Thursday, 31 March 2016

Would We Dare To Meet the Dragon at Caerphilly Castle?

We wanted to go somewhere fun today. Would we dare to meet the Dragon at Caerphilly Castle? I've lived in Cardiff for over 40 years and have never been to Caerphilly Castle although it is less than 5 miles away. So what tempted me to visit today? The dragon? My new senior citizen CADW membership? All of those but we just want to take Bear to see the wonderful places on our doorstep.

Would We Dare To Meet the Dragon at Caerphilly Castle? Caerphilly Castle from across the lake
Would We Dare To Meet the Dragon at Caerphilly Castle?

Today the sun was shining. A perfect day to visit a Castle and a Dragon.

There is a big pay and display car park across the park to the castle. A lovely walk on a sunny day with lots of ducks and geese. Bear loved it! He was already thinking that this was wonderful and couldn't get any better but he was wrong.

The approach to the castle is fantastic, with it's famous leaning tower. We had free entry because we are members of CADW (£10 off at the moment) and under 5's go free.

Castle with leaning tower
The leaning tower

Just inside the castle is the shop then the Dragon.

A Smoking Dragon!

Were we brave enough? Brave enough to stand in it's claw? To look into it's eye? To stand anywhere near when it was breathing out smoke? Well yes and no!

toddler in claw of dragon
Bear in the claw of the Dragon

toddler by eye of dragon
Bear had a good look at his eye

toddler held by adult next to smoking dragon
Not so brave when the Dragon has smoke coming from its nostrils

Bear didn't like the Dragon when it had smoke coming out but loved it's eye and it's claw.

What else is there for toddlers?

Lots of sounds. Horses stomping, drawbridges rising, in the great hall the fire crackling. Wonderful sounds to bring the place to life.

There was a fabulous interactive display in one of the rooms where you could blow up a barrel, or flood the moat, or open a birthday card.

board with graphics. flood moat. open card
Touch screen has some surprises!

toddler in empty room
Lots of space to run around inside....

toddler on grass in front of ruins
...and outside.

toddler looking down well
A well. Just like a big drain really

toddler in puddle in doorway
Medieval puddles are the best

toddler by massive wooden statue holding up tower
A Giant holding up the leaning tower

Tommy Cooper statue outside castle
Just outside is the statue of Tommy Cooper

The Dragon is at Caerphilly Castle until 1st July. Would you dare to meet the Dragon at Caerphilly Castle?

*We purchased our CADW membership on site at Strata Florida. £10 off  new membership at sites until 30th June 2016. All views are my own, or Bears.

Monday, 28 March 2016

A Very Quiet Week. Just Sand and Water

Last week I decided to split my week up into separate posts as I had far too many photo's for one roundup. Then typically,  this week has been very quiet. Bear has been a little poorly with a cough and cold so with the weather being awful we stayed in lots.

Bear had loved playing with rice so I bought a water and sand table that he can have outside when it's warm. As soon as it arrived the weather changed to rain and very cold but he did get into the garden long enough for me to take some photos and post them here.

A Very Quiet Week. Just Sand and Water. toddler playing with sand in a tray on decking

We played with some home made play dough and Bear cut some shapes that we baked as an Easter keepsake for Mummy and Daddy.

A Very Quiet Week. Just Sand and Water A duck and rabbit in yellow dough and finger prints as decorations

We ventured out to the new Wyevale Garden Centre but wan't too impressed with it's lack of parent parking as the normal parking places are so small that it was impossible to get Bear in or out of the car seat. The trolleys only had very small seats too so he had to sit in the trolley. It was freezing so we wrapped him up warm with my scarf as a blanket and socks for gloves! We had a quick look at the tropical fish, which were beautiful and headed back home.

A Very Quiet Week. Just Sand and Water A toddler sat in a shopping trolley covered with a scarf

A Very Quiet Week. Just Sand and Water A toddler watching tropical fish in tanks

Because the weather was so bad Bear played with water in the kitchen and his table in the green house.

A Very Quiet Week. Just Sand and Water A toddler pouring water from a watering can onto a watermill standing in a  blue tray

What's new this week?

Beer, beer, beer! Bear said this all day on Thursday and we were stumped why he had chosen this as his new word until Mummy told us that in his favourite book "The tiger that came to dinner" the tiger drinks all of the daddy's beer. I really must read this book.

Lots of new words and phrases and repeating everything he hears!

C'est la vie (he actually said this, copied Grandad)
thank you
All wet

Most annoying habit? Pointing and grunting at something. It's our own fault as Grandad and I just give him whatever he points at just to stop the noise. We must try harder next week to teach Bear to ask nicely, "more" or "please" would be great.

Oh and it was my birthday, so Grandad took me to Aberystwyth for the weekend. It really was a great weekend especially as the weather wasn't quite as bad as the forecasts. Storm Katie went further south east.

Yellow and red roses with some babies breath.
Birthday flowers

 Aberystwyth seafront
Aberystwyth seafront

I hope you all had a lovely Easter and didn't eat too much chocolate. Did anyone get affected by Storm Katie?


Sunday, 27 March 2016

#MySundayPhoto Number 13

#MySundayPhoto Number 13 is of Bear taking a break. He has been full of cold and it's made him a bit weary. Although he loves moving rice about he just needed to sit down and have a snack to recharge.
I just love how little he looks.



Friday, 25 March 2016

A Cardiff Garden In March

Welcome to a Cardiff garden in March. They say that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb and I would normally agree but this year March started settled and warm, then last week it was freezing and today it is glorious sunshine with a weather forecast of wind and rain. I suppose it's because it's Easter and most people have a long weekend.

In the garden this month birds are building their nests, seeds are sprouting and the weeds are trying to take over. We've managed to get out and prune the Hydrangeas and Fuchsias. Lets hope the weather allows us to get out and weed the garden.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts and lets hope April doesn't bring too many showers.

A Cardiff Garden In March Crows nesting in an Oak tree
Crows Nesting in the Oak

A Cardiff Garden In March White magnolia stellata in flower
Magnolia Stellata looking beautiful, next month it will be at it's peak

A Cardiff Garden In March white celandine next to stone path
Wild Anenomes (thanks A Green and Rosie Life

Purple violets in flower
Violets are like a weed, but so pretty

Primulas purple and yellow. pink. Yellow. against a brick wall
Primulas putting on a show

screen full of dark purple flowers and dark green leaves
Lenten Rose in all its glory

stems of bamboo black and white stripes
Bamboo Nigra putting on new shoots. All except one tiny piece died a few years ago. It flowers once in 100 years then it dies.

flower pot with 2 seed sprouting
Sunflower seeds planted by Bear and Grandad

pale blue and white flower in grass
A stray Chinodoxia growing in the lawn.

lots of tadpoles on stone. Water murky and stone green with algy
Tadpoles enjoying the sunshine

Flower pot with pink Bellis and red Primulas looking wonderful in the sun
Bellis and Primulas putting on a show in the sunshine.


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Messy Fun With The Smoby Water and Sand Table

Bear just loves playing with water and quite often "washes his hands" at the kitchen sink and we both get a bit wet. I had some Amazon vouchers* saved and had been thinking of using them to buy him something for the garden that would hold water and sand and then he could make a complete mess without worrying. There are a lot of tables available that are much cheaper than the Smoby Water and Sand Table (£47.99)  but this got the best reviews.

Messy Fun With The Smoby Water and Sand Table Toddler playing with sand on decking in the sun
Bear having fun in the sunshine

It was really well packaged, in fact it was in a really tough cardboard box that wasn't so easy to open but made a great trampoline for Bear (I've posted a fun video on our Facebook page).

To assemble the table all that is needed is to push the legs into the table top. Two minutes all done.

It came with a couple of accessories. A rake; a trowel; two moulds and a water wheel. For the money I paid I thought these were a bit cheap looking. The water wheel needed assembling and the parts had to be snapped apart first. This left a few rough edges that I then had to file smooth.

Toddler holding scoop and water wheel looking at each bit intently
Bear gives each part a very close inspection

As soon as Bear saw it he was fascinated by all the parts. He liked to spin the water wheel. He loved the "spoon" and "fork". It was too cold to go outside first thing this morning so I filled one of the trays with rice. He played happily for ages with the rice. Using the scoop to move it from one tray to the other. He also found that it was great fun to pour the rice through the hole in the middle (designed for a sun umbrella to go through but not included with the table).

The Smoby Water and Sand Table two compartments and some accessories
Two big compartments that lift out easily to empty

The Smoby Water and Sand Table water wheel detail
A water wheel just slots into a hole

toddler playing with rice in the tray
It doesn't have to be water or sand. Bear loved playing with raw rice.

toddler reaching up to put rice in the water wheel
Lots of rice everywhere!

We were lucky to have a warm spring day so took the table outside and filled one tray with sand and put a little water in the other tray.

tray with and, tray with water and sand and toddler crouched down
Bear likes sand in both trays

It is suitable for children 18+ months and is just perfect for Bear who is 17¾ months old. The trays are a good size and there are covers that protect the contents and  turn it into a normal flat table. All the accessories fit neatly inside for storage. The trays lift out for easy emptying too.

table with covers in place gives a flat surface for other crafts and games
Covers in place make this a versatile table.

We love it, I think it's expensive but I just know Bear will get hours of fun in the summer.

Do you have a favourite outside toy that Bear would love?

*I collected the vouchers from an on-line cash back site and paid for this table myself. All opinions are honest and my own.


Monday, 21 March 2016

Planting, Postman Pat and a Picnic

We've had a busy week full of planting seeds, Postman Pat and even had a picnic. We've been out for walks and iced biscuits at Tots club. Our weeks are now too busy to squeeze all the lovely photo's into one post so I've decided to write individual posts about where we go and what we do and link them all up in our weekly round up. Just click on the links to read more.

This week we learnt how to plant seeds and searched for giants at Fforest Fawr Sculpture Trail.

Planting, Postman Pat and a Picnic.  toddler planting seeds into flower pots
Planting sunflower seeds with Grandad. Just 3 to each pot please!
We spent many happy hours watching Postman Pat with his daddy when he was little. Reading the books, again and again. I realised just how long ago it was as Pat now is married and has a son of his own. Bear particularly likes Jess, the black and white cat. Now I've got the tune in my head and it'll probably stay there all day.

Planting, Postman Pat and a Picnic  toddler close to TV watching Postman Pat
Watching Postman Pat. 

Planting, Postman Pat and a Picnic Toddler sat at feet of adult watching TV
Bear made himself comfortable with Grandad

It was nice and sunny and Bear was desperate to get into the garden. We only have sunshine on the decking for part of the day so wanted to make the most of it and had a little picnic. It was freezing! Bear loved it and he just doesn't seem to get cold like I do.

Planting, Postman Pat and a Picnic. toddler standing on decking with blanket and cushion

Then at Tots club he iced a biscuit. He didn't know that they could be eaten so he didn't try any but just loved the little balls and carried some around putting them into things.

He so confident now too. Joining in with the songs although to misquote Eric Morecambe; he knows all the right moves but not necessarily in the right order.

Iced biscuit with butterflies and coloured balls
Iced biscuit

Toddlers laying down and one standing up singing
Bear dancing when he should be sleeping because he likes the dancing best.

toddler stood on toolbox at bathroom sink
Just love his curls  
Bear now likes a nap just once a day and he likes that to be between 10am and 11am and for about 2 hours. He also likes to sleep in his cot. He will nap in the car but it can take ages for him to fall asleep and then he will only nap for about half an hour, so cot it is. On Thursday I was a bit slow to take him up. I think he's giving me a huge hint.

toddler lying on bottom step looking very sleepy
I'll just sleep here then

So we've had a very busy week. We were going to try out our first messy play but Bears naps fall when they are on. I've ordered some things so we can have messy play at home, I must be mad! I'm hoping the weather will get warmer and we can do them outside. I'll let you know how we get on next week.

Have you tried messy play? I'd love to read your suggestions in the comments.

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