Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

SWOS 2018 Weekly Roundup - Three - Wales and Welsh

Well we've definitely all been a bit tired and tetchy at times this week. The boys have been a bit hard work at times and although we've had a nice few days away, camping is most definitely very hard work with small children! Not really a holiday in the truest sense of the word! Thank goodness we had a van and didn't have a tent and wet weather to contend with too! 

Half way through the summer holidays and a mixture of (very) late nights this week and altered routine starts to catch up. 

But I've loved our Wales and Welsh week. It has been nice to do something a bit different at times and teach the children a little of their heritage. I was especially excited to discover how many children's programmes are available in welsh language on the S4C section of BBC iPlayer - lots of familiar titles including Peppa, Paw Patrol, Octonauts to name but only a few.  The boys seemingly enjoyed watching some of their favourite programmes in a new language, especially Olibobs and kept asking the next episode to be put on. I was also pleasantly surprised that I could watch it and pick out lots of key words to get the gist of what was going on! 

We've otherwise had to be a bit creative with stories and films; Roald Dahl links for stories from a welsh author and picking out dragon themed stories such as Zog and Pete's Dragon of course linking to the dragon on our flag. Although we do have a few simple welsh language books too (we picked up two more at the eisteddfod) that we've been reading this week also. 

It is a shame that the weather wasn't completely on our side this week, especially for camping but  here is Wales and Welsh Week in a nutshell: 




Monday 

Jon had this week off and we started our week in the captial city! We always enjoy a visit to Cardiff and are there pretty frequently. This visit we went down the park and ride to get the bus into town. We then made our way to the castle. Because Jon works in Cardiff we've been able to take advantage of the 'Castle Key' for residents or employees in the city. We picked them up last summer holidays and this means paying £6 per card (we needed 3, under 5s are free) we are able to now enter the castle without paying a penny more for three years! A total bargain considering the huge expense of £38 per family ticket for one visit otherwise! Now don't get me wrong, the children really enjoy visiting the castle, but I wouldn't feel they would've have got the most out of the money at their age if we were paying full price. But the keys make it a worth the effort kind of day out! 



The castle has a huge green space for running around and would be perfect for a picturesque picnic on a dry day and there is lots for the children to explore - albeit some areas of the castle are pretty treacherous for little ones.  Going up to the Keep is extremely hazardous and only Xander made his way to the top with Jon this time. This was Jon's first visit into the castle and the third time in this year I've been there with the boys.  



The boys especially enjoys walking along the castle wall and climbing into every look our point on the turrets - lovely games of peek-a-boo and wanting Daddy to lift them up to look out over the castle wall. They also enjoyed climbing and walking along some the 'ruin' areas of wall lower down on the lawn too.  We walked though the air raid shelter wall which both Zac and Luc were nervous of with the sound effects and talked about what the castle has been used for at different points in history. We spent about an two hours here this visit although probably could have spent longer if we padded it out going inside the house and doing one of the children's trails (that unfortunately weren't available in the shop this time as they had run out!) But that is the beauty of the keys - it doesn't matter how long or short a time we are there and can always go back to do a different part of the castle on our next visit. 

Day finished with a visit to Nandos. Ok not a welsh meal, but yummy nethertheless. (First meal of many out this week - oops!) 





Tuesday

Today we went to St Fagan's (Museum of Welsh Life) for the afternoon with friends / boys Godmother. St Fagan's is a museum full of buildings of Wales past; where building have been taken down brick by brick at various locations from around Wales and then rebuilt as they were in St Fagan's depicting different time periods from Wales gone by.  Another place that is different every visit, free to enter and only £5 for all day car-parking.   I really enjoy a visit to St Fagan's and already think I'll take the children back in October half term if we have a dry enough week and we don't end up anywhere else on a short break!  

We hadn't been to St Fagan's in well over a year and the centre had completed the renovation project; there was a brand new entrance and park that opened not too far back. Of course the boys were all very keen to get in there but we managed to persuade them to leave the park until last! 



So instead they all got to take turns point to something on the map for us to go and explore. My friends little boy pointed first to the Iron Age circle houses - the furthest point on the map he could have pointed to as well as taking us on a walking route we hadn't been on around St Fagan's before. See I told you, something different every visit! The boys were really interested in the round houses and we asked them if they would like their house to be like this - to which they all said no - there was no toys!  Zac took us to the farm area next and they got to see some calves, ducks and chickens. We went up into the village area for a snack and boys played around the Maypole and then Xander and Luc wanted to look inside the old village school. Then it was Xander's turn for map picking and he wanted to visit the red house.  There was so much more we could've seen too but time didn't allow for it today, not if we were to fit in the brand new play area too. 

Day finished in a lovely pub up the road for another evening meal out! 



Wednesday

Our big boy only day out this week was to the Eisteddfod in Cardiff.  I'll be honest I wasn't quite sure what to expect with it being a welsh language festival but I can honestly say being non-welsh speakers was no barrier to our enjoyment of the event. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming and made no bother of speaking English with us. It felt like a welsh celebration for all and the atmosphere was lovely. A lovely mix of events celebrating traditions in Wales along with the innovation and future for Wales. 



The boys (including Daddy) really enjoyed the Science and Technology tent which had lots of exhibitions from Cardiff University, showcasing what scienctists are doing there developing medicines by observing deep sea sea life. The boys were able to make a bracelet copying the DNA colour code for the colour of the their eyes, making a jellyfish and using UV paints to make it glow and made a playdough jellyfish too. We were in that one tent over an hour! 

We explored all around the tents and struck up another lovely conversation with a man from the welsh language society who was really encouraging that the festival being free this year had opened it up to a broader range of people and had given it a much more inclusive feel. 



We also enjoyed watching some traditional welsh folk dancing - which took me right back to junior school - we used to learn the dances and take park in an annual schools festival in the town centre for welsh dancing. In Year 6 it even took me to Germany and our twin town of Bruchsal where we performed over there too!  Lovely memories. We let the boys buy some some simple welsh language book from the book tent and snuck over to welsh cake shop too to get some welsh food treats. 

And you've guessed it.... we had lunch out again, this time in Weatherspoons in the Bay! 


Thursday

Our going on holiday day!  We aptly had planned a few days in West Wales to carry on our Wales and Welsh week. We stayed on a campsite in Haverfordwest (which was a really small site and I really liked, but the shower block is definitely in need of a refurb!)  The journey down was hard work; lots of boy bickering and moaning, so we stopped in Carmarthen (a home-town of mine of the past!) for an early lunch in a hope it would settle them down! Haha!  We rocked up at about 1.00pm got the van set up and then headed over to a welsh beach favourite... Tenby for the rest of the afternoon! (Making the most of the weather while it lasted as we knew the rain was coming in!) 



The boys always love a beach day and it felt a bit of a shame we couldn't stay on the beach longer having used park and ride with a time limit of 6.00pm on it. It is just as well we did leave though, as after another pub tea (!!) and the boys in desperate need of a shower (in the shower block because we had neglected to turn on the hot water in the van - imagine the shower block screaming from the baby!!) it was 9.30 before Luc was in bed and nearer 10.00pm before the other two were.

At least going so late they actually went to bed without fuss... unlike night two and three! 


Friday

Today we visited St David's City - the smallest city in the UK. The beginning place of St David patron saint of Wales. We had pre-bought the St David's treasure trail map from Treasure Trails and set off on an adventure around the little city. We asked the boys if the city felt anything like Cardiff (the only city they know well) and they said no! It was quite strange being in a city that felt much more like a village. 

It was another quite a hard work day. I think the boys were tired from the late night before, and dare I say it PMT from me. That combined with St David's being busy with extremely narrow pathways and lots of traffic (I couldn't believe it wasn't pedestrianised!) and us possibly making the mistake of allowing the boys to take their scooters, (but we knew the trail was 2 miles and 2 hours and scooters would keep them going!) plus buggy, plus toddler wanting spurts on foot too made for a hard work combination! 





But the city is very pretty and the cathedral is magnificent. It is absolutely enormous! We really enjoyed following the trail and discovering different clues along the way. The boys have said this was their favourite day this week. Although I think Xander was somewhat disappointed to realise we had hidden the treasure this time as on previous trails he thought pirates had hidden it. Oh dear! Zachy was especially gorgeous and shared his last treasure biscuit with me! All the hearts! 

No eating out today, haha! We cooked back on site and enjoyed an evening on site with a visit from an old uni friend that lives in Haverfordwest.  Well I enjoyed her visit - Jon on the other hand ended up spending an hour and half driving between Haverfordwest and St David's again twice to make Luc and then a very angry and overtired Zac fall asleep! 




Saturday

And the rain arrived. Now, I neither love  or hate camping. I'm a bit meh about it. I totally see the appeal on dry days, all the open space for the children to just run around in (and if the boys would go to sleep properly, the idea of snuggling under a thick blanket outside the van reading a book into the evening - how foolish was I to think I would achieve that!) but in the rain camping sucks. And today rained, and rained and rained. I couldn't have been more grateful that we have a van with a toilet and wasn't stuck in a tent battling a squelchy cold floor too.   

We had a very lazy morning, all snuggled together on the back bed watching Pete's Dragon and then went to soft play for the afternoon.   Lucas spent the entire time in the area labelled as for children 5-12 years and proved once again that he has his biggest brother wrapped around his little finger; Xander looking after him, helping him get around and lifting him up onto the higher levels when he couldn't climb up for himself. Their bond really is something very special at the moment. 




Another hugely stressful bedtime - two hours of shushing and lying down next to children to get them to go to sleep. Driving didn't feel an option because a) it would've had to be me and b) it was lashing down in the rain and I didn't fancy that on unfamiliar roads! The best part of bedtime though was reading Mor Hyfryd Yw'r Byd with the boys (one of their new welsh books) which is based on Louis Armstrongs 'What a Wonderful World' - they really got into it, picking our words they understood and we all enjoyed listening and singing along to What a Wonderful World afterwards. 

And we've booked ourselves another campervanning weekend for the end of September. I hope it is dry and urgh to the inevitable disaster bedtimes again already! 


Sunday 

The day to wrap up Wales and Welsh week. Another lazy in the van morning, packing up, followed by Sunday lunch in the lovely onsite pub and then driving home. My normally wonderful boy travellers were again difficult passengers. Xander and Zac bickering until Swansea while Luc slept, and then when they fell asleep around Port Talbot, Luc woke up and decided he was going to scream, shout and cry to get out for the rest of the journey home! What joy! 

Everyone was clearly pleased to be home. It was a nice few days exploring West Wales but three nights in the campervan was enough for us all this time. 

We watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory this evening and read a few chapters of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator tonight.  


This next week we're planning a quieter week, we all need it and so does the bank balance after so many eatings out in the last week! Haha!  So lots of home days, Nana and Bampi days, some 'Back to School' and starting big boy school shopping to be done, some time at the park, finding some garden centres and gardens too for 'In The Garden Week'

Boo, the holidays are now half way finished. Is it terrible I'm already noting down lots of ideas ready for SWOS 2019?! 

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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