For cats especially who don't like leaving their territory, it's a super alternative to taking them out of their usual environment. 

They also texted me during the week to reassure me Mrs Meow was getting on alright. I was really happy with the service, and would use it again. This isn't a typical blog review of a service I've received as complimentary, I did pay for the pet sitting, but was just thinking sharing it with my readers might save one of you being stuck some time when you book a holiday last minute and then have nowhere to put the furry member of your family! 

Mrs Meow pleased to have us home and telling me all about it. 

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Free Kids' Activites All Summer With Ikea Belfast

Stuck for something to entertain? Ikea Belfast (& most likely your own local Ikea too if you don't hail from Northern Ireland)  are putting on lots of activities to keep young ones busy. Climbing walls, £1 lunches and lots of products designed for playing at home too. 

http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/store/belfast/storeInfo

 

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Picnic plates, cups and napkins

Picnic plates, cups and napkins

bake from the box

bake from the box

really nostalgic, old school kit

really nostalgic, old school kit

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I REALLY like this sand box kit. You can pretend to serve up sand ice creams! 

I REALLY like this sand box kit. You can pretend to serve up sand ice creams! 

Clambering the Bishop's Trail at Downhill Demesne

This week we are staying on the North Coast. This means trips to Barry's amusements, ice cream for breakfast in Morelli's famous ice cream emporium, and lots of outdoor exploration. 

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Michael and I headed out past Castlerock to the National Trust property, Downhill Demesne. As well as the massive ruins, you can visit Mussenden Temple on the cliffs, as seen in Game of Thrones. 

The property has two entrances and car parks. The closest one to Castlerock has beautiful gardens to walk through, and a newly built wood trail for kids to climb and explore. 

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/downhill-demesne-and-hezlett-house/

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The further car park entrance is closer to the ruins and Mussenden Temple, if you are short on time you might want to park there to take in the property. If you're on a Game of Thrones locations your this would be a quicker way of seeing the temple.

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Cheer Yourself Up Post-Budget With a Splurge in Snixy Swoon's 70% off Summer Sale

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I featured Snixy Swoon a fortnight ago, and I've been wearing the samples she kindly sent me for review ever since. There were a couple of other pieces I wanted to buy for myself, so I visited her Etsy today to buy them. Turns out I visited on the right day! The store has just added a 70% & a 50% off, summer sale catagory, with little cat necklaces for just £2. I picked some of them and one of the huge, floral, statement necklaces I was after for £12.50 rather than over £20, which they are definitely worth.

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Have a visit yourself and scoop up a bargain  

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SnixySwoons

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£2

£2

£2

£2

£2

£2

£2

£2

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Loads of tiki pieces starting from £3.50

Loads of tiki pieces starting from £3.50