8 Things to do in Pontypridd, South Wales

16/06/2024

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Pontypridd
Pontypridd Park


Pontypridd, a historical market town around 10 miles from Cardiff, with a direct train from the city, is seeing a resurgence in independent stores, food spots, music and arts, with the recent opening of the YMA and investment in the park, lido and local community ventures is making this town a great spot for a day out. 

So what is there to see and do in Pontypridd?


1. Ynysangharad War Memorial Park

Otherwise known as Ponty Park, this is definitely the central point of the town and has gorgeous green space with a fantastic adventure park, walks, wild gardens, dog park, bandstand, cafe and the perfect spot for a picnic. It is also home to the National Lido of Wales.


Ponty Lido
Ponty Lido


2. Lido Ponty


This historic lido is well worth a visit and is currently Wale's premier outdoor pool housed in a grade 11 listed building, having been restored to it's former glory. There are 3 heated pools, offering space for children, families, social swimmers and dedicated swimmers. Booking in advance if advised although they do have a few spaces for walk-in's.


3. Pontypridd Library

The Library is housed in a new, modern and eye-catching building just across the bridge from the park and is a great place for families to sit and page through some books in a calm space with a great children's section that provides nooks for them to sit and read. There is also plenty of space to bring your laptop of do a spot of work.



Pontypridd Museum
Pontypridd Museum 




This small free museum offers fantastic insight into the town and the people who shaped it. While it could do with being updated, it's a welcoming space that's great for families and the large organ and stunning ceiling in this former Tabernacle are alone worth a visit. 



The common, a short upward walk from the town offers great views across the valleys as well as an interesting heritage walk through the meadows and well-established woodland. Here you will find the iconic Rocking Stones, a stone formation made up fo a 10,000-year-old glacial boulder and surrounded by Gorsedd Stones.  

Pontypridd Common
The Rockingstone on Pontypridd Common




Pontypridd's indoor market has been trading since 1805 and is home to unique independent stores along with an array of fantastic foodie shops including the well-known Welsh Cake Shop. The bookstore here is also something of a wonder with books stacked up higher than any person and it's like a treasure trove. 


7. Foodie spots

Over the past few years Pontypridd has really started to make it's mark on the foodie movement here in South Wales. There is a variety of places to try from coffee shops and casual eating to more formal dining. So of my favourite places are Zucco CafeJanets, The Princes, Casa Bianca and The Bunch of Grapes



Only a short drive (and within walking distance) of Pontypridd, you will find Barry Sidings Country Park which is a fantastic outdoor space for families, with plenty of walking trails, mountain bike paths, has an adventure play park, cafe and is dog friendly with free parking. 


Barry Sidings Countryside Park


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How we enjoyed Oxford on a budget

14/06/2024

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Oxford Radcliff Square


While Oxford is known for being an affluent city with world-renowned Universities, you may have the impression that it's an expensive place to visit, but this simply isn't the case, with an array of amazing free to visit museums, outdoor spaces and historical sites. There is also plenty of cafes, street food and the covered market is a great place to find a family-friendly bite to eat. This walkable city is a great place for a budget day out, in fact one day isn't enough to see everything. 

I visited Oxford for the day with my two children, while staying at Mollies, 25mins from Oxford and this is how we made the most of this fantastic city on a small budget 

The History of Science Museum

This free museum houses a variety of collections and displays to do with science and also has a children's trail but it's real pulling power is Einsteins' blackboard from when he gave a lecture at the University in the 1930's which is impressive and appreciated by all ages.


The Natural History Museum Oxford
The Natural History Museum, Oxford


The Natural History Museum 

Housed in a beautiful and rather breathtaking building, this free museum is packed with Dinosaur bones, fossils and interactive displays. Both kids and adults will love this place, there is plenty of see and do and lots of interactive elements and was one of the highlights of our day. 

Pitt Rivers Museum  

Connected and accessed via the Natural History Museum, this is another free museum that is well worth a visit and houses a large collection of rare archaeological and anthropological finds from all over the world. Between these two museums alone you could easily spend 2hrs or more taking it all in. 


The bridge of Sighs Oxford
The Bridge of Sighs, Oxford


Bridge of Sighs and Radcliffe Square

The Bridge of Sighs with its beautiful and iconic design and popular with tourists so expect it to be busy but it's beautiful and worth a visit. Only a short walk from the bridge will bring you to Radcliffe Square, the famous central cobblestone square surrounded by historic University buildings, this is a great place to take in the atmosphere of Oxford and perfect for photos. Just to the side of the square, you will also find St Mary's passage and the Narnia door.


The covered market Oxford
Florist in The Covered Market


The Covered Market

This historic market has been open and in use since 1774 and is buzzing with activity from cheese shops to cocktail bars inside bookstores to antique toy shops and free art installations on the walls and ceiling. We spent a good half an hour wandering around taking in the atmosphere and may have enjoyed a fresh donut or two.

The Plough Inn - Budget-friendly lunch 

When it comes to family travel, food can really shoot up the budget so when we stumbled across The Plough Inn on Cornmarket Street and noticed that they make a large sharing pizza for £14.50 which is perfect for 3/4 people, that was lunch sorted. Delicious pizza with pesto in a beautiful location was a winner and I wish more pubs would offer substantial sharing pizzas like this one.


The plough Inn Oxford


The Saxon Tower

Opposite the Plough Inn is the distinctive Saxon Tower, more than 100-yrs old making it one of the oldest buildings in Oxford. For a small charge, you can walk up the 97 steps to the top of the tower which offers up some fantastic views across the city as well as an interesting insight into the building and its uses over the past thousand years. This was the only "attraction" we paid with adult tickets £3.5, kids £2 or there is a family ticket for £9.

We had also planned to visit The Ashmolean Museum and Modern Art Museum, both of which are free, however, we ran out of time, but it just goes to show you can easily spend a budget-friendly day or weekend in Oxford, taking in all the history and fantastic museums as a family. 


Oxford on a budget












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What to do if you lose your Driving Licence on Medical Grounds

13/06/2024

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driving


*This post contains affiliate links 


Losing your driving licence can be a real nightmare, especially if it's because of a medical condition. Having a medical condition myself, which luckily doesn't currently affect my ability to drive, does make me think about these things more often, especially as I live in a small town with limited public transport. 

The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) has to make sure everyone on the road is safe, so if they think your health might make driving risky, they can revoke your licence. If you've found yourself in this situation, don't panic. Let's break down what you can do.

Why would a Licence be Revoked?

First things first, you need to understand why the DVLA took your licence away. They usually revoke licences for conditions like epilepsy, heart issues, vision problems, and mental health concerns. Here’s what you should do.


Driving



Steps to Take After Your Licence Has Been Revoked

Read the DVLA Letter: The letter from the DVLA will explain their reasons. Make sure you understand what it says.

Talk to Your Doctor: Discuss the DVLA's decision with your GP or specialist. They can give you more details about your condition and how it affects your driving.

Get a Second Opinion: If you think the decision was unfair, consider getting a second opinion from another medical professional.


How to Get Your Licence Back


If you have managed to get your medical issues under control you can start the process of reapplying for your licence. Here's how:

Collect Medical Reports: Get all the necessary reports showing that your condition is under control or has improved.

Fill Out the D1 Application Form: You can find this form on the DVLA website.

Send in Your Application: Include your medical reports with the D1 form and send them to the DVLA.

The DVLA might ask you to have a medical examination with one of their appointed doctors.



form filling




Getting Legal Advice

If you are feeling unsure about any part of this process then it might be a good idea to consult with a solicitor. They can offer expert advice tailored to your specific situation and help you navigate the steps to get your licence back.

Staying Safe and Legal

While it’s incredibly frustrating to lose your licence, remember that these rules are there to keep you and others safe. Driving with a revoked licence can lead to serious legal trouble, including fines and a longer disqualification.


Alternative Transport Options

During this time, you’ll need to explore other transport options:

Public Transport: Depending on where you live, buses, trains, and taxis can be good alternatives.


Family and Friends: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from those close to you.


Community Services: Some areas offer transport services for people who can’t drive due to medical reasons.


public transport



Preventing Future Issues

Once you’ve got your licence back, you’ll want to make sure you don’t end up in the same situation again:

Regular Check-ups: Keep up with your medical appointments.

Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a healthy lifestyle to manage your condition.

Medication: Take any prescribed medication as directed by your doctor.
Appealing the Decision


If you believe your licence was unfairly revoked, you have the right to appeal. 

Here’s what to do:

Write to the DVLA: Explain why you think the decision was wrong, and include any supporting medical evidence.

Magistrates’ Court: If the DVLA doesn’t change their decision, you can appeal to the Magistrates’ Court.
Dealing with the Emotional Impact

Having your driving licence revoked can be a significant emotional blow. It's not just about the inconvenience; it can also feel like a loss of independence. 

Here are some tips for dealing with the emotional impact:

Talk About It: Sharing your feelings with family and friends can help. They can offer support and understanding.

Seek Professional Help: If you’re struggling to cope, talking to a counsellor or therapist might be beneficial.

Stay Active: Keeping busy with hobbies and activities can take your mind off things and help you feel more positive.


uber




Coping Without a Licence

Living without a driving licence can be challenging, but it’s manageable with some adjustments:

Plan Ahead: If you need to get somewhere, plan your journey in advance. Check public transport schedules or arrange a lift.

Use Technology: Apps like Uber and Lyft make it easier to get around without a car. You can also use delivery services for groceries and other essentials.

Explore Local Options: Many communities have local transport services for people who can’t drive. Look into what’s available in your area.


The Importance of Compliance

It might be tempting to continue driving even after your licence has been revoked, but this is not a risk worth taking. Here’s why:

Legal Consequences: Driving without a valid licence can result in heavy fines, penalty points, and even imprisonment.

Insurance Issues: If you drive without a licence and get into an accident, your insurance won’t cover you. This could leave you with huge financial liabilities.

Safety Concerns: If the DVLA has revoked your licence for medical reasons, driving could be dangerous for you and others on the road.


Rebuilding Confidence

Getting back on the road after your licence has been reinstated can be daunting. Here are some tips to rebuild your confidence:

Start Slowly: Take short trips to familiar places before you venture further afield.

Refresher Lessons: Consider taking a few driving lessons to brush up on your skills and regain confidence.

Stay Informed: Keep up to date with any changes in driving regulations and ensure you’re always driving legally.


driving



Final Thoughts

Having your driving licence revoked on medical grounds is a major inconvenience, but it’s important to stay calm and take the right steps. Understanding the reason for the revocation, reapplying with the correct documents, and seeking legal advice if needed are key actions. 

Remember, these rules are in place to ensure safety. By following the proper steps, you can work towards getting back on the road.

Ultimately, staying proactive about your health and following the DVLA’s guidelines can help you regain your independence and drive safely.

 Keep in mind that maintaining your health is not just about keeping your licence, but also about ensuring a better quality of life overall.

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Some simple ways to pay less for your next car

26/05/2024

6 comments
Road trip


Living outside of the city in a fairly small village, owning a car makes our family life much easier. Unless you live in a city with an excellent transport network getting the kids to and from sport or their various clubs without a car would be very difficult. Most of us are very conscious of doing what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and while we do use public transport when we can, having a family car is still essential for us and our current one is very old and could do with being replaced with a more efficient one.

Of course, there is a limit to how much we can afford to spend when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. As I'm currently going through the process of looking for car I thought I share what I'm doing to reduce costs.

My biggest tip is to look at the second-hand market, there are lots of dealers that specialise in second-hand vehicles that have undergone all the recommended checks and many also come with some sort of warranty. 



driving


Securing the best finance

For most people, car finance payments are the biggest monthly expense. As a result, getting the best finance deal is by far the best way to save. The suggestions below will help you to do this:

· Give yourself plenty of time to search for the right deal

· Understand what all of your options are including a PCP, HP, bank loans and other forms of car finance

· Check your credit score and take steps to improve it before you go shopping for a car

· Consider buying the car in the name of the person in the household who has the best credit rating

· Set up a spreadsheet so that you can compare deals, when you do this look at the total amount you will pay including fees, not just the interest rate

· Don´t be afraid to negotiate, even finance companies give discounts, for example, reduce the arrangement fee

· Delay your purchase so you can save up a bigger deposit

· If you can afford the higher monthly payments opt to pay the loan back across a shorter period

· Read the terms and conditions in full and look for any hidden fees

· If there is anything about the deal you are offered that you are not sure about, always ask for clarification



driving



Finding a relatively inexpensive vehicle

The lower the price of the car you choose to buy the less you will need to borrow and the less interest you pay. This sounds obvious I know, but when you go out to buy a car it is extremely easy to get swept up in the excitement. Dealers are incredibly good at tempting potential customers, so it is common for people to end up spending thousands more than is strictly necessary.

These tips will help you to choose a relatively cheap model that meets all of your needs. Then, find one for a good price:

· Sit down and calmly write down what you actually need, mentally going through how your family uses a car day to day will help to ensure you don´t miss anything important

· Identify makes and models that meet your criteria, and that you like the look of

· Go online and read a few reviews to check if it is really for you

· Check the price using a website like Parker

· Use a car finance calculator to work out if you can afford the make and model, you like the most

· Most new cars lose around 40% of their ticket value after just 3 years, so consider buying a car that is a few years old

· If you really want a new car, see if the dealer has a test drive vehicle available, often they are a bit cheaper

· If you are not going to be driving far, consider buying a car with a slightly higher-than-average mileage

· Keep an eye out for cars that are not black, white, or silver, other colours are not as popular so sometimes they are slightly cheaper

The above is not designed to completely cover the subject of keeping the cost of your motoring down. It is more of a checklist that you can use as inspiration and to guide your own research.


driving


*This post contains affiliate links 
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