Exploring Newport Wetlands & Enjoying the Simple things



Lighthouse jacket

The last time we visited the Newport Wetlands we were a family of three so it was really fun to revisit this wonderful place with our youngest in tow as both boys are fascinated with nature, bird watching and exploring new places. The wetlands are around an hour from where we live (it would be quicker if it wasn't for the constant roadworks) and we visited just before the short heat wave and with a slight chill in the air it was the perfect weather to try out my lightweight waterproof windbreaker from Lighthouse Clothing. I have been looking for a jacket that will be perfect for all the festivals we will be heading too over the summer and with this being so light, easy to pack and stylish the Wren Jacket is perfect. 

Newport wetlands

Newport Wetlands

We are actually members of the RSPB and as our house is not too far from a river and has an abundance of trees surrounding it we get a lot of wildlife in our garden, including frogs, slow worms and an array of birds so naturally my eldest has an interest in spotting different kinds and we made sure to pack our bird watching book to try identify them. There are some fantastic circular walks, we decided to go on the sculpture trial which was suitable for both our 6 and 2yr old and there are some bird hides along the way to break the walk up and sit down for a moment, plus we spotted some swans, coots, mallards and a few others.

Newport Wetlands

Newport Wetlands

This walk also takes you down to the coastline, there is a longer walk you can join here as well but both take you past the small lighthouse with views our across the Severn estuary. As it was nice and clear we spotted some pretty impressive cargo ships go by. We then headed up along the floating walkway through the reeds and over one of the ponds where we spotted a school of fish. A local birdwatcher also showed the boys the wild orchids growing among the buttercups.

Newport Wetlands

We spent a whole afternoon at the Wetlands as it offers all of those simple pleasures that both John and I and the boys love. There is a fantastic cafe that overlooks a small pond and attracts loads of birds as well as plenty of picnic areas, a really fun outdoor play park with a mini lighthouse and zip wire. There are also platforms for children to do some pond dipping and a few bug hotels dotted around the place.

outdoor boys

Newport Wetlands

These kind of day trips are the best, we had packed a few healthy snacks and some bottles of water and ended the afternoon with a slice of cake from the cafe. We won't be waiting so long for another visit and we also past the transporter bridge on the way here - another one for the bucket list of things to do locally. We are all about living simply and living happy - what are your favourite simple pleasures?

Lighthouse jacket

Thanks to Lighthouse Clothing for sending me the Wren Jacket 

Country Kids
Read More

Tips on curbing your technology bill



Are you paying too much for technology? Between the TV package, internet, and the phone bills, staying connected can take a huge slice out of your family's budget. It's hard to imagine life without Wi-Fi or cell phone service. How can you trim expenses when all this tech is essential to our modern lives? There are ways to reduce the bills for your basic connectivity. Here are a few of the best approaches.

Slash Your TV Bill

Lots of people have done away with cable television altogether. Subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime offer inexpensive access to feature films and television series. At the moment you don't need a TV license too watch these things so as long as you disconnect from live TV and opt just for a subscription service you can straight away save around £12 a month.

If you prefer to keep your current TV package — which makes sense when it's bundled with your internet or if you are a sports fan — there are still ways to cut costs. Did you know you can negotiate your TV bill? If you are calm and persistent, you may be able to talk your provider into some compromise between your current rate and the promotional rates offered to new customers.

Pay Less for Your Mobile Phones

There are many ways to reduce your mobile phone bill. If your budget is really tight, think twice before replacing your phone. Consider buying a factory refurbished or used phone instead of automatically updating to the newest model. As your family grows, make sure to check into group pricing, like the affordable family plans from T-Mobile.

The biggest area for mobile phone savings is usually in data usage. Many people are paying for more data than they actually use. Study your last several months' bills to see what your actual data usage has been, and downgrade your service if there's room. For even more savings, challenge yourself to use less data by storing your music on your phone and only connecting to social media, videos, and music streaming services when Wi-Fi is available.

Reduce Your Internet Expense

If your promotional rate has expired but you're happy with your service, you may be able to negotiate a better price. Contact your service provider and explain that you're looking for ways to lower your bill, sometimes that's all it takes to unlock a lower rate. Many consumers are paying for more speed than they need, it only takes about 5 Mbps to stream movies. It's definitely worth knowing your current speed by using websites to test my internet speed, as you'll know whether there's room to downgrade your service.

If you're not happy with your current service, set aside a couple of hours to shop around. Getting into a promotional rate at a new provider could save you a bundle, and when you call to cancel your current service, you might be offered a lower rate.

Offload Your Old Equipment

When you upgrade to a new phone, tablet, or camera, check to see what your options are for selling your existing devices. If your equipment is in good condition, you can offer it on Amazon, Gumtree, or eBay. Selling your old equipment won't pay for your upgrade, but it will help offset the cost.

Study Your Bills

It's easy to pay bills on autopilot without skimming the line items, but reading through your bills can alert you to lots of opportunities to save a little here and there. Are you paying for services you don't use, such as a home phone, just because it came at an attractive price? How much do you pay to rent an internet router from your provider, and could you buy one for less?

Technology, and the bills that come with it, might be a fact of modern life, but that doesn't mean you can't trim those costs. A single afternoon of poring over bills and making phone calls could save you hundreds of pounds per year. I also did a post recently about cost efficient ways to save money in the home, check it out for some extra tips

Associated Post 
Read More

Celebrating Sensitive Dads


father and son

The new Braun Series 3 ProSkin is a real hero for sensitive skin, and launching just in time for Father’s Day it’s the perfect gift for sensitive dads. I’ve partnered with Braun to tell you about some of the times when John has shown his sensitive side! #SensitiveDads

For those who don't know John he can unintentionally be quite intimidating as he is 6ft2 with a big beard and doesn't say much as he is very reserved and not one for chit chat but is very social with those he knows. In general he is not much of a talker, in fact he tends to keep things in and doesn't often share if something is bothering him which can be hard to read at times, this doesn't mean he is not sensitive and since having kids this has certainly changed.

The focus often tends to be more towards the mothers when it comes to becoming a parent and just how life changing that is but all of these changes certainly affect Fathers as well. John has stood right next to me on all the highs and lows of this parenting journey and I had never seen him cry, worry, laugh or smile as much as since becoming a Father to our two boys.

sensitive father

When I found out I was pregnant with Arthur I was really nervous, he wasn't exactly planned (although very much wanted) and I was still studying my degree at the time and Johns hours at work had been reduced so timing wise it wasn't the best. I didn't really know what Johns reaction would be but he was so over the moon, he literally jumped up and down and couldn't be happier, shedding tears of joy. This was a side of him I had not seen before and instantly reassured me that everything was going to be okay.

This side of him is seen every now and then, usually when we hit milestones with the boys, seeing them take their first steps, our eldest conquering his fear of putting his face under the water at his swimming lessons, taking part in a school performance or seeing their faces light up each year on Christmas Day (that always get's both of us).

Father moment

Since our journey of parenthood started together we have gone through so much, mainly good experiences and having done a degree in Photography it means that we have a lot of captured memories to look back on. Every now and then we get the albums out and it's not unusual a to see a tear rolling down Johns cheek (don't tell anyone I told you that). A mixture of pride, emotions and seeing your children grow before your eyes really is enough to bring the sensitive side out in anyone and it's only since becoming parents that you can really grasp that concept.

London family adventure

I think it's also really good to let go sometimes, to laugh until you cry and to wear your heart on your sleeve every now and then. It's also important for Dads to be a good role models, especially with John being a father to two boys and to let them know that it's natural, healthy and perfectly fine to have a sensitive side and to embrace that every now and then. 

Proskin Shaver

I have been sharing our sensitive moments in collaboration with Braun who have also sent a Braun Series 3 ProSkin shaver to try out which is perfect for those dads out there with sensitive skin. Even though John has a beard he still shaves daily as there is a little bit more that goes into growing a beard that just letting it do it's own thing, like any hair style you have maintain it and shape it. John also suffers from sensitive dry skin so it's really important to not use anything that is going to irritate it and inflame it if your in the same situation. On first impression it gives a really close shave, smooth on the skin and easy to clean.

I will be sharing my perfect fathers day gift guide very soon, what will you be getting your other half this year? #SensitiveDads

This is in collaboration with Braun, words and thoughts 100% our own.
Read More

Why I've Opted IN for Organ Donation



My organ donation card came through a few weeks back and I filmed a little vlog about my reasons on opting in for organ donation, I was undecided on whether to press publish and share my reasons why but after losing a close friend to cancer and the recent terror attacks in Manchester I feel that it's actually an important time to talk about topics such as this which can have a huge impact on someones life.

So for many years I have been on the fence when it comes to Organ donation although I also have to be honest with myself and say that I never really took it seriously or sat down and really thought about it properly. This year there have been a few changes, I have been detoxing my life of so many things as I journey on my minimalist challenge and it's taught me a lot about letting go both material and emotional baggage as well as taking join in the small things, random acts of kindness and being even more conscious of the footprint we leave on this world.

Becoming a mother has also without a doubt affected my outlook on life, joy, happiness, pain, fear and everything in-between. It's also forced the topic of mortality into my head and what little control we have over that. I am grateful daily that I have two healthy children but unfortunately this is not the case for everyone and having experienced a little of what that feels like when they told us a couple of hours after my youngest was born there was a risk he had Spina Bifda (luckily he does not) it's a path thrust onto parents with no choice. There are children and adults out there with chronic and life threatening illnesses of which only organ donation can cure, that could be your child, sibling, mother or father in need and with that each of us essentially hold the key of life for someone.


No one likes to think about what happens after they die but I do know I will no longer need my physical body and knowing that I could help someone when we live in what seems like a manic and unpredictable world is a good feeling to have. Society in so many ways feels like it has changed a lot since I was a child and the older I get the more I realise the truth of the saying "Be the Change you want to see". I want my children to live in a world where others really care about it each other, seeing the bigger picture and moving forward to make a better more sustainable world.

Also as we get older our own health needs change and there may be a time when we are relying on someone else when it comes to our wellbeing. In Wales they have actually changed the rules and you need to opt out or register your decisions. By opting in you can choose what you would and wouldn't like to donate, you can also change your mind at anytime. It's certainly something to think about and whatever decision you do take make sure to inform your loved ones and they know your decision either way.

Read More

Making Each Day Matter



I have never been that materialistic, from an early age I realised that an evening spent laughing with loved ones was worth more than gold. Ever since I was young I dreamed of dusty roads, music festivals, camping under stars and those intrinsic experiences that would stay with you forever and become the fabric of your being. Before having children I did a lot of self funded travel, working at a variety of backpackers, hostels and hotels, without much of a plan I sought the simple good things and added very little to my backpack I set out with. I have always been a happy seeker being aware that paradise doesn't always last forever and holding onto those sweet perfect moments and knowing when to move on.

twilight hour

Of course settling down and becoming a parent has brought so much joy and happiness but also a lot of compromise, a time to be unselfish, establishing routines and making more stable future plans. The thing is it's very easy to suddenly find yourself going through the motions, saying yes to things when you really mean no and days passing by with little change. The thing is life is short, why keep that bottle of wine for a special occasion that may never come and rather celebrate the now! Marks & Spencer recently did some research and found up to 96% feel we spend our lives on autopilot and I think that something we can all relate too.

I recently wrote a post about gratitude and finding happiness and fulfilment in the small things that make up a day. The one thing I have learnt over the years is it really doesn't have to be grand gestures or far-flung travel plans that make each day matter it's what we do and if that makes us happy, how we approach each day and allowing ourselves to slow down for a moment and appreciate what we have and gasp those moments of pure joy, which are often right under our nose.

brotherly moment

I no longer rush around trying to fit a million things into a short space of time, instead I step back especially when it comes to the boys who love to explore the outdoors. I am fascinated by their growing friendship and sibling relationship and in the quiet moments in the fresh air surrounded by nature these magical moments happen, away from all the "stuff" we surround ourselves with in our daily lives.

In general as a nation we know it's these little moments that are really special yet we don't give ourselves enough time to embrace them fully. I know especially after becoming a parent it's really important to practise self care as well as be present and as in the moment as possible. If there is something getting you down on a daily basis make time to address that. If your feeling out of touch with the things you used to do try and make time to do them again even if this is to find 5 minutes to read a book or listen to some records.


As small as these things may seem some of my favourite moments of the day are biting into a fresh juicy apple, a quiet cup of coffee on those rare occasions I have to myself and even rarer mornings I get to lie in. Listening to my vinyl and dancing in the living room with the kids, making time to play my guitar, being pulled in by a good book and whizzing up milkshakes on a hot day. One thing I noticed is none of these things involve a screen which seems to take a lot of my time up these days and with that Marks & Spencer are calling for change, for a little self-analysis starting on the 1st of June for Make It Matter day - a national day we're they asking people to take a moment to think about what really matters. They will be holding events in store on these days and you can also check our their inspiring video all about the Make it Happen movement.

I have been asked by Marks & Spencer to share my #SpendItWell journey and I encourage you to do the same. This is something I am really passionate about, being grateful for the small things in live #Ad

Read More

Short or Long Hair and Self esteem

stylish mother

I know, some may say it's a trivial subject to discuss but our hair really does have so much to do with our self esteem and can have an impact on how we feel on a daily basis. Having a bad hair day/week/month can really start to get you down and I know personally that affects how I see myself, my mood and even in some ways my productivity as I feel less together to face this manic world. It's also one of those things that needs to be maintained and looked to ensure healthy roots and scalp and in the same way we brush our teeth twice a day you need to take time to look after your hair.


I have hit a bit of a brick wall lately with mine, I am in a weird in-between stage where my pixie cut has grown out and I am starting to resemble Justin Bieber circa 2009 and it's not a good look. The thing is do I carry on and try and grow out this mop top which is currently still style-able with clay or do I cut it short again?

With both pregnancies my hair grew so fast so this in-between stage didn't last long but then when you have a newborn, one of which who loved nothing more than pulling on my long hair a pixie cut felt very appealing for the get up and go aspect when you are already sleep deprived and are short on time. I even did a short hair makeover vlog about this a year ago which I will add to this post. So I thought I would weigh up the pro's and con's since I have had both very long hair and very short hair and if your looking for similar advice this may help.

bob haircut

Long hair

1. You can style this in so many way including the popular top knot or plaits
2. Longer hair does require more attention and maintenance especially if you straighten or blow dry your hair regularly.
3. It can take longer to style if your going for a pacific look
4. You can easily tie it up and keep it out of the way.
5. More flexibility when it comes to trends as you can cut it little shorter or have more dye if you want.

Short hair

1. Easy to maintain
2. Quick to style and get-up and go look.
3. Less options when it comes to creating different looks.
4. Doesn't suit every one (although has a lot to do with inner confidence and I believe as long as you love it you can get away with any look)
5. Perfect for busy mums and those very time short.

Knowing myself and knowing how little time I have in the morning to actually look after myself I will probably opt for going short again. I know its a look that I am comfortable with even though it offers less flexibility when it comes to styles but it offers me a great solution for my life at the moment and I always feel good once it all comes off and I get out of this in-between look I'm currently stuck in. Don't get me wrong I love long hair, I often look at photos and think wow couldn't I have it that length right now but I also know I am not fantastic at being on top of it each day.

French bulldog

I am very lucky to have very thick hair which is also why it's a lot of work when my hair is longer. It's something that runs in my family as my mother has extremely thick hair as does my brother but thats not the case with everyone and it's something I am really grateful for. As I said before hair can have a real impact on how we feel about ourselves, I have this issue when it comes to my teeth which could be better than they are and I know if my hair was thinning I wouldn't be comfortable with that, which is personal to me as everyone has different priorities and different aspects they are more conscious about.

The good news is that they are making real advancements in hair treatment and Harley Street Hair Clinic has seen fantastic results with Advanced Tricho Pigmentation Treatment. It's something in fact John may consider in a few years to come as unlike myself the thick hair trait does not follow in his family and I know its something that would impact him deeply even if he wouldn't like to admit it. Whatever you decided long or short, colourful, straight or shaved right off do what feels good because this will have a positive impact on how you feel

Short hair style

Read More

Creating A Space For Entertaining This Summer


outdoor entertaining

As we say a sad goodbye to spring and the last of those lingering Easter eggs, we look forward to what will hopefully be a hot, dry summer (fingers crossed). Summer is wonderful because of the warmth, the daytime relaxation outdoors, the ability to cook outside, and of course, the ability to entertain outside. There's something so wonderful about chatting with friends as the sun goes down and the sky becomes streaks of pink, purple and red.

South of France

Sharing a cocktail or two with loved ones as the birds sing and the warm summer evening starts to cool. It really is a wonderful thing. The only thing that might prevent it being quite so lovely, is if your home and garden really aren't prepared for entertaining outside. Overgrown shrubs, a lack of lighting, an uneven path leading bath into the house; it doesn't take much to throw plans to entertain outside to the side and instead opt for an evening in, missing out on all the ambience of of a gorgeous summer evening. But this doesn't have to be you. With these useful tips you'll be outside enjoying the summer nights in no time

fair lights

Lighting Up The Party

This might seem silly, seeing as the nights are so much longer in the summer, however, once the light begins to fade, you have two reasons to have some lighting ready to go on. The first reason is ambience. The right lighting will provide a soft, beautiful hue as the sun fades and the stars come out. The second reason is safety. As soon as the light dips, navigating your way down steps, across paths and over plants is much more tricky, especially for guests who don't know your garden as well as you do. Fairy lights are a good option for both considerations because they are soft and romantic, they are cost-effective and they are easy to wind around plants, shrubs, trees and pretty much anything. There are plenty of well priced outdoor fairy lights to choose from on the market. You can even have fun making your own lanterns for them, like in this cool DIY ping pong ball lanterns Youtube video.

Interlinking Your Home & Your Garden

You might wonder why your home relates to entertaining in your garden, but it is actually integral to any outdoor occasion. First and foremost it is practical to have easy access indoors so guests can get to the toilet easily, so that you can bring food out and take empty glasses in really easily, and so you can easily move inside once you've had enough of being in the garden. Depending on your setup, it might be a good idea to look at patio doors. Bifold doors are a great option because they connect your garden to your home visually, closed or open, and because they allow for such easy access between your home and garden during entertaining. There are also lots of additional ways to link the inside and outside of your home including:-

1. Getting pot plants that are the same inside the home and onto the decking or patio
2. Continuing floor tiles from the kitchen or dining room out onto the patio
3. Continuing the colour scheme in the room nearest to the garden into the outdoor entertainment area

outdoor living

A space to cool down

Pop-up pools are a common site in the UK when the temperature gets high and we all want to cool down. Like anything the more you invest in a pool the better quality, longer lasting and more aesthetically pleasing it will be. When it comes to entertaining, the dream, of course, would be to have an in-ground pool. An in-ground pool, whether small or large, is sure to impress your guests, although you'll need a professional like those from https://premierpoolsandspas.com/inground-pools/fiberglass-swimming-pools/ to build it for you - it's not something you can DIY!

Warmth & Shade

We are only human after all, and so we are affected by the temperatures we are in. If you want to keep everyone safe and comfortable during both day and nighttime entertaining in your garden, it is a great idea to create ways to adjust the temperature. An area of shade is important and it isn't hard to create an adjustable area of shade if you don't want a permanently shady spot. Awnings are a good idea, or a DIY setup with material and permanent wooden beams could work really well if you are handy. With heating, you could get a patio heater if you want to invest in the easiest form of outdoor heating. Or if you're more about the ambience and the occasion, a chiminea or firepit could work well (and give you something to toast your marshmallows on to!).

Clean-up For The Win

Before you get going with any big home improvement projects to improve your garden parties, it is so important to deal with the basics. It is so easy to 'dress up' a garden that really could do with a bit of love and attention. It doesn't pay off though, as the garden will never be at its best, and some problems may be dangerous or might get worse. Do a complete garden survey and write down everything you want to get sorted. Also keeping up with basic maintenance throughout the summer is important such as keeping on top of the lawn with an efficient electric lawn mower.

Garden jobs to keep in top of

Fixing the fence
Dealing with bald grass patches
Repotting plants
Getting nuisance shrubs or trees removed
Relaying a cracked or uneven path
Fixing decking
Decluttering old toys, broken pots, piles of leaves and other debris
Washing down the tiles
Strimming all overgrown and uneven plants and hedges

Pest Control

With any outdoor space, especially when you are entertaining or a space used by children, you really need to keep on top of pest control. Summer can bring out things like wasps and a wasp sting will certainly create a dampener for al fresco eating or garden party. The same with pests such as rats and mice. While we can all take steps to reduce pests, if you have an infestation then calling in the professionals like critter stop is what is needed to ensure that no further issues arise.

homemade lemonade

Detail Is The Key

Often the key to entertaining outside is all about the detail. Little things like having a basket full of rugs, dotting candle lanterns around, offering hot chocolates and making people comfortable is all you need to make the night a success. Although the setup is important, little details that enhance the social situation are often the key to successful entertaining.

Remember, the more thought you put into your entertaining setup, the more you will get out. Be creative, enjoy yourself, and most of all, make the space your own, because after all, you'll be spending the most time in it, so it is important you and your family love it.

Associated post 
Read More

Cardiff goes Pop with Bricks at Home and Ushi's

Bricks at Home

I love pop-up shops and I love that Cardiff is finally embracing them so much. It means that smaller independent stores that are usually only found online or outside the city centre get a chance to be more accessible to a larger audience for a short period of time as well as adding something new to the more established shops in the city centre. 

Recently St Davids Cardiff got in touch to let me know about two Pop Up Shops currently making themselves at home in the centre and I made sure to check them out. The first shop I stopped off at was Bricks At Home - a art and interior design concept store based on Pop Art and Lego. I loved it! In my mind Cardiff does not have enough diversity when it comes to accessible art in comparisons to larger cities like Bristol and London. 

Lego art

I got to spend some time talking to the owner Andy Morris who believes in bringing playful design to modern life and Bricks at Home was the perfect combination of a gallery space to help inspire you as well as a shop for affordable art which also showcased local artists and creators. The large plush textile ice-cream was created by a local artists and there was also an excellent collection of artist books, accessories and stationary that you otherwise would find hard to get hold in Cardiff.

Bricks at home

Andy Morris also had some original art pieces on show as well as to scale Lego Money and the Mona Lisa pixelated wall piece really got my attention, would love this in my living room. This pop-up has now finished but they have an excellent online store and Andy also told me he will be back in the city centre over Christmas time as well as some more pop-up stores in the pipework.

Pixelated art

The next stop was the fashion boutique Ushi's which has taken over a large spacious store right in the middle of the centre. I was already familiar with Ushi's as it has a store in Cowbridge, a small village in the Vale of Glamorgan which has an array of fantastic independent shops. Ushi's stocks an variety of British and European designer and independent brands which you would normally not find on the high street. There is a real Mediterranean feel to their collection at the moment in the run up to warmer days spent home and abroad with some beautiful hats scarfs and sunglasses. 

Cardiff fashion

Ushi's has been around for about 30 years so they really know what they are doing in bringing unique pieces to South Wales and the staff are really knowledge about where things are made and the fabrics used. They also stock pieces for the home including an array of candles, soaps and small tickets which are perfect as a gift for someone.

What really took my eye though was the bags and a few of the light summer dresses which would be perfect for a holiday somewhere nice and warm. The clothes are beautifully designed and if your looking for something a bit more special than this is a good place to start. Also I've heard they have extended their pop-up store for a few more weeks. 

Read More

Taking a Serve with Tennis for Kids



Tennis is one of those fantastic sports that offers those life skills that help develop not only hand, eye, ball coordination but also camaraderie, sportsmanship and helps boost a child's self esteem. Having learnt how to play tennis when I was younger it is something I have been keen to get my own children involved with, even if it was to just have a taster (and hopefully be taken) by this sport.

When it comes to sports and kids it can be overwhelming as where to start, which sport to pick and will they enjoy it enough to make it worthwhile as it takes time to get to grips with things. I am sure we are not alone here when I say we have paid up front for a term for something my eldest has simply not got on with when it came down to the reality of learning a certain sport which is why the Tennis for Kids program is fantastic.

The Lawn Tennis Association contacted me and about its great programme which offers a 6 week taster course to help kids get to grips with the basics under the guidance of full trained tennis coaches at local clubs and what is best it's all free, the kids even get their own tennis racket if they finish the 6 week course.

We are just about to go into week 4 and I can honestly say my son is hooked, he has come on leaps and bounds and can now hit the ball with his forearm and back arm and is starting to be able to do a short rally with his peers. What I really like is that there is the opportunity to carry on with the club once the six weeks are over and I think this is the perfect amount of time to know whether its the right sport for your child and so far things are going really well and in a positive direction with my eldest.

My eldest is really looking forward to receiving his tennis racket near the end of this course which is designed in the colours of the Union flag. During the course they also get given a little quiz sheet to take home each week to help them discover famous tennis players, world stadiums and tennis terminology. The course runs on weekdays as well as weekends and all you need to do is type in your postcode and a whole range of options will come up, I think there were more than 6 clubs all within 15-20 mins drive of us offering the 6 weeks course.

I’m working with the Lawn Tennis Association and BritMums in a paid relationship, showcasing the FREE tennis sessions for children you can take up at your local club. The Tennis For Kids programme filled up quickly in 2017, but the LTA has since released limited additional courses so check https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/tennisforkids for places at your local club. There are plenty of other great ways to get involved in tennis over this summer. Great British Tennis Weekend will be back on the 13th and 14th of May and also the 22nd and 23rd of July.
Read More

A Mini Break at The Vale Hotel, Wales



The Vale Hotel

Whether it be near or far a mini break as a family is always something we look forward too especially when its in such a beautiful location of that of The Vale Hotel which has so much greenery surrounding it. The Vale Hotel and Resort is only around a 20 minute drive from Cardiff city centre yet you instantly leave that busy city life behind you for a far more tranquil spot. This hotel is very popular spot with Golfers and those looking for somewhere that is stylish and relaxing but with easy access to both the city, coastline and beautiful boutique towns such as Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan.

We have actually been to the Vale Hotel a few times before as wedding guests or to use their amazing gym and spa facilities but we have never actually stayed the night so I was really interested to see what it was like having a little bit longer here instead of our previous flying visits. This time of course we also had the kids with us and as they actively encourage families to visit so it was also good to see what family friendly facilities they had on offer.

The Vale Hotel

Hotel bedroom

The reception area is very spacious, spotless and impressive and our check-in was swift with the staff being very friendly and welcoming to both boys offering them some colouring-in packs to take with us to our room. We were given a family room on the ground floor in what felt like a very quiet part of the hotel which was probably best as the boys were very excited (and a little noisy). Our bedroom was more than big enough for a family, in fact it easily could of slept 5 with a large kingsize bed, roll-out bed and a double sofa bed we were spoilt for choice when it came to sleeping arrangements. 

What I love most about hotels is the small details because those are often the ones you remember such as the crisp laid out towels with little chocolate biscuits on each one, the bottles of sparking water and the cute soft toy dragons they left for each of the kids. 

Roll top bath

Roll top bath

I have to say when it came to our room my favourite part was the bathroom with it's beautiful modern roll top bath and toiletries from The White Company. My eldest also loves nothing more than a big bubble bath so of course this had to happen.

We had also kindly been invited to try out The Vale Grill for a 3 course evening meal, so in the afternoon before supper I decided to take my youngest out for a walk in the grounds and explore a little outside and hopefully run off a little steam before sitting down to eat. It was lovely and peaceful and we didn't actually see anyone else on our walk and the views across the gold course are beautiful.

Outdoor fun

South African Wine

The Vale Grill

We headed over to the Vale Grill early evening and the restaurant was large and filled with natural light from the large windows over looking the lake golf course. We opted for a South African (of course) bottle of red while deciding on what to eat as every dish sounded amazing. In the end I went for the vegetarian soup as a starter and John has the Feta and Spinach Filo parcels which were equally divine and just the right size leaving more than enough space for the main. The kids menu also offers up some favourites with little twists and lots of options for healthier swaps as well.

For the main I had the Light pastry croustade of Provecal Vegetables, I really didn't know what to expect as sometimes vegetarian mains like this can be heavy but this wasn't the case at all, the pastry was very light and the creamed leek and parsley sauce worked really well. John went for a far meatier option of the 24hr Slow cooked honey Glazed Pork Belly with bok choi, Japanese baby apples and apricot puree which I am told was very good.

Fine food

The Vale Grill

Of course we also opted for some dessert with my youngest having big bowl of fruit salad and my eldest diving into some homemade ice-cream while John went for the apple tart and I tried the Apricot Frangipane Tart with poached apricots and was a lovely way to finish the meal. Both of the kids up until this point had been pretty good with the help of some crayons, puzzles and books (and near the end some YouTube as the restaurant was starting to get busy & they were getting very restless).

What we discovered on our way out was next to the bar is a kids room with some toys and a wooden kitchen space and long blackboard wall of colouring. We decided to have a little wine spritzer while the kids had some fun and John and I actually got to sit down and talk for a few minutes uninterrupted and now we know this exists we may pop into the Vale Bar for a light bite in the future.

The Vale Grill

The Vale Grill

From the moment we arrived the kids were made to feel welcome and even though it is a luxury hotel it incorporates families really well. There is also a fantastic pool and gym available for hotel guests and if you have time and want some down time they offer a whole array of spa treatments and of course you could also have a round of golf.

The Vale Hotel

This is the perfect spot for visiting and exploring the area as a family but also if you want some down time and a night out as a couple. They are also going to be having a special Fathers Day lunch on the 18th of June if your looking for somewhere special to take the whole family.

Thanks to the Vale Hotel for inviting us to come and stay, views are 100% our own
Read More
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...