A Sunday afternoon at National Trust’s Dyffryn Gardens

I’ve driven past the signs for Dyffryn Gardens a million times and always wondered what it was like…. my birthday a few weeks ago gave me the perfect opportunity to drag my other half and W there for a few hours…. and we all LOVED it!

It cost about ยฃ8 each to go in (W was free) – there’s a little play area before you even pay to go in, and a cafรฉ and shop at the main entrance… but we headed straight towards the grounds… past the main house…

Dyffryn Gardens - the main house
Dyffryn Gardens – the main house

There was a large open space in front of the house… W loved running around, in and out of people playing croquet (eek!)

Dyffryn gardens
Dyffryn gardens

As you move around, then you enter a world of little small walled gardens of all styles… it was all so beautiful and well-kept, felt like magical secret gardens… here’s some pics….

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As you can tell, the weather was a bit overcast but we were still pleasantly surprised that it was very peaceful for a Sunday in school holidays – the area is so big I can’t imagine it ever feeling busy! We enjoyed it so much that we’re considering buying the annual National Trust membership (about ยฃ100) so that we can go here all the time – it’s only 20 mins or so away!

If you’re considering going with older children, I must add that I was very impressed – they had loads of activities running from making nests to cooking marshmallows on a fire, I can’t remember the rest but there was loads to do…. we’ll definitely be back!

Small print: We paid to go in with our own money, and opinions are my own. For more info visit their website

REVIEW: Chicco 123 activity centre – baby walker to ride-on*

Baby W was very excited when this big box arrived….

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The Chicco 123 is basically a 3-in-1:

  1. A baby walker for babies aged 6 months old up
  2. A push-along ‘first steps’ for roughly 9 months up
  3. A ride-on for toddlers aged 18 months and older

As W was 14 months old when it arrived, we skipped the first step as he would be too big for it – and tried out the ‘first steps’ bit….

Chicco 123 first steps mode
Chicco 123 first steps mode

He went straight for the phone on the activity centre as you can see above and below… he wouldn’t let it go ๐Ÿ˜‰

He quite enjoyed toddling around with the ‘baby steps’ version but because he was already walking confidently by the time we got it, he didn’t really ‘need’ it as a push-along. It would have come in really handy when he really was taking his first steps as I can imagine it’s great for their confidence… feels very sturdy and good to control, not too fast or anything!

I know he’s a little bit young for it but I wanted to try out the ‘ride on’ part so we put that together….

Chicco 123 ride-on
Chicco 123 ride-on

…and he LOVED it! It’s a little bit big for him so I had to push him along but he really enjoyed it and was bouncing up and down for more!

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On his tip-toes – a bit big for him

I think it’s great that all 3 parts have the activity centre as the main element – he loved this…

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….as well as his favourite element – the phone, it also has a mirror, a panda button and ladybird switch – I think it looks really cute

Chicco 123 activity centre
Chicco 123 activity centre

Now this activity centre also has sounds, but we haven’t experienced them yet as you need a screwdriver to put the batteries in and I have no idea where our screwdriver is! I’m always puzzled why brands insist on this screwdriver thing, they should make products as easy as possible for new parents!

Overall toddler W loved this… I think as he gets older we will get lots of use out of the ride-on, and I think we can officially call the phone ‘his first mobile phone’! Here’s some pros and cons I thought of if you’re thinking of buying it….

Pros

  • Great value for money – you should be able to buy it for ยฃ69.99 which I think is great considering you get 3 different uses out of it from a little baby to a big toddler!
  • In our case, if I’d got this sooner – I might have been able to do without the jumperoo we bought, and the vtech baby walker – saves you having to buy lots of different things!
  • Looks good, bright colours etc
  • Relatively easy to put together – things just slot together easilyย (it took me a while but I’m just rubbish at instructions!)
  • Feels safe and sturdy – not flimsy at all
  • Easy to clean as it’s all plastic
  • Height adjustable
  • A really cute function which we haven’t done yet, but we will – you can get a customisable sticker with your child’s name on it to stick on to the front – I think this isย  a really cute touch!

Cons

  • The biggest negative for me is the size – the baby walker might have been ok in our living room but there’s no way we could put the push-along/ride-on in the house – W would be going round in circles and banging into stuff lots! It’s perfect for us as a garden toy, but our house is just too small for using it indoors – so worth checking the measurements (if you have a big house you don’t need to worry!)
  • Because of it’s size and sturdy nature, it’s quite bulky to put away too – you could take it apart easily butย the main frameย needs a bit of space even if it’s flat against a wall- ours lives in the shed!
  • Only other slight negative is needing a screwdriver to get the sounds working!

For me, the pros outweigh the cons – it’s really good value for money when you compare it against buying things like jumperoos and walkers separately…. for more information, Chicco have a lovely webpage that describes it better than I did – like the height, security and customisation features!

If you enjoyed reading this, check out more of my reviews here – everything from breastfeeding equipment that I bought to spa treatments…

*Disclaimer: Chicco kindly sent me this 123 to review, but opinions are my own

Toddler W and Mummy’s 15 month update

Can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last blogged…. busy, busy, busy!!

Since then baby W is no longer a baby and definitely seems more like a toddler so he’ll no longer be called baby W ๐Ÿ˜‰

He turned 15 months oldย last week…

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Since our last update:

He’s of an age where we can’t stay in all day – if it’s raining we’ll go to softplay and he loves that (loves wendy houses and the little tikes cars!) but we’ve been blessed with some sunny days and over the last 2 months we’ve visited:

  • Cefn Mably farm
  • the Brecon Beacons (garwnant park),
  • family in Hay-on-Wye (that’s him with my auntie in the photo)
  • stayed with my mum for a week in mid Wales and he loved the paddling pool in Aberystwyth (it was during a heatwave!)
  • his first (mini) festival (Tafwyl in Cardiff)
  • lovely Penllergaer park in Swansea for our first father’s day without my dad
  • our family favourite, Roath Park!
Walking in Roath Park with daddy!
Walking in Roath Park with daddy!

When we’re at home, he’s going through a phase of picking up as much stuff as he can in one go! And passing things from one hand to the other, and hiding things in cupboards…. much fun! For example… helping me with the laundry….

laundry helper!
laundry helper!

It’s amazing to watch him, he’s like a sponge soaking things up and copying new things like trying to copy me feed the cats, or trying to put keys in doors!

Our current routine

  • He wakes up about 5/5.30/6 – we give him a bottle of milk to buy us another half hour in bed – so he’s up about 6/6.30
  • Breakfast about 7.30-8
  • He has a nap from roughly 9-11 (usually without any milk – I give him milk or water if he won’t settle) sometimes this can be a 3 hour nap!
  • 11/11.30 – snacks or a light lunch
  • He’s dropped his afternoon nap – he might have a power nap in the car/pram if we’re out and about but if we leave him sleep for more than half hour it disrupts his evening routine…
  • 2ish another light lunch/snacks
  • 5.30 – dinner
  • 6 – bath, bottle, bed
  • 7 – usually asleep by 7 and most of the time sleeps through ๐Ÿ™‚

He’s still good at drinking water, I’ve not given him any squash/juice yet. He’s a pretty good eater – goes through phases! Still loves his cheesy pasta the most ๐Ÿ™‚

Hates having his nappy changed, and getting dressed!

Loves books, remote controls, mobile phones.

Height and weight – still NO idea! Must measure him and weigh him soon! He’s in size 4+ nappies, and mostly 12-18 month old clothes, although in bottoms he’s still mostly in 9-12 month old clothes – not worried at all though, he was always going to be on the petite side ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s it for now ๐Ÿ™‚ x