With the wind howling and rain pouring outside today, it seems like such a long time ago that we were at Coombe Mill. I’m finally getting around to sorting out the wonderful photographs which we took during our Coombe Mill holiday.
Looking at this photograph has made me forget the grey weather outside, and made me fondly remember our day of wild swimming on the river near our cottage. My daughter simply slipped into her wetsuit, jumped in and had one of the best afternoons ever!
This post was linked in with:
My Duke of Edinburgh expeditions have come to an end for this year, and this picture was taken during my last expedition.
We were staying in the Fishguard area and I was on driving duties very early, (so early that I had to dress by headtorch light, as it was so dark!).
Fortunately, I was able to stop for a few minutes and enjoy this beautiful area.
If I wasn’t heading to meet a group of young people, I really could have stayed here all morning.
It’s great to discover a little bit of hidden beauty every now and then.
As we all know, days out can be a very expensive for families trying to entertain the children, so it’s wonderful when a family are able to have a day out that only costs the price of a picnic and an ice cream!
Amelia Trust Farm is a working farm in the Vale of Glamorgan, where children can explore and discover the countryside, and also experience what a working farm is all about. A very special part of Amelia Trust is that it provides an environment where disadvantaged young people can work with skilled staff and volunteers on the farm in an outdoor education setting.
We were very lucky to visit on a lovely sunny day and, as soon as we arrived, the children were immediately off to the play area. The great layout of the play area means that we could find a picnic bench, sit down and unload the bags, while watching the children’s safety as they climbed over the tractor and slid down the slide.
It was soon time for lunch, and it was lovely to enjoy your own picnic food in a wide open space, sitting in the sunshine.
With full tummies, we wandered off to spot the farm animals as we went along and all the children loved the freedom to run ahead of us, leading the way. The piglet trail is always a firm favourite, as it leads to the wooded area. My nephews enjoyed hiding behind trees, waiting to jump out at us. Their screams of ‘BOO’ could be heard a long way away!
The next walk was to the pond, at the furthest point of the farm. It’s a good track for pushchairs for little ones, and not too far or up-hill. Just before the pond is my daughter’s favourite bit, which is a little obstacle course made from simple wooden planks, but they played on it for ages. Balance beams, a wobbly plank and stepping stones make for a fun challenge, that they just wanted to go on again and again. It’s a very simple, but effective, outdoor adventure course.
The children eventually arrived at the pond, and loved sitting watching the ducks. They made quacking noises, and then tried jumping back and forth over a little stream feeding into the pond. Inevitably, it ended with her falling in, and getting covered with mud. I always use old trainers for these types of walks, and the poor old washing machine always gets a work-out after these muddy adventures!
We headed back, as time was coming to an end and we had promised the children an ice cream in the on-site cafe. For a great day out in Cardiff, Amelia Trust Farm is such a great place to visit for an inexpensive, educational day out.
All in all, a brilliant day out that doesn’t break the bank!
Recently, we were very lucky to enjoy a multi-activity day at Cardiff International White Water Centre. My daughter and three friends spent the day taking part in three very different adventurous experiences that are available within a vast programme of various activities offered by the centre.
Cardiff International White Water Centre offers a wide range of outdoor activities for children and adults, ranging from Flat-water Paddling, Outdoor Climbing, Stand-up Paddle Boarding, White-water Rafting and Gorge Walking to name a few. Our little adventurers had the most amazing day, taking part in Indoor Surfing, High-ropes Air Trail, and then White-water Rafting.
Their first activity was on the Indoor Surfing, which is a very powerful, simulated surf machine. What’s great about this activity, is that it’s suitable for beginner skill levels, and upwards. So, for children, it’s a great way of getting a first experience of that wild, surf-spray feeling, in a totally safe, controlled environment! Also, it can be enjoyed any time of year, as it’s indoors.
Priced starting from £22.50 per person, up to £35 per person, this is for a session of about 1hr 30min, with all equipment and coaching provided.
They were all so excited! They couldn’t wait to get their wet-suits on and jump right onto the waves. Each child is coached, to help with getting in, and staying on, the wave. As they jumped in their faces were beaming, and they fought against the wave to practice going forward, backwards and side to side.
As the session went on, they were encouraged to try some tricks, by pushing the boards forwards and catching it. They learnt turns and spins and also kneeling on the board. They gained in confidence, waving to parents, who were happy watching all the fun. They also had a go at launching themselves from the top of the wave, occasionally getting some air as they jumped into the flow.
With plenty of turns between the group, everyone had lots of time on the wave, getting better and better with each go, all being able to try more tricks, coming of the wave with big smiles and asking when they could go again.
Next was the Air-trail High Ropes Course. Set above, over and across the Centre, the trail crosses the water. The challenge is to complete high-air obstacles and zip-wires, in order to move across the course to the end, all-the-while dangling high in the air, suspended by a safety line. Before the session each participant is kitted with a harness and a helmet to keep you safe. One by one, the group are encouraged to move across the course at their pace.
The cost for this activity is £10 per person, which includes one fully coached circuit of the Air-trail course.
We all watched, wondering if they would be brave enough to move from the first step. It didn’t take them long to take that first BRAVE step off on the first zip wire. What was lovely, was that we were able to walk around the course at ground level, following them around with words of supporting encouragement, as they went past each obstacle.
We had a few wobbles and high-pitched screams, but we also had lots of laughter and giggles as they moved along. We all watched as they got to the end and zipped wired down to cheers from the mums!
This activity is a great confidence-builder, at only £10 per person including coach, and you can move through this activity leisurely, at the participants’ own speed.
After a bit of lunch, our group moved over to the White-water Rafting session. They were so looking forward to this, as they’d watched other rafts going around the course throughout the day, and so their anticipation and building excitement of White-water Rafting had been building throughout the day.
After suiting-up with wetsuits and safety kit, they first had to practise various skills and techniques in the flat pool. This where they learned the safety commands, and what to do while in the fast-flowing water. It was the best to get ready for what to except on a REALLY fast-water course.
Parents are able to walk around the course, and watch each stage, especially as they came up the conveyor belt which took them to the beginning of the course. There were lots of smiles, screaming and nervous giggling!
Throughout the first run-through, all we could hear was the happy screams as they hit waves, moving on rapidly around the course. It was lovely, as we could watch every move as they went around. We were able to take photographs and shout encouragement but, mostly, we could see how much fun they were having.
During different times of the week, the water level is raised or lowered, depending on the style of paddling required.
We went it was a “family rafting” session, and so the level of water was lower. This helps when younger children want to take part. If you’d like a harder, (read “SCARIER”) paddle, then you could choose to arrange your visit when the level of water is higher. This offers something for everyone and, for our children, the water level was great. They had some edgy nerves to begin with, but were put so at ease by the coaches that they were soon keen to raft!
It really is a great way of getting inexperienced people onto fast-flowing water, and to develop confidence, while still having lots of fun.
The price for a family raft experience starts at (between) £22.50 to £25 per person, and is available on Wednesday evenings, Sundays mornings and School Holidays. All coaching and specialist equipment is included and each session runs for approximately 2 hours.
Our little group had lots of time around the course, and we were really surprised at how much they were able to fit into the session. At the end, in the flat-calm pool, the children were all encouraged to finish the session by jumping into the water from the raft. This was an amazing, confidence-building end to a brilliant session.
They all rushed up to meet us, and were so excited, full of energy and with faces glowing with the biggest smiles. It was so amazing and heart-warming to see. They really did have the most amazing day and couldn’t choose what session was the best. I think that they all agreed that each one was equally as fantastic or exciting as the next, but for lots of different reasons!
Friends have suggested that it could become quite expensive but, what’s great about this easily accessible centre, is that it offers such a huge variety of activities with a vast range of prices, from as low as £10 per session.
This multi-activity centre really can cater for every age and skill-level, as well as corporate groups, stags or hens, and group party-treats or special occasions. It’s a wonderful addition to the “Cardiff experience”, as well as offering an accessible and controlled experience into wild-water activities.
For our group, it was a very positive day. Not just because of the excitement and fun of the activities, but that it was so wonderful to see all the children’s’ confidence grow throughout the day. I would also like to thank each coach on the activities, as they really did make our children’s day so enjoyable and fun!
For all the details and full list of courses, activities, sessions, prices etc, please visit: http://www.ciww.com/
We recently had a chance to learn about our wonderful and interesting Welsh mining history at Big Pit National Coal Museum.
It’s an amazing place, where you get to dress up like a miner or, (as our miner-guide called our group), ‘Mini Miners!’ and then go underground and explore the coal mines.
It’s a really brilliant place to learn about our history, and entry with the underground tour is completely free.
This post was linked in with:
This was the first photograph that I shared on my blog in November 2013.
Below is a photograph that I took recently, and wanted to share with you for this week’s Sunday Photo. The very muddy and very wet shoes might have changed over the years, but she still enjoys splashing around in streams and jumping in mud. For me, it shows that my daughter still has her adventurous and wild outlook on life, and that makes me so happy.
(Thank goodness for washing machines!)
This post is is linked with –
We had a wonderful day out at this week at Cardiff International White Water Centre. Indoor surfing was just one of the amazing activities that my daughter took part in, and she loved it!
CIWW is such an exciting, fun and adventurous place to visit in Cardiff.
I have so many more adventures, which I’ll share with you in future posts.
For more information, prices and activities, please contact the friendly staff at : http://www.ciww.com
As I’ve been working a lot of weekends completing Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, this post comes from my daughter who wanted to share a picture and some special words about a recent camping overnight trip my husband and her went on to make the most of a weekend together.
‘My Dad surprised me and told me that we were going to St Davids for a night out camping. I was so surprised as my Mum was working and we went straight away after we dropped her at her centre. The weather was sunny and I was looking forward to going swimming in the sea but with my wet suit of course! I love St Davids, it is one of my favourite places to go. Our campsite is so lovely, its right by the harbour so we can go for a five-minute walk and we are right by the sea. After we had some chips for lunch we put our tent up and then went swimming. We were in the sea for ages and even when it started to rain we stayed in because we were already wet! It was so much fun. On Sunday we hired a sit on top kayak and had a paddle in the sea. It was a bit scary as it was very windy but my Dad did all the steering on the boat. The photo I want to show was the Spider Crab we caught in our lobster pots. My Dad swims out a little into the sea and leaves the pots overnight and this huge crab was what we had the next day! My Dad is a chef so he knows how to cook and clean the crab for us to eat. It was so tasty.
We had so much fun and it was lovely to spend time with my Dad. I can’t wait to go camping more with my Mum in the Summer, we always have tons of fun.’
I loved listening to my daughters adventures when I got home, its lovely to know that even if we can’t be together we still enjoy outdoor adventures and it was great for my daughter to have some wonderful Father and daughter time together too.
My daughter had an inset day recently, so my husband and I decided to take the day off work, enjoy the sunshine and go for our first surfing day of the year!
We headed off to Coney Beach in Porthcawl, which has a brilliant beach for surfing, and the added bonus of some great fish and chip shops for hungry tummies afterwards.
We struggled and wriggled into our wet suits, and we were soon ready to run and dive into the cooling sea. There were no usual moans and groans of it being too cold, as it was a refreshing relief from the heat of the day. We had a steady 3 foot swell and, with a little push from me, my daughter caught the best waves and stood up on ther board for the first time!
She felt so happy and, yes, I was slightly envious but very proud of my little water baby.
After surfing for a few hours, we ditched the boards high up on the beach and spent the rest of the afternoon splashing around and playing in the shallows, duck-diving headlong into cool waves.
It was lovely for us all to be outside together, and we’d almost forgotten how great it was to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Of course, after we finished playing on the beach, we headed down to our favourite chip shop for a cone of freshly-cooked chips and a carton of curry for dipping.
The perfect way to end a wonderful day!
The Big Lunch was a nationwide event that was recently celebrated, and was intended to bring people together to meet each other, share food and celebrate the communities that people live in.
I was very lucky to be invited to the Grangetown (Cardiff) community Big Lunch, when the Friends of Pentre Gardens held their own Big Lunch celebration, which included a fabulous selection of play sessions for the younger people, as well.
My husband made a lovely picnic to get us started, including sandwiches, fresh vegetable crudites and dips, thick slices of sponge cake and, (of course), a huge plate of cheese and pineapple on sticks! This is a firm favourite at our picnics and they were eaten very quickly. We put up more tables and, as we did, more and more people trickled out from the neighbouring houses, bringing tasty cakes, drinks to share, more delicious sandwiches and lots of nibbles for children to enjoy.
The most wonderful thing was the variety of food that we were able to taste and enjoy from different cultural backgrounds. We had homemade spicy onion bahjis and pakoras, polish biscuits and cakes, middle-eastern cheese scones and sweet pastries. There was such a variety of tastes for everyone to sample and enjoy, and it was a great way for children to see what other cultures eat. This was such a positive aspect of the day.
With all the great play activities freely available, parents sat, chatted with friends and watched happily, as their children got messy with the paint wheel, played and created pieces of art with loose materials, played friendly team games with bats and balls, and then took turns to relax on the homemade swing and the hammock.
It really was a lovely afternoon. We counted about seventy families, all enjoying a shared lunch in the sunshine, and all the children of the community enjoyed the opportunity of playing together in the park. Food and play are great media for uniting people in equal harmony.
I really enjoyed being a part of this event, and I really hope that we get to do it again next year!
With a normal household bin, a spinning wooden plate on the inside, then just a sheet of paper and a little paint, we were able to make the most colourful creations at a local outdoors play scheme recently.
All the children loved this simple, but brilliant creation! This is one of my favourite and most colourful pictures!
I recently noticed an interesting tweet from Brecon Carreg, who asked “How much water are you drinking”?
I clicked onto the link to learn more, and was quite shocked to read that some experts calculate that a large percentage of people think it’s good enough to just rely solely upon tea, coffee and soft drinks to achieve your daily intake of water, and also that additional data shows that poor drinking habits contribute to adding a further strain onto the NHS in various forms, not least in poor liver and kidney function, and circulatory issues, to highlight a few.
The article went on to state that tiredness was a major concern and, (from a survey of some 300 GP’s countrywide), they recognised that symptoms were accelerated by dehydration.
I must admit that when I’m feeling a bit tired, or need an energy boost, I’m the worst offender for putting the kettle on and making a coffee, (in fact, I’m sipping a cup as I type this). I’d never have thought to drink a refreshing glass of chilled water instead. I really have started to think about how much water I drink, and is it really enough?
It’s quite ironic, because one of the main problems when teaching to Duke of Edinburgh candidates, is trying to get the young people to understand the importance of drinking enough water. It’s an uphill struggle, as they all want energy drinks and fizzy drinks but, when walking for long hours outdoors, water is the best option. I also hate seeing young children glugging down cans of energy drinks, because the sugar content in just one can is scarily high. As a parent, one would never let a child sit and eat up to 9 teaspoons of sugar, and that’s why I’m not a fan of energy drinks.
Also, I’m not sure why, (at aged 9 and upwards), they’d need extra energy. Looking at my daughter, she has enough energy for the whole family!
Further reading showed that official guidelines suggest that adults should drink between 1.6 and 2 litres a day, and poor drinking habits even create a £4 billion per year market in sales of energy drinks and fizzy pop.
I don’t want you to think that this post is preaching, because I realise that there’s always some “latest” scientific data proclaiming that too much of one thing is bad for you, or that not enough of another thing will diminish your health. Try things, but in moderation, I guess. Also, some people prefer bottled water over sweetened, flavoured, carbonated drinks, while others are equally happy with tap-water. It’s all a matter of habits and personal taste.
But, with all this interesting data stimulating my thoughts, I’m going to challenge myself to drink (at least) the recommended 2 litres a day. I’ll check my progress by drinking from a bottle of water, so that I can keep a record of how much I’m drinking in a day. I’ll also monitor any health benefits to me. Notwithstanding the health benefits, it makes economic sense, as well, considering that a 330ml bottle of branded cola costs more than double the price of a large 1.5 litre bottle of refreshing, cool mineral water.
I also think it’s a great challenge to throw down to the whole family, because it’s a challenge we can all try together, with no real effort at all. CHEERS!