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…
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!
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!
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!
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!!)
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!
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?!
Long story short, we lost our internet connection at home, we now have a temporary solution (EE box thing) so for about 6 weeks I was surviving on my phone’s 4G data….
On the one hand it was a really nice break! I’ve written before about being addicted to my phone... it felt almost liberating to only check my email/FB/twitter a couple of times a day instead of a couple of times an hour. I didn’t miss out on anything!
I got shit done! I ticked off things from my to-do list that had been on there for months and months!
I got smart…. If baby S was asleep in the car I’d drive around finding places where I could access free WIFI from the comfort of my car! I used free internet in our local library….
You see the thing is, it’s only when you don’t have the internet you realise how integral it is to our lives…. online banking, googling anything e.g. Phone numbers, directions, opening hours, online shopping – food, booking holidays (!), booking anything, staying in touch with people… friends but also people like solicitors, estate agents when you’re buying and selling houses…. watching anything on YouTube or catch-up TV…. hearing of any breaking news… and of course blogging went out the window!
So I’m glad to have it back and not have to worry about the cost of my mobile phone bill. But hopefully I’ve learnt how to use it a little bit less for the non-essential stuff and try to live in the moment a bit more! We’ll see….. have you ever given up the internet?! Could you?!
My cousin died last weekend (see news story here) but I’m not after your sympathy, I can pass that on to his wife and 3 young children, his mum and his siblings, his nephews and nieces. And his hundreds of close friends.
I believe another group of people broke our record… So next weekend I have the chance to break a similar, but different, record….
I could be part of the largest gathering of people dressed as elephants!!!
As a family, we’re elephant-mad, ever since my other half and I saw them in the wild in Sri Lanka… I think every room in our house has an elephant in so I don’t need much persuading to join a gathering of them!
So some details if you’d like to join us:
Where and when: Saturday August 13th 2016, Millenium Stadium, Cardiff starting at 2pm
Rules: you must be dressed head to toe as an elephant. There are strict rules about the costume eligibility: check them here before you attend!
Why elephants?: the event is being organised by child bereavement charity 2wishuponastar and the elephants represent:
The charity’s mascot as elephants never forget, and neither do bereaved parents
The elephant in the room – ‘child bereavement is something people are understandably afraid to discuss, but if we are to improve support for bereaved parents, it’s an issue that needs to be tackled.’
The story behind 2wishuponastar is incredibly sad… The founder lost her son, then her husband… And set up the charity to improve bereavement services in hospitals across Wales.
So as well as the chance to dress like an elephant, you get to (hopefully!) break a world record and raise awareness of a great charity – see you there! Disclosure: I wasn’t paid to write this, I wrote it for free as I think it’s a great event and great charity!
Since John Lewis opened their shop in Cardiff a few years ago, I’ve been in love with them… loved the ambience of shopping there, loved their little baby feeding area, loved their brand and Christmas TV ads… And I even did my pregnancy yoga classes in their community room last time around!
But they let me down this year, and I wanted to share it as they’re still mis-selling to customers which I can’t believe (spoiler alert… It’s only over a £40 bag but it’s the principle!)
For Christmas, I wanted to get the OH a new toiletry bag as his was battered!
Shopped around and decided on Ted Baker…
Lots of different stores (online) had different ones, and prices were quite similar… But most were wipe-clean fabric whereas John Lewis had one for a similar price (£40) that was made of leather so I plumped for that one
Christmas Eve when it came to unwrapping it and wrapping it, imagine my disappointment that it wasn’t actually made of leather!
As I’d bought him a few things to go in it, I decided to give it to him anyway… I didn’t have time to sort anything else out!
He loved it and started using it right away, transferring all this toiletries into it
I wanted to let John Lewis about it, as a huge fan I wasn’t overly annoyed but they needed to update their website and they might want to offer me a voucher to thank me for letting them know
I did this, but they took a month to reply and confirm via the supplier that it wasn’t leather
They offered me £10 as a gesture of goodwill
But by this point I was a bit annoyed… They still hadn’t updated their website, so they were still misleading customers and when I looked into it a bit more I realised I could take them to court through the Sale of Goods act for mis-selling
IKEA actually got done for this around the same time for selling sofas that they were claiming to be leather that weren’t leather!
Since then there was a bit more back and forth with them to try and get more than £10 out of them as they weren’t taking it seriously (website still wrong) and I was saving them a fortune in legal fees/bad publicity
Alas, last week I settled for £15 as I don’t have the time or energy to argue any more…
So the last screenshot I took a few weeks ago (so 4 months later) and it clearly says ‘leather’ twice…
Now checking it today I can see they’ve changed the first sentence to ‘leather look’ but they still have a misleading sentence ‘mature-looking black leather’…. IT’S NOT LEATHER!!!
So I know this might read a bit ‘first world problems’ and I know we have far bigger things to worry about… But I needed to get it off my chest!
I think it’s been pretty poor for a company that has such strong brand and customer service values and ‘never knowingly undersold’. The most frustrating thing about it all has been how long it’s taking them to update the website… Working in marketing and being a blogger, I know it’s a 2 minute job and surely they’d prioritise inaccurate info?!
I honestly can’t believe it, it’s flown by and the next 3 months will go so quickly.. before you know it I’ll be sat back at my desk with my work head back on!
Apart from the parenting malarkey, I had visions that I would learn some new skills on my maternity leave like:
cooking some new dishes e.g. dhal, hummus and baking cakes
watching YouTube tutorials on how to blow dry and plait my hair!
I haven’t done any of those! I think the only new thing I’ve done has been blogging… which is a time-consuming hobby but one I’m enjoying and it will also come in handy for my day job (read about it on my ‘about me’ page if you’re interested)
So here’s my mum’s list of things I need to and want to do over the next 3 months – some are chores, some are new skills – either way I find them equally difficult to devote time to without missing out on any of baby W’s time, or catching up with much-needed rest…:
remortgage my house as my fixed rate has ended so I need to lock it in before rates go up, hopefully this will save me some money 🙂
learn how to use the SLR camera that I’ve had for 2 years and hardly used, use it to take some lovely photos of baby W…. first, I just need to find the charger!
the above means I might *need* to get a new laptop – this will be a nice treat, I’ll be able to blog more efficiently and I can sort out all my music/photos/iTunes etc etc
I also *need* to get a new (used) car this year – I drive a 14 year old little Peugeot – it does the job in getting W and me from A to B, but I have to put the pram in the back seat which isn’t very safe… and it’s too old for an isofix and I reckon those time-saving minutes will become so important when I’m dropping off/picking him up from the childminder’s!
discover some more new places in my city of Cardiff – I have done some of this but would like to make more of an effort exploring the suburbs I haven’t been to!
watch some TED talks to find out what all the hype is about
plant some daffodils and tulips for the first time, ready for the spring
Bit of a random list eh!? Did you use your maternity leave to do anything new (apart from learning how to be a parent obviously ;))? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or tweet me at @yummyblogger
Little W got nappy rash quite early on at a few weeks old, we tried a couple of creams including Sudocrem but family members recommended Bepanthen and since we’ve tried that we’ve not looked back!
It cleared up a sore rash within 1-2 days (using it every time we changed his nappy, making sure his skin is clean and dry first) and now we use it to prevent future rashes coming back (it looked so sore bless him!) by using it nearly every time we change his nappy.
I’d recommend it to anyone so imagine my delight when I saw this offer in Boots (Cardiff) today… Buy any 2 Bepanthen products and choose a free cuddly toy! (Apologies for the rubbish photo, I was in a rush as W needed feeding!)
I had a really tough time choosing between the tortoise and the dragon (the bunny is a bit too girly for W!) but plumped for the tortoise as mummy and daddy love tortoises! It’s good quality, soft, mostly blue with some pink….
I have no idea how long the offer is on for (update: scroll to bottom!) and I can’t see it online but if it’s still on next time I pop in I will probably buy 2 more tubes to get the dragon as it was the softest, cuddliest thing ever (but not enough to justify buying 4 tubes at the same time….)
The 2 tubes cost £15.42 (£7.71 each) but you get 150 boots points on it if you’re in the parenting club) which is £1.50 I’m sure you can buy the ointment cheaper online but if you’re like me and do most of your shopping on the high street and love Boots then I think it’s a good deal – hope you manage to find it in your local store before they run out! (Update: scroll to bottom!)
UPDATE (25/09/14) A lot of people seem to be finding this blog post when they’re searching for ‘Bepanthen toys’ – the Boots offer is now finished so I got in touch with Bepanthen to see if you can buy the toys anywhere. You can’t buy them but they do have some competitions where you can try to win one – good luck!
I’m Welsh, I love cwtches and ‘cwtch’ is a word that’s part of my daily vocabulary especially now we have a newborn in the house.
One of my blog readers recently asked what this word was – was it a typo? should it have read ‘catches’? Most of you probably cwtch every day without knowing it….
So for all you non-Welshies out there…. this is a cwtch…
In simplest terms – ‘cwtch’ is the Welsh word for a cuddle/snuggle…. but it’s more than that….
It’s a feeling you can’t describe… it’s holding on to someone with love and affection, squeezing them in tight to make sure they’re ok and letting them know that you’re looking out for them. Being in a cwtch is feeling warm and safe.
The urban dictionary describes ‘cwtch’ as ‘the Welsh word for an affectionate hug. There’s no literal English translation, but its nearest equivlent is “safe place”. So if you give someone a cwtch, you’re giving them a “safe place”.’