Jurassic Kingdom-Bute Park Cardiff

We were kindly invited along to the press day at Jurassic Kingdom in Bute Park, Cardiff for a preview of the event. Off we set with every weather eventuality covered, wearing wellies and macs but with sun-cream in the backpack (and yes I used both, as is usual for South Wales really).

My little boy had dinosaurs on his coat and wellies which wasn’t intentional they are just everywhere when it comes to things for little boys. I parked in the long car park off North Road and Jurassic Kingdom was easy to find as we walked into the park.

There is no mistaking where the event is as you are greeted by an enormous T-Rex as you approach. It roars and moves, much to my kids’ delight. My little boy stopped to shout ‘Dinosaur, roar.’ at the top of his voice and off we went in.

Jurassic Kingdom T-Rex

 

The food stalls were not open today and the teams were still setting up ready for opening day tomorrow (Saturday 11th August 2018). The dinosaurs roars were really loud. Some were not yet switched on. We were happy to creep past a few silent ones.

The models are really very impressive. Close up you can see that no detail has been missed and they look as if they could be alive. My 2yr/o would agree I think as he got a little bit frightened at some of them. They move and roar. Some are set up into scenes like two raptors attacking a brontosaurus and one where a t-rex and another raptor were in a stand off as if about to fight (this one seemed particularly loud). One of my favourites was two raptors in a cage with their heads poking through the bent bars. It looked like a scene from the Jurassic World movie. I kept my eyes out for Chris Pratt just in case.

jurassic kingdom brontosaurus

There were so many different dinosaurs to see from all across different time periods I’m sure if you have a little dino buff they will be able to meet their favourite dinosaur here. I even spotted a couple of sea dinosaurs.

The stars of the show were the gigantic models. Of these we saw the T-Rex as we entered, a diplodocus, a brachiosaurus and a brontosaurus. They are absolutely huge! The size of them made it easier to imagine a time when they were around. There is an area at the back where there are some amazing looking trees and alongside the dinosaurs it does feel as if you are exploring through a Jurassic world.

Jurassic Kingdom

Jurassic Kingdom Cardiff

The models have added little features. Some of their eyes open and close while they move and some of them look to be breathing too. I imagine it will be quite exciting when it’s all fully open as lots of people walk past the models all at the same time it will sound amazing.

Although I didn’t see it, some other bloggers found a sand pit for little ones where they can excavate dinosaur bones and we found a shell the kids could sit in. Overall a great day out and something unique that the kids will remember for a long time to come.

It is a touring exhibition so don’t miss out!

Open August 11th-August 27th 2018 in Bute Park, Cardiff. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Adult ticket is £13 on the gate or £11.50 if you book in advance online. 2’s and under 2 go free. Children from age 3 tickets cost £11 at the gate or £9.50 when booked in advance online. You can currently use the code EARLYBIRD to get 20% off tickets. More info here: http://www.jurassickingdom.uk/cardiff/

The Ronald McDonald Cardiff House

Have you ever seen those boxes at the tills in McDonald’s and wondered what they are for? All the donations from them go to the Ronald McDonald House Charity. RMHC provide accommodation for families near to specialist children’s hospitals making it easier for families to be closer to their children when they are seriously ill.

I think there is a bit of a stigma attached to this particular charity because lots of people think that McDonald’s run it and could afford to fund it. RMHC is an independent charity whose biggest corporate supporter is McDonald’s. So, all those pennies in the boxes at the tills mean a lot.

Happy Birthday

I was kindly invited to their Cardiff house’s first birthday party celebrations. It was a great feel good community event, with lots of returning families as guests. There was loads of great stuff for the kids, all free and we had a lovely afternoon. I actually felt a little emotional as I recalled our family’s own journey in the early weeks of my baby’s life when he was in neonatal intensive care and I thought about what the families who use this charity could be going through.

The house is very impressive, a true home from home. Everything has been thought of in order to lift as much of the mental load as they can for the families that stay there. All the décor is a nice high quality and the design is thought out so that the place feels light and airy and modern. The rooms downstairs are accessible to anyone with limited mobility and one bedroom has a hoist that goes through to the bathroom. The downstairs kitchen is designed with access in mind with lowered counter worktops. The finer details are taken care of like a laundry room and household amenities like washing up liquid and shower gel.

Families

As much as the house has little details included the finer point of this charity is the person-centred approach they have. Over and above the design and mod cons is the needs of the families they serve. Volunteers and house staff facilitate parties for special occasions. Mother’s Day and Father’s day were both marked at the house last year with treats for the mum’s and dad’s like having a hairdresser visit. Birthdays are celebrated. They openly accept anyone who is part of the family’s support network to stay with them. They have waffle Wednesdays! Every Wednesday they hold a communal breakfast of waffles which everyone at the house has the option of joining in with.

Community

The house is open 365 days a year and there is no limit to the amount of time you can stay there. The hospital refers families to the house and it’s completely free to stay. The Cardiff house is right opposite the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital at the Heath, so families can feel as close as they can without sleeping in a chair on the ward.

RMHC understand that they need to build more than just a house, and they are building community. When you are going through the worst times of your life it’s a huge thing to feel part of a community.

I’m blown away by the thoughtfulness of the Ronald McDonald House Charity and I urge you to pop your 15p change into one of those boxes the next time you visit McDonald’s. Or you can donate here: https://www.rmhc.org.uk/donate/

Or if you prefer something more practical here is the Amazon wish list for the Cardiff house.

Thanks so much to RMHC for inviting us along to celebrate with you it was a lovely day and a great event, and a cause I’m proud to support.

RMHC Cardiff

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day

The Tree House

Meeting Space Available For Hire

An Accessible Bedroom With Hoist

My First Blog Conference – Blogtacular

I’m going to London this weekend. Ooh just writing that down made my belly do a mini flip with excitement! I will be in London ready to attend Blogtacular on Sat June 16th. On my own, with no kids, like proper on my own. Eeek! I’m excited and nervous  all at the same time.

Online Creators

I booked my ticket way back in January. I think it was even on New Years Eve I booked it, which would make total sense because I always get the London itch when I watch the New Years Eve fireworks. It’s such an exciting place and I feel like it’s within touching distance of me here in South Wales yet I can’t remember the last time I visited. One of my 2018 blog goals was to go to a conference. There are a couple to choose from but Blogtacular really caught my eye, marketed as a conference for ‘online creators’. That covers a lot of different creative people and I want to meet them! It’s not just for for bloggers but for anyone who creates content for an online space. There are indie business owners going,craft bloggers, fashion bloggers, sewing bloggers,and all kinds of people.

Blogtacular

Photographs © Will Ireland, Piers McDonald & Kat Molesworth for Blogtacular

Workshops

There are two keynote speakers and lots of workshops throughout the day. Some of the workshops I’m particularly interested in are about podcasting and how to write a good blog post. But there are workshops about SEO (search engine optimisation), photography and marketing. I think it will be really difficult to choose which workshops to do.

I’ve heard the food is amazing and the goody bags are great too. Overall though the general consensus is that the atmosphere is really friendly and there seems to be a lot of other people attending by themselves as well – not just me! There are fringe events to attend on the Friday before, a photo walk around London which I’m really looking forward to and then a meal arranged in the evening with some fellow attendees. I just hope I can find my way around O.K.

Going Solo

I’m generally alright going places on my own. My run-away thoughts are rarely quiet long enough for me to have time to feel out of place, and I usually find chatting to strangers quite easy to be honest. I find forced conversation hard, those situations where you feel required to say something *shiver*. This is a full day conference, and it really is a full-on day 8.30am – 6pm so I know there are going to be plenty of breaks and I can just imagine sitting there eating lunch by myself like a lone ranger feeling really anxious. I am a bit worried about that to be honest but I am stepping out of my comfort zone and let’s see if something great happens. Hoping I get to meet lots people and who love blogging as much as me.

Sleeping Alone – Bliss

I’m looking forward to spending a day with other bloggers and creators and hearing about their businesses and getting inspired. I’m looking forward to just being in London, and being on my own. Like proper on my own. I’m looking forward to cwtching up in a big hotel bed to myself and sleeping all night long but I do wonder if the reality of that will be a bit lonely rather then fun. We will soon see.

Blogtacular tickets are almost sold out but if you want to get one of the last 20 available tickets be quick and order through my link. It won’t cost you anything more but I will get something back for it. Blogtacular tickets

So wish me luck and come and say hello if you’re going too!

I might get to connect with some brands while I’m there too. Check out which brands I have been working with in this post.

Afternoon Tea in South Wales

If you are looking for ideas for afternoon tea in the Newport and surrounding areas then you’re in luck. I asked my friends for some recommendations and they came up with this awesome list. This is not a sponsored post so if you find it useful I’d love it if you left a comment to let me know.

The Parkway Hotel Cwmbran

The lunch here is always really nice so I imagine it’s worth a visit for the afternoon tea too.

 

afternoon tea

St David’s Hotel Cardiff

With Vegan and non-gluten options available they cater to everyone.

St David’s Hotel

Crepe Escape Cardiff Bay

I’ve never been but I bet they have great views of the Bay. Worth ringing up before going to ask about their afternoon tea packages.

Crepe Escape

The Celtic Manor Newport

This just needs no introduction. On the more expensive side but comes well recommended by more than one person.

Celtic Manor

afternoon tea macaroons

Miss Jones Whitchurch Cardiff

If you fancy the idea of a gin infused cocktail in your teapot instead of tea then this is your place. Sounds lush to me.

Miss Jones Cardiff

White Castle Tearooms

I can’t find a link for this one but may be worth a look if you know where it is! I think it’s CADW.

Patisserie Valerie

This is the one I booked in the end for my Mother’s Day treat because there was a brilliant deal on Groupon – £19 for two people. With a brand new one opening up in Cwmbran and one already well established in Debenhams in Newport Friar’s walk I’m spoiled for choice.

Patisserie Valerie

Llanyravon Manor

Such a nice atmosphere here, a little hidden gem just behind the boating lake. Get your afternoon tea at The Raspberry Tea Rooms here.

Llanyravon Manor

Parc Pantry

Choose from their flagship cafe in Malpas or book at the victorian tea room within belle vue park. Just make sure to book 2 months in advance as stated on their website.

Parc Pantry

vintage tea cups poster

The Coffee Mill Risca

This looks like a lovely little independent cafe. To find more info, search for their page on social.

Truly Scrumptious Pontypool

Looks like another independent cafe up the other end of the valley. To find more info, search for their page on social.

Angel Hotel Abergavenny

It comes as no surprise that their afternoon tea is award winning, this place has been recommended to me a lot for afternoon tea particularly. I saw a few bloggers went to an event there recently too and they also do a cheese fondue which looked amazing. I can see they have allergen info listed on their website so awesome thumbs up from me for that. If you choose this one I’d love to know what you thought.

The Angel Hotel

Season’s Coffee Rogerstone

I popped in here for a coffee recently and the staff were so lovely and they do soya milk too. Check them out on social.

Bryn Meadows Golf Club Blackwood

Photo’s look beautiful and unlimited tea and coffee with your afternoon tea.

Bryn Meadows

Barker’s Tea Rooms Cardiff

Boasting a selection of fine teas from all around the world this might be one to try if you like exploring new tastes. Check them out on social.

Farmer’s Arms Newport

This venue is well known for serving lovely food but I didn’t know it was an option for afternoon tea. Check them out on social. Their pictures of their afternoon tea look scrummy.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas. I’m glad I wrote them all down for myself to refer to later. I love a good cup of tea and there’s something about dainty cakes and finger sandwiches that just makes them more enjoyable. Let me know in the comments if you have had afternoon tea at any of these places and if you would recommend them yourself.

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Afternoon Tea in South Wales UK

Our Wagamama Mama Club

I have this group of friends, and we kind of bonded over Wagamama. We’re four busy mums and we get together once every couple of months for a night out and a good old chin wag. And we always go to Wagamama. The food is quick, healthy, and tasty and we all have our favourites on the menu. We even have the Wagamama brand photo as our group What’s app picture. So I was thrilled when Wagamama gave me a voucher to take our little Wagamama Mama club (try saying that after a few g & t’s) on tour to see the cool new refurb at their Cardiff library restaurant. Trust me when I say, we don’t just discuss noodles.

Wagamama Cardiff

Refurbished Cardiff Library Wagamama

Wagamama chefs

Open kitchen

Mum Friends

We know each other from church, we’re all mums and we have a good laugh together. Our meet-ups have become a bit of a lifeline to me in fact and a highlight in my calendar. A safe space where no topic is off limits and when we have no advice or experience to share, we just listen to one another, and that is enough. There’s something special in that and I have come to really respect each one of these three special friends. They really are each amazing women in their own right and we’ve all been through our ups and downs this past year. I don’t see all of them from week to week but that just means we always have a lot of news to share. And share we do, over a nice hot bowl of ramen and fresh greens and green tea to help it all go down.

Nothing ever leaves the table. What is said in Wagamama’s stays in Wagamama’s. And we laugh a lot too. I really have a laugh with these girls, like a proper scream. Our meets are a real pick me up for me and I always feel uplifted when I get home. Without anything ever being said aloud, the Wagamama club dates have been protected in our house. Once they’re in the diary they are not messed with and I think Rich realised before me how important these catch-ups are for me. Just to get out of the house child free and let off some steam with friends who understand you is vital.

Wagamama friendsWagamama food

Wagamama restaurant

Allergies in Mind

We began meeting up for our consecutive birthdays in May, June, July and August, that was our summer meet ups sorted and we carried on from there. I fell in love with Wagamama because their allergy information on their website is brilliant which helped me loads when my baby was diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein allergy. I found I had more choice of the menu at Wagamama than anywhere else. I know they’ve really upped the ante with their vegan menu for 2018 too. Moreover, the food is always really fresh. It’s prepared right when you order and brought to the table as soon as it’s ready (no wilted greens from sitting under a heat lamp-winner) and there is masses of it. We all have our favourites on the menu now we’ve been going so much. The desserts are absolutely lush too and not things you get elsewhere, like banana katsu (lightly breaded deep fried banana with salted caramel ice cream-yum). The service at Cardiff was brilliant, leaving us to get on with our chin wagging without having to bat an eye about the food and just enjoy our time out.

I noticed a little sign that said Wagamama would donate 25p to mental health charity Mind for every positive drink bought (a fruit smoothie with spinach and pineapple, it’s so lush) which I thought was great.

Wagamama dessertWagamama menu

Wagamama’s watchword is kaizen which is a Japanese word meaning ‘good change’. Each of us has definitely been through a lot of change in the last year that’s for sure. A lot of good and a fair dollop of sad change too but no matter what has been going on we still get together to tell, laugh, and listen, and I’m really grateful for our little Wagamama mama group.

friendships

With thanks to Wagamama for giving me a voucher for their Cardiff library restaurant. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like this one about Feeling Connected.

 

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