October highlights

Phew it’s been a busy month! And not with blog-related stuff; I’ve been busy with work; travelled to London and Mid Wales a couple of times during October, and family stuff has been hectic too, our youngest turned two this month and our eldest had half term, with all the juggling and planning that goes into that. 

Needless to say the blog has suffered a little, but here’s a brief round up of what I’ve enjoyed and would’ve blogged about, if I’d have had a bit more time! 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that my eldest is well into collecting the snowdogs around Cardiff. We’ve been using the app and are currently at 54! Top left is Mccoo – captured on a grey day at Roath Park lake. Bottom right is Anthem. It took us a while to find him as he’s been moved away from the stadium in preparation for the autumn rugby games. But we spotted him at his new home further along Wood Street. 

Fairy Forest at Mountain View Ranch, Caerphilly
As I said, our youngest turned two this month. She’s really into the Gruffalo books at the moment so we spent the day before her birthday at Mountain View Ranch, doing the Gruffalo Trail, toasting marshmallows, finding fairies in the forest and getting muddy on roly poly hill. I love it at Mountain View Ranch, it’s so well done and there’s something new to see each time we visit. 

Because who doesn’t want a John Lewis cactus on their Christmas tree?!?

I was invited for an early peek at John Lewis’ Christmas department and picked up this cute cactus for our tree (it won’t be going up until December, but no harm in getting into the spirit!). The cactus is from their Peruvian-inspired range; think colourful string lights, poms poms and even a Santa riding a Llama!

I had a fun night with old school friends, seeing Cabaret at the New Theatre (which was great, Will Young in particular was fantastic) before heading over to Penny Royal for Prosecco and cocktails. We couldn’t find Penny Royal at first, we even asked in Barker two doors down who had no clue! But we soon spotted the gold embossed black door and were shown in by the friendly door staff. The bar staff were great too, so knowledgeable. These are ‘real’ cocktails, made with passion. There are no pre-mixes here! The menu is laid out apothecary style, so you choose your drink depending on how you feel (there were ‘relaxers’, ‘revitalisers’ and ‘aphrodisiacs’ among others – oooh er!) It was a lovely place to have a good chat too, no pumping music here (yes, I’m old). If you’re a fan of the Dead Canary, this will be right up your street. 

Middle right is a shot from a very windy Barry Island Parkrun during Storm Brian. The lashing wind and sea spray hitting my face definitely blew the cobwebs away that Saturday! You can read more of my Parkrun posts here and here

Gingerbread cappuccino at Coffi Co, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

We were meant to be away for a few days over half term but an issue with our car put paid to that (let’s just say spending 4 hours on a lay-by off the M4 and being towed home isn’t my idea of a good Friday night) so we’ve been having a ‘staycation’ instead. Luckily the weather has been gorgeous, perfect for walks (and snowdog spotting!) over the Cardiff Bay Barrage and along the Taff Trail. We also tried Coffi Co’s new location in Mermaid Quay; on the site of the old Bosporus Turkish restaurant. The location and drinks were stunning. Mine was a coconut milk chai latte. Delicious. 

The Christmas bauble was gifted to me at a John Lewis blogger event. Everything else was paid for from my own pocket. This is an honest review of my month in and around Cardiff. 

For more pictures, recommendations and inane ramblings about Cardiff, follow me on Instagram

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August Instagram highlights



Watching the sheep racing at Green Meadow Farm in Cwmbran / Afternoon tea at Pettigrew Tearooms / Getting a lunchtime delivery from Uber Eats / Yoga and hiking up The Garth with Little Yoga Hut / drinks and lessons in brewing at Tiny Rebel / beautiful bank holiday weather in Cardiff

Follow me on Instagram @CardiffGirlBlog 

July Instagram highlights

Top row (L-R) Picnic weather at Llandaff Cathedral / Shakespeare at Cardiff Castle / Sweaty Selfie at Tramshred

Middle (L-R) All the tapas at Curado Bar / Coldplay at the Millennium Stadium / Spa day at St David’s Hotel

Bottom (L-R) Veggie burger at the Smokehouse, Pontcanna / Lunch at the Hardwick, Abergavenny / Cheese and wine at Veeno, Cardiff Bay

Follow me on Instagram @CardiffGirlBlog

Dino Babies at the National Museum, Cardiff

When we’re looking for a rainy day activity for the kids, the National Museum is always one of the first on the list. There’s always something new to see, it’s free and it’s easy to get there, with a train station or plenty of parking nearby. Perfect. 

We usually head straight to the Clore room to play with the bones and insects under the microscopes, or see what activities they’ve got going on. One school holiday they had a fab treasure hunt which took you around the museum and gallery, to parts of it I’ve never seen, to find different treasures, models and pieces of art.

Then, we tend to follow the Evolution of Wales circuit, taking in the dinosaurs, woolly mammoths etc. 

If my eldest is feeling particularly cultured (and I can bribe him with the promise of sweets later) we’ll sometimes head upstairs for a quick peek at the art in the National Gallery. If I’m honest, he just likes laughing at the statues’ bare bottoms. Six-year-old boys, who’d have them?!

Giant dinosaur footprints at the National Museum, Cardiff

However, at the weekend we headed to the museum especially for the Dinosaur Babies exhibition. 

The excitement started before we even got inside, thanks to the giant Dino footsteps on the front lawn, which the kids loved playing in before and after our visit. 

It then gets even more exciting as you enter the exhibit, with a moving, roaring, motion-sensored dinosaur. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen my video. My one-year-old wasn’t sure what to make of that and made me carry her past! But she spent the rest of the visit running around and roaring at the Dino skeletons, so it didn’t seem to bother her too much.

Dinosaur Babies at the National Museum, Cardiff

The Dinosaur Babies hall focuses at looking at Dino eggs (I had no idea that different breeds of dinosaurs laid completely unique eggs) and Dino babies. There are lots of interactive exhibitions and information about the fossilised eggs that have been discovered, comparisons with different bird’s eggs, a huge replica dinosaur nest and loads more. 

Baby Louie model

At the end of the hall the activities include Dino dress-up, play excavation sites, drawing and colouring and a magnetic puzzle board, which the one-year-old played with for ages while her elder brother played in the archeological dig.

Theropod skeleton at the dinosaur babies exhibit

As ever, we spent a huge amount of time in the gift shop *eye roll* but there are actually some good gifts available there and some small toys that won’t break the bank, including a pick and mix of 40p Dino figures. 

Six-year-old J spent his saved-up pocket money on a hatching egg (£6) which is currently sat in a bowl of water, while we wait on tenterhooks to see which type of dinosaur emerges. 

The exhibition as a whole has plenty to entertain all ages. Running after a toddler and a six-year-old meant I didn’t have much time for reading the displays though! 

The Dinosaur Babies exhibition is on until November 2017. It costs £7 for adults, £3 for children and it’s free for children aged 3 and under. 

While we were at the museum I heard a few parents grumbling about the cost and I’ve got to agree that £7 per adult does seem a bit steep. I don’t mind paying at all but I never understand why you have to pay so much more for grown-ups than kids, when really you’re just stood around watching them! I also think it’s prohibitive for families who perhaps can’t afford it. Surely those children should be able to access these resources too? Anyway that’s my rant over. Just make sure you’re aware that there’s an extra cost to see the exhibit. But it’s worth visiting and we had lots of fun.

We paid in full to enter the exhibition and the museum was not aware I’d be blogging about it. 

https://museum.wales/cardiff/whatson/9487/Dinosaur-Babies/ 

Highlights from last week

Well the sun has been shining (on a bank holiday and everything!) and the world seems a little better doesn’t it? We had a lush weekend filled with bubbles (of the Prosecco variety), a BBQ, a birthday (mine!) and books. Here are a few of our highlights from the last week. 


We were invited to try the new menu at Burger & Lobster last week. You can read all about it here


I’ve wanted to visit the Hay festival for ages and on Saturday we finally did it! It’s only an hour away from Cardiff and, as a book lover, it’s crazy that I’ve never been. We spent a good few hours at the venue and wandered into Hay town which was so pretty. Next year I’m going without the kids though – there wasn’t enough to keep them entertained all day. Full disclosure; we had tickets to see Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson first thing on Saturday morning but we got lost on our way there (human error not the sat nav’s fault) and missed it. Gutted. Ice cream cheered us up. 


We tried the new breakfast menu at the Grazing Shed on Sunday. I went for the kale and egg fritter (£4.50) which was yum and I could trick myself into thinking it was healthy as it had kale in it.

G and J both went for the waffles (Also £4.50 each) and G and I had lovely smooth Americanos from the Handle Bar Barista on site. We’re huge fans of The Grazing Shed anyway and these breakfasts are a good addition. 

Have a good week everyone – sending lots of coffee and sunshine wishes if you’re off with the kids for half term, like me.

What we’ve been up to this week….

This week didn’t start off too well, I was struck down with the horrible 24hour sickness bug going around. Luckily the little ones didn’t catch it, but it meant all plans for the start of the week went out the window. 

My Waterloo Tea explorer card. Bring on the free cake!

When I was fully recovered Baby F and I ventured over to Penarth for lunch with my Mum in Washington Tea. It’s important to build your strength up with cake after being ill, isn’t it? I’ve now filled my Waterloo Tea explorers card so there’s a free slice of cake with my name on it next time. Who says maternity leave isn’t productive?!

Welsh rarebit macaroni cheese at The Pickled Radish, Llandaff

We went for lunch at the new Pickled Radish in Llandaff on Friday. I’m still dreaming about the Welsh rarebit macaroni cheese with Pembrokeshire ham and a brioche crumb. Delicious. The decor and service were great too. Looking forward to going back for an evening meal next week. 

Great view from our table at The Dock, Cardiff Bay

Friday night we had a babysitter so went for a quick bite to eat at The Dock in Cardiff Bay, the old Terra Nova pub. The refurb looks great, it’s light and airy and makes the most of the fantastic views of the bay. 
 

A mediocre salad at The Dock
 

We both ordered the superfood salad, which was pretty disappointing, I wouldn’t order that again. There are so many other lovely places to eat in the Bay. I’d go back to The Dock for drinks though, especially on a warm summer evening. Then we went over to the Odeon to watch the new Captain America film in the IMAX, it was awesome!

On Saturday my usual hot yoga class wasn’t on so I went across town to Yoga Fever. Mark’s classes are always really strong and I felt great afterwards. 

Cardiff 5k start line in Whitchurch village

Yesterday I did the Race for Victory Cardiff 5k run in Whitchurch, along with 799 other people. I was quite nervous about it! Even though I’ve been jogging with the buggy, this was the last time I actually ran 5k. I really enjoyed it though and completed it in 35 minutes, which I was pretty happy with. The race was brilliantly organised and it was great to run around my old stomping ground of Whitchurch. It also meant that there were loads of familiar faces cheering me on along the route. In fact the crowd and atmosphere was awesome, despite the rain!  

My only criticism is that we didn’t get a medal. I wanted a medal selfie! But the T-shirts are pretty nice, so that’s a great momento. 

Hope you’re having a relaxing bank holiday. Keeping everything crossed that the weather warms up a bit this week as the forecast is promising. 

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What we did during the Easter holiday….part two

Gosh, Easter seems ages ago doesn’t it? We’ve been mega-busy. 

The second week of Easter was a big one in our family though – J turned five! 

  

This amazing Millennium Falcon cake was made by my talented husband! J loved it. 

As he was still recovering from his tonsillectomy, J couldn’t have a party so it was his choice of what we did that day. We told him he could choose anything he wanted (within reason!) Luckily he made a sensible choice of a game of indoor golf at St David’s shopping centre in town, followed by a burger. 

We’ve been to the Treetop golf before and it’s really fun. It costs £7 for adults, £6 for children and £3.75 for under fives. If you get there before midday you get an extra game for free. It’s best to get there early anyway as it does get busy later and you end up having to wait for your turn around the course. Let’s not kid ourselves, we were both pretty rubbish at it, but J loved it, which was the main thing. 

  For lunch we went to Locke and Remedy, after checking that they had burgers on the kids menu of course. They were fab with J and really made a fuss of the fact it was his birthday, even bringing him a free brownie and ice cream. 

The adults meals were good too – we both went for the pizza which was so thin and crispy, just how I like it. G would’ve preferred a deeper base though. I opted for half pizza and half salad which was perfect for lunchtime and meant I had plenty of room for cake later! 

  
The rest of the week was spent in London. We had loads of fun doing really touristy things like Madame Tussaud’s and Buckingham Palace. My favourite thing was visiting the Sky Garden, a free venue on the 35th floor overlooking the Shard and the entire London skyline. I would really recommend a visit. Book a slot so you don’t have to queue. 

   
   
We walked for miles around London with baby F in the sling and we were all exhausted afterwards. All in all it was a fab Easter break. 

Read what we did during the first week of the holiday here