Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bouncy Castle - 31 May

I haven't been blogging much last couple of days, as there's basically nothing much to blog about. We haven't been up to much.

There's nothing to sightsee and like hubby says, Ireland is not as interesting as Paris. There's lots of greenery, fields etc, but as the in-laws do not live in the city, and that's where most of the touristy things are, there's nothing really to sightsee here. Besides, this is home and this is where hubby grew up, so he's not into touristy things.

However, I realize that family and close friends have been following us on our travels so I will try to update as often as I can.

I made beef steak for dinner the night before. Err, the middle was rather rare, and both hubby and mil likes theirs well-done, so that wasn't very well-received. But hubby said he'd eat it for my sake. Hehehe!

The sun has been shining very brightly here yesterday and today. We hope for good weather tomorrow too, reason being we are having a party in the late afternoon. Granny ordered a bouncy castle for princess for the weekend and we spent yesterday eagerly anticipating its arrival, which actually only happened around dinner time. Granny made the house spotless in the earlier half of the day while the guys were out at golf, again, and when they got home after a 4-hr game, we spent most of the afternoon in the garden, mowing the lawn, playing football, and fil was cleaning out the fountain. It was my first time on a lawnmower and it was kind of fun, giving me the chance to practise my driving again, hahaha!

How do you think I did? :D

The bouncy castle. It's enormous, haha. That'll keep the kids entertained tomorrow.

Since we got here, it's been lots of chips for dinner. So as you can see from my meals that other than a different meat each evening, the salad and carbo are the same. :( I hope to bring to you more different foodstuff at tomorrow's gathering. :P

We had chicken kiev last night.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Blanchardstown - 27 May

The weather forecast for today was rain. :( That's why the guys went golfing yesterday and that's also why we chose to go to the mall today. Despite the sun, the winds have been very strong so it's usually cold when we're outside. My umbrella was being upturned most of the time I was using it.

I got a lovely little gift from fil. Some free spending €! 100 to be exact. Woohoo! He was given a giftcard for Brown Thomas but he says I can have it cos there wouldn't be anything for him in BT. :D Thanks dad!

Blanchardstown - my most favourite mall, where all the departmental stores I like are here. You don't need to travel almost 2hrs to get there. The most important shop of all is NEXT. I absolutely love all the childrens' clothings in there. I often go nuts, especially when princess was smaller and when they had sales, I'd be lugging bags of them. They have Zara look-a-like clothes and don't cost as dear as those in Zara. And I love all the fairy/angel stuff sewn onto jeans etc. The array of shoes is just crazy. You'd find something for every occasion, and in my case, for no occasion at all. ;P

I popped in to Body Shop to have a look for my White Musk talc. Ever since they discontinued this product, I've been like going crazy trying to stock up on them during their warehouse sales. I didn't expect to see them back on the shelves and said it to the saleslady. Would you believe, she says they brought it back 6 weeks ago and it's here to stay. That is fantastic!! Just wanted to let you White Musk fans out there know. They are really ex though. I paid €10.25 for one precious bottle.

As with all our trips, except for the last one, yes, you guessed it, princess has her awful cold sores again. Sigh. I wonder when she'll ever grow out of it.

By the time we got home from Blanchardstown, after a ride of one hour 45mins, I helped sil with preparation for dinner. She made Chicken Korma. And I find it very cute the way they have those instant rice packets which you boil in water and then drain them out before serving. My first encounter with them was 15yrs ago when I visited Germany. I thought it was so weird, but really ingenious.

Guys at golf - 26 May

We are stuck at home today as fil and hubby have gone out to play golf. The plan was that they would go early, and they did leave at 7am plus, and then come home and pick us to go to the zoo. But it’s almost 1pm now and they are not back. The zoo closes at 6pm and it takes us over an hour to get that. Forget that now!

I spent the morning cooking pasta sauce for dear princess as it’s a bit upsetting that she is not eating well. We picked up some groceries from the supermarket yesterday so that I could prepare and freeze some sauce for during the week. Managed to do like 5 portions of bolognaise sauce and couldn’t do more as there are no more containers. Hope I can pick up some maybe tomorrow. Beef is so cheap here and what I paid €3.49 for here, I think I’d pay almost S$20 back in SGP.

Sunday Outing - 25 May

We spent the first half of the day watching tv etc. Then we were taken to Mullagh to have lunch at a hotel there. Mil told me that they have a cooking school here and it's a place co-owned or owned by an American. It was a lovely place and we all ordered the set lunch. They did half portions for kids too, which was great. I wasn’t too sure about the choice of food though as little princess isn’t big on meats and potatoes, as if I can’t emphasize on that enough. :P Ireland sure isn’t the place for this Irish girl where food is concerned. She’d be much more comfortable in Italy or Japan. Those are her 2 favourite choice of cuisine. Everyone ordered the potato and leek soup, but I ordered the melon and seasonal fruits platter. I ordered the kids’ portion soup for princess because I wasn’t sure if she’d have any. Soups are another thing that she likes, and I guess once the potatoes are mashed beyond recognition and watered down, she’d be ok enough with that. So she had that with a bread roll and the remaining half of the fruit salad, which I had ordered for her sake. She’s big on fruits. For the main course, mil n I had the grilled salmon fillet which was lovely on a bed of yummy mash spuds, plus some french beans which were delicious. Hubby and princess had turkey and ham with stuffing but princess wouldn’t even touch it so daddy had to eat that, san the mash of course. Fil had a roast beef which he said was paper thin and didn’t fill him up. For dessert, we all had warm apple and rhubarb crumble, except princess who chose the chocolate chip ice-cream sandwich. I had wanted to order the flourless chocolate cake for variety but decided against it because of the almond or whatever nut meal they would have used as replacement for flour. Didn’t want to experience unnecessary pains in the joints. I’m having pains as it is in my fingers in the mornings due to the cold and am not about to make them worse.

A must-have for the Irish guy - Guinness! When it is well-done, you can see a shamrock on the head of it, but not this one I didn't see any.

After lunch, it was off to feed the ducks and swans in the lake and have a go at the playground.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Horseriding - 24 May

Princess had a sudden high fever last night while she was sleeping. I don’t know what happened but 2hrs after she fell asleep, I felt that she was very warm. Took her temp and it registered 40.2deg C! Gave her a suppository and her fever went down.

I made a fry for breakkie today of sausages, eggs, mushrooms, and tomatoes, and some black pudding for hubby. I would never touch that stuff myself as I have never eaten pig's blood and don't intend to ever, and that's what black puddings are made of.

Today was the day that her Aunt L was taking her for horseriding lessons. Hubby was a bit unsure about letting her go for it because of her fever at night. But poor girl was so looking forward to it, and even Aunt L too. She had booked her for the 3pm class and had bought her a pair of leather boots, a helmet, and jogphurs. She was all professionally kit out. We got there 10mins before class started and managed to catch Aunt L jumping.

The class began on time and the instructor had picked out a white pony called ‘Willow’ for princess. After going a few rounds around the arena, princess was taught to trot. I missed her trotting as it was freezing cold out, despite the sunshine so hubby sent me to the car to use the laptop. Also because there was a better connection for the internet there, away from the home.
We left little one with Aunt L towards the end of the lesson, and went to collect mil from work. That was an hour’s journey from where they lived. Didn’t realize that hubby had arranged to meet his friend in the Square. After sitting and chatting with them, we got up to go walk around the shops, and realised that they were all closing. I was pretty mad with him as if I had known, I wouldn’t have sat in the car for an hour to get there for nothing. The car rides this trip are a bit uncomfortable and I don’t feel good going distances. I think it’s because the weather is not as cold as in winter and fil loves to put the heating on during the journeys. It feels stuffy sitting in it and I feel unwell. I often wind down the windows to let the cold air in.

This evening, mil came home from work and made a quick dinner with ready seasoned chicken parts, potatoes, garlic bread and ready salad. Princess wouldn’t touch a thing. Meats and potatoes aren’t her thing. So she had just two pieces of garlic bread.

It’s really weird going to sleep here at night when it’s still bright out. The sun goes to sleep at 10pm plus and wakes maybe 3-4am. But thankfully princess has been sleeping around 8plus on most nights.

Welcome to Dublin - 23 May

Having been without a pc or any form of access to the internet the last few days, we got up this morning and started trying to transfer photos to hubby’s thumb drive. It wasn’t successful at all as the pc was way too slow. We needed to get some other device to do that.

The weather was really dreary, reminding you that you are in Dublin. The rain came down not long after and it made the morning gloomy. However, it cleared around lunch time and the sun came out. It wasn’t so bad after all.
Fil had constructed a lovely deck at the back of the house and we bought some things for the garden for granny from Daiso, so princess was looking forward to watering the plants and doing some gardening. It was a perfect day for doing those. We even had a lunch of sandwiches on the decking before we went out. Granny had bought a little pink tent for her and granddad helped set it up. Princess was then left to spend the afternoon in the garden with granny and they had fun.

Here's princess having a go on the lawnmower with granddad. Wheee...

Fil drove us nearby to Navan (a 1/2 hr ride really, but for a city girl like me, 1/2 an hour can take me to 1/2 of Singapore) and we did a bit of shopping there. We got the device for transferring the photos so glad that was sorted.

I bought some lovely strawberries for princess (in season), and they were very sweet. I still like the Korean strawberries though, as they are firmer.

For dinner, they decided to order in some Chinese. After going through the whole long menu, I decided on Kung Po chicken. When we came home with them, I opened up the box to be greeted with nothing that looked like Kung Po, even though the picture on the menu showed it. Ooops, but that menu belonged to another restaurant, I remember now. Fil had said that they had the same food so just use that as a guide. Maybe that’s why.

Today was basically a take-it-slow one for us. I believe much of our stay here will be like this. More for rest than anything else. Both fil n mil are off work for 3weeks so they’d be pretty much at home and taking us to the zoo etc.

La Vallee Shopping Village - 22 May

Today is ‘my’ Disneyland. :D Mil had booked return tickets to Dublin on the night flight out of Paris, 9.40pm to be exact. I wasn’t keen to go back to the city again and also, I had planned before the trip, to visit this shopping place. It was also recommened by beau lotus. It turned out to be a shopper’s paradise. There is a shuttle service which takes us there from the hotel. €5 (adult) & €2 (child). Things weren’t cheap even though it’s supposed to be a factory outlet place, but it was no regrets coming here. Lots and lots of shops, you literally shop till you drop. There was a sealife attraction here, probably like Underwater World but we didn’t visit it. While hubby and I were doing the shops, the grandparents were minding the child. She went to the playground, then had ice-cream at McDonald’s while we browsed the boutiques. Thankfully hubby managed to get his jeans at Gap here. He has problems getting his size back home and it’s only on trips back to Europe that he replenishes his dwindling supply. I got a casual fold-up bag from Longchamp which cost me €40. When I checked at the airport later, it cost €68 I think. It was quite a bit of savings there if you multiply it by 2.13. I also picked up some clothing from Zara for princess. Lots of choices here but I daren’t buy too many as I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough luggage space. Found some lovely hairclips and hair ties in H&M and didn’t have to pay Disney prices for those.

We arranged for an airport shuttle to pick us up at 6pm and that cost us €80. It was great as, if we had gone by the airport shuttle bus, it would have been dearer. That would have been €17 each. We saved €5 there and it was more comfortable and direct.

We got to the airport 3hrs before our flight. Didn’t have to wait long to check in. But one bad experience was that we hadn’t realized that we had to pay for our luggage to be put in the aircraft and it cost us something like €12 or €18 per piece! Hubby was hopping mad! He scolded the staff and said it was the last f***ing time he’d be flying Aer Lingus.

We arrived in Dublin at 10pm plus and since Dub is an hour behind Paris, it actually was almost midnight.The minute you get out of the airport, the air that hits you reminds you that you are back in Ireland! It was cold. Fil had parked his car in the long term parking carpark so we had to hop on the shuttle bus to take us there. It was another hour and a half to get to the house. Princess slept on the way home and had to be carried in to bed.

Disneyland Day 2 - 21 May

This morning, we got to the Park same time as yesterday. We got in and had planned to go direct to Fantasyland and meet Ariel (The little mermaid). I stopped one of the staff to ask exactly where we would find her. Disappointment! Ariel doesn’t have feet and she can’t walk! So other than at the parade, there was no way of meeting her. Also Jasmine, which was princess’ 2nd choice. There was no way of meeting them at all. If we were lucky, we could catch Jasmine in Frontierland but we decided not to bother. Instead she directed us to City Hall where we would be able to find out more about where the characters would be. I managed to get some info there and joined the first queue which we thought was for Minnie Mouse. We were the first in that queue, can you imagine?! Woohoo! But it turned out to be Mickey Mouse instead. Maybe I got my facts wrong, but anyway, we didn’t have to waste time waiting on this character. After having our pictures taken, we went further down the road and came across the queue for Minnie. It wasn’t that long, but even so, we were still waiting an hour and 10mins.

We did another round of Buzz Lightyear as granny didn’t do it the first time. We also did ‘It’s a small world’ again as hubby didn’t do videos of it the first round.

We left Disneyland Park and hopped over to Walt Disney Studios, all looking forward to riding the waves with Nemo and his gang. Unfortunately, the ride turned out to be like the Big Thunder Mountain so no one went on that. We did Aladdin’s flying carpet instead. And also Cars. We came across Meet and Greet sessions here which had such short queues it was a laugh that we spent so much time queuing in Disney Park. We saw Ratatouille but no photo with him as they switched characters before our turn. He was replaced by Emile. We took photos with Goofy & Pluto. There was also Mickey in casual gear. We saw Lilo, Chicken Little, and another character I can’t remember what it was now. We also saw the High School Musical group performing twice but of course, they weren’t the actual characters on the show. Princess got to dance along with them as well.

We didn’t finish a full day at these 2 parks today as we were pretty exhausted. Princess insisted on going back to the hotel.

Disneyland Day 1 - 20 May

The breakfast at Dream Castle wasn’t great. I enjoyed the one at Hauteville Opera more. Over here, even the croissants weren’t nice. The scrambled eggs were much too watery and hubby said they looked like puke. Scrambled eggs on the first day were much too salty. Second day was fine. Not much consistency there. Also on the 3rd day, the orange juice was watered down a lot.

We made an early start to the Park, catching the shuttle bus from our hotel at 9.20am and got there in 10mins. We were surprised that the Park was actually open and people were already entering it. There were no regrets at all purchasing our tickets beforehand at the hotel’s reception as it definitely saved us time queuing up to buy them. We joined the first queue we saw which was for the railway that took us round the Park. This ride started at 10am and we got off at Fantasyland to catch the princesses at the Meet and Greet sessions. We picked up an autograph book on the way, together with a pen for the characters we met to sign in it. We spied Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) & Prince Philip having a performance behind Belle’s castle. It wasn’t very well-organised, no proper queue for the kids to get into, to get to meet and take photos with the characters. Everyone was just pushing their way through. Pity those kids who are not used to rushing and pushing, just like mine. And also a couple others. The problem was that all the other parents were also in there, so hubby had to make his way in or she’d not have had an autograph.

We went round the front of the castle and found Snow White on a stage with a long queue below. We joined that one while Granny joined the one for Pooh. We wasted over an hour on those queues, but at least managed to get some nice photos taken.

The rides we managed to go on, and I do recommend, were Peter Pan’s Flight; The twirling teacups (not sure of the name); Dumbo, flying elephant; It’s a small world.

We proceeded to lunch afterwards at a pizzeria. We had Mickey-shaped pizza, pasta, etc. Fastfood is costly here in Europe and at Disney, it’s worse. Not worth what we paid for.
After lunch, hubby, fil, and princess went to ride on the Pirates of the Caribbean. We also did Buzz Lightyear, which was my most favourite ride. I’ve done the Big Thunder Mountain twice, once in Eurodisney and the 2nd time in Disneyland , LA, so I skipped this time. Hubby, fil, and princess went on it, with me assuring them it was fine. When they came out, it was all complains; fil feeling sick and princess saying it was really scary. I remembered it to be thrilling and my dad had no problems with that ride, so didn’t expect fil to feel sick in the tummy. Hahaha! Gotcha y’all!

We caught a few other characters on the way, such as Eeyore and Chip ‘n’ Dale.

The parade is the highlight of the Park and we got to the trail of the parade an hour before it was due and sat on the sides. The weather in Disney was really hot and the sun bright and shining. I got a tan that afternoon. Face is all dark now and the bottom half of my arms not covered. Got a yucky two tone arm now.

We were exhausted by the time the parade was over. Went to check out the photos taken at the Meet and Greet sessions and then went back to the hotel. Had the buffet dinner there which was ‘French’ that evening. It didn’t matter as I was too tired to go out to the Disney Village again. The food was ok, not fantastic or anything. I didn’t even bother snapping photos of them. It cost us €29 (adult) and €15 (child).

End of Disneyland day 1.