Howth, Co. Dublin

So, this new set up is going pretty well. I do my administration in 3 ‘power blitz’ sessions daily (at 8/1/4) and Mr Clev works super early, then for the morning, a nice long lunch break and play with the kids,  the afternoon and sometimes when the kids are in bed. Lots of work, but lots of time for kids, housework, and eating too (Mr Clev interjects that his favourite thing about working from home = no more lunches at his desk!).

Earlier this week Mr Clev had a meeting in Dublin so the kids and I tagged along with him for a day out. While he was working we went to the Mecca of flat pack that is commonly known as Ikea.

Hi my names Clare and I’m an Ikea addict, I have to buy things because they are “only a Euro” even if this means ending up with 28 candles which do not fit in any of your candle sticks. We had a really nice lunch and as usual the Ikea cafe was accommodating to my 5 sprogs (millions of high chairs – for the win) even if the food was ‘interesting’.
side note – when I was younger my parents encouraged me to say ‘this is interesting’ if I was faced with a food I didn’t like. This worked fine until it backfired when over dinner at friends I loudly announced that the food was  ‘interesting – in the code word way’. So now anything that is slightly under par is now described as ‘interesting’……eg “wowwwwww you look great, that dress pattern is so interesting”.

I took no photos in Ikea, mainly because its impossible to manage a double buggy, one of those dodgy yellow bag trolley things, and the paper + free pencil to write where in the ‘market hall’ your stuff can be found AND a camera. But here are loads of photos of Howth, where we drove to once we met up with Daddy again!

Ive never been to Howth before. Actually I’ve never really been to any of the Dublin seaside towns, bar Skerries which you can read about here, before. We walked all around the marina and along the pier with its fishing boats and fish shops.

The fishing pier with its fishmongers and outside cafe’s has a kind of Hampton’s vibe. That might have been in my head though because it was sunny and I had my hipster shades and sandals on so was feeling all NYCool.

We walked all the way up to the end of the pier and looked out over the Irish Sea + Howth Bay (could be lying there but it was a bay, near Howth, so guessing its Howth Bay?)

Cue lots of photo taking on the end of the pier. The steps are raised up so you get a great ‘sky’ background when taking photos from below. Pretty much every single one of these are blurred because my brick cam (larger than usual camera for those not in the know) was on the wrong settings. I’m still including them though because my Mum loves to see photos of her grand-kids…..

The sun was shining, the birds squarking and kids playing, we were loving Howth and its seaside quaintness. While up at the end of the pier we heard whisperings from some tourists that there were not one but two seals in the harbour.

Obviously we had to go check that out!

We stood vigilantly and waited and sure enough, not one but TWO seals popped up their heads. Luis informs me that my scream was equal in pitch and volume to when Harry came on the stage at the 1D concert. Yes it was very exciting. No I dont get out much.

After seal spotting, we walked all the way back down the pier and stopped in every single fish shop. We also stopped for ice cream, and calamari for the grown ups (and Vivi who surprisingly quite liked it).  We also stopped to buy our dinner.

The above was in Wrights of Howth. They very kindly let my children pick out a small (read that ‘cheaper than €20 euros’) Lobster each for Mummy to cook!

Since picking, buying, and cooking Lobby and his friends I have decided that, similarly to Cows, I only like Lobsters when they are served to me in a nicely presented dish, with a big ol glass of vino, in a nice restaurant with some gentle background music playing. Still, the kids loved picking their dinner and watching them turn pink in the pan. Amelie even declared she liked Lobby more than Piggy.

I’ve just reread that and it does sound like I’m raising some seriously savage carnivorous kids. I promise I’m not, but when I was pregnant with Vivi and on bed rest for 3 months I watched every single TV show that Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall ever made so as a result have been on a ‘kids should have a healthy appreciation from where food comes from’ kick ever since.

When we were done in Howth we drove up and around the ‘scenic route’ and up on top of the hill you get some serious Dublin views. We even saw our Ferry! (sorry for the blur, Mr Clev does not do stopping for Kodak moments).

Which brings me back to my initial point which I started way back up top. Work/life balance. I am loving having Mr Clev here, LOVING it. I also love how we have managed twice now to tag along on meetings and incorporate a family day out (we were in Kilkenny yesterday but that’s another post!). I know it wont always be possible, but while it is, we may as well make the most of it right?.

Being back in England and surrounded by our extended families made it more obvious to us that really, we relish being ‘just us 7’. Yes we do love nanny’s and granddads and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends, BUT us 7, that’s where its at, thats when we are happiest, surrounded by our children, and just doing our own thing in our own time. Long may this work/life balance continue!!!

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