Peter Pan at The Sherman Theatre, Cardiff


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Peter Pan

Watching live performances, good or bad and the excitement and electric atmosphere you only get at the Theater is something that never gets old. Over the years I've seen some fantastic productions and others leaving a lot to be desired but luckily that has never been the case at The Sherman Theatre, a fantastic homegrown theatre in the heart of Cardiff which creates and curates amazing shows. 

So when I had the chance to review Peter Pan at The Sherman over the festive period this year, I jumped at the chance, especially with such a talented and diverse cast, I knew they would bring a new dynamic to this classic family story and Catherine Dyson's adaptation does a great job of doing so as it offers up an offbeat twist, stepping away from Disneyesque cliches to a strange and wondrous place. 

This joint production between The Sherman & Theatre Lolo & supported by the talents of NoFit State Circus is a family-friendly delight suitable for for 7yrs+ and is both engaging and entertaining. It's hard to categorise such a production that is part musical theatre, part acrobatics & part comedy, packed with catchy songs and thrilling flying sequences that capture that sense of childhood imagination. The costumes and set design are equally impressive and the constant movement through dance, song and circus means all ages are engaged throughout. 

Peter Pan

The production does however touch on the topics of separation, loss, adolescence as well as the great, frustrating and exhausting parts of motherhood. Despite depicting, at times, traditional views of parenthood there is also a step away from gender stereotypes which is something personally I love to see. The use of play when it comes to gender roles and swapping them in a way that isn't making a point of doing so but rather "why not" because of course anyone can be a pirate or a warrior, especially in Neverland. 

For a small cast, they all effortlessly shapeshift their way through the story, with Rebecca Killick and Keiron Self playing multiple roles with ease and Owen Alun really stands out as Tink. I cannot wait to see what the lead Rebecca Hayes (Peter Pan) and Emily Burnett (Wendy) do next in their exciting and flourishing careers

Peter Pan

This really isn't Peter Pan as you know it but you will still find the adventure and childhood wonder that goes along with it. The production is around 2hrs 20min with one interval and is suitable for 7yrs + although it's equally great for a child-free night out too. 

Peter Pan is on show at The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff until the 6th of January 2024

Peter Pan

*I was kindly invited to review Peter Pan at The Sherman Theatre, my words are 100% my own 

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4 timeless unisex accessories for every wardrobe

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Street style

No matter your age, gender, or lifestyle, these four timeless unisex accessories are the classic go-to for any wardrobe collection. The reason they are worth the investment is that they are both functional and stylish and can be worn with outfits for any occasion.

Discover how these non-binary accessories break the norm by transcending trends, and why they should be the core of your collection.

A watch

A classic high-quality watch is an ultimate accessory,  it’s as eye-catching as a piece of jewellery but much more useful, backed by a big brand name to boot.

Many of the leading watchmakers keep their designs deliberately unisex. For example, TUDOR watches come in a choice of styles, colours, and straps, with size being the only notable difference between the men’s and ladies’ ranges.

Watch features include much more than just a clock these days, too. You can find water-resistant faces and sweat-resistant straps, ideal for the active and adventurous, and a range of smart technology including heart rate monitors, personalised Apps, and calls and texts straight from your phone.

luxury watch

Stud earrings

From Princess Diana to 50 Cent, studs have blurred the boundary between gendered dressing for decades – proving that they’re not just a girl’s best friend.

This deceptively simple accessory is a status symbol, instantly elevating any look to the next level of luxury. They’re exceptionally hardwearing as well as beautiful, and when well-kept will last for a lifetime.

Diamond studs are some of the best minimalist earrings on the market, but with the right carat and cut they won’t fail to pull focus. For maximum sparkle, choose a well-set round brilliant cut.

tote bag

The tote bag

Ah, the tote bag. Universally useful, this spacious portable storage option is the perfect accessory for any daytime outing, whether you are strolling the shops, going on a day trip, or heading for a post-workout lunch with friends.

They’re also available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colours, and textures so you can exact-match them to your personal taste. The top designer tote bags for 2023 demonstrate this diversity: go classy with brushed leather or quilting or rock a contemporary finish such as metallic or mesh.


Last but certainly not least, what accessory collection is complete without a pair of designer sunglasses? Suitable for all seasons, sunglasses are extremely versatile and can achieve a number of effects depending on how you choose to wear them.

Add designer sunglasses to a stylish outfit for an immediate air of celebrity to help you stand out from the crowd. Use sunglasses during a sporting competition to keep you cool and confident. Take them with you on a hot weather holiday to shelter your eyes from the sun’s rays.

Classic sunglasses such as Aviators are in themselves gender-neutral, and major fashion houses like Burberry and DIOR make a point of celebrating non-binary designs.


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How to stay safe online this festive season


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festive shopping

*This post contains affiliate links 

As more and more of us rely on organising our holiday travel arrangements online as well as shopping for presents for friends and family, staying safe online is more important than ever, especially as scams are becoming harder to spot.

No one wants to be caught out this time of the year and potentially lose a considerable amount of money in the process or your tech being ruined by a virus, so being aware and taking precautions a must, as well as making other family members aware if you do come across something that seems fishy.

1. Websites - If it doesn’t look right it probably isn’t

Most of us naturally do price comparisons when it comes to gifts as well as travel arrangements, if a website you have never used before is advertising the thing you want at a much cheaper price than more reputable websites then question this! Does this website look legitimate and why is it so much cheaper?

There are lots of fake websites that pop up this time of the year, offering goods for less and then when people pay and the product doesn’t arrive, you cannot get hold of anyone and it’s unlikely you will get your money back especially if you unwillingly used an insecure payment checkout.

If the website does look legitimate or you want to make sure, then the first port of call is checking out customer reviews on Trustpilot - this will let you know if others have had issues with the website or if products have or haven’t turned up. If there are no reviews then I would also avoid as it’s likely this website is brand new and just been set up to catch people out this time of the year.

Christmas present


2. Scams

When it comes to emails, texts and posts always be on guard when it comes to opening attachments or being encouraged to click links from senders you have not had communication with before. If something looks suspicious it probably is and the first thing you should do is check the sender's email - if it doesn’t look official it’s not, just remember that banks will never ask for personal information via email and postal services will not charge a delivery fee via text.

As standard it’s important to have a basic antivirus for PC which will offer real-time protection and help prevent phishing and online fraud.

3. Mobile phone safety

Only download apps from official sources such as Google play or the App Store and don’t be tempted to get them elsewhere as this could result in you being a victim of fraud. Also always make sure your mobile phone software and operating system is up to date as this will increase the in-built security features. Always note your passwords for your phone and online accounts and regularly update them to strengthen them.

online shopping

4. Protecting your online data while travelling

If you do things like online banking, transactions or just streaming content when you are out and about you want to think about getting something like Bitdefender VPN service which allows you to bank, stream and download without exposing a single byte of personal information, especially when using shared wifi platforms. VPN services offer high-security encryption and hide your location, stop unwanted ads and offer an extra level of cyber security

The main thing is to be aware and follow your gut, if it doesn’t look legitimate it's best to check or avoid it, as well as set up extra levels of protection to keep your personal data and finances protected.

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The Sustainable gift guide UK



Sustainable gift guide
Wearing a jacket and t-shirt from the B Kinda preloved clothing subscription

Now more than ever we need to support small, local and independent businesses, as well as ones that give back or leave less of an impact. As consumers, we can choose how and where to spend our money and while big chain stores cannot always be avoided we can try and balance our purchases with ethical ones as much as possible. There are such creative makers, designers and artists and shopping small often means being able to gift loved ones with something more unique than you would find on the high street.

So I thought I would put together a few sustainable gift ideas for Christmas.

1. A beautiful Lunar Calendar from Luna and Fern, a small UK independent that focuses on mindful living and sells an array of beautifully created gifts including this gorgeous print which is made using eco-friendly prints and compostable packaging and all purchases also support ocean conservation.

Luna and Fern

2. For the fashion lovers in your life a one-off box or even a monthly subscription from B Kinda Clothing is a great option. Their preloved mystery boxes which consist of 4 items cost £20.95 per box and is a great way to directly support circular fashion and another bonus is all profits go to charity.

3. Marvling Bros make these cute matchbox gifts are perfect for stockings and there is so much choice you are sure to find something that will put a smile on your loved ones' faces. This UK indy was founded by to best friends and has gone from strength to strength. All the matchboxes are recyclable, biodegradable and postman-proof.

4. In times like these we all need a bit of positivity which is why these Positive Affirmation Cards from Colourfulness Cards are a great option. They are made and printed in the UK and are plastic-free, use sustainably sourced materials and are fully recyclable.

AKT London

5. I have been using AKT London deodorant balm for the past two months and love it, not only does it work really well but they are also vegan, cruelty-free, gender-free and plastic-free and gets the thumbs up from me.

6. Identity Lingerie makes some beautiful and sustainable nightwear and lingerie including these stunning green silk pyjamas. This UK family-run business is all about slow fashion, small batches and zero-waste practices. A portion of their profits is contributed to aid Ukraine and its citizens.

7. For anyone who loves the outdoors do check out Passenger clothing. This UK brand has grown but is still committed to planting a tree with every purchase and the majority of their clothing is made from sustainable materials such as recycled cotton and hemp and they are also patrons of The Rainforest Trust.

Passenger clothing

8. The Queer Emporium in Cardiff showcases over 20 local lgbtq+ makers and creatives and is now stocking some items online which means you can support this local indy even when you can't make it to the store.

9. Ucon Acrobatics is an indy based in Berlin which creates things like crossbody bags using ecological recycled PET fabric and is vegan and a certified B-corp.

10. For those who struggle to find a decent alternative to the heavily chemical-filled nail varnishes out there, Earthy Nail polish is just that, a fantastic alternative. It's plant-based, vegan and cruelty-free nail varnish from the UK and they have also recently replaced their plastic caps with bamboo ones, you can also send back empty bottles which will be cleaned and reused.

Earthy nail polish

11. The Cotswold Eco Company is a fantastic one-stop shop for carefully curated eco-conscious gifts and goodies and I my reusable handmade beeswax wraps I picked up from here - such a pretty and practical gift.

12. St. Eval Candles, a family-owned business based on a farm in Cornwall makes beautiful sustainably crafted candles which smell divine and would be a wonderful gift for any loved one.

St Evals candles

13. Mixbook is a great way to share your travel memories or create a family keepsake for yourself, children or grandparents and get those photos of your phone in to print. The photobooks are easy to make and are printed on paper that is ethically sourced from sustainable forests and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance. Mixbook has Up to 45% Off + Half Off Standard Shipping at Mixbook with Code FEBSAVE Ends: 02/05

14. Wonderbooks by Save the Children. Save the Children has started a lovely monthly book subscription for £9 per month your child can receive a beautifully illustrated book and discover how children around the world live while supporting Save the Children charity.

15. Oxfam Unwrapped is a range of charity gifts that give back such as clean water to training women farmers. You get a lovely card for your loved on to open while knowing important funds have been donated to Oxfam's ongoing work worldwide.

* Disclaimer - some items had been sent to me to review, others I have bought myself - I have not been paid for this post and all my words are my own and these are my personal recommendations. 

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Shifting Focus: Stress-Free Podcasts & Nature


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In today's fast-paced world, stress has become a common companion for many. The constant hustle culture doesn't help and many people are now seeking solace and relaxation through various means, which has led to the rise of stress-free podcasts and the soothing embrace of nature and combining them together can offer listeners a break from the manic work and a moment of calmness and tranquillity in our daily lives.

The Stress Epidemic and Seeking Respite

1. Understanding Stress in Modern Life

With demanding schedules, constant connectivity, and information overload, stress has become a prevalent aspect of contemporary living. This heightened stress has sparked a growing interest in seeking ways to unwind and find moments of peace amidst the chaos.

2. The Quest for Relaxation

People are actively seeking ways to alleviate stress and cultivate mental well-being. Traditional methods like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices have gained popularity, but individuals are also turning to unconventional yet effective avenues to find relaxation.


The Rise of Stress-Free Podcasts

1. Purpose and Appeal

Stress-free podcasts have emerged as a popular medium for relaxation and mental rejuvenation. These podcasts offer soothing sounds, guided meditations, stories, and gentle discussions, creating an auditory escape for listeners seeking a moment of calm.

2. Diverse Content and Offerings

From nature soundscapes and guided visualizations to narrated stories and ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) content, stress-free podcasts offer a diverse array of options catering to different preferences and relaxation techniques.

Zion National Park

Embracing Nature: Camping in Zion National Park

1. The Appeal of Zion National Park

Zion National Park, with its majestic cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife, offers a captivating retreat from the stresses of modern life. Immersing oneself in the park's awe-inspiring landscapes provides a profound sense of calm, making it an ideal destination for those seeking tranquillity.

2. Camping Experiences in Zion

Camping in Zion National Park adds another dimension to the park's serene appeal. Under a canopy of twinkling stars, surrounded by the gentle whispers of nature, campers can truly disconnect from their everyday stressors. The park's well-maintained campgrounds offer safe and comfortable accommodations, further enhancing this restorative experience.

3. Nature and Relaxation

In addition to the stress-relieving benefits associated with camping, Zion National Park provides an auditory feast for visitors. The soothing sounds of rustling leaves, flowing rivers, and chirping birds echo the calming cadences found in many stress-free podcasts, offering a real-life soundtrack for relaxation.

Stress less

The Healing Influence of Nature

1. Nature's Restorative Power

Nature has an innate ability to calm the mind and soothe the soul. The sounds of rustling leaves, chirping birds, flowing rivers, or crashing waves possess a therapeutic quality that can help ease stress and anxiety.

2. Biophilia: Connection with Nature

Biophilia, the innate human tendency to connect with nature, has led to the popularity of nature-based therapies. Research supports the idea that exposure to natural elements can reduce stress, anxiety, and even improve overall well-being.

The Synergy of Stress-Free Podcasts and Nature

1. Immersive Audio Experiences

Stress-free podcasts often incorporate nature sounds or simulate natural environments, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in the calming ambience of forests, oceans, rainforests, or serene landscapes, creating an audio oasis.

2. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Guided meditations and mindfulness exercises embedded within these podcasts encourage listeners to focus on the present moment, facilitating relaxation and stress reduction. Combining these techniques with natural sounds enhances their effectiveness.

Mental health matters

Benefits and Impact on Well-being

1. Stress Reduction and Relaxation

The amalgamation of stress-free podcasts and nature sounds serves as a potent stress-relief tool, helping individuals unwind, de-stress, and escape from the pressures of daily life.

2. Improved Sleep and Mental Clarity

Listening to these calming podcasts before bedtime promotes better sleep quality, reduces insomnia, and enhances mental clarity by quieting the mind and creating a peaceful environment conducive to rest.

Incorporating Nature into Everyday Life

1. Outdoor Activities and Mindful Strolls

Taking walks in parks, spending time near water bodies, or simply enjoying the outdoors allows for direct exposure to nature, aiding in relaxation and rejuvenation.
2. Bringing Nature Indoors

Integrating elements of nature into home environments through indoor plants, nature-inspired decor, or by playing stress-free podcasts with nature sounds fosters a calming atmosphere.

In a world brimming with stressors, the fusion of stress-free podcasts and the therapeutic essence of nature offers a pathway to a moment of peace. Through immersive auditory experiences and the healing influence of natural sounds, individuals can carve out moments of serenity in their lives, cultivating mental well-being and reducing the detrimental effects of stress. 

Whether seeking refuge in the immersive sounds of a forest or indulging in a guided meditation amidst serene landscapes, the convergence of stress-free podcasts and nature creates a harmonious symphony, inviting us to find solace in the midst of life's chaos.

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Elevating Your Space: Exploring Room Aesthetics


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Our home should be a place where we feel relaxed and can find that much-needed downtime, while this can take a while to achieve, especially as most are busier than ever, working to transform your living space into a personalized sanctuary.

Creating a unique ambience of a room that reflects your personality, and creating a place where you actually want to spend time is key. Room aesthetics, comprising design elements, colour schemes, furniture choices, and decor, weave together to form a narrative unique to each individual.

Matching style preferences in a space isn't just about visual appeal, it's also about creating a harmonious environment that resonates with one's essence. Let's delve into the art of room aesthetics and the significance of aligning them with personal style preferences.

Understanding Personal Style Preferences

Personal style preferences in room aesthetics are as diverse as individuals themselves. Some lean towards minimalism, embracing clean lines and neutral tones, while others gravitate towards maximalism, indulging in vibrant colours and an eclectic mix of patterns. Transitional styles blend modern and traditional elements, creating a balanced yet distinct look. Then there's the timeless appeal of classic or vintage styles, exuding elegance through antique furniture and refined finishes.

Exploring the Role of Fireplaces in Room Aesthetics

Incorporating a fireplace into your room design can significantly enhance the aesthetics of your space. With a wide variety of styles and designs available in Salt Lake City, you can easily find one that matches your style preference.

Fireplaces serve a functional purpose and act as a focal point, adding warmth and character to any room. Whether you prefer a contemporary electric fireplace or a traditional wood-burning one, having a fireplace in your Salt Lake City home will undoubtedly elevate its overall appeal and create a cosy atmosphere.


The Importance of Cohesiveness

Harmony is the cornerstone of a well-designed space. Cohesiveness doesn't necessarily mean uniformity, instead, it's about creating a flow that ties elements together seamlessly. For instance, blending contrasting styles like mixing modern furniture with vintage accents can create an intriguing juxtaposition when executed thoughtfully. Balancing proportions, textures, and colours contributes to the overall coherence of a room's aesthetics.

Identifying Key Elements

When aiming to match style preferences, identifying key elements becomes pivotal. These elements could range from features like exposed beams or bay windows to focal points like statement furniture or artwork. Understanding these focal points will help in accentuating or toning down specific areas. 

Colour Palette and Mood

Colors wield immense power in shaping the mood and atmosphere of a room. Warm tones like beige, terracotta, or mustard evoke a cosy and inviting feel, while cooler hues like blues and greens create a calming ambience.

Understanding basic colour psychology can really help when to comes to selecting a palette that complements the intended mood of the space. You can also get creative and incorporating pops of accent colours adds vibrancy and character to the room.

picture frame

Furniture and Accessories

Furniture and accessories act as extensions of one's style. Choosing furniture the right furniture can help you achieve your chosen aesthetics – sleek and modern, ornate and vintage, or a fusion of styles – anchors the room's design. Thoughtfully curated accessories like rugs, throw pillows, artwork, and decorative items contribute to the overall ambience, reflecting individual tastes and interests.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Room aesthetics aren't static and can evolve with changing preferences, seasons, or life stages. Maintaining flexibility in design allows for adaptation without losing the essence of the space. Opting for versatile furniture or decor pieces that can easily complement different styles or transitioning between seasons through colour accents are ways to embrace adaptability.

By understanding the significance of cohesiveness, identifying key elements, and staying adaptable, one can craft spaces that look aesthetically pleasing and resonate deeply with individual styles and preferences. After all, a well-designed room isn't just a space; it's a canvas that reflects one's identity and cultivates a sense of belonging and comfort.

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A weekend travel guide to Fowey, Cornwall


Fowey Harbour

* This post contains affiliate links 

I feel very lucky that I had the chance to spend time living in Falmouth, Cornwall before having children and whenever I get the chance to visit and explore more of the area, I do. I've travelled across most of the Cornish peninsular, from the small harbour villages and coastal towns to the sleepy countryside hideaways and bustling city of Truro, there is always something to discover and so many reasons to put Cornwall on your UK bucket list.

So why Fowey?

This quaint harbourside village in Southern Cornwall which is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is not only an architectural delight but is packed with history, cafes and small independent shops, with castles on its doorstep to explore, as well as white sanded beaches, coves and views across the River Fowey, to name a few.

It's also popular with the literacy set as it was also home to famed author Daphne du Maurier, with many of her books being set in Cornwall as well as Kenneth Grahame, author of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ holidayed in the town several times and also set many of his stories here. Who knows maybe you will be inspired to write your own novel after visiting Fowey.

However, if books and buildings are not for you, Fowey also offers a range of activities from hiking and cycling to kayaking and watersports as well as being a great base for some inspiring day trips with the Eden Project and The Lost Garden of Heligan close by.

5 Things to do in Fowey

1. Explore the Fowey Old Town and Harbour on foot

Dating back centuries, wandering around the medieval town of Fowey with its cobbled streets and narrow alleyways, packed with hidden gems, quaint cafes, and cute boutique stores, makes for a wonderful place to discover on foot. St Fimbarrus Church in Fowey is a very pretty norman church that is worth a visit and make sure to stay hydrated with a drink at The Ship Inn, Fowey's oldest pub

Fowey church

2. Fowey Museum

Housed in one of Fowey's oldest buildings, in the heart of the old town, this small volunteer-run museum is well worth a visit and gives you an insight into the town's maritime, military and industrial history with an array of regalia, costumes and models and photographs on display. While the museum is small in size it packs a punch when it comes to giving you real insight into the area, educational and fascinating.

3. Fowey Aquarium

Right next door to the Museum you will find the Fowey Aquarium and while small it has a fantastic variety of marine creatures on display and offers a glimpse into the marine life found around the Cornish coast. Children will really enjoy the touch pool where they can pick up shore crabs. This is a great place to visit for an hour or two and suitable for all ages and unlike some of the much larger aquariums, this one is budget friendly with very reasonable entry prices.

4. St Catherines Castle

Only a few minutes' drive from Fowey you will find the small ruined fort of St Catherines Castle, built by Henry VIII to defend Fowey harbour and coastline. The castle is only accessible on foot & is a 2/3 mile walk, you need to park at Readymoney Beach and make your way up through the woodland but the views are well worth the trek to the top. While suitable for adults and children please bear in mind it’s not pram or wheelchair friendly and you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness.

5. Readymoney Cove Beach

Readymonney Cove is a beautiful sheltered cove with a sandy beach that all ages will enjoy and offers stunning views across Fowey Estuary and is within walking distance of Fowey Harbour. There is also a quaint little cafe near the slipway which serves up local ice creams and Cornish pasties. Perfect for swimming (or having a dip) all year round although of course, the sea temperature is rather chilly in the colder months.

As already mentioned there are plenty of things to see and do within close proximity of Fowey and a day trip to The Eden Project or The Lost Gardens of Heligan will be a hit with all ages. You can also take the ferry across to Polruan for the day and I would also recommend visiting the quaint harbour town of Mevagissey

Fowey harbour

Places to Stay

There are a few different options of places to stay when visiting Fowey, however, when travelling as a family group I would always recommend a self-catering option such as a holiday cottage. Opting for self-catering gives you a lot more freedom as well as space, especially of you decide to visit for longer than just a weekend and I always recommend this option when travelling with kids.

The Shippen

The Shippen, a gorgeous little holiday cottage that sleeps 4, is dog-friendly and is only a 10-minute walk into town or down to Readymoney Cove. This makes the perfect base for exploring the area and coastal paths and best of all is your furry friend can come with

Where to eat

Fowey has an array of Cafes, pubs, bistros and restaurants to stop at, whether you just want a cup of coffee and scones or want to try fresh seafood straight from the Cornish coast, there is something for everyone in Fowey.

The King of Prussia Fowey

My personal recommendations are Brown Sugar and Organicafe which both serve fantastic coffee, cakes and delicious lunch options. Both The King of Prussia and The Ship Inn are great places to have a pint after a walk along the harbour and they both serve traditional homemade pub meals, but if you have fine dining in mind then The Old Quay House won't fail to impress.

The thing about Fowey is there is so much to discover and this is just the tip of the iceberg, so why not head down there for a weekend break, you won’t be disappointed.

Fowey Cornwall

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Exploring Neath Port Talbot the Dramatic Heart of Wales


Margam Country Park

* This post is written in collaboration with Dramatic Heart of Wales who kindly invited us to spend time exploring the area / AD

Neath Port Talbot otherwise known as the Dramatic Heart of Wales, is an area I recently spent a weekend exploring and delving into deeper and finding what makes this part of South Wales so special, from its fascinating history and heritage to its beautiful coastline, woodland walks and thrill-seeking adventures. 

Located in the centre of South Wales with easy access to the coast, mountains, countryside and the Welsh capital, makes it the perfect base for exploring the region. With a strong industrial and coal mining history there are lots of ruins and reminders of times gone by including a network of canals, ironworks and an impressive Abbey. Neath Port Talbot also lies within what is known as "Waterfall Country" which has the highest concentration of waterfalls, caves and gorges and spans Neath Port Talbot, Powys and Rhondda Cynon Taff. 

We managed to pack loads into our recent trip and I've put together this guide of what we got up to in Neath Port Talbot in the hope it inspires others to visit the area. 

7 Things to do in Neath Port Talbot 

1. Neath Abbey and Ironworks

Once one of Wale's wealthiest abbeys which housed around 50 monks, Neath Abbey is one of my top recommendations when visiting the area. The ruins are both important and impressive and completely free to explore. It's a fascinating place for all ages and my children really enjoyed walking around the ruins and taking it all in. Once a site of power, both religious and industrial, with the ironwork furnaces a short walking distance away.  The Tennant canal and towpath also run alongside the Abbey and is a lovely place to walk. 

Neath Abbey
Exploring Neath Abbey

2. Melincourt Waterfall

Melincourt is one of those hidden gems, a lesser-known fall but no less impressive at 80ft high and set in a gorgeous woodland. It is also easily accessible from the nearby free carpark, taking around 10 mins walk through the woods, making it suitable for all ages as long as they generally fit and well as there are some steep drops to be aware of.  What is great about Melincourt is that unlike some of the more popular waterfalls, it's lovely and quiet, with no queues of people, just the tranquillity of the woods and water.

3. Margam Country Park

Set in 1000 acres of parkland you can easily spend the best part of a day wandering around Margam Country Park. The park has so many fantastic features from the historical monastic ruins dating back to 1147 and 19th century Gothic Tudor Castle, along with stunning gardens one of which has Wales Tree of the year 2020. For children, they will enjoy spotting the resident deer herd, farm trail and fantastic adventure playground. If you want a more challenging walk then heading up to the pulpit viewpoint will reward you with fantastic views over the Welsh coastline towards Somerset. The country park is free to explore although there is a parking fee of £7.20 for the day.

Margam country park
Hanging around at Go Ape Margam

4. Go Ape Margam 

Also located on the ground of Margam Country Park, you will find the thrill-seeking Go Ape Margam which is home to Wale's only Treetop Challenge and the UK's biggest Tarzan Swing. Set high among the trees offering stunning views across the park, this is not for the faint-hearted but for children over 10yrs and adventure-seeking adults this is an awesome experience. My 13-year-old had an absolute blast here as did I, highly recommend giving this a go.  

5. Aberavon beach

One of Wale's longest beaches offering 3 miles of sandy beach and a perfect spot for watersports including surfing and SUP'ing. There is also a skatepark and splash playground (seasonal) and plenty of seats to sit and take in the views. The promenade also makes up part of the National Cycle route so it is perfect for cycling. There is also an array of cafes and restaurants along the promenade, we enjoyed some classic chips and ice cream for an afternoon at the beach collecting seashells and having a dip in the water. 

Aberavon beach
Stunning evening spent at Aberavon beach

6. South Wales Miner Museum

While we didn't visit the museum on this trip we visited it a while back and really enjoyed it. Located in the stunning Afan Valley, the museum is run by volunteers who are passionate about promoting the Afan Valley industrial heritage. The museum is both a fun and educational experience with an indoor "underground" tour which gives you real insight to what a miner's job entailed as well as outdoor exhibits such as the blacksmith's ship and lamp room. My kids really enjoyed learning more about South Wales and the role of miners. 

7. Cilybebyll Walk

A lovely circular walk through a mixture of woodlands and meadows, over little streams and taking in the wonderful nature of the Welsh countryside. Passing through the quaint hamlet of Cilybebyll, where we also happened to stay during our time here and offers pretty views across the Swansea valley. This walk is great for all ages and perfect for those who like to do a bit of wildlife watching as there are lots of birds and local fauna and fauna to watch out for. 

Cilybebyll walk
Walking the Cilybebyll Circular walk

Where to eat

First of all the town of Neath is packed with a variety of restaurants and cafes, with something for every type of budget or taste and they also hold an annual food festival so if you are a bit of a foodie I would highly recommend visiting Neath as you won't be disappointed. Across the borough, however, there is a range of Pubs, cafes and tea rooms to try out. While we made use of our accommodation's self-catering facilities we also tried out a few local spots for bites to eat along the way and here are two I would recommend.

Brew&Co, Neath 

We stopped off at this cool little cafe for a light lunch and I'm so glad we did. The menu is fairly simple, which I prefer (rather do a few things well than offer a range of mediocre choices). My boys each went for the pancakes with maple syrup and devoured the lot while I opted for halloumi and avo on doorstop toast and it was delicious, as was their pink lemonade. They also make artisan coffees and are very dog-friendly.

Brew & Co
A light lunch at Brew&Co

Cafe Remos, Aberavon beach

Cafe Remos which is right on the promenade in Aberavon, has plenty of options, from light lunches to pizza and pasta, but what we really enjoyed is their fantastic Gelato. The make authentic gelato on the premises every single day and have a fantastic selection of delicious flavours. We tried the Pistachio and salted caramel and both got the thumbs up! 

Where we stayed - Tan yr Eglwys Cottages 

Set in the quaint hamlet of Cilybebyll, we stayed in The Barn Cottage, which was a perfect base for exploring Neath Port Talbot and had everything we needed for a comfortable and cosy stay. The Barn cottage sleeps up to 6 people making it great for larger families or groups and has a spacious kitchen and patio space for eating together in the evening after a long day of exploring. The Cilybebyll circular walk runs alongside the cottage, which of course we took advantage of. 

The views across the Swansea Valley and the countryside from the cottage windows are beautiful and the owners are very knowledgeable about the area. 

Tan yr Eglwys Cottages

How to make even more of your time in Neath Port Talbot

2 days to explore the area wasn't enough as there is simply so much to see and do and we are planning a few more day trips in the near future as there are still plenty of places I want to see there. Here are a few more ideas for an itinerary 

Gnoll Country Park - I visited this once when my eldest was a toddler and have been meaning to go back ever since, especially as there are many geocaches to find in this beautiful country park along with water cascades and lovely nature walks. There is also a lovely cafe and it's free to explore although there is a small parking fee

Cwm Du Glen - we had hoped to fit in this walk but ran out of time but will definitely be back soon to explore this gorge along the upper Clydach River near Pontardawe, where you will also find another fantastic waterfall. 

Go biking in Afan Forest Park - Afan Forest park is also where you will find The South Wales Miners Museum among other attractions and you could easily spend the whole day exploring this area as there are so many walks and hikes but you can also hire bikes and take advantage of world-class mountain biking trails. 

If you love National Trust properties then I would recommend a visit to Aberdulais with its waterfalls and waterwheel although at the moment this location is closed due to maintenance. Another activity my children and I have enjoyed more than once is hiring canoes on the Swansea Canal during summer (this only runs from April - Sept). There are plenty more ideas over on the Dramatic Heart of Wales website which I encourage you to visit as it's crammed full with information about the area. 

Neath Port Talbot

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Planning for the future, 3 things all parents should do


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family life insurance

*This post contains affiliate links 

I will be the first to admit that I live most of my life in the present, I don't have a 10yr plan, at the moment my focus is being the best parent I can be while covering all the bills and as life is especially chaotic at the moment with two young kids, my focus is mainly around how to get through each day in a positive way.

Saying that I also know there are a few key things every parent should do, to help future-proof their lives and their children's lives and provide some kind of financial safety even when you are not a big earner or live on a tiny budget and this goes for each parent, not just the main earner. 

When I had my first child I was on maternity leave from a part-time job and my income was minimal, which made me more aware of how I need to have some basics in place, should anything happen to me. Here are the 3 things I made sure to have when becoming a parent. 

1. Life Insurance

This is one of the first things I did after having my first child the sudden realisation that I didn't have anything of substantial worth to leave them, how would their basic needs be met without my income, would their grandparents be able to provide for their needs as they grow should something happen to me. 

Life insurance is designed to pay out a cash lump sum and for parents with no major health issues, sorting out cheap life insurance only takes 10-15 minutes online, costs less than £10 a month and will provide immediate reassurance knowing your children have some kind of financial stability moving forward. 

Regardless of your family dynamic, single parents, two parents, adopting etc all will benefit from all parents or legal guardians, taking out life insurance. 

If you are looking for more advice or the ins and outs of life insurance for parents do check out this blog post

writing a will

2. Create a Will

Creating a straightforward will is just another step to ensure clarity, reassurance and financial security should something happen to you. If you do have anything of value or even sentimental items, a will lets you set out whom you want to receive your money, property or belongings. It also allows you to provide for your partner if you are unmarried as well as appoint guardians if your children are under 18. All of these things can give you real peace of mind 

Again this doesn't need to be an expensive process and you can even pick up a DIY Will kit from your local Post Office, although do ensure it's all filled out correctly otherwise it may be void.

For more impartial advice on Will making then this article from money helper is really useful. 

3. Start a Pension plan 

Even if you are not a big earner, putting a small amount (what you can afford) away for the future is always a good idea. Ensuring that we are parents are financially stable in our retirement ensures less pressure on our children in future and provides more security for everyone.  Being self-employed myself this is the one thing I find harder to do than others but I know it's important. 

Firstly having some idea of how much you need for your retirement is a good place to start and the earlier you start saving towards it the better. However, be careful if you decide to invest in something as investments can rise and fall and you can potentially lose money so speak to a financial adviser before making a decision. 

If you are self-employed like me and looking for more advice, The Guardian recently wrote an article all about the options self-employed people have and it's well worth a read. 


The cost of living has created more financial stress than ever but it's also important that we have a few small safety nets in place for our children and the future. Ensuring these 3 things are at least partially done is a start. I have a life insurance plan that is £5 but provides me with a lot of reassurance should something happen to me, that my kids will be looked after. Also having a will makes sure you can voice your wishes for your children's guardians and having some kind of pension of savings for the future gives extra peace of mind. 

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Pumpkin Patches in South Wales 2023


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pumpkin patch

Autumn, the season of cosy knit sweaters, hot chocolate and of course pumpkins. The popularity in pumpkin patches has grown year on year in South Wales and while there only use to be a few places you could pick your pumpkin off the vine, there are now plenty. Many also offer more than just pumpkin picking, such as corn mazes, spooky crafts and everything Halloween-themed. 

While of course there is nothing wrong with picking up a pumpkin from your local supermarket and having fun carving it at home, if you are keen to spend a few hours outdoors in nature and enjoy a bit of Halloween treat then here are the best pumpkin patches in South Wales.

Some of the patches below are offering more of an "experience" with additional things included in the ticket such as corn mazes and entertainment, while others are more traditional patches you can roam around and just pay for what you pick so there is something for every budget. 

Pumpkin Patches with free entry in Southern Wales 


The Picking Patch, Porthcawl - 7th-8th, 14th-15th, 20th-31st Oct

This pumpkin patch has free parking, free entry and no bookings required, making it a great option for those who don't want to do a whole "Halloween experience" and just want to focus on quality family time and good ol' pumpkin fun. 

There are food trucks serving up hot drinks, ice creams and marshmallows for toasting on offer. There are lots of photo opportunities in and around the Pumpkin field and there is also an undercover eating area with face painting and crafts (for a small additional fee). Pumpkins start at £1 and are measured in size. 

Bridgend PYO Pumpkins - open every weekend in October

Thousands of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes will be available to pick and no booking is required or entry fee. There are also plenty of photo opportunities, snacks and drinks available, there will be some farm animals and it's one of the few that is dog-friendly. Pumpkin prices start from £1 

Aberbran Fawr Farm, Brecon - opening Friday 13th (check Facebook page for daily times)

Free entry and free parking, there is also a maize maze to explore and there will be tea, coffee and cakes to purchase and toilets on site. Just bring yourself and your wellies.

Pwmpenni Plas Pumpkins, Carmarthen - Open weekends in October from 10:30am - 4pm

Free entry and no obligation to purchase, although with home-grown pumpkins starting from £1 you are sure to find one that takes your fancy. There is a beautifully decorated indoor barn perfect for photos and it's also suitable for prams & wheelchairs. Well behaved dogs on a lead are also welcome. 

Gower Fresh Christmas Trees  4th-27th PYO and  28th-31st for Halloween at Gower Fresh

From the 4th -27th October Gower Fresh Christmas Tress will have their PYO pumpkin field open to the public from 11am-7pm each day with parking and entry both being free, you just pay for what you pick. 

From the 27th you will need a site pass that costs £5 per car (up to 4 people) this will give you access to Pumpkin picking and Roly Poly's Ghostbusters Party in the barn where you can expect nightmarish music and dancing. You can also add on additional experiences such as a ticket to the pumpkin carving barn or the Mad Scientist Farm Lab interactive show. 

pumpkin picking

Pumpkin Patches with Tickets required

Twilight Pumpkins, Abergavenny - Weekends in October 

Entry is £3 per car and there is no need to book, cash on entry is preferred.

The ticket will give you access to the two pumpkin patches with Scarecrows as well as a large maize trail for kids to explore. Coffee and doughnuts will also be available 

Ty Poeth Farm, Pontypool - open daily from Oct 1st - Oct 31st, 2023

Weekdays Adults £2, Children £1, Weekends Adults £3, Children £2 - booking advised

The ticket includes entry to the pumpkin field (pumpkins are sold separately) maize maze, sunflower field, farm animals and access to the onsite farm shop selling drinks, milkshakes and farm produce. Well-behaved dogs on leads can come along as well. 

Forage Farm Shop, Cowbridge - Oct 14th-31st

Forage's pumpkin picking experience is well known locally and is adding even more to this immersive farm experience. You can expect tractor rides, a maze of maize, hay bale tower, a pumpkin catapult as well as well as plenty of photo opportunities among the 20 different kinds of pumpkins they have grown this year. Younger kids will also delight in visiting the alpacas, piglets and pygmy goats.

They cater for every generation from young children to grandparents and there were also be delicious food and drink options to choose from.

This year they are running daytime sessions for £8.50 per car (pumpkins priced individually) as well as twilight picking sessions which are £5 per person. For more info click here

pumpkin patch

Cardiff Pumpkin FestivalSt. Nicholas - Oct 14th-31st

Cardiff Pumpkin Festival is holding 3 different sessions - daytime, Twilight and Scare fest (14yrs+).

The daytime festival promises to be a lot of spooky fun with tens of thousands of pumpkins in every shape and size to pick from along with a maize trail, spider quest, Witches and Wizards academy, live entertainment and plenty of food options. 

As the sun sets the adventure continues with the Twilight festival experience, which will offer much of what the daytime does except you can roam through the pumpkin field which will be lit up, enjoy roasting marshmallows around fire pits, be amazed by fire shows and live performances as well as a few extra spooky surprises (family-friendly). 

On select nights they are also running Scare Fest which is suitable for 14yrs + and is promised to be a bone-chilling experience for those who dare to venture into the Scare mazes. 

Daytime £7.50 per car and Twilight £10 per car which includes entry, entertainment, maize and spider quest but does not include pumpkins (priced according to size) Witch & Wizard Academy, Pumpkin Carving, funfair & sideshows; food & drink
Scare Fest is £10 per person

Clearwell Farm, Michaelston-y-Fedw Cardiff, weekends in October

Over 20 varieties of pumpkins are grown at Clearwell and the farmyard will turn into a weatherproof Halloween-themed place with thousands of pumpkins in the farmyard and barn, which is great considering how unreliable the Welsh weather can be. You can also scoop and carve your pumpkin on-site. 

Tickets to the pumpkin patch and barn at £6.50 per car (up to 5 people). This is a fairly small family-run farm and tickets do sell out. 

Billy Bob's farm, Llangybi, Usk - weekends in October 

It is £10 (plus £1.55 eventbrite booking fee) per car - booking in advance is required.

This gives you access to the pumpkin picking field, scarecrow trail, games, colouring, maze, meeting the animals and plenty of photo opportunities. Food and drink will be available and you can do pumpkin carving on site for an additional fee. Well-behaved dogs are also allowed. 

Vale Pick You Own, Bonvilston - weekends in October 

Day time picking £6 per car, Twilight picking £9 per car

This year they are offering both Daytime and Twilighy picking sessions and with over 20 different kinds of pumpkin varieties you will be spoilt for choice. They will also be selling pumpkin-spiced lattes in their cafe. There are special guests on the opening weekend including Elsa and Spider-Gwen. 

St Fagans Musuem, Halloween Nights - 29th -31st October  

£14 for children and £11 per adult

While this isn't a pumpkin patch I thought I'd share as it sounds like a great event for ages 6-12yrs old.

A night full of Welsh folklore where each night the Wicker man burns and make a wish while the sparks fly high. There will be spooky stories from the haunted cottage of Nantwallter and around the witch's cauldron in Oakdale. 

As well as creepy craft workshops including lantern making, potion string and mini wicker man creating. There will also be plenty of food and drink on offer as well as a traditional fair and makers market.

The ticket includes drop-in workshop and craft activities, ghost stories, a display of over 50 beautifully carved Swedes, face painting, one rider per child at the fairground, Halloween character walkabout and performances, burning of the wicker man and free parking after 5pm. 


pumpkin patches

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