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Party To Plan Four

It’s that time again-my little girl is soon turning four years old.

I decided I wouldn’t do a party every year but this year I think it’s the first year she truly understands what a birthday is and what happens. So I’m doing a birthday tea instead.

It will be a small gathering-the main reason is I’d like her to have friends over so they can all play with her new presents which are hidden in my garage-two huge pirate ships, a ship wreck and a little rowing boat-all with figures, swords, treasure etc. I cannot wait to get them out and take charge of the playing.

The present got me thinking I could do a little pirate theme tea party-so like last year I thought I’d share my ideas with you.

The aim of this party is to have as much fun in the preparation as the party.

So we made a start today-eight weeks before the big day (Rainy day fun)

GOLD DABLOONS Made from shiny gold card, cut out and decorated with permanent black pen. Draw round a Playdoh pot to get the shape)

PIRATE FLAGS Made from black card, skulls made from white paper folded in half and half the image drawn on. You can cut out 6 or more skulls at one time. Decorate with black pen and fasten to wooden BBQ skewers.

TELESCOPE Made from a long wrapping paper tube, a kitchen roll and a toilet roll. All stuck together with glue and decorated with tin foil and paper. Fastened with sellotape.

INVITATIONS Will be made soon from brown paper, our house will be x marks the spot and a map drawn on. once decorated the paper will be scrunched to give an old effect and burnt on the edges by me.

GIANT PIRATE SHIP It is my intention to create a huge pirate ship from cardboard boxes for the children to sit and play in. I’ll use string for the sails, lids for the port holes and old sheets for the sails. It won’t matter if it’s broken as long as it creates some fun.

HUNTING FOR TREASURE If I get the time I want to get some sand so the kids can go raking around for some treasure. Just sand in a bucket with things hidden inside.

PIRATE GAMES My daughter has a pirate fuzzy felt, pirate books, a pirate DVD and some dressing up items. All which will be put out to play with.

PIRATE PINATA The hunt is on for a pirate piñata to top off the party

FOOD I haven’t even thought about food yet but i’ll probably make some cup cakes, skull sandwiches, pizza swords and a box of treasure hula hoops.

I love all the fun of making and also enjoy planning a party on a budget. Its so much more fun and I think more thoughtful. Watching my little girl and my husband bickering over who had the tin foil today made me realise it’s less about the money you spend and more about time you spend together sorting everything out.

We have just one hurdle to overcome-how on earth does she choose just 4 or 5 friends out of her 34 class mates?

I’ll try and share more as we get closer to the day.

 

 

 

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Outdoor Days

Make the most of the nice weather because we all know winter days drive us crazy.
I love just getting in my car and discovering new places. If you’re lucky enough like me to live in South Wales then here are a few of my favourite places to go for a nice walk:

Penllergaer Forest
Right on my doorstep Penllergaer Forest is full of surprises. Originally the home of John Dillwyn, the forest was the grounds of a huge manor house. The gardens were landscaped to have lots of different features. In recent receipt of a grant there is work going on now to restore the gardens but you can still see so many beautiful sights. Walk across the top path and look down on the lake or walk on the lower path across the recently restored Llewellyn Bridge. See caterpillars, birds and beautiful water features. You can walk all around and end up in a lovely cafe. Nothing nicer than ending a nice walk with a coffee in the open air. Water for dogs available.

Forest Map

Cadle Mill

Part of Penllergaer Forest, the area of the forest in Cadle is a hidden gem. Lots of different paths to take which lead to a small waterfall and to the most beautiful lake I’ve seen. The paths are flat so ideal for little ones and it’s just quiet and beautiful.

Loughor Estuary

Another hidden gem just hidden behind the Reverend James Public House in Loughor is the beautiful Loughor Estuary. You can eat a picnic on the surrounding parkland or walk along near the water collecting sea shells. It’s such a peaceful spot where you can really appreciate nature.

Lliw Reservoir

When you drive in to Lliw Reservoir you are immediately struck by its tranquility. Great expanses of water covering two different reservoirs are bordered with different paths- some suitable for wheelchairs, prams and those who like a flat walk. Across the reservoir are more difficult walks which are ideal for rambling. There are hidden benches where you can enjoy a picnic, an old flour mill and a lovely cafe. It’s a favourite place of mine to walk.

Cwmdonkin Park

A favourite haunt of Dylan Thomas, Cwmdonkin Park is a great expanse of green with many hidden treasures- a giant slide, a pavilion cafe, sculptures, a play park and peace and tranquility. Simple but you’ll stay for hours

Margam Park

For about £20 you can visit Margam Park as many times in a year as you like (Excludes Bank Holidays). You could not find better value. Margam Park is a magical place where you discover something new every time you visit. There is a land train, a farm, wooden sculptures, a cafe, a shop, a castle, a lake, a play park, a discovery centre, a fairy tale village, abbey ruins, a church, a greenhouse, an orangery and probably more than I’ve mentioned. It’s an amazingly beautiful place that changes with the seasons.

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Beat The School Holiday Rip Offs

This is the first time I have booked a week off work in THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!

No problem-I thought. I’ll beat the price hikes by holiday companies and beat the system. I’ll book a Sun newspaper £10 holiday. So I Googled the passwords and avidly got to work booking my July holiday.

I chose Devon first- plenty of dates available-in 2015!

Then I chose Somerset- plenty of dates available in October!

Ok I’ll stay close to home-a holiday park up the road in South Wales. Not a sausage! I give up!

Lots of exclamation marks I know but it was very frustrating indeed.

Deflated I knew I had to book a full price holiday. So typing in Devon holiday parks I got to work searching. The prices varied from an eyes on stalks £1,000 for a week to the lowest of around £679 for a week.

I just didn’t have that sort of money and more importantly I didn’t feel like a week in a caravan was worth that sort of money-just because it was July.

So my next step was to wait for a last minute holiday. I set a budget of £300 which I might add made a private caravan owner laugh when I turned down her caravan for £490.

And I waited. Every day I scoured Teletext holidays.

My friends started going on their holidays and I started to think my frugality was going to get me the Worst Mum Of The Year Award.

We’d have to stay at home.

The Monday before my week off began my luck came in.

I found a holiday cottage in Brixham in Devon within budget. My first choice of location. It started life as £627. I’m winning. I checked Trip Advisor and the location had over 6 marks out of 10. Great.

The packing began. My little girl started counting down her sleeps.

Then I began to worry- I must have done something wrong to have got this. Once on the motorway to go to Devon I had to pull in. We’d gone less than 10 miles. “I think I’ve booked the wrong dates” I said. I pulled the car in and checked the confirmation. No. I’d booked it right. Phew. Off we went again.

We arrived in Devon and I was half expecting poor accommodation. To my delight we opened our cottage door and found lovely clean sheets in the beds, a nice clean apartment, two nice bedrooms, beautiful views out to sea and a patio door opening to a little garden.

And there the holiday began. We had a fantastic time and my little girl had lots of those precious ‘first experiences’. She went on a ferry to Torquay, had a horse carriage ride on the beach, went crabbing on the harbourside and went on a pirate ship.

I wanted to share my journey with you because I found the huge hike in prices really shocking.

Bide your time and set a budget- I’m sure you’ll have a holiday like ours.

I’m off again in a few weeks time. £1 camp sites offer this time- can I do it all again?

I’ll let you know

Thank you for reading my blog.

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