Friday, 29 July 2016

Mummy & Squidge Fridays | Caerphilly Castle & new shoes

The new dragon at Caerphilly castle that drops bird feed

Last Friday I decided to take Squidge out for a little explore around our new town, Caerphilly.  I knew I wanted to get his feet measured as he's been in the same shoes for 5 months and was sure he had finally grown some more.  So we grabbed the pram and hopped on the bus and headed into town.

First off we stopped at a card shop and I treated us the lounge to a Woodwick candle to help get rid of the stink of the plaster on the walls that we're waiting to dry. I went for a hearthwick candle in the scent soft chambray - it's like a mix of Yankee sweet pea, and fresh linen - very nice and not too overpowering. Absolutely love the way it crackles too :)

New Clarks shoes

After that we headed into Clarks to get the little man measured, and yep, he was finally a size 6 (up from a 5.5), so he got new shoes :) With hindsight I should have let him choose his shoes, but as soon as we walked in there my eyes immediately went to some navy blue ones with trains on, so that's what we got, thankfully he loves them :) 

After that we headed over to Caerphilly Castle, the largest castle in Wales. We've been there once before for a wedding a few years ago, but haven't been back since we moved in. It's run by Cadw, and for local residents they do a 'key' - you bring along a passport photo, proof of address and for a few pounds (I've tried and failed to find any information about this online).

The touring dragon

Dragons don't bite

Our first stop was to see the dragon, he'll be going on a tour of Wales after this weekend. Squidge was equal parts intrigued and scared of the smoke coming out of the dragons nose.

The leaning tower
Squidge after seeing the dragon

After a good 10 mins of watching the dragon, we went on to explore the castle further. Some of it is really leaning and is cordoned off for safety, but most of the castle was open to explore :) As I had the pram with me and didn't have the hubby, we didn't explore much of it as I'd have needed to left the pram unattended (with the expensive fancy candle underneath!), and as we were heading into the castle I had a call from someone who wanted to come to the house early, so we couldn't spend long there anyway.

Entrance to Caerphilly castle

It was an absolutely beautiful day, but had been forecast to rain, it was absolutely boiling! After that we walked down the bus and headed back, detouring around Asda before heading home and putting the little man down for a nap :)
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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Cae Court Hotel

Bedroom at Cae Court

Last weekend myself and my two best friends headed to the Cae Court hotel in Bridgend. One of my friends has had a particularly tough year (you literally wouldn't believe me if I told you!), so my other friend and I decided to surprise her with a night away in a fancy hotel, just us girls. 

I hadn't planned on reviewing it, which is why the pics aren't great as I just took some snaps with my iPhone, so sorry they're not up to the usual standard!

Bathroom

The bathroom was lovely. I wish I'd gotten a picture of the overhead shower head, it was insane! About the size of an A3 piece of paper, maybe bigger! What was also lovely is that the toiletries were all The White Company, the soap smelled amazing!

The White Company toiletries

There was also a nice little desk area with a really pretty cup and saucer. The tea making tray and kettle etc were stashed away in the wardrobe, I did fetch it out but never actually used it.

Desk

The hotel was absolutely beautiful, the building, the entrance, the rooms, everything. Staff were really friendly and happy to help.  We got checked in nice and quickly and shown down to our rooms. The room key was contactless which made a nice change. The room itself had plenty of space and felt really luxurious. Everything was really good quality, even the sheets were Egyptian cotton and so so soft.

Just after checking in, my friend and I waited for our other friend in the cocktail lounge. Their cocktail waiter was having a break, so we had a couple hours to wait before we could have them, so we had a white wine spritzer, and a lemonade to quench our thirst. After my friend arrived, we freshened up and made our way to dinner.

Chicken parfait starter

I couldn't quite make my mind up about the food. This was my starter, chicken liver parfait. It was nice, the salad was lovely, but the apricot chutney wasn't very sweet... maybe it's just me, but I didn't think it went that well with the parfait.  For my main (not pictured) I had the rib-eye steak which was lovely, but I wasn't a fan of the chips - they were triple cooked, but that made them quite oily.

Cheese board

For dessert I went fort the fine cheese selection (£8) and was really disappointed.  The cheese was nice enough, but the grapes had no flavour, the apricot chutney made an appearance again, and the crackers were really horrid. They tasted and smelled like plaster :/ My friend ordered the same and didn't like hers either.  

The food was definitely overpriced, but part of what you're paying for is ensuring a nice atmosphere. The restaurant is small and not jam-packed with tables, which I really liked.

After a few French 76 cocktails (delicious!!!!) we headed to our rooms for face packs before heading off to bed.  I slept brilliantly! The sheets were so soft, the bed was really sturdy and the curtains blacked out the light really well. The room was also well air conditioned, so I could have it at just the right temperature.

Full english breakfast

In the morning I decided to go for the full english breakfast. It was lovely, although I'm not a fan of the little wild mushrooms! We also had toast, coffee and juice, all very nice. 

Overall we really loved our stay at the Cae Court. I'd definitely go back there, I'd just order different food next time ;)  I paid £115 for the room for the night and I think it was definitely worth it. If you want to have a closer look at the hotel, you can find their website here.
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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Squidge 21 month update

As of about a week ago, Squidge is now 21 months old!!! Where on earth has the time gone? Yeah I know, everyone says that every month, but it’s true! My baby has well and truly disappeared and been replaced with an awesome little dude of a toddler.

Clothes

Squidge wearing the white company and john lewis

He’s still in 18-24 months clothes, although some of the trousers (leggings) are getting a little short with all his bending at the knee etc.  I held back from buying loads of proper summer clothes as I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be like (basing this on last summer’s wash out) and I’m glad I did, it’s rained every day in Caerphilly for the last month! Instead I’ve had to go and buy more long-sleeved tops as it’s been too cool for him to wear short sleeved most of the time.

Monthly favourites

Squidge playing with Brio

I thought this would be cute to include :) At the moment for TV he’s absolutely loving Postman Pat, it’s literally ALL he ever requests to watch, by saying ‘Puh-Pat’.  He’ll still happily watch Studio Ghibli, but I have to encourage that as he really only wants to watch Postman Pat.

For toys, I bought him a ‘My first Brio’ (wooden train set pictured above) kit recently and it’s almost the only toy he’s played with since he’s had it.  He’d played with some Brio at his grandparents and goes nuts for it, so I thought I’d start him with a set at home too.  He’s also enjoyed some colouring in and lots of playing in the garden (when there’s been a dry moment) with his water table, and wooden trike.

He still cwtches his Next teddy bear his auntie bought for him before he was born, to go to sleep and calls it ‘teddy’.  But there’s also a little white rabbit he loves that he often takes to his grandparents for the day during the week.

Oh and how could I miss this off, family hugs.  If he see’s Daddy and I having a cuddle, he’ll shout ‘wake up!’ at us (even though our eyes are open, lol) and then shout ‘duddle’ at us (cuddle). I’ll pick him up, he’ll rest his head on my shoulder and then Daddy will wrap his arms around both of us. After a few moments he’ll shout ‘down’ and then insist Daddy picks him up and I cwtch them both. Very very adorable.

Development

There’s loads he’s doing new now, almost too much to remember.  His speech is coming along really well, the main development this month is that he’s starting to string 3 words together.  So far we’ve had ‘Mummy and Daddy’ and then ‘Nanny and Grandad’ (although, he calls his Grandad ‘Dada’, so he actually says ‘Nanny and Dada’).  His Nanny also told me he said ‘on the wall’ the other day too, amazing!  

He’s become really interested in vehicles too, so trains, busses (buh!), cars (tar!) and lorry’s (worry!). In the morning when he wakes up early (5:30am at weekends, yeah thanks for that) he loves coming into our room and watching the cars go past. If he’s quiet he’ll say ‘more!’.

He’s been learning the difference between his food being hot and warm too, not that he has it hot, but if we’re cooling something down we’ll tell him it’s hot.

He’s still walking and running everywhere (well, running like a toddler), and getting very competent on his trike and pre-balance bike.

Sleeping

Squidge and daddy reading a bedtime story

Well as I alluded to, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays he’s been waking up at 5:30am (the days when I’m home with him and could do with a lie in!), the rest of the week he typically wakes about 6:30.

He’s still not completely settled at night in the new house.  He was waking up really scared, so we started leaving his lamp on the lowest setting (it’s one of those lamps you tap to turn on and with each tap (of 3) it gets brighter). That really seems to have helped, but he’s also been teething again on and off, so sometimes he needs a dose of Nurofen at night.

He's also started taking a really long time to get to sleep at night, like anything between 1-2 hours.  It used to be 30 mins, nice and simple.  I'm not sure if it's the new house, being poorly or something else that's bothering him, but he doesn't want to sleep.

Birthday

I’ve started thinking about his birthday, as it's now just under 3 months away.  He doesn’t know enough other children to have a proper birthday party, so I think we’ll just have a little house party again like we did last year. I’m not sure what’s best to buy him though… I was thinking about getting him an expansion for his Brio and a couple more little trains, but other suggestions would be welcome! Maybe a balance bike?

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Monday, 18 July 2016

Registering your toddler as an organ donor

Squidge trying to give me a train

About a week after we moved (6 weeks ago) we went as a family to register at our new Drs.  We had to complete 3 forms each which had me writing for about 45 mins while hubby looked after Squidge.

One of the boxes we had to tick when filling out Squidge’s forms was whether or not he’ll be an organ donor.  It immediately put a lump in my throat, and even just writing this it invokes tears to try and fill up my eyes.  I called the hubby over, showed him the question.  We looked at each other and said ‘yes’.

It is pretty much the last thing I want to think about, and I can’t really let myself think about it too much, because the idea is just so upsetting.  But we knew it was the right thing to do, and could someday (hopefully it would never come to this of course), save the life of another child.

Once we left the Drs, we filed that memory away and focussed on the next task, dinner!  As it was so close to Squidge’s dinner time, there was no time to cook, so we used it as an excuse to get a Chinese from our new local which is only a few houses away, and just so happens to be awesome!

Fast forward a month or so to a couple days ago. We get home from work and walk into our house, there’s dust everywhere from the damp proof course being done, and on the console table in the hall is a bunch of mail the builders have put there for us.

Organ donor form

One letter is address to the parents/guardian of Master Kent.  I open it and it’s the letter confirming he is now a registered organ donor, and has a card for us to carry around.  I stop for a moment and show hubby the letter, both of us sharing a sad glance, and not letting us think about it for a moment longer.

The thought of ever being faced with the reality of Squidge donating his organs is horrific.  But, if I put myself in the shoes of the parents who have a child in need of a donor kidney, or heart etc, I just know that it could be the greatest gift, during the saddest time.

I wanted to blog about it because being a donor saves lives, and child donors is something they really struggle with, understandably.  I guess we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the parents of a child who needs a donor.  If you're interested in registering to be an organ donor, you can do so here.

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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Pink Parcel

Pink parcel, it's a monthly thing

Back on Makeup-Pixi3 about a year ago, I mentioned a brand that was included in a goody bag I’d had from an event called Pink Parcel. They send you a box for ‘that time of the month’ with everything you need to get you through your period, even some little treats.

Well this month Pink Parcel kindly sent me a box to review and now that I’ve just used it, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.

One of the biggest things I love about this box is that you’re able to personalise it to your needs. For example, I use sanitary towels and not tampons, so I’m able to select a box that only contains towels. On top of that, I can select my favoured brand ‘Bodyform’ or ‘Always’.  After years and years of using Always, and realising they were causing me discomfort, I switched to Bodyform about 6 months ago and haven’t looked back, so I was really happy to see I could select them for the box.

Inside a pink parcel box

When the parcel comes, it separates out the towels into different sizes, so there’s a box ‘for night’, a little drawstring bag to keep with you in your handbag, and a box to keep by the loo.  The box you keep by the loo has standard size towels in it and some pantyliners.  I loved that they included a good amount of night towels too.

Inside pink parcel - the towells

They also include a little box of things for you, obviously this is my favourite part of the box.  Inside are some little treats for your tummy and to pamper you with.  This month there was some delicious popcorn, some pretty hair ties, some mascara, a face mask, a tea bag, some lip balm and a couple other bits.  In the previous box I reviewed there was a necklace in there, hair ties, and an OPI nail polish (nice!).

Inside pink parcel - the treats

What would have improved the box for me?
I would have loved to have seen some wipes in there, like FemFresh ones, especially as it’s a towel box and not a tampon box. 

It would also have been nice to be able to select the size of the towels in the main part of the box – personally I get really heavy periods and have to use night time for the first 2-3 days, and then the next size down for the rest, so it would have been nice to pick the bigger towel as an option.

Overall I really liked this box, I think it’s a great idea.  I used to get so embarrassed at buying sanitary towels, especially when I was really young, so this would have been great!

If you're interested in trying the box out for yourself, the first box is £6.99 to try, and every box thereafter is £10.50 (inc P&P).
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*Post contains a PR sample, all opinions are my own
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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Big Toddle

Last weekend, Squidge, Daddy & I descended on Morgan Jones Park in Caerphilly to take part in The Big Toddle.  It's a great fundraising event for Barnardo's, for under 5s.  This one was organised by a local mum who also runs a Tots Play group, and the event was a great success!

About 10-15 children all gathered at The Old Library cafe and headed out for a half mile nature trail around the park, taking in the wildlife, jumping in piles of wood chips, looking at snails in the little lake and climbing up mini mountains :)  It was so completely adorable!  Their aim was to raise £200, but I understand that they smashed that target which is fantastic!

The nature trail began with pictures of creatures to look out for along the way, Squidge loved looking at these... and the drains we walked over (he's a little obsessed with drains, especially when he can hear the water rushing past in them).

Squidge looking at signs

Then we climbed a hill where we had a group photograph, Squidge ran to the front of everyone for the photo and cried, who knows how that pic will come out (it's supposed to be going in the Caerphilly Observer!).  Squidge loved the 'DRAGGGOOON!', then looking at me, shaking his head while saying 'bite' - no Squidge, Dragons don't bite :) There was another little boy with his face painted like a lion, Squidge chased him around the park to get a good look at his face so he could go 'ROOOOAAARRR' at him :)

No Squidge, dragons don't bite

After climbing the hill, we went to the little pond to have a look for fish.  There weren't any fish in the pond but there were some sea snails.  Squidge loved looking over the fence at the water, he kept looking at me and saying 'mimmor' (mirror) at the water reflection :)

Looking for fish

He had a little break on Daddy's shoulders while we walked down to some lovely big piles of wood chips, they smelled amazing!

On Daddys shoulders

Then another break on Daddy's shoulders for the last little stint.

Daddy and Squidge

Finally, we were back at The Old Library with some cups of tea.  Squidge saw other children getting a medal and couldn't wait to get his, he was so happy!!!

Squidge with his medal
All in all we raised £388 thanks to a large donation from my work, thanks Confused.com! I'm not sure how much the whole event raised, but their target was £200, so they definitely smashed it :) Thank you to any and all who donated, it's much appreciated :) We loved taking part in such a lovely little fundraising event, it was so great to get Squidge involved in wonderful things like this at such a young age.
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