Outdoor swimming at Lido Ponty

Shortly before the summer holidays, six-year-old J had an inset day off from school, so we were looking for something to do. One-year-old F was going to be in nursery all day, which meant swimming was a good idea (there’s no way I can manage two non-swimmers on my own!) I’d recently seen Cardiff Mummy’s review of the newly-renovated Lido in Pontypridd, so one week beforehand I went online and booked our places.

At that point I had no idea what the weather would be like. However, the pool is free for children and only £1 for adults. Such a bloomin’ bargain! At that price it was no great loss if we needed to ditch the idea. Luckily as the day arrived it was dry, if a little overcast. 

Lido Ponty

The Lido is situated in YnysAngharad Park, in Pontypridd town centre. It’s just off the A470 and there are loads of reasonably priced car parks in the area. 

We parked at Gas Road, which was £2.50 for 4 hours. I heard someone moaning that it was really expensive. They’ve obviously never parked at the NCP on Westgate Street! 

J learning about the history of the Lido

We wandered through town to get to the Lido and had fun checking out some of the history beforehand. 

The Lido has recently been restored thanks to a £6.3million investment from the local council and charitable funds. 

The history of the building is reflected in the upgrade, with restoration of the 1920s turnstiles and wind-up machines outside which feature locals talking about their memories of the outdoor pools. 

Outdoor swimming pools at Pontypridd Lido

The Lido has three heated swimming pools, but as it was mid-week only two were open on the day we went; a lane pool (with space for non-serious swimmers) and the toddler splash pool. 

We changed in one of the outdoor wooden cubicles, which was a novelty in itself, and stored our belongings in a locker; there are plenty available. There are also loads of sunloungers for you to leave your stuff if you want and we left our towels here for quick post-swim warm ups.

Retro changing cabins at Pontypridd Lido

The pools were heated which meant we stayed in for ages and when our session was up we changed in the indoor facilities to keep warm. 
When we left the Lido J spent some time at Lido Play, the fab outdoor adventure play area, while I set up our picnic nearby. All in all it was a great, and very cheap, day out! 

It’s worth checking the Lido website for opening times and activities, as these change at weekends and in school holidays. And definitely book in advance if you can, although there are tickets kept aside for sale on the day. 

We paid in full for our entry to The Lido and the staff at venue were not aware I’d be blogging about it. 

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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

Class and a glass at Tramshred 

I used to love clubbing. During the late 90s my Saturday nights would involve house music, Hooch and big-box-little-boxing to Josh Wink.

Nowadays my Saturdays usually involve House of Cards, a glass of wine and trying to get my kids to stay in bed. 

I wouldn’t go back to my clubbing days, but sometimes I do miss really letting loose on the dancefloor. 

So when I saw the new Tramshred workouts at the Tramshed (see what they did there?!) in Grangetown, it looked right up my street. 

Tramshred is a series of dance themed exercise classes, with a live DJ, followed by …….wait for it……..a prosecco brunch! Genius 

Nat and I before Tramshred

My friend Nat and I arrived just before 11am on the Sunday wearing our best work-out gear. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a gym session or a party! About 40 people were there, mainly women, in fact there were only two men taking part. Not sure why, but possibly the disparaging assumption that it was ‘just’ an aerobics class.

Instructor Steve doing his thing at Class and a Glass

The session was actually quite challenging. Steve, the instructor, used boxercise-style high-impact exercises to encourage weight loss, muscle toning and cardio vascular endurance. Not a ‘grapevine’ in sight! 

The live DJ pumped out amazing tunes while we punched, kicked and jumped (last week was drum & bass week. They also do dance and house week and 90s R&B which is next on my list). By far my favourite parts were when Steve encouraged us to ‘free-style’. It was hilarious bouncing around and raving in a nightclub on a Sunday morning. I loved it.

After – a very sweaty selfie!

When we cooled down it was time to reward ourselves with a glass of prosecco in the Waiting Room, the bar at the Tramshed. 

The bar also serves a brunch menu, so we ordered a couple of avo toasts (£5) and some coffees and spent a good couple of hours catching up. A lovely way to spend a Sunday. Although my legs were aching for days!

Avocado on toast brunch at Tramshed

The next three Tramshred Class and a Glass sessions take place on 30 July, 6 August and 13 August. 
Tickets are priced at £12.50 or £7.50 without the glass of fizz (but why wouldn’t you?) www.classandaglass.co.uk/tickets

Tramshed Cardiff, Clare Rd, Cardiff CF11 6QP.

I was given two free class and a glass tickets for Tramshed. I paid in full for my breakfast and coffee. This is an honest review. My legs are honestly still aching! 

Review – Thé Pot Bistro, Cardiff

Thé Pot has been around a while but recently moved from its old spot on Crwys Road to its new premesis on Whitchurch Road, joining solid Cardiff offerings such as Got Beef, Society Standard, The Crispy Duck and the Discount Supermarket. (Incase you don’t already know it, it looks like a bog-standard corner shop. But if you love beers and lagers, you must pop in sometime. Prepare to be amazed at the selection). Anyway, Whitchurch Road is looking up isn’t it?! *Considers moving there immediately.*

On Thursdays Thé Pot does a special offer; ‘two courses and a glass of wine for £20’, so last Thursday I met two friends for a bite to eat and a catch-up. 

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Thé Pot. I’d never eaten there before and always thought of it as more of a brunch or tea and cake place. I have no idea why. In reality it’s a cosy neighbourhood bistro serving classic French dishes such as moules marinière and boeuf bourguinon, with a few Welsh-influences (Welsh lamb rump for example) and a good selection of fish and vegetarian options too.

I started with the goats cheese and beetroot verrine, which was delicious and really delicately flavoured, the goats cheese didn’t overpower it at all. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough bread to spread it on, I ended up scooping the last bits out and eating it directly off my knife!

Beetroot and goats cheese verrine at Thé Pot, Cardiff
 For the main course I went for the very light and summery risotto with asparagus and peas. Just look at the gorgeous colours; 

Risotto at Thé Pot, Cardiff
With a glass of wine, the whole thing cost just £20. Bargain.

Thé Pot is a lovely relaxed neighbourhood bistro, with delicious food, good service and great value for money. Recommended.

We paid in full for our meals at Thé Pot Bistro and the restaurant was not aware I’d be blogging about them. 

www.thepotcafe.co.uk

June Instagram highlights


Summery walks along the Taff Trail / Veggie brunch at Porro, Llandaff / Pinã Colada milkshake at Kaspas, St Mary’s Street / Walking in Dinosaur footsteps at the National Museum, Cardiff / Dinner at Thé Pot Bistro / Having a blast at Lido Ponty 

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/ 

May Instagram highlights

(Top row L-R) Delicious salad from Milgi Market / wild garlic on the Taff Trail / admiring the Lego inspired artwork at Bricks at Home

(Middle row L-R) Manning my marshalling spot at Cardiff Parkrun / pretty cocktails at the Revolution Bar reopening / barriers everywhere for the Champions League in Cardiff

(Bottom row L-R) Getting very sweaty at hot pod yoga / enjoying the sun at Barry Island (aka Barrybados) / delicious birthday meal at Cafe Citta 

Follow me on Instagram @CardiffGirlBlog