Toddler W’s 18 month update

Forgive me readers, I haven’t written one of these updates for a few months now but last week our big boy hit his 18 month milestone :)

Vital stats 

The health visitor came to do a home visit to check in on him, first time we’d seen her in a year! She was very happy with his progress as he was babbling away to her and trying to share his toys with her!

He weighed 26lbs/11kg which puts him in the 75th percentile which I was quite surprised about as he seems so small to me, compared to others of his age! We wanted to measure his height but surprise surprise he wouldn’t stand still for it!

His shoe size is now 5G… And I think he has 16 teeth… Only 4 to go til teething is behind us!!

Nappies: size 5

Clothes: 12-18 months, some things are getting a bit tight so will start getting the next size up now

Routine: wakes 6am ish, breakfast an hour or so later, snacks/meals every couple of hours… Still naps for 2 hours (bliss!!) from 12-2….. Dinner at 5, bath at 6, in bed by 7….. The only bottle of milk he has is before bed…. 9 times out of 10 he sleeps through :)



Well after a run of very good health apart from teething and the odd cold, we were hit hard last week by a bout of croup… When a cough had turned into a bark and he was struggling to breathe at 2am we phoned NHS direct and they phoned an ambulance so we had our first trip to A&E!

They gave him steroids which started working pretty quickly, we were home a couple of hours later and he was fully back to normal within a few days… Phew!



As you know, he’s been running around for many months so the most recent developments have been his language… He babbles a lot, enjoys conversations, understands a lot of instructions (eg if you ask him to fetch something, or put something away) and knows about 10 words… Mama, dada, puss, banana, go, car, yeah, ummm, no, bye… And his favourite word… More! (Need to teach him some Welsh words now :))

He’s showing signs of knowing when he’s peeing, I mentioned it to the health visitor who said we could potty training but if you start this early it can take longer…. So I think we’ll wait a while!



He’s still very much the fearless, independent, confident little boy he’s always been. Not much phases him, fine with big crowds, goes straight up to dogs (aaargghh!) and jumps off anything (aaargghh!)!

He’s always on the go, very rarely sits still. I’m always in amazement when parents with similar aged toddlers post photos on their Facebook of them snuggled on the sofa watching a movie… Never happens in this house!!

He’s usually happy and loves life but my God has he also started having tantrums, which can include head butting walls/floors etc! Managing those is our current parenting challenge :)



Stories at bedtime… Julia Donaldson books among others

fave TV show: Bananas in Pyjamas

fave food: still cheesy pasta, also loves fish fingers and beans

fave snack: banana

fave cuddly toy: tigger

He loves being outdoors and we were blessed with beautiful autumnal weather over the last few months… So lots of trips to the park etc… Shame winter is now here :(


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12 things to do in and around Bluestone resort with your toddler

We recently spent 7 nights at the lovely Bluestone resort with our 17 month old. If you’re heading there with your toddler here’s some of the things you can get up to…

1 – Swim/paddle in the Blue Lagoon

Staying at Bluestone gives you free entry to their swimming pool complex, the blue lagoon. Most mornings we tried to head there for the 9am opening, and W loved it. He would wander as far into the main pool as he could, and then keep running back to the toddler pool where he could steer his ship and explore the ‘rock pools’ – brilliant place, and nice spacious family changing areas too!

2 – Circus soft play

W loved this too, a big playroom in the Adventure centre. Plenty to keep them occupied from a push along train/roller coaster thing, to bubbles, to little teepees, really great and again free to use!
The Circus at Bluestone

3 – the rest of the Adventure centre

We didn’t really use this as much as it’s better for slightly older kids, but your toddler could use the softplay on the ground floor too, ball pools and a bouncy castle!

4 – throw stones into the stream down at Camp Smokey

This is an outdoor eating place in a little valley, but we actually wondered down there for a walk when it was closed so eerily had the place to ourselves… And precious memories were made with dad showing W how to throw stones into the stream… So cute!

Throwing stones at Smokey Joe's

5 – a dinner show at the Wild wood cafe

We loved this, we paid about £20? £25? for the ‘shelby snail’ dinner which involved a lovely fairy telling stories, a platter of food and a chance to meet, and have photos with, the character of the show which in our case was Shelby snail! And we loved that it was an early dinner… Running from 4.30-6pm with food brought out about 5.15 – perfect for us!


6 – eat out at the Farmhouse Grill or Knight’s tavern

We had a meal at the pub, the Knights tavern, which was ok but we much preferred the Farmhouse grill. We had the Sunday carvery there and a mid-week dinner, the food and service was great both times with 2 added bonuses for toddlers.. A fab little indoor play area, and they start serving dinner at 4.30pm!

Tenby half lobster at the farmhouse grill

Tenby half lobster at the farmhouse grill

7 – Book them into the crèche

We used the creche a couple of times and found it great, good staff and facilities, when we went to pick W up he was having a whale of a time! It cost £24 for 3 hours and seems to be on every few days.

8 – go to the Spa while they’re in the creche!

The spa is fab… A big outdoor jacuzzi, 2 saunas, 2 steam rooms, a salt room, and an ice room. Very relaxing :)

9 – try one of the toddler classes

We went to a toddler sensory class, which was £7 for an hour. Half an hour of that is ‘free play’ in the free-to-use circus room which I thought was a bit cheeky… The second half was fun though, singing and dancing (the adults… While all the toddlers were running off in all directions!)

They run a few messy play sessions that we missed, would like to check them out next time!

10 – Carew inn

Just a few miles away from Bluestone, we stumbled upon a lovely pub called the Carew inn. Good food, good value, and lovely, helpful staff… Oh and it has this fab outdoor play area….


11 – Carew castle

Just across the road from the pub is a beautiful, derelict castle. Entry was £5 each per adult and W loved running around these magical, eerie grounds with lovely views across an estuary.

Carew castle

Carew castle

12 – a day trip to Tenby

We went to Tenby a couple of times during our week there, I hadn’t been for a few years and had forgotten how lovely it is (especially off-peak!)

We found a cute little park overlooking South Beach (the park with best views ever!) and had a nice cuppa tea in the lovely cafe/bar/restaurant on South beach… after a run around on the sand!

image image

Hope you find this useful if you’re heading to Bluestone… If you’ve already been, what did you and your toddler get up to?!

Small print: unlike most bloggers, I paid for our trip to Bluestone and opinions are my own :)

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Does it matter if he looks like a girl?!

I mentioned in my last post that at the age of 16 months, we finally got W’s hair cut.

Why ‘finally’?!

Well ‘people’ have been suggesting I get it cut since he was about 6 months old! His hair grew quickly so by the time he was 1 he was already looking much like a little surfer dude…

Long-haired boy

Long-haired boy

I was loving this look, rats tails and all but in a heated moment of madness while he was in the bath, I decided to trim those mullet rat tails but the leave the rest.


Of course, when we got up the next day I realised that I’d totally messed up the back of his head and decided I’d prefer to cut it all off than look at my failed barber attempt every day. An emergency appointment followed, he did really well sitting down for his cut and only cried when the hair around his ears was being trimmed! Weeks later I have grown to love his new cut. He does look more grown-up, he looks totally different. I do miss his long locks though and hope they grow back soon.


He got mistaken for a girl quite a few times pre-haircut, but that didn’t bother me at all! I don’t dress him in the most masculine of clothes (follows his mum with Breton stripe tops, mustard leggings and the like) and he still plays with pink toys, but post-haircut he hadn’t been mistaken for a girl once.

I’m kinda bittersweet about it. Proud of my gorgeous boy looking all grown-up. But sad that society thinks he should have short hair, and that longer hair is a girly thing. Isn’t it a bit sad that we’re already judging them and defining them at such a young age?! Isn’t it a bit boring conforming to norms? Surely this is EXACTLY the age where it shouldn’t matter what he looks like? He has a lifetime of school, work and life’s norms and rules to conform to… So for now, could we let him be? And let his hair be wild and free?!

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REVIEW: Funky little chickens hair salon and Cafe Junior, Cardiff

I’ll write a whole other post about it, but I had to get W’s haircut for the first time. There was nowhere else I would think of going other than Funky little chickens… I’d gone there for our baby massage classes and been well impressed with the  cars to sit in and dvd’s to watch, to keep the little ones distracted while they get their chopped off!

Since then they’ve set up shop in Cafe junior, Roath so I thought we’d kill two birds and try both!

Firstly I was mega impressed than when I phoned on a Friday afternoon they could fit W in at 0920 the next morning… A perfect time for us as we’ve already been up a couple of hours… And the traffic/parking is dead quiet at that time!!

I can’t remember the hairdresser’s name but she was lovely… She got straight to the task in a no-nonsense kind of way but she was very caring and great with W too.

He LOVED the car and it made him so happy that it took him several minutes to realise that something was happening to his hair!

The haircut was all done in about 10-15 mins. I think it normally costs £8 but of course I got carried away and spent the £4 for a certificate and lock of hair in a box! As well as a great product and service, I do love their branding and little touches!

So, haircut done and this gave us free access to Cafe junior, a cafe/softplay that also opens as a family-friendly bistro in the evenings. I’d wanted to try this place out a lot when I was on maternity leave but the parking in Roath put me off every time!

But here we were, we finally made it! We were the first ones in that morning so W loved having the run off the place while me and the other half were able to have coffee/brekkie on a comfy sofa… Very relaxing atmosphere with even relaxing music being played!

I loved it… Totally different to the bigger softplay places that can feel a bit claustrophobic and loud. Cafe junior has high ceilings and a very, light airy feel.

Cafe junior

Cafe junior

I’d take a punt and say it was the most middle-class place of its kind in Cardiff. While we were there,  some dads met for breakfast/toddler play dates (never seen that before!) a well-to-do French lady and smart Italian man (not together!) enjoyed a coffee while watching over their kids.

It makes a refreshing change that you can sit comfily and even if your little one is ever so slightly out of sight, you know they’re fine… No hoards of big kids trampling over them, no ‘big kid’ equipment that they’re trying to clamber over… Just lots of excellent toddler toys… Wendy houses and the like.

I wonder how busy this place gets on a Saturday afternoon? We’ll definitely be back on a Saturday morning again, hopefully before his next haircut which could be another 16 months away ;)

small print: I wasn’t asked, or paid, to write this.. Just wanted to share our experience with you!

If you found this useful you might like 9 essential baby classes or a toddler’s afternoon in Cardiff bay 

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A shopping trip to McArthur Glen Discount Outlet

Last weekend I had a few free hours while W and daddy went to watch some local rugby… So I thought I’d go for some retail therapy at McArthur glen which is just about 20 mins away.

It’s actually quite toddler-friendly… They have little tykes cars that they can drive round in, and there’s a play area.. I’m sure I will take W with me at some point but for this occasion is was nice to have some mummy time… And I ended up topping up his autumn/winter wardrobe with these beauties…. First off Gap where I got 2 long-sleeved vests, a long-sleeve top, lovely warm joggers and fleece-lined jeans for £40… A bargain for Gap :)




Then off to Next where I picked up this lovely waterproof, fleece-lined coat for £17


I bought a couple of other bits including my usual Yankee candle (lemon lavender mmmm) and treated myself to a couple of mummy pieces from Fat face… The skirt (£15) will have to wait till next summer but the jumper (£20) will be perfect for the next few months :)



So a successful albeit slightly more expensive than planned afternoon! So lucky to have a discount outlet on our doorstep!

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Cardiff bay…. from a mother and toddler’s viewpoint

I used to live within walking distance from Cardiff bay…. If we wanted to nip to the local, the local was essentially the range of pubs/bars/restaurants in Cardiff bay. So I have LOTS of drunken memories there, from sunny all-dayers to Christmas parties in the comedy club.


Fast forward a few years and I popped down there a few weeks ago with W for our usual Friday trip! It was the last day of the summer long Cardiff Bay beach which I thought was ok, better for older kids. W is at that stage of running off everywhere so I would have enjoyed it more if the area was enclosed and he didn’t keep running off towards the deep water of the bay!


After a runaround the ‘beach’ i popped him back in buggy and headed to the Wales millennium centre. Should have taken a photo but it’s a lovely armadillo-type building which hosts shows etc. it has a large indoor lobby and I knew they had a kids area. This seemed to be having a bit of a refurb but they did have 2 tables of Lego out so W was in his element just playing with these new toys!

Again, he eventually kept trying to escape (I really need to sort this out haha!) so it was time to leave (would Defo take him back there on a rainy day!!) and I thought I’d push him across the beautiful barrage where I knew there was a play area….


On the way there I stumbled upon a little park that I’d never noticed before, nestled between a pub I used to frequent and the Norwegian church. It was perfect for W… Not too big but enough space to run around, totally enclosed and we had the place to ourselves!


As I sat there watching him running round like a loon while I chilled out for 5, I guess it just struck me how places take on a different life when you’re a parent! I must have walked past this park a hundred times and never noticed it before, and over time I’ll probably know where all the soft plays are in Cardiff but not have a clue where the best pubs are (actually I think that’s already happened!)

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REVIEW: Chai Street (Indian street food restaurant), Cardiff

A couple of weeks ago I finally made it to Chai street in Canton, have wanted to go there for ages and it was well worth the wait….

I love the decor, a bit quirky… Indian film posters


I went there with my sister and we both ordered the Chai special thali for a bargain £9.95…

I think they mix up what you get but we were treated to the nicest ever onion bhaggi as a starter, the most tender chicken and lamb curries, and amazing-tasting lentil dhal and a potato dish….


Delicious!! With the rice, naan, poppadoms… It defeated me! Very good value for £9.95, great quality and amazing flavours!

The mango lassi was suitably sweet and refreshing….


And then I had sorbet to finish… I’m afraid I can’t remember what flavours I had but I remember it was just what you needed :)


The bill was presented with this very cute bowl of sweets…. Unfortunately for me their prettiness fooled me and before you knew it I was munching on a mouthful of aniseed. Dang.


Don’t let that put you off! I really enjoyed our meal at Chai street, the food was delicious and didn’t feel too heavy, was great value and left me wishing I could eat more!

I’ve not been to their parent restaurant, Mint and Mustard, but I must give it a try after this! My favourite Indian restaurant in Cardiff up until now has been the Purple Poppadom but I think Chai street is for the more informal, early dinner.

It’s quite a small place, and you can’t book… So get there early so you don’t miss out… Hopefully I will see you there :)

Small print: I wasn’t asked or paid to review this, just wanted to share a great restaurant with you :)

If you enjoyed reading this you might enjoy my review of the street food at Depot, Cardiff... Or maybe try exploring Rhiwbina!?

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