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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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Too Much Of Everything

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!

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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:

BOOKS

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.

TEDDIES

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.

CRAFT STUFF

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’

CLOTHES

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 🙂

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Do you speak English?

Ok so I’ve something new to contend with as a mum that I have never really considered.

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My daughter now speaks Welsh-she’s three, she lives in Wales, she is Welsh so it all adds up.

But I’m English!

Whats the problem?

I’ve always loved learning and as you’ll  see from my blogs I enjoy teaching my little girl new things, making learning fun and finding out what she’s learning at school so I can help her learn the same thing at home.

But what do you do when you don’t have a clue what your child is saying and you don’t know how it’s spelt to Google it?

Help!

So far I’ve learnt how to count from one to ten in Welsh, I can sing ‘A rainbow’ and I know a few colours so I’m holding my own at nursery level Welsh.

But I do have secret weapons……..my Welsh friends and Facebook.

So I’m not totally on my own.

It it won’t be long before my little girl leaves me singing colours though as a sentence is beyond my means.

It’s funny but you sort of mentally dish out who will teach what:

Dad- Maths

Mum-art and craft

Mum-nature

Dad- history

Mum- English

Im a creative person- I like to see and experience. I have a short attention span but love learning new things.

Dad loves facts, history, detail.

Neither of us speak Welsh.

I think that just makes it all the more fun and I’ll try my best to support my daughter a much as I can.

When the time comes that I don’t know my Popty Ping from my Oven then I’m in deep water.

There’s lots of good advice out there but the main one is to always speak in your native language, praise your child when they speak an alternative language and ask them to explain what they are saying to you.

Phew! That’s me sorted then.

So it’s Au Revoir I mean Hwyl Fawr from me-have a good week and spare a thought for me.

In the future when the Wales V England rugby matches are on there will be two flags flying.

Can’t wait!

Happy St David’s Day 2014 to all my friends

 

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Where have I been?

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I haven’t blogged for ages. So where have I been?

The simple answer is I’ve been and still am in a tough place right now. It’s not easy to admit but things are getting on top of me a bit. I blame the weather-I don’t enjoy being stuck indoors. But it’s more than that.

I know plenty of other mums will understand me when I say that I just want to stop for a while.

I’m tired. I’m run down. I’m on my fourth week of having a cold this year and it’s not even March. I’m emotional. I’m feeling panicky.

Why?

Nothing. Everything. Nothing. Everything.

My mum used to say jokingly I wish someone would put me in solitary confinement for a couple of days.

Do you know what? I can see where she’s coming from.

Today I’ve been to a fitness and wellbeing Expo-and with my chipped finger nail paint and laddered tights I realised I am on the bottom of the priority list. Its understandable with a little girl I love and a job I love that my wellbeing is sometimes not at the forefront of my mind. I always try and do my best with everything.

Take today-before I to work my little girl was dressed in a lovely outfit, 2 loads of washing went in, I organised lunch for my family and went shopping. I on the other hand threw an outfit on and ran out of the door dishevelled.

I think it’s a sign of weakness to admit I’m a bit frazzled. Is it?

The funny thing is I’m not one of life’s chilled people anyway. I could be on my own in the universe-sitting down to watch a film would be the last thing on my mind. I like being busy, I like being inspired, I love DOING

So what will it take to get me back to a good place?

Healthy eating

Exercise

Fresh air

Nail varnish

Loud music

and……. a goal.

Simple things can make you feel just great.

If you’re with me pop by and say hi.

Thanks for reading today

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23 Relics

Watching my little girl drawing on my ipad I chuckled as I thought of all the things I used to have when I was growing up that she will think are really strange.

(A word of advice-don’t complete this exercise if you want to feel young)

Here is my top 23 items that have disappeared with the dinosaurs:

walkman

  1. Personal Stereo
  2. CD Walkman
  3. Blackboards
  4. Video player
  5. VHS tapes
  6. Soda stream
  7. Analogue TV with 3 channels to choose from
  8. TV that stopped broadcasting at the end of the schedules
  9. TV cabinets that closed around it to hide it. Though no one ever closed it
  10. On/off buttons on the TV
  11. Top of the pops
  12. Commodore 64
  13. Atari Pong game
  14. Our Price
  15. Woolworths
  16. Ceefax
  17. Phone boxes
  18. Phone credit cards
  19. Hifi’s
  20. Ghetto blasters
  21. Kodak cameras with film
  22. Fax machines
  23. Polaroid cameras

This list has really made me laugh and Googling them has made me laugh even more.

My highlight was when I got my first Sony CD Walkman- the music used to jump if you knocked it when walking and there was never a comfortable way of carrying them-I think I once had a CD Walkman carrying bag-cringe. Let me see if I can find an image.

Here is my Walkman:

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Oh cringe-here is a bag just like the one I had.

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And this was the latest technology!

Have I missed anything off?

Let me know.

Can’t wait to explain these things to my daughter