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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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Fun With Food

I love having fun with food to encourage my toddler to try new foods-do you?

It doesn’t have to take any longer than the normal preparation of their meal as long as you have an idea in mind. It’s easy to make sandwiches and just use some cookie cutters to make them in to different shapes and it’s easy to make food in to pictures such as seascapes and faces. I thought I’d find some really cool ideas suitable for working mums.

Most are healthy but some are naughty-the odd treat is fine by me

Enjoy!

Fruit kebabs

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Healthy Caterpillar

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Funky Sandwiches

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Avacado Boats

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Eggs In Toast

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Sandwich Caterpillar

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Fishy Business

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Choccy bananas

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Cheesy Potato Boats

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Smiles At Breakfast

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Alphabet Soup

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Have a good week everyone

Hope you enjoyed these ideas

Amanda

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Don’t skip breakfast

Don't skip breakfast

I always start the day with breakfast with my daughter. I may not have long but I always make sure there’s orange juice, cereal and fruit on the table in the morning. I lay the table the night before. Don’t skip breakfast if you can. It will start the whole families day off well. I always have three types of cereal- weetabix, cornflakes and porridge plus a bowl of fruit. It means you can have choice without thinking too hard. Weekends are scrambled eggs and toast in front of the TV for a treat. Have a good week everyone

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Rainy day fun.

I’m really lucky to be surrounded by lots of mums who inspire me on a daily basis-one friend reminded me after my last blog that picnics aren’t just for the outdoors. I loved it when she told me that her little girls (not so little any more) still remind her of the days they used to have picnics at home. All the money in the world can’t but memories like that.

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Well she got me thinking about the times when me and my little girl have spread our picnics out in the living room, invited a few teddies to join us, got the tea set out and eaten our lunch. Toddlers love role play so this is great bonding time and way to have fun. I have to say that I enjoy it almost as much a my daughter. It’s the mini china cups and saucers. Love them!

Here are my top ten fun things to do on a rainy day:

  1. Build a den out of two kitchen chairs and a bed sheet. Your little one will love hiding in there!
  2. Roll out a sheet of plain wallpaper and be as messy as you can with paint.
  3. Ask your toddler to put your money from the money jar in to piles. This keeps my little girl happy for ages.
  4. Have a play bath. I don’t have much time in the working week for this but on a weekend I fill the bath with toys, give my girl a straw to blow bubbles with, loads of bubble bath and off we go. Splashing and soaking the place. Brill fun.
  5. Collect your empty pop bottles to make skittles Or fill them with rice to make musical instruments.
  6. Toddlers love water! Get two washing up bowls or similar. Cut a milk carton in half just above the handle to make a scoop. Fill one bowl with water and watch them transfer water between bowls.
  7. Play shops by filling cereal boxes with rice, use empty egg boxes, sweet tubes, mini raisin boxes and empty washing up bottles. Place them on a low shelf and you have a shop!
  8. Make cookies but cut them in to star shapes or moons. Top them with fun things like chocolate sprinkles or mini sweets. Press in to the cookies while warm.
  9. Pairs! Playing pairs with cards but being really noisy when you find a pair is an educational game thats fun too.
  10. Dressing up. Old hats, big shoes, necklaces and handbags. Dressing up like mummy is what every girl loves. Get the boys to dress up likes dad. Clomping about in his shoes.

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I’ve got so much to share with you-this blog is my gift to other mums.

Have a good week-my next few blogs will be sharing week day cooking, great toddler days out and maybe I’ll share with you a photograph of the cheese pretzels I’m making this afternoon-recipe by Annabel Karmel-a lady who’s work inspires me but often breaks me 🙂 My friends and I might be planning a group birthday party on a budget. I’ll share that too.

Come back again soon x

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A crafty picnic.

I love picnics. There’s something special about eating outdoors and to top it all there’s no washing up and no cooking involved. I’d love to be a posh picnicker-my friend had some Bollinger and some French cheese in her picnic photo. Ooooh lovely!

My family are just as happy with some bits and pieces I’ve dug out from the fridge. I always take fruit, cheese and bottle of the water so we eat healthily. A few sandwiches, low fat crisps like Quavers, maybe some pasta salad and a nice ‘small’ treat too.

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We spread the picnic out on the blanket and off we munch. What I really love is that my little girl who’s 2 and a half can choose what she wants to eat. And she can help lay out the plates and napkins too.

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It’s a nice way to have quality family time.

After a picnic what better way to explore the countryside or beach than filling up our buckets with shells, feathers, stones and leaves. I love doing this and my little girl loves filling up her bucket (Sadly though she is a collector of stones so she collects them and I pick up the nice things for a picture)

Collecting re-enforces learning and by taking things home and talking about them it also creates wonderful memories.

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A really simple and easy bit of fun is to create a nature trail checklist so your little one has to find the objects on your sheet-I draw a leaf, a branch, a flower and a stone on a piece of paper. My daughter finds each one and puts them in her bucket to take home. There are some great free resources online which I print off for sunny days like today:

The Woodland Trust Nature Detectives has a great page on free downloads split in to seasons. All sorts of ideas for you:

http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/download/summer/

Keeping a toddler entertained is hard work- letting them run free outside to explore and collect takes so much pressure off you and everyone enjoys.

Give it a go-pack your picnic basket or your carrier bag up with goodies and go exploring!

Have a fun time x