Another day of exploring Dublin: George’s Street Arcade & bagels in St Stephen’s Green

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It hit me today that maybe it’s a bad idea that I blog about places I see in Dublin already now before I’ve had the chance to visit them several times and really get to know them. But.. without any good reason I decided against it.

Today was a beautiful sunny day so we set out not knowing exactly where to go, only determined to suck in as many sunbeams as possible.
Thanks to Pinterest I found out that Drury Street was one worth checking out. It wasn’t too far away so we made that our destination. Drury Street however turned out to not be very exciting at all – maybe I didn’t do my research right? But we turned turned a corner and suddenly found ourselves in a magical little indoor market place!

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It’s called George’s Street Arcade and is full of little shops selling everything from jewelry to toys to books to old vinyl records ETC! It also had a handful of food places that I’m dying to go back and try! One of them, Simon’s Place, is known to have delicious cinnamon rolls!
I looked it up when I got home and apparently George’s Street Arcade is supposed to be Europe’s oldest purpose-built shopping center dating back to 1881!!

And I just happened to stroll through it today.. I love Dublin!

My little shotgunner was getting a little tired of the stroller, so on the way home we stretched our legs in St Stephen’s Green.

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An afternoon with pizza and the Cupcake Bloke

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I tell people that we walk a lot. Dublin has turned me into a walker thanks to no Metro and my own preference not to ride buses. So we walk, and I honestly love it. It feels really good to have incorporated a type of exercise without really considering it exercise.
We’ve pretty much covered a 2,5 km radius from our home, but I hadn’t been to the Temple Bar area yet. It’s just south of the river and is home to theatres, museums and attracts a busy night life with it’s many popular pubs. But I personally wanted to go for the narrow medieval cobble-stoned streets.. So that’s where we went today!

We first stopped at Di Fontaine’s for a slice of New York style pepperoni pizza. I’d kept coming across it during my many Pinterest sessions, so why not! It’s a cute little place right by the water and wasn’t busy at all on a Friday afternoon, which meant a lot to a mom with a stroller who still feels a bit self-conscious about snapping 100 pictures while I eat. But for some reason it’s the most normal thing in the world to upload said pictures online afterwards on your blog? Odd..

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How the heck are you supposed to take selfies with a DSLR?

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So, I haven’t been to New York yet, so I can’t tell you whether or not the pizza lived up to its reputation. *awkward silence* But for what it’s worth, I liked it! I love good and spicy pizza sauce and the slices were big enough to fill up the both of us.

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On our way home we came across this little place on the side of the road called the Cupcake Bloke. The bloke himself was very happy and nice so we let him sell us a chocolate cupcake.

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We’ve seen this guy here at the bottom of Grafton Street many times. He’s so good! Love that Dublin has awesome street music!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetThis is when we were almost home and we stopped at a red light and I saw that she wasn’t wearing her hat anymore. Can’t believe she was able to sneak it out of the stroller without me noticing?! She pulled this stunt just a week ago with a different hat that we by some miracle actually managed to find. But I guess this was the end of the cute grey hat from the boys’ section.

 

The apartment by the train

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Time has flown by and all of a sudden we’ve been Dubliners for six weeks. We’ve passed through the “settling in and buying bare essentials” phase and are now in the “Etsy-shopping for stuff to put on the walls and realizing we only own three different spices” phase. Today I actually bought dried basil without having a specific use for it in mind. I guess this means we’re not moving out any time soon!

It was with a heavy heart that I accepted the fact that we’d have to settle for a one-bedroom apartment this time and not get the two-beds I’d been hoping for. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like to have an entire room to put toys and baby clothes in, and then to just shut the door and not find myself sitting on The Hungry Caterpillar when I can finally put my feet up in the evening.
But as it usually goes, after the first month the new unfamiliar place that still smells a bit strange has suddenly turned into your home that couldn’t feel more normal. Time heals, and saves money?

So this is our apartment by the train. At least that’s how I imagine we’ll refer to it in the future. It runs right by our building and only reminds us a few times every hour. It’s the topic of many of our conversations each day. And it has an almost magical influence on our daughter! It has the ability to draw away her attention from anything she could be doing, eating, playing, being changed or even crying. It instantly makes her forget time and place. There is only her.. and that train.

Usually I’ll hear it first, a faint building rumble in the distance. It gives me just enough of a head start to turn and watch my daughter’s eyes go blank, grow huge and dart to meet mine. Next will follow the almost unnoticed crash of whatever she dropped to the floor in astonishment. She’ll stick around only long enough to whisper, “toh, toh!” before she’ll run to the window and spend a few silent moments watching the green flash by. Finally she raises her hand, waves and says, “bye-bye” as the train disappears around the corner.

Many many times every day.

I mean, #childhoodunplugged suddenly got a lot more realistic!

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Bye-bye, train!

Motor skilling Monday

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That moment when you seem to wake from a deep sleep of repetitive baby routines and realize that your child is nearing 18 months and needs physical challenges to improve her body in other ways than sitting and walking. I feel deeply embarrassed that I’ve been so bad at actually challenging her during play time, now that play time itself isn’t a challenge any more. Most of the time think she’s pretty much the same as she was 3 months ago until out of the blue I’m hit in the face by the obvious truth.
I had one of those wake up calls today. I went to our poorly stocked kitchen wondering if we had accumulated enough household knick-knacks yet to construct some mobility challenging toy. Surprisingly I didn’t waste too much time. A couple of weeks ago we’d bought some ground cinnamon that turned out to not at all taste like the cinnamon we were used to back home. Why it was not yet in the garbage I wasn’t sure but now I picked it up, dumped the contents in the trash and rinsed out the glass bottle. I also dug out some cocktail skewers I got the other day to make these!
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I grabbed my daughter out of her chair, put her on the floor and presented her with her new toy. Mama made it for you! I dropped a few of the skewers on the floor and made sure she was watching as I picked one back up and dropped it through one of the tiny holes in the lid of the shaker. To my great astonishment she picked one up herself and after a few attempts pushed it through the lid. The next half hour she stayed there on the floor with her tiny lips pursed experimenting which hand made the activity easier.

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Burgers at Bunsen with buddies.. baby!

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One of the best things about having friends come to town is the opportunity to play tourist in your new city. Our friends are burger-people so after consulting Yelp we decided to try out Bunsen in Dublin 2 for dinner.

We met up at Trinity College and made our way across town to the restaurant. I talked a bit about this already on Instagram, but although it was a rather chilly night – we have all now borne witness to the deadly winds here in Dublin, brrr! – the city was still buzzing with cheerful people. I seriously love spending time walking around downtown just because people are so much friendlier than I’m used to. On Sunday on our way home from church we shared the sidewalk with an older fellow for a bit, and instead of stubbornly maintaining the awkward silence he went, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” And we had a pleasant little conversation with him until we separated ways. And it totally boosted my mood for the rest of the day!

Anyway! We got to Bunsen, which from the outside is rather easy to miss apart from the big neon “B” above the entrance. We waited in line for a couple of minutes and the place was full – can only imagine how packed it must be on weekends. We were seated at a table and ordered just a simple cheeseburger each with fries. Apart from wishing I’d ordered mine well-done, we really liked the burgers. The buns and paddies are both a bit thicker and softer. Usually I prefer especially the buns to be toasted and crispier but I actually liked the mushiness of this combo. Mushy food is always better, right? The fries though were really good – I’m more of a fries type person myself and I really appreciated that they were thicker and perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Marcus already asked if we could go back, so it was a definite success!

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Dipping your fries is awesome. Because the fry serves as a great tool to scoop up and eat the ketchup.
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Oh the blurriness.

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Our first venture into the Irish countryside, and Killiney Hill

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Today was a beautiful beginning to our second weekend in Ireland. We went on our first outing out of Dublin!

So, although it is so far not exactly my personal opinion, I must confess that most people told us before coming here that Dublin itself might not have a lot to offer but that the Irish countryside was worth moving to Ireland for. I myself have lived in Dublin for all of 12 days now and I think it’s a pretty great city and hope to discover even more greatness in the future –
BUT that doesn’t take away the fact that the Irish countryside is actually MINDBLOWINGLY gorgeous! Or so we have discovered today.

First we did a train ride all the way down the coast south of Dublin to Bray. The tracks literally go right by the water and on a clear day like today the Irish Sea glistened in the sunlight. We went far enough south to get into Wicklow county which is known as “Ireland’s garden”. And although it’s January and mid-winter and so so cold, I can’t believe how beautifully green everything was.

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This is the face she does when she’s smelling flowers. The word “blomma” (“flower” in Swedish) is among the handful of words she can pronounce perfectly.

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These pictures were taken at the Powerscourt Hotel… I feel like I’ve been overusing the word ‘beautiful’ and synonyms thereof. So… I will say no more.

On the way back to Dublin we stopped in Killiney. Killiney Hill was one of the top things on my Ireland bucket list because it gives such a breathtaking view of Dublin Bay and the mountains farther inland. You can drive almost to the top and it was no biggie to carry our baby girl the rest of the way. We got there just before the sun was setting, and it was just perfect. This point is said to have inspired countless Irish poets and authors and honestly my first thought when we got up there was that I just wanted to come back one day, alone, to just sit and write.

It was BEAUTIFUL.

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Herbert Park and back-and-forthsies

It is day 10 in Dublin and we’re still doing good. We’re planning to do an IKEA run this week to get the last essentials and then we’re good to move into our apartment! So the last few days us girls have been nomading back and forth between our hotel room and our apartment. Sleeping, showering and breakfasting at the hotel, then unpacking and cleaning at the apartment the rest of the day.

It’s great that we’ll be able to move into a fully equipped and unpacked home but the lack of routine and her own bed to sleep in, needless to say, Our baby girl’s sleeping habits are all .. non-existent. Yesterday she was lifeless almost until noon so I decided to defy the icy winds and take her to a park to run around.

So we walked to Herbert Park in Ballsbridge. In my opinion so far, Dublin’s parks are one of the nicest features of the city. Although Herbert Park may not be considered one of the old downtown parks it’s still so nice and pretty and clean. We got to run around in the grass and then we went and found a duck pond that was full of so many birds. We were both pretty excited.
After that it was back to our apartment and guess who dozed off before we were even half way.

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Dublin is so greeeeen – in January!!

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Oh and pigeon stalking…

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Nevermind the mismatched socks – we’re still living out of suitcases.

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Dublin: Week 1

My blogging (holiday) hibernation is over and has awakened in DUBLIN IRELAND!

We’ve been here for about a week now and I think we’ve gone from rock bottom to really starting to love it here. The first day was hard – especially for me I think. It’s easy to be excited about moving somewhere new and starting a new life before the actual move, but once we were here I was just hit by this overwhelming realization that we were lost and alone. Neither of us had really been to Ireland before, we knew no one, and didn’t really know much about anything. Oh the loneliness and homesickness. I’ll just say it, I cried myself to sleep that night.

But I found that it was just a phase to get past, cause the next morning Marcus had his first day at work – which he LOVED, and we started apartment hunting for real. Amazing how action and productivity is so energizing and motivating, isn’t it?

Honestly though, I think one of the things that made me feel loads better right away was the infamous friendliness of the Irish people. It’s all true. I really can’t believe that the Irish aren’t top of the list of the happiest people, cause you’ve GOT to be happy to show that much politeness and happiness around strangers! Or am I just from an incredibly rude country?

So we’re really happy to be here. Thank goodness for Facetime so we can talk to our families all the time otherwise this would probably be a very different story.
We’re moving into our new apartment in just a few days and we’re starting to make some friends here too.

I’d say this could be the beginning of a very exciting chapter of our lives.

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Our first picture in Dublin, lying down on our clean hotel bed after a long morning of traveling. Still smiling!

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The Grand Canal. The water is so clear I wish I had a better camera!

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Uhm, street musicians here are pretty awesome!

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Cockles and mussels! Couldn’t someone have given poor Molly a shawl?

14 months old – an update on the toddler

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I was just reading through my old weekly pregnancy updates – Ugh! I love that this blog allows me to easily rewind to and study past events, it’s seriously a bigger help than I thought! – and I realized that I’d documented my daughter’s development for almost 2 years, and then I just stopped 3 months ago.
So here’s another update to catch you up – and for my future self to laugh about.

I remember being so addicted to studying up on every tiny milestone she should be reaching during her first months that it seemed like she wasn’t changing at all. I can’t say the same for the first months of her second year. I’ve probably lost my Pinterest-addiction a little but she’s definitely changing every single day. I’m so amazed at how quickly she picks up on things – and especially the things that I’m not by any means trying to teach her.
If we’re watching a show or if Marcus and I are having a conversation she’ll just randomly repeat sounds or words she hears. She mimics my workout exercises and especially my exasperated exhales. She always, – and this one almost freaks me out – always knows when to start waving bye-bye even before she’s encouraged. After close observation however I have a hunch that she might pick up on key phrases like “I love you”, “I miss you” or “see you soon” that indicate that a conversation is coming to a close. Genius!

Another thing that surprises me is how feminine she is already now. I haven’t really encouraged this either, mainly because I thought she was too young to pick up on it. But she looooves dressing up! In pretty much whatever she can find. A typical “outfit” right now is her winter boots (she’ll bring her boots to me about 3-4 times a day exclaiming “tsch!” (shoes), hand them to me with a smile, neatly sit down in my lap and lift one of her feet), a kui kui nut lei we brought home from Hawaii, and her Halloween pumpkin bucket (and she doesn’t just hold it in her hand, she wears it on her elbow with her hand and fingers strutting up in the air). She’ll walk around like that, maybe swapping the necklace for a random clothing item she finds, like her father’s tie or one of her onesies, and stop and admire herself in the mirror. Like.. is she really old enough for this??

She is pretty strong-willed, but I guess we’ve suspected that for a while. It used to just be cute and we’d just laugh and shake our heads when she’d scream a high-pitched squeal when she didn’t get her way or she demanded assistance. But I’ll admit I’m starting to find it a little embarrassing. I want her to know that’s not a way to communicate. And soon!

More than anything she’s growing so fast physically. She can reach more and more things and unfortunately also climb up on more and more things. It’s not uncommon for me to turn a corner, tear through the room to barely grab her hand as she’s falling off one of the chairs with a move so swift that Spiderman’s jaw would drop through the floor.

Being the mother of a toddler feels strangely empowering as opposed to having a small baby, I think. I’m getting a glimpse of what it’ll be like to teach her manners, morals and standards and it’s forcing me to set higher standards for myself too. It’s making me really curious how being a mother is going to change me as a person.

And now I’ve made myself miss her so much I just want to run to the bedroom and wake her up even though it’s 11pm!

We’re moving to Ireland!

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Yep, you heard right. We’re moving again!

I know – why can’t they just settle down already! – right?

Well, Marcus got an amazing job in Dublin and we’re leaving in January. It’s a great career move for him and is with a company that he’ll absolutely love working for. The last couple of months we’ve been on the edge of our seats hoping against hope that we would get this unbelievable opportunity – how often do you get a chance to live in Ireland?
Our first thought when we realized we were going was how much we hate leaving Stockholm. We have such a good life here close to Marcus’ parents. It’s going to be tough being away from family again.

But we feel really good about it and are sure it’s the right thing to do for our family. It’s going to be scary since we don’t know anyone there and since now that we have a daughter we can’t just fill up our three old suitcases and hop on a plane like we usually do. This time it’ll be very different.

Personally, I think it’s the most exciting move we’ll have done so far. I can’t wait to see what Dublin has in store for our little family!