All aboard the spooky express

“All aboard the Spooky Express” was heard from the  solemn looking victorian gentleman, who stood on the platform. A fog was creeping onto the platform, as my daughter grabbed hold of me as tight as she could. “Mum please stop taking photos, put down the camera, I am TERRIFIED”…

This is coming from the same child, full of beans at 6.45 the same morning announcing to me and the whole world ” it’s HALLOWEEN…”

We decided to get tickets to go down to The Spooky Express” in Waterford & Suir Valley Railway earlier in the month. We have over the years been on the santa train, but decided this was the year to bring them on The Spooky Express without them jumping out of their skins. How wrong was I….


Father and son


We arrived in plenty of time and our daughter ran off down towards the train. She came running back “I want to go home”. “No-one else is dressed up”, we managed to coax her to come back down with us.


Scary zombie at the spooky express

She ate her words on the way down or should I say a zombie ate her words, she was terrified of him. She threatened to hit him with the umbrella she had. Then we met his victorian friends….


The resident zombie and his victorian friends.


Proud as punch with their costumes.

Our son was the calm resilient type, who took the mime art business very seriously, as you can see in the photos…


Our son’s drawing of a mime artist

After all he had the idea for the look we should all have for the face paint. This is his drawing he handed to me mid week.Our daughter decided on taking over being the stylist.

We stood waiting on the platform waiting nervously to hear the noise of the train.quinnwaitingforthewaterfordghosttrain16insta


The train came and we all boarded, only some survived the zombie attack…


listening to a tale of a haunted train journey before we go on our journey.


We heard a very scary story before boarding the spooky express.

My daughter was stuck to me like glue. I couldn’t do anything, but calm her before the train set off. To make matters worst my daughter and myself locked eye contact, when we heard  a woman’s voice from the other open carriage say “I felt something on my leg”. I am terrified of my own shadow. so when I heard this, I was imagining they had someone underneath the seats. So that thought of “jumping out of our skins” wasn’t wrong to say!…

After hearing this the train set off into the darkness, my son and husband facing us. They seemed fine, maybe just on the surface. I think everyone on board was a bit tense. I know I was sitting in from the edge and we all seemed to huddle together towards the middle. cormacandquinnaboardwaterfordholloweentrainblogwm16

As the train slowed down, there was a few screams as we crawled towards our fate. Scary clowns are in the news and a few are on the run down in waterford.


We managed to escape the scary clowns only to hear the distant noises of a chainsaw. We came upon a funeral procession, which had someone running around yielding a chainsaw. My daughter had a grip so tight to me there was no chance of escaping her, to take any photos.

They was lots more scary things that go bump in the darkness of the woodlands. But as we passed the river on the far side of us, it really did look very tranquil, that is until the train slowed down again.


This is when things got  really bad for one child on the train….


My son who was calm up until now, turned to me and said “Mum what are they going to do with him?”.  As we witnesses the child being pulled off the train by a deranged looking individual.  The boy was tied up and brought over to the fire.


Looking back at the fire and the child, I didn’t answer his question…


As we pulled into the station again, everyone blew out a sign of relief. My daughter let go of her tight grip and the next morning  I was left with a reminder on my upper right arm of Holloween. Two small bruises about the size of my daughters hand….






Weaving on a hula hoop frame with recycled T-shirts part 2

This is part 2 of weaving on a hula hoop frame with T-shirts. We introduced a new colour after a couple of rows. After the colour white the kids decided to choose the rainbow colour. We were lucky enough to have a rainbow tie dyed T-shirt. I showed them another weaving technique called Soumak. weavingdreamcatchertechniquewm



After this we used some left over fleece from the softies I make. We choose orange. We cut strips 1 inch by 5inches long. My daughter said she wanted to make it like the sun. Her playdates agreed.



After a lot of debating over whether to do the tufting all the way around, it was decided to do it just half the way around in orange.




It’s great for the children to see this starting to come together as a piece bit by bit, it starts to grow over time.

We did a bit of thinking outside the box and one of the days, we were using air drying clay. We discussed maybe putting some on the dream catcher.



Weaving on a Hula hoop frame with kids



Old recycled T-shirts cut into strips and rolled up into balls

Weaving on a hula hoop is so much fun to do with your kids. It was something we started during the summer holidays. We decided to use little frames first just to get used to the principals of weaving.


One of my children’s friends weaving on a frame.

I was doing a summer clean out from their wardrobes, so I had lots of old t-shirts in bright colours which decided to keep for weaving. Just cut them up 1 inch thickness, cut back and forth across the t-shirt to make one long ball of fabric to use.


Diagram of warp and weft used for tapestry and weaving

If you never did weaving before, you need a warp, which runs vertical and a weft, which runs horizontal.  The warp is what you set up using string or you can use the strips of t-shirts. I personally think the string was better, as it’s not as stretchy and less likely to slide around.


Our hula hoop frame with the warp finished and ready to weave upon

Unlike weaving on a wooden frame, with this you don’t use one continuous piece of string. It’s individual pieces of string that are stretched across the frame and tied on the other side.


The hula hoop frame on our multi-coloured patio…

Once you have it set up you can begin to weave. The kids loved this and we decided to use the two colours above. Whilst we were weaving with their two friends, my son decided to go outside and with chalks he started to draw flags from around the world, hence the colourful background behind the weaving!. This is my patio..




Studying the flags of the world and drawing them out on our drive way




I think with children, art and craft activities never turn out how you expect. I love just allowing them explore. They can teach us a thing or two along the way.  So if that means putting the weaving down for a while to draw on the pavement go ahead…








I will continue this in another post next Sunday night.

Jacinta &co xx






Waterford has a lot to shout about

Conor Rush's ceramic sculpture in the window of the new gallery space Studio 20ten

Conor Rush’s ceramic sculpture in the window of the new gallery space Studio 20ten

Waterford sure has a lot to shout about. We decided to go on one last road trip to the sunny south east, before the kids went back to school. We headed down late on Friday night with a slight de-tour in Carlow because of road works, but we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. We were going to make the most of Saturday, as unfortunately we had to leave very early Sunday morning for work commitments.

Our kids outside Reginald towers playing with a model of Waterford city

Our kids outside Reginald tower playing with a model of Waterford city

I had read about Waterford walls last year and really wanted to make it down with our children to see it this year. On Saturday morning we woke up to blue skies, so we headed to the local park to have breakfast and a strong coffee. Coffee has become like a loyal strong friend in our lives since having twins :)…

The danger zone, where there are giant size rice crispie buns and lots of paw prints from children.

The danger zone in the Park lodge Cafe, where there are giant size rice crispie buns and lots of paw prints on the glass from children ;)).

The Peoples Park in Waterford has a great little pitstop for parents, joggers alike called Park Lodge Cafe. Now be forewarned: there is way too much temptation in this place at the counter. Lot’s of little paw prints have been left by children looking longingly at the cakes and a few adult prints also. But when on holidays, just do whatever you want to do, and in our case it’s eat lots of nice food…peoplesparkparklogdgecafewm

The park has a brilliant playground. It also has skateboarding, where tweens and teens can hang out and check out each others new moves.

We headed off after refuelling down town towards Lombard Street. We came across an exhibition called Dust breeding by Fiona Kelly in Soma contemporary gallery.

We crossed the road and discovered  a new gallery called Studio 20 ten , which was having its opening night that night. I was speaking with Conor Rush, who is one of the artists involved. He is responsible for the ceramic head which is the featured image of this blog post. They are a collective group of artists using traditional and contemporary mediums.

Ceramic head by Conor Rush

Ceramic head by Conor Rush

Our daughter looking at work by Milia Tsaoussis- Maddock.

Our daughter looking at work by Milia Tsaoussis- Maddock.

Painting by Roisin Kinsella

Painting by Roisin Kinsella on the top left, underneath paintings by Daragh Lyons and to the right Christine O’Brien

We walked on towards the city centre, our kids armed with their map to find out where all the walls were being brought to life with colour around Waterford city for waterford walls.Our daughter watching friends playing a game of chess, before they headed off to the Bluegrass festival in Dunmore. They told us they missed the bus...

Our daughter watching friends playing a game of chess, before they headed off to the Bluegrass festival in Dunmore. They told us they missed the bus…

The first piece we came across was by Joe Caslin, a street artist from Roscommon. His project theme is called ‘our nation’s sons’. He produces large scale portraits of young men.

Waterford walls is only in its second year. It came about through a group of like-minded people wanting to make a difference to their community and bring much-needed colour to their city’s walls.

Forty local and international street artists came together in Waterford for a weekend of shared passion of making walls come to life with beautiful colourful imagination.

Caoilfhionn Hanton

Caoilfhionn Hanton

The first artist our kids spoke to was fresh-faced Caoilfhionn Hanton. She is from Waterford and took part last year. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of her artists hands….

Caoilfhionn Hanton hands

Caoilfhionn Hanton hands

Our son watching Serbian artist Vunik at work

Our son watching Serbian artist Vunik at work

The kids guided us to the next mural by Serbian artist Vunik.

Waterford walls is an annual festival and celebration, which this year included workshops and walking tours. You can find a google map showing where they all are here.

We saw locals and tourists alike engaging in conversations with the street artists, which is so great to see. Along with bringing colour to the walls, it breathes life into cultural conversation between different people, young and old.

Our daughter was puzzled or bamboozled by this painting below. When we came home I showed her some Esher prints. This was painted by Jerry Rugg (Birdo).

Our daughter trying to figure how Jerry Rugg (Birdo) did this mural

Our daughter trying to figure how Jerry Rugg (Birdo) did this Esher inspired mural of a pig like creature.

Close up of a herd of colourful patchwork elephants by Louis Masai a full time artist from london.

Close up of a herd of colourful patchwork elephants by Louis Masai a full time artist from london.

We came across a very colourful herd of elephants by louis Masai, who is a London-based full time artist. His subject matter questions us humans on why we revere the death of a celebrity, yet fail to recognise a disappearing species.

Vunik to the right wall and louis Masai's herd of colourful elephants

Vunik to the right wall and louis Masai’s herd of colourful elephants


Catching a few Irish sunrays Brendan Butler

Catching a few Irish sunrays Brendan Butler


Brendan Butler a graduate of Crawford College was working feverishly on his painting in soaring heat.




English artist Aliss Curtis taking time out from her wall

English artist Aliss Curtis taking time out from her wall


We spoke to Aliss Curtis originally from north Wales, but living in Dublin. She was taking time out from her work. She is a graphic design graduate, which lead her to a special interest in spatial design.




Our children lead us on to the carpark, where we saw JMK (Jonny Mc Kerr)and DMC (Dermot McConaghy), who is a visual artist at work .waterfordwalls

Waterford walls has a sibling this year going under the name of T-walls. The project has expanded to Tramore and this year Five walls were painted. So for next year, we wish you the best of luck and I hope you receive funding from the relevant art organisations.

shadow lands...Jonny Mckerr at work.

shadow lands…Jonny Mckerr at work.

It was a flying visit on a whim, but so worth while and it was very educational for our children and a brilliant last hurrah before school starts again ……. ps thanks to the friendly biker who got talking to and allowed our son onto this bike. Our daughter wasn’t interested…

Our son thanks to the friendly biker, who made his day....

Our son thanks to the friendly biker, who made his day….

Jacinta and Family xxx







The kids were climbing the walls today

The kids were climbing the walls today. Now, this is after a morning spent in the park. When you have two high energy kids, I find myself trying, like most parents, to find activities that will make them (I can live in hope) want to go to sleep early.

I had heard two years ago about this place, but thought they were too young. Then a cousin said it to me recently, giving it great applause. So, I thought we would try it. It’s called Gravity and it’s a climbing centre.

I thought we would just have a look. But, when we got there, the kids wanted to give it a go. So, they got their climbing shoes and I signed the forms.

They had an instructor to bring them around for 15 mins, showing them the kids’ area. They were shown how to use the climbing wall. My daughter took to it like a duck to water. My son was a little on the cautious side, but, as my daughter pointed, out “he is better than me at this” with not too much concern for this fact.gravityclimbingcentre1

We then went onto the blue zone, where adults and kids are. We were told to stay within the middle of the walls either side, as people jumping off really don’t want to land on you, but on the soft spongy surface. So you need to be alert.

You also need to be careful going underneath the archways or tunnels, as people can be climbing on them. You need to be vigilant.

The instructor showed the kids how to climb some of the bigger walls, until he was confident they knew what they were doing. So he left us to hopefully enjoy “a nice cup of tea”, as he put it.

It was busy, but there was a really nice bunch of people there. My daughter at one stage was trying to attempt the overhang , which was out of her colour zone (the orange colour is what beginners should start on) but a person came over and showed her how he would do it. Then he suggested another area where there was on easier one.gravityclimbingcentre

It seems a great way of empowering your child; strength building, co-ordination all coming into play. It’s also a structured and disciplined way of figuring out how to use their body. It also teaches them how to problem solve, as they have to figure out which rock to chose next to get to their desired destination.

It was a really enjoyable afternoon, well worth the money. My son said the next time I have to join in. So we shall see how that works out. :))

Wishi washi houses…

littlehouseswm16 copy

Making the wishi washi houses

littlehouseswm163 copy

All in a row…


It’s all in your hands

Wishi washi houses so named by my kids. My kids had another crafty idea over the weekend with little visitors. My kids showed our little guests how to make cute little houses. They had great fun colouring them in.












All you need is:

Tiolet rolls


Hard card

Washi tape in different colours.

It’s great as a rainy day project and why not join in yourself and make a little wishi washi house.




Let’s get crafty…



Let’s get crafty.

Last week, the kids had a friend over on a play date. Now, I don’t know about any of you, but for me it means one eye on the kids while I get sucked into the housework: the boring mundane reality of cooking, washing etc, etc. I wish little gremlins would come out and magically do it for us parents.

We decided the chores could wait and we were all going to have a bit of fun. I was shopping during the week and bought a load of art materials, including key rings. I gave the kids a look at what was on the table and they decided on the key rings. They began by sketching their ideas.

Mmmm What will I draw next..

Mmmm What will I draw next..

They choose the colours and the materials they were going to use. I have lots of scraps of materials, but you could also use scraps of material from clothes. We began cutting out the shapes for the ideas.


   Smile your on camera

I showed them how to thread the needles and demonstrated how to sew. Just use scraps of material to begin with to practice on.  Now there was lots of troubleshooting, lots of knots, but they persevered.

Froozen chocolate banana pieces.

Frozen Bananas with chocolate and sprinkles

It can get frustrating for some children, so take a break and leave it aside for a while. Have something nice like we did: yummy frozen banana pieces with sprinkles.


Stitching the mouth onto the character.

We went on to sew the various bits and bobs onto the fabric once they had a few practice runs. I hope you like the photos. All my photos, except my product shots, are taken by me. I don’t have a team of people taking the shots either, so bear with me. Any tips would be gladly taken on board from like-minded photo enthusiasts…. and bloggers.



Two friends helping each other with their designs. It’s good for children to help each other and work out problems together. Stand back and watch.

My daughter decided on using some beads on her key rings. This is the joy of looking at your children creating arts and craft at your kitchen table. My son helped their friend with the sewing.  They get so involved in the creative process. The finished piece went onto the school bags beside a good message from The Road Safety Authority: “Be Safe, Be Seen”.


Hope you are enjoying the Easter break.

Jacinta & Family x





My children’s world

My children’s world at the moment is about having fun and being active…….

Summer camps are great. We parents can live in hope that they use up all that energy by the time we collect them!

Having the kids in summer camp is allowing me  to get some work done. I promised I would show you some more, so here is the next piece (shown above). It is from a drawing that my son did two years ago. He was sitting at the kitchen table and he drew this along with his dad. They are small, but I kept them as I just loved the way he drew the fingers and reaching out with the long arm . So I decided to put in the heart. When I showed the finished piece to my son, he called it “I love you this much…”. As always, I’m trying to capture a moment in my child’s life.

I use free motion embroidery from an original drawing from my son. This is on sale in my online shop, I can incorporate different wordings, e.g names of different people, be it “I love you this much mum/dad/granny/daughter’s (name) or son’s name”. Just let me know. Again the heart is detachable

When the kids come home I find they are still wired to the moon and asking the question “what are we doing now mummy?” This week our son was in soccer camp and my daughter in Cul Camps. We are trying to encourage them to save their money and paying for things themselves, so their birthday money went towards helping to pay for the summer camps.

Our  son won player of the week last week in soccer camp. So he was quitely chuffed. To the boy who wasn’t sure he wanted to play soccer and now loves it. Thanks to the encouragement of the volunteers who run the summer camps.

So far, so good. They really are enjoying their summer.20150717_152913

Hope your children are having fun also…



Please subscribe with your email address to hear of more blog posts. Jxx&co




Butterfly kisses



There were butterfly kisses from our children last week. We decided as a family to pay a visit to The Straffan Butterfly Farm. It was a very special day, as it was our son and their big brothers birthday.  Nine years ago, we said hello and goodbye all in a space of a couple of days. It is something no parent should have to do, each year brings a flood of memories.

We are so glad we chose the butterfly farm, as it really felt special and the children loved looking at all the different butterflies. It is run by Des and Iris Fox. We met and spoke to Iris on our visit. She said for the past 31 years they have open the doors to part of their home and a big part of their lives.

There is an educational area where we got to look at lots of different types of butterflies and also some live creatures.


Leopard Geeko

straffanbutterflyfarmstickinsect15Like the Leopard Geeko, some strange looking stick insects or a rather friendly snake trying to find a way out of his glass home.


Smiles all round…

Our children were very attentive for the video, which gives the life cycle of the Butterfly. I think they got top marks from us, for sticking with it. At the end , we agreed that it was very interesting.


Showing the eggs under the leaf.

Then it was time to go into the tropical house to meet (not touch) some of the butterflies, we had learn’t about. Beautiful, so fragile and we were in awe of the different colours. We got to see the eggs,


Meeting the Scatterpillars?


An army of Pupae….

the caterpillars eating, the pupae and the butterflies.


I just like seeing the world upside down….It makes it all the more interesting..

The children really enjoyed the whole experience and it really is worth a visit. Sadly this is the final year, so put it on your to do list for the summer holidays. You won’t be dissappointed, we promise.