Oh baby it’s cold outside… But get out there!

Oh baby it’s cold outside… But get out there!

Ah Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas is full of fun, laughter and of course toys (lots and lots of toys!). But I find it also generally results in the whole family being indoors for days on end; which as I’m sure you know, is not my cup of tea!

Wrapped up outside in winter

Wrap them up and get them out!

Yes the weather is pretty crappy. Ok the new books and computer games are too good to leave. Fine, the fire is too cosy… BUT getting out of the house for a few hours everyday will honestly do you and the little folk a world of good.

Outdoors at Christmas Johnny Magory

So I’ve compiled the essentials for a good winter picnic and thrown in a few ideas on where to visit too so you’ve no excuses; just do it!

Wondering what to wear?

I’m also including this link to the ever-inspiring Aisling Hamill’s @soulfullyaisling recent blog on how to “Winter Proof Adventures” and always be prepared for outdoor activities with Little Explorers. Her blog is amazing by the way so sign up if you haven’t already!

So Go, Go, Go!

This is based around the east of Ireland but I’m sure you’ve similar or better places by wherever you live to adapt them to. I’d love to hear your recommendations on more if you have any?

Bray Head

Even in the depths of winter, Ireland is a beauty.

Go climb a mountain (or a hill!)

Nothing excites and terrifies in equal measures as much as the thought of a good old fashioned hike. Now obviously a lot depends on your crew… You don’t want to attempt Carrantouhill with a 6 month old; or maybe you do in which case I take my hat off to you! So here’s some of the places I’d recommend: Wicklow’s Glendalough Green Road Walk, Kildare’s Hill of Allen, Dublin’s Howth Cliff Walk.

child chilling out

Hitching a ride for the steep parts!

Go abroad (well to an Irish island!)

Did you know there’s 574 islands off the coast of Ireland? They make for a great day’s exploring (weather permitting obviously!)
Try Lambay island – 4km’s off the coast of Dublin and home to a troupe of Wallabies – what more could you ask for in terms of a mini break! Book a trip with Skerries Sea Tours .

Go for a good old fashion stroll!

There’s loads of lovely ‘flat’ locations around these parts if you just fancy a leisurely stroll and some delightful fresh air. I’d really recommend Bord na Móna’s Mount Lucas Wind Farm and Lough Boora Discovery Park both in Offaly. Lough Boora especially has so much to keep the little people (and big ones) interested. With the amazing sculptures and art dotted throughout the reclaimed bog and of course the Irish Fairy Door trail. Both are suitable for bicycles also with a rental hut at Lough Boora.

Simple Winter Picnic Essentials

Johnny Magory Picnic

The best mode of transport for a picnic.

Mode of Transportation:

We are lucky in that we no longer need a buggy for the littlest one but we still bring it along to carry our picnic. (And lets be honest sometimes her legs get too tired to walk anymore so it’s handy to have!) If your Little Explorer is still intact in their buggy, squeeze as much as possible into the boot (undercarriage!) or else invest in a good insulated carry bag with padded shoulder straps – trust me, there is nothing worse than tanking an old cooler box around for a couple of kilometers!

Johnny Magory PIcnic

Handy when little legs get tired as well!

Containers:

I’m all for moving away from plastic so I’ve been picking up glass, sealable containers over the years and also collecting old jam jars etc. (Davey calls me a hoarder but I disagree!) to have for occasions like these. If you have lunchboxes, obviously use them; if not why not consider washing out and keeping the next ice-cream tub you use? A flask is always a necessity for winter picnics as there’s nothing like a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate to warm the body in these chilly months. I take the same stance on cutlery as I do on the containers and really urge you to do the same and say “no” to none-reusable plastics. Bringing your own steel cutlery from home is much better, is nicer to eat with and really doesn’t take long to wash after.

resusable jam jar

My beautiful sister-in-law amused with our milk jar!

Heating up:

We purchased one of those little square gas heaters years ago and I would strongly recommend them. In a nutshell, it’s just deadly! It’s light, compact, super easy to use and dead handy to have around for emergencies such as the Beast from the East; we would have starved without our little cooker! Anywho, just bring along a little metal saucepan and heat up your soup, stew or whatever you’ve brought. Believe me, this will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Soup at a picnic

Winter warmers! Leek and potatoe soup heated from our portable stove. 

Some home comforts:

I’m a big, big advocate of a cosy blanket to put across the laps of your little people when sitting down to eat. If your going somewhere you know there’ll be a bench or seat, bring along a waterproof picnic blanket to put across it before sitting. You can pick these up in Penney’s for relatively cheap and they’ll last for years with a bit of minding. Having a snugly woolen blanket will ensure you keep your precious happy.

Four legged friends:

If, like us, you’ve a four legged friend who accompanies you on all of your adventures, don’t forget to bring along some water, a bowl and of course some snacks for them too.

Eating under a bridge

We felt like we were in an Enid Blyton story eating here!

So please let me know what you get up to.

Id like to take to opportunity to wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a 2019 that’s brimming with magic.

Be good!

EJ

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