S is 2!

Over a month ago (bad mummy blogger alert!) our beautiful blue-eyed baby boy turned 2!

I still can’t believe it, I know everyone says this but seriously, S still looks and is the same size as a baby!

He can still fit in a lot of 12-18 month clothes!

Personality

Anyway what’s our little 2 year old like?!

Wild!! Is this second-child syndrome or just a difference to his bigger brother W I don’t know but S is more fearless and headstrong than W… quite often the ringleader leading older children astray! Loves being the centre of attention! His self-confidence is great…. apart from when you need him to listen to you to stop throwing his food etc!

Toddler with ducks roath Park

He loves music and has been quite obsessed with ‘wheels on the bus’ for months and months now. He’ll do the driving motion and say ‘rah rah’ (round round) if he wants to hear it. We bought him a ride-on bus and play bus for his birthday and he loves them!

He’s so obsessed with wheels on the bus that he loves taking wheels off their toy cars…. we’ve no idea where they’ve got to so can only imagine that somewhere in the house/garden there is a stash of wheels!!

Talking

He’s a bit behind his talking compared to where W was at this age. It’s hard to imagine W was S’s age when S was born, S seems so much younger, partly because his language is a bit further behind.

Nothing to worry about though, his talking is coming on, he’s just started putting words together like ‘dadda car’ or ‘dadda ipad’. He says quite big words like ‘ambulance’ and ‘aeroplane’. I’ve been trying to teach him numbers and colours for months and he finally said ‘blue car’ the other day!

Instead of saying hot he gestures with his hands and says ‘ai ai’!

He’s becoming very good at copying us and saying things like ‘five minutes’ ‘not this one’ and ‘here we are’

Skills

He has quite good communication skills… he’ll grab me by the hand to where he wants to go. He’s started following tasks like tidying up and putting things in the bin. He loves coming with me to feed our cats.

When he’s on form, he’s very self-sufficient playing with his toys etc. By this age W always lined his toy cars up but S doesn’t do this. He loves driving his little tykes car, and generally loves the outside. Loves ducks, dogs. On his birthday weekend we went to Bluestone and he happily sat next to ducks by the lake!

Toddler with dog

Routine

He usually wakes about 7-8am and has a 2 hour (ish) nap about noon. Goes to bed about 7pm and can sleep through but this heatwave since his birthday has messed that up a bit! He still has milk for bed and has started asking for it in the day now which I think is just down to the hot weather. Food… depends what mood he’s in, usually likes ham, chicken, hummus, pasta and fruit.

He’s much fun and has us in stitches with his funny faces… rolling his eyes etc. Life is certainly an adventure with this one… no time for sitting still… running, jumping, climbing! He loves slides and swings!

What a fun (tiring!) 2 years S… let’s see what the next year brings, love you our little blonde, blue-eyed boy xxx

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A lovely week with the boys in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca

We went to Spain for a week in January. It was a bit of a disaster. We needed to balance it out!

We decided to try Majorca in May… just a 2/2.5 hour flight to contend with, and nice sunny weather without being too hot for our boys. We looked into lots of different hotels but in the end booked the Playa Mar in Puerto Pollensa based on a friend’s recommendation. It looked lovely and it had really good reviews online.

Puerto Pollensa sunset

We booked directly with the hotel, and booked flights with Thomas cook. When booking it turned out cheaper to upgrade to premium economy than pay for our luggage. So what a great start to the holiday… front row seats with extra legroom… meals… free drinks… both boys had a nap so I had a cheeky prosecco at 10am as you do when it’s the international rules of drinking!

Our private transfer went smoothly and when we arrived at the Playa mar we knew we’d picked the right place! Very spacious room, very child-friendly pools etc… perfect!

There were 2 days where we just stayed pool-side which was lovely to watch the boys splashing in the pools having fun.

The rest of the week we strolled into Puerto Pollensa every day, watching fish in the sea, playing on the sand etc.

Puerto Pollensa pine walk

We loved the hotel, and the resort. Puerto Pollensa is very chilled and relatively upmarket – not the place to come if you’re looking for wild nightlife etc!

Everything went pretty smoothly and it was lovely to make a week’s worth of memories 🙂

  • S seeing all the aeroplanes in the airport, so excited!
  • Getting tipsy after a couple of sips of cava (I’d just had a massage in my defence!)
  • S learning how to say ‘coco’ (the hotel mascot) straight away (despite us trying to teach him numbers and colours for months!)
  • S starting a new trend with big brother W of tucking t-shirts under their chins and walking around
  • It became apparent that week that he actually leads his bigger brother astray like dancing at the disco every night
  • In town, ordering ‘some’ tapas as a pre-dinner before having our usual dinner in the hotel later on. 70 euros and 7 massive dishes later, we didn’t have a second dinner that night!
  • S taking part in a Zumba fitness class much to the hilarity of everyone around!
  • Feeding the fish after breakfast every morning.
  • Puerto Pollensa pine walk
  • Visiting the frogs after dinner every night.
  • W making friends (some were thug-like!) at the swimming pool
  • Walking to what looked like a local park on google maps to find a big fenced off area full of trees!?
  • Seeing the mansion where they filmed the Night Manager!
  • Buying toys, crockery and smoothies at the local market.
  • S chucking food and crockery (plastic thankfully) around at pretty much every meal
  • Playamar swimming pool
  • Stealing croissants at breakfast time for mid-morning picnics
  • W and I having free ice cream every day 🙂
  • The sunsets on the pine walk
  • The cava, sangria and rosé wine

Sangria and cava

It was a lovely week, and it went pretty smoothly for a holiday with 2 young boys. Coming back we’d paid £30 for priority which paid for itself when we saw the check-in queues at Palma airport!

Playa mar and Puerto Pollensa… we will definitely be back!

REVIEW: Playamar aparthotel and spa, Puerto Pollensa, Majorca

A month ago we spent a fantastic week in the Playamar, we loved it so much we want to try and go back in a few months!

Puerto Pollensa pine walk playa mar hotel

Lobby and public spaces

From the minute you arrive, the hotel has a lovely feel about it, a lovely lobby with soft drinks and fizz to welcome you after your journey.

As you navigate to your room after checking in, you’re welcomed with some lovely bits of nature like ponds with Koi and frogs in, then the inside of the hotel blocks having lovely light atriums in there.

Rooms

When we booked, we paid a bit more for one of the ‘superior’ rooms. I think these are the same size indoors as the standard rooms but you basically get a decent amount of outdoor space with a Balinese bed, instead of a standard balcony.

All the superior rooms are on the ground floor, and as all the other rooms half face the pool while the other half face the rear. I think our room number was 4013 or similar and we were pleased with the location… towards the end of a corridor so not too much passing noise like our last hotel stay, and we were overlooking the kids play area (and could see the hills in the background!)

We were really delighted with the room… nice modern decor, lots of space and plenty of storage space. The boys shared the bedroom, while me and the OH slept on the pull-out bed. The pull-out bed was really comfy! And there was a sofa too (whereas usually the sofa turns into the sofa bed)

We were surprised not to have a bath, just a shower but within a day or two the boys were loving the new routine of having a shower after dinner!

So we loved the inside, but we LOVED the outside. It was so nice having basically an extra room for the boys to play in, such a decent-sized area and a nice place to sit in the sun!

Swimming pools

The pools are the focal point of the hotel and they were perfect for our little boys… a couple of really shallow pools with slides and big animals to play with!

Also an adults pool, and while we were there, plenty of sun loungers!

Other facilities for kids

Every evening (about 8pm) there was kids disco and entertainment where the amazing staff did singing, dancing and at the end Coco the mascot came out which the boys loved!!

In the daytime there were some kids activities running late afternoon in the kids club. We only went one day when it was ‘Coco’s birthday’ and had face painting, and a birthday party including cake and balloons which was brilliant!! I’m assuming in peak summer, the kids club is open all day?

There’s a play area which kept the boys entertained for ages at a time and there’s a mini football pitch too.

Play area playa mar hotel Puerto Pollensa

So all in all very good facilities for young children!

Other facilities – spa

There’s a lovely, modern spa with pool, sauna, steam room etc. During certain hours you can take children too. I was treated to a massage and can vouch that it was well worth it!

Location

The Playamar is located right at one end of Puerto Pollensa. It’s a 20-30 minute to the main resort along the beautiful ‘pine walk’ along the coast. We saw some beautiful sunsets here, and made some lovely memories paddling in the sea etc.

The walk is lovely but a little bit bumpy for pushchairs etc just to warn you!

It’s a lovely resort, not tacky at all! Plenty of restaurants and shops, play areas on the beach, and the obligatory weekly market in the square!

We didn’t venture further than Puerto Pollensa but the area is very popular with cyclists and lots of people hired cars to explore the nearby mountains, villages and beaches!

Overall summary

We absolutely loved the Playamar and hope to return this year! It was perfect for our little boys… the pools, the space, the spacious rooms… and Coco!

The staff are very friendly and efficient, service is great! We loved the location too.

The only negative we found is that we thought the food in the restaurant was quite average. It wasn’t particularly bad and we always found something for us and the boys to eat, but we have had better quality and range at other all-inclusives. This wasn’t enough to put us off though… we will be back!

Small print: I wasn’t asked to write this review and Playamar didn’t know I would be writing this review.

W turns 4!

Nearly a month ago now, our beautiful first-born turned 4… where does the time go?!

His 4th birthday

Poor W didn’t have the best of birthdays, he’d been fighting a virus on and off all week, he went to school as usual in the morning but just had a lazy afternoon at home with his dad and little brother, and opened his presents when I got home from work…. he was very pleased with his Paw Patroller that he’d been hinting heavily at for weeks! Brother S bought him a couple of dinosaur-related toys that cheered him up to!

He did get to take a cake to school… not just any cake but a Paw Patrol cake! When I did the school run the next morning, about 4 parents commented on it saying how well it had gone down! He must have been a very popular boy that day 😍 and it made me feel less guilty about not hosting a full class party for him!

His birthday party

A few days later he had his party at a local leisure centre, same place he had his 3rd party… bouncy castle etc, lots of family and some friends including one of his best friends from school! This year we got Catboy to make an appearance, although W wasn’t overly bothered… but S absolutely loved him!

We did the usual party food grub, in dinosaur-themed party food boxes and guests got a dinosaur-themed party bag to take home. We forgot to take the dinosaur table cloths and dinosaur balloons… yep I spent a fortune on eBay!

W at 4

He’s clever, curious, very loving and caring, and very polite. Loving and caring in the way he looks out for his little brother, but also me and my OH too.

A month or so ago I picked him up from playgroup and he whispered to me ‘I’ve got something for you in my pocket’ and he’d picked some daisies for me because he knows I love flowers!

Clever in that he learns quickly and retains information ‘they’re not flumps, they’re mallows’ ‘how do you know that?”that’s what paw patrol call them!’

Curious in that he asks ‘why’ about a million times a day!! ‘Do grasshoppers live in water?’ ‘No they live on land’ ‘but why mama’ ‘cos they don’t like to get wet’ ‘why?’…. 😂

He has a way with words… all his requests begin with ‘a long time ago, I would like….’

He’s full of intrigue and has a great sense of imagination. Loves playing in his own little world but equally is pretty sociable.

He can also be very sensitive at times. Although he can be confident enough, I feel like he’s always be a follower, not a leader. In big groups or new situations he can become a bit reserved. And he can still cry over the littlest of things.

Being a May baby he’s one of the youngest of the school year, and combined with his sensitivity and gentle nature I do worry sometimes that he’ll always be a bit young for his age.

W at school

W started school (nursery) back in September and he’s come on leaps and bounds. They have an amazing teacher and the focus has been on confidence and structure… getting them ready for their reception class.

He settled in ok straight away but he was a bit shy. For the Christmas concert he cried every day in rehearsals and we didn’t think he’d make it but he did! When we had a parents evening around Easter his teacher said he’s come a really long way in terms of confidence which is a huge relief.

He gets on well with the other kids and has some small groups that he hangs out with (one being ‘the superhero crew’!)

He never shares much about what he gets up to in school every day (although he did tell me when the teacher threatened to phone the police on them as they weren’t tidying up haha!) but he can write his name, and follow letters/numbers when he’s writing. He can draw numbers 1 to 10. He can draw little pictures eg his family, which is so cute!

At home he’s showing signs of starting to read… basically there’s a couple of books (toddle waddle, 10 little dinosaurs) where he’s memorised the words!

He’s good at tidying up, although he does get distracted!

He’s recently started dressing himself and wiping his own bum!

Likes and dislikes

Likes dinosaurs, Andy and the prehistoric adventures magazines, trips to McDonald’s, days out and soft plays, treats, ice cream, sharks, stories, adventures

Can’t actually think of anything he dislikes right now!

He loves his little brother S and is an excellent big brother, looking out for him and having lots of fun with him. Although they do have their moments, fighting over toys usually. W can still throw a good tantrum/meltdown and he’ll say ‘I don’t like you anymore’ or ‘I’m never going to play with you again’

Eating and sleeping

He’s a pretty good eater, still loves pasta which has been his staple favourite for 3 years now! Recent new foods he’s tried and liked are baked sweet potato and chicken korma (he loves the naan breads and poppadums that come with it!)

We moved house nearly a year ago and he got his big boy bed. Since then probably every other night he’s wandered into our room… we went through a phase of letting sleep with us but now we (OH!) puts him back in his bed in the middle of the night.

Vital stats

Bad mum alert. No idea what his height or weight are. Weight wise actually he’s between 15 and 18kg as he’s in between car seats.

He’s in 3-4 tops, 2-3 bottoms and size 8.5 shoes.

So another year’s gone by. Such a big boy, in school and everything! But not too big for lots of cwtches, a lovely, loving, well-behaved, imaginative boy! We love you W xxx

Benalmadena for toddlers: our first holiday abroad as a family of four

Back in January we ventured abroad as a family of four, and it’s only now I can bring myself to write about it!

It was a bit of a disaster:

– we hoped for some winter sun but actually had a storm on our first few days!

– my OH was in bed for most of the week with man flu

-S lost one his shoes half way through the week… and obviously I’d only packed one pair

– S also smashed my iPad to smithereens

– just to add a cherry on top, when coming into land on the way home, the pilot nearly had to divert us to Birmingham due to low-lying fog. I nearly cried. Luckily he was able to land and the whole plane cheered!

Still, we tried to make the best of the situation. My OH’s parents were staying in a hotel down the road so were able to join me and the boys for lunchtime help while OH was on his deathbed!

Beach life

Every day I took the boys for a walk down the beach where they were happy to just play with the pebbly-sand, pushing it down the slide in the playground and the like!

Sealife centre

When my OH was well enough and the weather was a bit naff, we spent a lovely hour or so in the Sea life centre. It’s quite pricey for the size of it but (being out of season) we pretty much had the place to ourselves which was fab and so easy to whizz through! We saw turtles, small sharks, jellyfish, otters, lots of fish… and W was delighted there was a little dinosaur fossil digging area!

Benalmadena marina

From the Sealife centre we took a walk round the large marina… known for its unusual architecture. It was pleasant enough but would be good to see it in full swing in the summer!

Paloma park

Had a great couple of hours here with the boys and in-laws. It’s a very large park in a central area, full of birds and animals (eg rabbits). The boys loved chasing the pigeons etc, but also there’s a brilliant, massive play area there as well as plenty of scenic areas for adults like the selection of cacti!

Buddhist Stupa

And one attraction I did without the kids was grab a taxi up to the Buddhist stupa, a beautiful monument and fantastic location looking down over miles of coastline!

The butterfly park is right next to it and as much as I would have loved to go in, I didn’t want to on my own… I think the boys would have liked it!

So there we have it, certainly a memorable holiday! There was loads to do in the wider area that we didn’t get a chance to do, or places were closed out of season… water parks, zoos and wildlife parks, a crocodile park… Costa del Sol is a great family destination and we did like our family-friendly hotel: the Benalmadena palace

REVIEW: Hotel Benalmádena Palace, Benalmádena, Costa del Sol

Back in January we spent a week in Benalmadena… our first holiday abroad as a family of four!

Our trip was a late deal, we came across the hotel Benalmadena Palace on OnTheBeach, booked it, packed it…. loved it!

Rooms

The rooms are pretty much as seen/described on the website… a living/dining/kitchen area with sofa bed, a separate bedroom with twin beds and a bathroom. One of the reasons we chose this place was the fact it’s an Aparthotel and you have a little kitchen… so handy!

It feels like it’s been renovated within the last few years, quite modern and feels fresh, very clean and spacious enough.

We got a cot bed for S and in doing so blocked the space in front of the wardrobe so we ended up living out of suitcases for the week which is ok, but you’d be fine without the cot in the way!

Facilities – kids club

Another reason we chose the Palace is because they have a kids club. Ours were too young to stay in there unsupervised, which was fine… we just wanted access to a playroom to keep S entertained and we were very impressed!

Benalmadena palace kids club playroom

Plenty of toys, books, craft activities, dressing up… a ball pool/slide and an outdoor play area (which I noticed was in the shade.. very handy for hot summer months!)

For older kids there are lessons e.g. Football, archery

The kids club closes about 3pm/4pm but then opens again later after dinner and after the kids’ disco!

Other facilities

We tried out the indoor swimming pool but it’s 1.5M deep all the way around and I’m not much taller than that so wasn’t much good for me swimming with the boys… W and I stayed by the steps splashing instead! If you’re child-free, there’s a sauna and spa offering massages etc.

Holidaying in January it was way too cold to try out the outdoor pools but these would be fab in the summer.. the little toddler pool looks small but cute!

Food

We were on half board, which meant we had breakfast and dinner included in the buffet restaurant. We couldn’t fault the food. Every night there was something different e.g. Fajitas, Chinese theme, and always plenty for the kids to eat (pasta etc).

There’s a little seating area for families which is handy as yes a bit more informal with wipe-clean tables, and animals on the walls etc. I notice they have an adults-only section of the restaurant too!

We also had lunch a couple of times in the pool-side bar, the food here was great for lunch… pizza, toasted sandwiches, chips etc and it was just about warm enough to sit outside!

Location

The Benalmádena Palace is down the far end of Benalmadena so a bit of a trek (about 30 min walk?) to the main attraction of the marina etc. The hotel has a free shuttle bus every half hour/hour to a place near the marina which is handy!

The hotel is also situated at the top of a hill which a lot of the reviews mention. Although it’s quite steep, it’s not too far and we didn’t struggle with it. Within easy distance of the hotel is a small beach and promenade area, a supermarket (and Burger King with playarea!)

Benalmadena palace from the beach

Any negatives?

We really liked this hotel, the room, food and kids club were all great. I can’t say it was the best holiday as my OH spent most of it ill in bed with man flu!

But anyway, the only negative about the hotel was the noise levels from our room… we were in room 314 which was the same level as the main lobby… the bar is on the floor underneath and the sound just varied up the stairs, not so much the music but more just kids running about etc… they didn’t seem to go to bed til about 11pm! From the bedroom this wasn’t too bad, but sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room, you could hear everything!

In hindsight we should have asked to move, and if we go there again (which we definitely would!) we’ll ask for a quieter room, maybe the 2 floors above the main lobby (as they don’t have the open staircase)

Toddler S’s 21 month update

Less than 3 months to go til S turns into the big ‘2’ so thought I was due to write an update 🙂

Vital stats

I feel like not much has changed since his 18 month update. He’s still a tiny chappy, in 12-18 month clothes and size 4 nappies and size 5 shoes. He’s had a few more teeth come through lately but I honestly can’t see in his mouth long enough to know how many teeth he has!

S usually sleeps through but every now and again has a regression or cough that makes him wake in the night. When he does sleep through it’s usually for 13 hours and he wakes up about 8am which is funny as his older brother was always a 6am riser! S still has a bottle of milk for bed, a habit we took a long time to kick with W too! And S still has a 2-3 hour nap (12-2/3) every day.

Likes

For the last month or so now he’s been absolutely obsessed with ‘rah rah’ which translates as ‘wheels on the bus goes round and round’. Every time he wakes up he dies a driving motion with his arms and asks for ‘rah rah’ which means he wants to watch endless YouTube versions of wheels on the bus! Or the book version he has of the song..

And when he’s had enough of ‘rah rah’ the other thing he’s obsessed with is Baby TV, he loves it!

So I think it’s safe to say he prefers music and visual sounds to playing with toys. He’s always loved music, he got a load of musical instruments and toys (e.g. Baby stereo) for Christmas!

Communication

I don’t think he’s picked up any new words since his last update but I’m not too worried as he still communicates well, babbles a lot and has his own words for things e.g. Medicine is manamana!

He can recite a load of animal sounds on demand, and point to things. Talking of animals he loves ‘quack quacks’ and ‘cat cats’!

What we’ve been up to

Our house has been a bit of a building site but is finally done, so plenty of room to play around in! We had a week in Spain in January which I’ll blog about. And he experienced his first snow a month or so ago…. he was not very impressed!

Overall

S is pretty happy-go-lucky, he goes with the flow, following his brother W and older kids around. Having said that he likes getting his own way and doesn’t like being told off (who does!?)

Generally enjoys his food and still loves making a mess out of it. Loves exploring softplays… he’s off!

I’m back… with one ovary removed! Ovarian cyst operation update…

Another two months has flown by (life, work, finishing off the house extension) but now I finally have time to catch up with blogging as I’m recovering from an operation!

I found out about 5 years ago that I had a large (7cm) cyst on my left ovary. It explained why my periods were irregular and that I had spotting.

It meant I was consultant-led with both pregnancies, in case the cyst toppled and damaged the babies!

It never really caused me any pain, and it was a ‘simple’ cyst so unlikely to turn cancerous. I’d have it checked every 6 months and some consultants would say ‘looks the same, see you in 6 months’ but then one check-up they actually suggested removing it and I thought why not… it would probably save the NHS money in the long-run saving me seeing them every 6 months and there was always a small chance that it could burst and I’d have to have it removed as an emergency.

So after a couple of cancellations yesterday was finally the day. My FIL dropped me off at Llandough hospital at 730am (my OH was on his way home from a weekend in Vegas!). Very organised, lots of questions and checks, straight into a fetching gown and paper pants. At 0830 I’m in the anaesthetic room and then I woke up about 0930.

I was very relaxed going into it. I’ve never had an operation before or had general anaesthetic so I thought I’d feel nervous but I didn’t have much time to dwell on it in the run-up. It was such a smooth process when I got there, I thought there’d be lots of hanging about but again it left me no time to get nervous and all the staff were lovely and friendly, put me at ease. I thought I’d be most nervous at the anaesthetic stage but that was strangely relaxing, a nice feeling of drifting away…

I’m not quite sure where I woke up but then I was back on the ward. I slept in and off for a couple of hours and then by mid-day they were waking me up giving me tea and biscuits, wanting my bed for the next batch of day surgery patients.

At some point during that groggy morning the surgeon came by to tell me that she’d taken my ovary out. She told me this might happen before the operation. It was such a big cyst it was easier to remove the ovary. All done via keyhole surgery as planned. She showed me some photos, I’m not sure they would make sense to me now but they certainly didn’t when I was still very woozy!! I don’t remember her name (Hassan maybe) but I’ll always remember her beautiful brown Mulberry bag!

I’m not that bothered that she had to remove the ovary. We weren’t planning on having any more children, and it’s one less place that I could get cancer in! She said there wouldn’t be any side-effects etc to just having 1 ovary.

So I was home about 1pm, slept all afternoon, as the painkillers wore off last night I was in a bit of pain. So far today I’ve just stayed in bed reading. That area is very tender so hurts a bit if I move around.

Hopefully a couple of days bed rest and I’ll be right as rain. Nice to catch up with reading some books and maybe writing some blogs!

Huge thanks to whole team of NHS staff who cared for me!

6 alternative things to do with a toddler in Cardiff

Everyone’s writing family bucket lists for the year ahead… I thought I’d try an alternative take on the must-do things for a toddler in South Wales… forget Barry Island and St Fagan’s…. what about…

  1. Car wash – the nearest theme park is probably Oakwood which is a couple of hours away. Save hundreds of pounds on a theme park trip by using one of the drive-through car washes… your toddler will find it amazing (and maybe scary) and funny! It’s a good few minutes of entertainment (longer than a rollercoaster) and you end up with a clean car… bonus! There’s one by the Tesco on Western Avenue, pop in there to get a free piece of fruit for said toddler and then treat them to a McDonalds which is also nearby!
  2. Cardiff airport – can’t afford a foreign holiday? Check the departures/arrivals on the airport website (they’re not that frequent) and go and watch an aeroplane land and/or take-off instead! Much excitement for the little ones and chuck in a car picnic for the full sense of adventure! We’ve watched them from the Premier Inn car park and also the playing fields in St Athan where you can see small/private planes take off too!
  3. Pugh’s garden centre – we don’t have an aquarium or zoo nearby so here’s the next best thing. The fish shop at Pugh’s in Morganstown is AMAZING… such a massive selection… plus a tank that little ones can stand in and watch the fish swim past them! With free parking, this is a great, low-cost way to spend a couple of hours…. see snakes and lizards in the reptile shop, treat them to a cheap book or toy in the Works then have a cuppa and a cake in the family-friendly cafe in Pugh’s itself… perfect!Pughs Garden centre fish
  4. Ikea -another great place to kill a few hours…. let your little ones run wild over the showrooms, they will play house for ages! And follow the arrows around the store to the family-friendly restaurant, great value food and good facilities e.g. Plastic cutlery for kids. On a nice day they also have a play area outside. Just don’t go on a weekend. Or when you actually need to buy something. (For those times put them in their crèche!!)
  5. McArthur Glen – best place to get toddler’s feet measured? Clark’s McArthur Glen…. you get the quality of Clark’s but at a fraction of the price! Free parking so a much better idea than going into the city centre… kids love running wild here and wait til they see the free dinosaur-themed play area! One parent watches them while the other gets some retail therapy in! Finish your visit off with an ice-cream or Wagamamas (crayons included!) just don’t let them see the Little Tykes cars you can hire…. oh also this is the only place in South Wales I’ve seen family-friendly toilets with an adult-sized and child-sized toilet in the same room… cuuuuute!
  6. Funky little chickens – if getting your feet measured is a milestone, what about haircuts too… are you really a toddler from Cardiff if you haven’t had your hair cut at Funky Little Chickens?! You get to sit in a car and watch cartoons, so don’t even notice the hair cut going on… genius! Plus they have toy box to keep them entertained while they wait 🙂

So there you have it. Can you think of any other random places that could be added to the list?!

Review of the year 2017… and looking forward to 2018

Happy new year!

I’m looking forward to this one!

2017 felt a bit relentless. After a year of maternity leave, I went back to work in June but started a new role, in a new department. Then about a month later we moved into our new forever home… which we then turned into a building site for the latter part of the year…

My OH was unable to take the 6 month career break he hoped to, so we muddled childcare from family members while juggling jobs and our boys, and while he project managed the house extension etc.

All very #firstworldproblems I know!

But life just seemed to pass us by a bit. Before we knew it, W had done his first term in school which ended in his first Christmas concert. And finally S started walking so became a fully-fledged toddler!

We had a week in Center Parcs in January then no other holidays other than a weekend to Bluestone with friends and a weekend to Chepstow with friends. I did manage a child-free break in Marrakesh and oh my god it was just amazing!

Oh yeah back to the relentless bit… since we moved house in July and W moved into a proper bed, he’s pretty much spent every night sleeping in our bed, waking us up at some point between 11 and 5 every night. S has been a terrible sleeper during the same period, waking once or twice a night on average.

So I started this great new job and I’ve turned up for work every day on broken sleep… I wish they could see me at the top of my game!! Sleep is one our basic human needs and my god don’t I know it!

Happy new year!

So bring on 2018!:

  • OH is finally starting his 6 month career break to look after S and do W’s school runs
  • Hopefully that will re-adjust/improve our domestic life, sleep etc
  • The kitchen/diner/extension should be finished in Jan, again much-improving our home life
  • We’re about to book a week in Spain for late Jan, and already got a hen do in Edinburgh and a girls’ night in London to look forward to
  • I will get fit! (I’ve been saying this for 5 years now!!)
  • I will see more of friends. I feel like this has suffered due to craziness of last year
  • More quality time with OH and the boys.. again, without the house project hanging over us!
  • All of the above should lead to a much-improved mental state which I feel has been suffering this year

The blog has suffered this year, traffic grew by about 10% but mostly due to the same top 5 posts as last year. I probably managed to write about 20 posts this year. I’d like to blog more in 2018 but realistically it’s always going to be at the bottom of my list! And I have a big list!

So, onwards and upwards.. here’s to lots of family and friends fun in 2018! Wishing you all good health and happiness!