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/ 

Junior Parkrun and Cardiff 5k

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that we had an active Sunday over the bank holiday weekend. I ran the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch on Sunday night and in the morning, my eldest ran Junior Parkrun. 

I’m a huge fan of the Parkrun concept, weekly volunteer-run 5k runs that are free to enter. And for younger runners there’s Junior Parkrun, every Sunday 9.30am at Llandaff Fields.

Junior Parkrun is a 2k course for 4-14 year olds, and adults can run along with them (no buggies allowed though). 

My eldest (who’s just turned six) has been taking part for a few months now and he absolutely loves it. As with the adult Parkrun it’s free to join, but you do need to register and print off a bar code beforehand. Here’s my Instagram story from the day;

I’m not always the spectator though, on Sunday night it was my chance to get active by taking part in the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch. 

This is the second year the race has taken place and I definitely noticed an increase in both runner and spectator numbers.

The atmosphere in the village was brilliant and really made up for the horrible drizzle. 


The route took us from Whitchurch village, around Heol Don, into Llandaff North, past the library, over the horrible railway hill (known as Crown Hill to us locals in honour  of the old Crown Pub) and back to the village via the common. 

The end of the route was pure evil; even though you are in touching distance of the finish line it takes you around the corner for another couple of hundred yards, before heading back to the finish. I remembered this from last year so was prepared but there were a few runners around me who were fooled into thinking it was almost over! 

The start line of the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch

I grew up in Whitchurch so loved running around my old stomping ground. There were plenty of familiar faces along the route and having my Mum and Dad cheering me on at separate points along the route was brilliant. 

I finished in 31 mins and was happy with that. I’m not speedy!

There was a great party atmosphere at the finish, with a live band, food and drink stalls and plenty of food and drink options open in the village to celebrate. A great way to spend a rainy bank holiday Sunday. 

I paid the full £15 for my entry to the Cardiff 5k and neither they or Parkrun Junior were aware I’d be blogging about them. 

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. 

Singandsign.co.uk

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

Ellierush.co.uk 

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.

Naturalresources.wales/fforestfawr

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.