Last-minute Christmas and birthday gift buying for children – with Wicked Uncle 

If you’re a last-minute Minnie like me who never knows what presents to buy for kids older than her own then you’re in luck as there’s a website just for you!!

The guys at Wickeduncle asked me to try them out and I’m so glad!

As you can see, straight away you choose who the present is for – what age they are and away you go….

Wicked uncle choices
You can filter by categories e.g. Outdoor, sensory, creative and sort by price.

Continue reading “Last-minute Christmas and birthday gift buying for children – with Wicked Uncle “

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

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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….

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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….

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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 🙂

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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.

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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 🙂

http://chaistreet.com/home/menus/

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!?

A rant about some of the response to the refugee crisis #SaveSyriasChildren

I’m so glad a blogger started the #SaveSyriasChildren campaign over the weekend to raise money and awareness for the plight of the Syrian refugees…..

As did countless other people… I cried watching the footage of the little boy washed up on the beach. There’s no nice way of saying this but the impact of his death, and the image, was probably up there with that of world leaders. One poor little boy got the world interested in the situation, he humanised statistics and numbers and finally people started saying ‘it could have been me’ or ‘it could have been my child’ which turned into that blogger campaign I mentioned.

  
The reason I’m writing this though is because despite this overwhelming public support for the refugees, I’m so, so angry about the (hopefully small) minority who not only don’t want to help, but would actually wish tens of thousands of people dead.

What is wrong with these people?! How did you ever grow up to be so selfish and cruel?

Here’s what I think to the online comments I see daily on this topic…

‘Our services are too stretched’

Our NHS, schools, police etc might all be stretched but that’s not because of immigrants… The Tories made savage cuts over the last few years in the name of austerity and were voted back in for more of the same. Fact. So did you vote for them? Or were you one of the many millions who didn’t vote? If so, the stretched services are your fault, not theirs!

‘We need to look after our own first… What about our elderly and veterans?!’

See above… The nation voted in a party that cut budgets for society’s vulnerable. Fact. You don’t have to financially support one person over another…. Choose to support everyone who needs help! You could have voted in a party who wanted to tax the rich to help the poor, not a party who are favoured by the rich bankers who nearly brought the country to its knees.

Don’t fall for the UKIP or even Tory propaganda… It’s much easier for them to blame immigrants for the poor state of our services than it is to actually invest in them eg by building affordable homes to first time buyers maybe by taxing the millionaire Chinese and Russians that have pushed up London house prices beyond the reach of most Brits. (actually that reminds me, why don’t Ireland offer to take in some refugees? They literally have tens of thousands of empty houses that could be filled!)

‘They might be terrorists’

They might be, but if you were a Syrian terrorist who wanted to attack the UK, you’d probably find a smarter way than spending weeks trekking across Europe risking your life in dinghies!? Or maybe you’d stay in Syria for some of the fighting fun?!

These people are like you and me, mothers, fathers, children…. Workers, business people, teachers…. What makes them any more likely to be terrorists than us?! Having lived in such an unsafe environment for so long they are probably less likely actually, after seeing the damage it causes!

They should go back to where they came from’

Ummmm they would probably love to if their homes and towns hadn’t been bombed. Would you like to live in a bombsite?! If you were worried for your life, would you stay at home and wait to be killed… Or escape for a better life?!

‘Why do they all want to come to Britain?! They just want our benefits

You can easily check your facts on this one. They would actually prefer to head to places like Germany where they will receive greater care. There are plenty of sources that confirm that Britain takes a very low proportion of migrants compared to other countries.

‘They’ll change the British culture’

This one’s my fave as I’d love to know what their British culture looks like…. Do they eat a McDonalds (American) for breakfast, a pizza (Italian) for lunch, a Chinese takeaway for dinner and then do some late night shopping (brought to the UK by Indian/Pakistani shopkeepers!) Do they watch American films on their American-designed, made in China iPads?!!

We live in a globalised society, get over it…. Countries change as technology and culture change. Twenty years ago, who would have that picking up a coffee on your way to work would be part of your daily routine… Or posting ‘selfies’ at a bunch of people you have never met.

We are one planet, one people… You are only better than someone else if you show more love and compassion to other people. One love.

#OpenTheBorders

The Day my Dad died…

A week ago today – 15th April ’15 –  my dad passed away.

It was a beautiful spring day, from his hospital bed overlooking Aberystwyth we could hear birds singing and lambs bleating, and see blossoms growing everywhere – he would have loved all of that.

He had been in the intensive care ward for over a month, he went in with severe double pneumonia but suffered a collapsed lung and sepsis infections along the way. For most of the month he’d been sedated and on a ventilator. We’d had real highs – we had several days where he was awake and was able to hear and see us, and hold our hands. We’d had real lows – I think 4 times we were called into the relatives room to be told that he was unlikely to make it through that night. But he kept on fighting.

The day he died, they told us that the sepsis (blood-poisoning infection) had gone too far – they was nothing more they could do, they would have to ‘withdraw treatment’. We didn’t argue – we knew they had tried every possible treatment during the last month to try and help him, including amputating his sepsis-ridden right foot. He had put up a good fight but now it was his time to go.

We spent many hours waiting to find out if his organs could be donated, they couldn’t but at least we tried – we knew he wanted that. Once we knew that, the doctor came in at 3pm and very business-like just confirmed what was about to happen and started to unplug everything that he was on. The only thing they left on was morphine, so he wouldn’t feel any pain.

We sat with him until he took his last breath at 4.30. We had a funny moment when we thought he’d gone and I was bawling and said ‘I don’t want to let him go!’ and he took another breath! We all laughed and what a lovely thought to think he might have heard us, even though he was essentially in a coma. I stroked his hair, and held his hand, and cried, for most of that hour and a half.

I never would have imagined wanting to be with someone when they died, but it was very peaceful and soothing, not scary at all and I think he would have liked to have been surrounded by his family.

After spending most of the day crying, the few hours after he passed I felt strangely calm and at peace. I managed to eat a chinese take-away despite not hardly eating the last few days and weeks! When we went to pick up the take-away, I saw my first sign from him – I passed a house window full of toys, and there were 2 little toys in there that we’d bought him when he was in hospital – that was lovely and spooky!

It’s been a heck of a week since then. My dad was a huge part of the community here in mid Wales so we’ve had endless visitors – including many grown men arriving in tears! Some of the visitors have been good therapy as they’ve come with funny stories/memories/anecdotes – many of which I’d not heard.

Other visitors have turned up and maybe stayed a bit too long – too many awkward silences! We’ve had about 300 cards, 30 cakes and so many flowers that we’ve had to buy more vases and have now started giving flowers away to friends!

I went to a local concert 2 nights after he died, with my auntie as they were giving my dad a tribute – it was lovely but maybe a bit too soon in hindsight- I cried through most of it!

I went back to Cardiff for the weekend to see my baby! I’ve only seen him for a few days here and there over the last month or so, I miss him but right now I feel more like a little girl wanting her dad, than a mum. I cried most of the way to Cardiff as it felt like I was leaving my dad. If his house, village and area were all-consuming about him, going home to Cardiff was the opposite- it felt surreal to not be surrounded by his death.

The day after he died, the local funeral director came to arrange the funeral – something I never thought I’d have to do. We’re holding it on Saturday, 10 days after he died, to give people enough time to make travel arrangements etc- the funeral director who knew him, says he expects 600-700 people will attend, thus showing the impact and reach of my dad is various communities from golf to Welsh literature to bee-keeping to male voice choir singing.

The upcoming funeral is daunting, but I am looking forward to the ‘celebration’ part of the day – I want to consume myself in stories and memories about him.

Over the last week I’ve strongly come to believe that he chose his time to go – he’d had a very full life with no regrets. He’d seen his daughters grow up. He’d become a tadcu (grand-dad) and as I know (and everyone keeps telling me!) he was so happy and proud to be a tadcu! He was young at heart, and never wanted to be old. He was so full of life that it would have been awful for him, and everyone to see him, limited in anyway. So I think he chose his time to go – on a high.

Despite that, it still feels like he went too soon – I am gutted that he won’t see baby W grow up and/or meet any other potential grand-children. But I have to keep remembering the happiness and joy he had from the 10 months that he had with him. We were lucky enough to be with him, on St David’s day weekend, just a day before he fell ill.

So I have tried to rationalise everything – it was his time to go, it was the right time, he’s in a better place and in no pain, he had a wonderful life and touched so many people with his warmth, kindness, patience and cheeky smile which will be a comfort.

But I still cry several times a day – I miss him so much and can’t believe I won’t see him again (on this planet!) Some people have told me that I will always feel like this. Other people have said that time will heal. Someone said ‘it doesn’t get easier, but you get better at dealing with it’.

I will always love you dad, I’m so proud of you – of everything you achieved and the exceptional person you were – truly one in a million. I know you were so proud of me (and my mum/sis/baby W), I will miss your sunday evening phone calls, I will miss you sending me press cuttings about my line of work, or baby stuff, or anything! I will miss you so much, thanks for being the best dad and tadcu ever, caru ti dad x x x x x x x x

Baby W and Mummy’s 9 month update

In the week that baby W turned 9 months, David Attenborough was quoted as saying that 9 month old babies are the most fascinating creatures… and I totally agree with him! It’s been our maddest month yet in terms of development…

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Since the last update, baby W started:

  • commando crawling (using his elbows to crawl)
  • pulling himself up on to things (we put his cot bed down just in case!)
  • grinding his teeth
  • babbling ‘mamamamama…’
  • scrunching his face up (which makes the cutest toothy smile ever!)

I can’t remember if I said in previous updates, but he’s been able to sit up, and he’s been holding his own bottle for a few months now. Commando crawling has been the maddest thing, he loves it and loves exploring the ground floor of the house… always making a beeline for the cat food aarrghhg! One the one hand it’s easier to look after him now as he entertains himself… but on the other you can’t take your eyes off him as he’s likely to whack his head!!

Routine, sleep and eating

Our routine is quite similar to last month, although he’s dropped his afternoon nap and his lunchtime nap is getting longer.

He’s generally eating well – his favourite meal is pasta with mummy’s homemade cheese sauce which he wolfs down using his hands. He also loves Bolognese and sheperds pie… and yoghurt. He’s really good at drinking water (phew!). He poos every 2 days.

All the crawling and eating means he’s sleeping better – just after his 9month birthday we dropped the 11pm feed so watch this space to see if he carries on sleeping through!

Breastfeeding

I stopped breastfeeding since the last update. I didn’t want to make an occasion out of it, so I kinda just stopped…. since going back to work, the ratio of formula to breastmilk had gone up a lot so it wasn’t a huge decision to make. My boobs are now smaller than they were before I got pregnant which I didn’t think was possible!

What we’ve been up to

Well as you know I went back to work since the last update – read all about it here. And the weather has been artic. So we haven’t done an awful lot but here’s some highlights:

  • mummy and daddy had another night in Bath away from baby W!
  • we had our second Christmas with my parents, as my dad had been ill over Christmas… cue lots more presents for baby W!
  • we tried out our first type of soft play place and I highly recommend it – Canton Community Hall! – and in doing so I met up with another blogger (rainbow mam) for the first time 🙂
  • a couple of walks including a lovely walk checking out the new beach huts at Barry Island
Barry island beach huts
Barry island beach huts

Anything else?

Baby W has always loved bath-time, but now he can move around more, he REALLY loves it and can spend a good half hour in there, sitting up… trying to swim etc, so cute to watch! I honestly can’t believe how much he’s developed over the last month… it’s a miracle to watch…. how do they know how to crawl and then walk? Madness!

Can’t believe it’s only 3 months til he turns 1 – eek! He’s a social/sociable, generally happy baby.. and at this rate I predict he will be an active, mischevious toddler!