Sing and sign – baby activities in Cardiff

Wow, the last few months have been BUSY. J has gone back to school (year one – how did that happen? Sob) Baby F has started nursery (she loves it), I went back to work (I’m also loving it), went on two holidays (a few days in West Wales and an awesome weekend in Disneyland Paris) AND we moved house (over to the other side of Radyr). Phew. 

Safe to say I’ve had a lot going on and I feel like I lost my blogging mojo for a while there. But now I’m back! And I’m always posting on Instagram if you want to follow me there….

So I’ve been meaning to write a post about Sing and Sign, a fab baby class F and I took while I was still on maternity leave. 

Between both children, I’ve tried A LOT of the various baby classes on offer in Cardiff and Sing and Sign is by far the best. 

Sing and Sign uses a mixture of British Sign Language and Makaton, along with songs, to encourage early communication.

I work with a number of deaf people and can use (very basic) sign language, so I know what a fantastic skill this is.

The classes are 45 minutes long and incorporate singing, pictures and puppets, all accompanied by signs and actions. The class finishes with a chance for the babies to play with the toys and interact. 

The teacher, Louise, was so lovely and F really enjoyed every single class. She loved the songs, was enthralled by Lou singing and very quickly she began to know the signs – especially the sign for ‘food’! It made it much easier to understand her needs, as most of the time she’s crying because she’s hungry (girl after my own heart). 

A few months on and we’re still using the signs at home and although F doesn’t sign back yet, she is constantly pointing at what she wants and is very vocal (‘dat! Dat!’ Is her favourite expression at the moment).

Sing and Sign costs around £55 for a full term. The new term has started but I’d definitely join the waiting list for next term, if you think you’d like to try it. 

If you’re looking for something to do with your baby in Cardiff, this would be my number one recommendation! 

I paid in full for our Sing and Sign classes and they were not aware I’d be blogging about them.

The lovely pictures in this post were taken by Ellie Rush photography. Thanks Ellie! 

Fforest Fawr sculpture trail

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that we took a walk along the Fforest Fawr sculpture trail at the weekend. 

The trail is situated in Tongwynlais, in the woods above Castle Coch, but I would never have known it existed if I hadn’t seen Cathryn at Cardiff Mummy Says blogging about it last year.

It’s a 1.5mile walk, filled with rustic-looking sculptures of dragons, wizards and strange creatures. The idea is that children are encouraged to create a story based on the sculptures they see, and five-year-old J had lots of fun talking about the ‘angry wizard’ and the other creatures and finding the hidden treasure chest.

The entrance to the trail is situated in the free car park, which can be found if you drive from Tongwynlais, past the entrance to Castle Coch and continue for about a mile.

It was a warm day on Sunday but the trail is shaded and it was quite cool and very muddy in places. I carried baby F in the sling, we did see a family with a buggy but the ground is very uneven in places and not that suitable for wheels. 

All in all the walk took us about an hour, but we were dawdling! 

There were no picnic tables along the way although plenty of makeshift sitting areas in clearings along the wood. We made our way back to the car park and ate our lunch on the stone circle. J also had a play on the giant dragon.

Note the discarded can on the ground in this picture. It isn’t ours. Take your rubbish home people! 

If you’re looking for something to do in the summer holidays, this is a good way to spend a few hours. Next time we’re planning to do one of the longer walks and take in the Castle at the same time.

Fforest Fawr sculpture trail is a free activity and Natural Resources Wales were not aware I’d be writing a blog about it. 

Sunday lunch at The Pickled Radish, Llandaff 

I’ve written before about how much I love The Pickled Radish in Llandaff. Yesterday we tried out the Sunday lunch menu for Fathers Day and it was yum!

Buttered asparagus with poached egg, ham and hollandaise sauce to start.

A MASSIVE plate of Roast lamb for main. With a Yorkshire pudding! Lush. The other Sunday lunch options were pork, salmon and gnocchi for the vegetarians. Something for everyone.

I also had a good Eton Mess for dessert, which of course I gobbled down too quickly for a picture. 

It was good value – £20 for two courses, £22 for three. For kids it was half the price and half the portion sizes. It was fairly kid-friendly as they gave us a high chair for baby F and sorted J a bowl of ice cream for dessert, although the ice cream was sprinkled with lemon balm and lavender – if you have kids you’ll know that this was a disaster. But a quick scrape and the ice cream was up to the 5-year-olds standard. 

We paid in full for our meals at The Pickled Radish

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.

Cardiff Story Museum

We were really stuck for something to do on a wet Monday recently. J’s school was having an inset day and our usual rainy day venue (the museum) was closed. 

A friend had previously recommended the Cardiff Story Museum on The Hayes in town so that’s where we headed. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much (from the outside the building looks like a small gift shop) but we were all pleasantly surprised! 

Life in 70s Cardiff

The museum is spread over two floors so we visited the street-level first. J loved the moving models of the houses on Cathedral Road, which showed how the way we live has changed over the years. 

There were loads of other interactive exhibits on this floor too – J’s favourites were the animal wall models and build your own Cardiff, where he spent aaaaages! 

Every day is a school day….

There was loads for me to look at while J played and baby F slept in her pram, I learned quite a bit about Cardiff that I didn’t know. Every day’s a school day eh? …..

Downstairs in the basement there was loads more to do, including dressing up, a well-equipped play area and loads of interactive activities. There was plenty for kids of all ages. In fact, I wouldn’t mind going without the kids to do some exploring of my own!

If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day I would really recommend a visit to the Cardiff Story Museum. 

The Cardiff Story is free to enter. The museum  staff were not aware I’d be blogging about it. 

Puzzlewood – day out near Cardiff

This weekend we went to Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean. 

Sounds ages away doesn’t it? The Forest of Dean is in Gloucestershire after all. But Puzzlewood is actually only an hour away from Cardiff. A few minutes outside of Monmouth. If you’re looking for something to do this summer I would really recommend spending the day here. 

Walking in Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

Puzzlewood is basically a forest. But it’s like an enchanted forest from a fairytale. In fact Puzzlewood is said to have inspired JRR Tolkein in his descriptions of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings. It’s also been used to film loads of films and TV programmes, including Star Wars, Dr Who and Merlin. My little Jedi had a great time playing with his Star Wars figures while we were there. He also loved finding the hidden wicker seats, lookouts and the ‘magic door’ hidden in the wood. 

Exploring Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood covers around a mile and we spent almost two hours exploring all the nooks and crannies. A word of warning though, no pushchairs are allowed (we took the baby carrier) and it’s very uneven and quite muddy in places so wear sensible shoes. 

Puzzlewood also has a small petting zoo, a wicker maze, a small cafe and loads of picnic benches. It’s really worth checking out if you’re looking for a day out.

Entry to Puzzlewood costs £6.50 for adults and £5.50 for children aged 3-16. Under twos are free. 

Spot the Stormtrooper

We paid in full for our entry to Puzzlewood and the venue was not aware I’d be blogging about them. 

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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