Homemade treasure. An old wooden chest filled with gold paper Dabloons, scrumpled tin foil, dressing up jewellery and bits of gold card. Anchors made from a cereal box covered in bacofoil. Easy and fun!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Real life is better.
How many times I have you heard a parent say that their child played with the cardboard boxes for longer than the toy?
Most toys don’t do enough to keep children occupied yet we fill our homes with them. Ok I know some toys are great 🙂
As a working mum with traditional values I find you can’t go wrong with these ideas:
Making the dough and putting all the toppings on is great fun and keeps children occupied for ages. Let them help wash up too. Not only is cooking fun but it’s also educational.
Keep lots of kitchen items to use for shopping games- empty cereal boxes, sweet tubes, jars and tubs. Nothing sharp. When finished everything can go in the recycling bins.
Give your little one a trowel and something to kneel on and they’ll play for hours. Let them help pull up weeds, sweep,play with empty plant pots and watering cans.
I love making things. We’ve just bought a big bag of loom bands and are happy creating things together. I love crafts using leftover household items like toilet roll binoculars, pen holders from Pringles pots and landscapes using all manner if leftover items.
Egg and spoon races, dancing competitions, who can make the best potato face, hide and seek. Anything can be made in to a competition to create fun for hours.
My little one is a whizz on the ipad but she will spend longer with good old fashioned colouring lens and colouring book. I love those great big felt pictures you can colour in. Colouring books are great for dexterity, colour recognition, colour use and concentration. Tracing paper over a colouring book is also good. Pavement chalks for outdoors. Bath crayons for bath time and paint for old wallpaper. Simple fun costing very little.
I don’t think you have to spend a fortune to have fun.
Children who can a use themselves will be less demanding of attention. And will be less likely to get bored as quickly.
Sometimes movie time with a hot chocolate is a great way for the whole family to relax.
Remember your little one wants to be just like mum or dad so role play games or helping out games will be just up their street.
Their first drawing, their first painting, their first tracing-so hard to throw them all away. I keep scrap books stuffed with these items and in one book I cut the pictures out and use them like a picture alphabet book so they can be looked at for learning and not just stuffed behind the sofa.
This got me wondering if there are any other ideas for keeping our memories alive.
Take a photo of your child’s artwork and collect the photographs on Pinterest for them to see when they’re older. No need to keep heaps of paper
An app that lets you capture works of art, special times and messages all in one place by their age. Bring the memories to life
MAKE A MEMORY BOX
Nothing better than looking through objects that have an important meaning no matter how small. I have shells, jewellery, cards, photos and baby clothes in a special box. Even my little girls umbilical chord is in a bag (Not my idea-it’s gross)
Here are my scrap books-I love them
You can buy some lovely items too-silver fingerprint jewellery. First tooth silver boxes and photo albums.
I think it will be lovely for my daughter to see how she grew, what she did and where she went. These are the times that will help her develop and learn.
These are the memories I have too of being a mum.
Have a lovely weekend.
I don’t think I used to be a hoarder and I don’t really think I am now but I can’t explain how every corner is full of stuff!
Stuff in the cupboards, stuff in every drawer, stuff under tables and stuff over-taking every room.
I keep quite a tidy home on the exterior but look in an cupboard and you’ll find them brimming with stuff.
Obviously the fact that one of me became three has added to the situation but it’s one lovely little girl that has really changed things.
Like most Mums I want her have the best I can afford but as she approaches four years old I am of the opinion that I may have gone a little over the top in my generosity. I haven’t substituted material things for time either-we spend lots of time together and we enjoy good old fashioned fun.
These are the ‘stuff’ lists I need to do something about-I wonder if you are reading this and thinking the same:
I am a complete sucker for books and must buy a book or two at least every few weeks. We read together almost every night so I like books we can both enjoy. Trouble is that there are so many books we can’t see them all. I need to find a really good storage solution-oh and stop buying more books.
They are breeding in my house-every night I go in to my little girls room and she has gone to sleep with five or so different ones. Why do teddies have to be so huge these days too? They are under the bed, in baskets, in her bed, in my car, in the conservatory, on the table. Everywhere. Biggest trouble is now Mum is mean because I will not buy anymore soft toys-poor Ty Beanie Bert and Ernie were dumped in the toy shop today. I had to put my foot down.
I love making things and keep lots of bits n bobs for craft making. I can see a project with everything so always cut up old cards, keep bits of card and am always bring home the free pencils you get at restaurants. Its all stuffed in a craft chest-we love rooting about in it but is has made me a bit of ‘collector’
Um of course like any other woman I don’t have enough clothes and I never have the right outfit for an occasion but I am slightly embarrassed to admit I have two double wardrobes full of clothes split In to three sections-work, casual and going out. And I have similar for my daughter-two rails of clothes and a whole storage system full of tops and skirts. I know it’s too much and I need to get rid of items. I just hate throwing away things when there’s nothing wrong with them.
Today I’ve made a pact to myself to start de-cluttering.
It’s stressful having so much stuff around the house.
I really find it hard not to buy my little girl nice things but I must stop doing it or she wont value things.
Where do I start though? One room at a time? With the books, teddies and clothes? With a bonfire?
Stick with me-I can do this. Can you?
Just seen a lovely new dress though 🙂
When your family grows by one or more you become increasingly aware of the amount of household waste that is thrown away every day-particularly when you are in the nappy phase.
I took my daughter to a science museum this weekend where one of the exhibitors were appealing to the public not to throw waste down the toilets. I’ve always disposed of nappies safely but I do sometimes throw a wet wipe down the toilet. I didn’t realise the effect this has on our water supply:
- The wet wipe market is growing at more than 15% a year according to research
- They don’t break up like tissue
- Fat sticks to them and hardens to cause what the industry call ‘Fatbergs’
- Wet wipes will block the system as they aren’t designed to decompose
With this in mind I am going to ditch the wet wipes and go back to good old fashioned soap and water. On cue my little girl has just come running in after washing her hands-so there is life after wet wipes. Are you an eco-mum?
FEED THE BIRDS-TUPPENCE A CAKE
Another idea I stumbled upon is bird cakes using left over cooking oil.
I bought a cheap little kit to do this but you can make the so easily.
It services two purposes-feeding the birds and creating a use for cooking oil which is hard to dispose of.
Get a silicone muffin case
Drape in a piece of string folded in half (So it forms a handing loop at the top)
Fill the case with birdseed
Pour in left over cooking oil
Put in the fridge to set
Another idea for old cooking oil is to put it in a vessel-leave to set and then scoop in to the food waste bin.
HEART OF GLASS
Another lovely idea for re-using glass jars-cover with crystals, tie ribbon round the centre, fill with pebbles or add a tealight. The uses are endless-it’s really easy to create shabby chic jars by using pinking shears to cut hearts out of fabric and glue to the glass-tie a ribbon around the top and glue a button in the centre and you can use the jars for holding cotton buds, make up brushes, toothbrushes-what ever you like.
If you search the internet for homemade gifts you will find lots of ideas for glass jars.
It’s really satisfying making something pretty and a lovely project to do with children.
Hope you enjoyed this blog.
Next time I write I might just be wearing a kaftan