Tag Archives: Wales

Giveaway & Review: Valley Mill Christmas Candles

As soon as the clocks go back at the end of October, I start lighting scented candles in the evening. There’s something about having a few flickering candles which make the place feel cosier and warmer. As November moves into December, the candles I burn move from autumnal apples and cinnamon to Christmassy scents. This week I’ve been burning three new scents from Valley Mill in Wales, and very lovely they are too.

Year round, Valley Mill sell their popular range of Tapestry Tin candles in a variety of different scents. Each candle has a 30 hour burn time and they have been handmade in Wales using the finest quality soy wax. This gives them a longer burn time and better scent throw.

Review: Christmas Candles from Valley Mill

Each tin costs £10.95 and they come is a range of different scents. I’ve been burning three of the Christmas scents and although it’s only November, they’ve been really putting me in the mood for Christmas!

Holly Berry – This is a really festive candle. Take the lid off the tin and you can smell Christmas trees and holly wreaths and all things good about Christmas. This would be great to burn in the same room as your tree, especially if you’ve got an artificial one. The holly berry tapestry tin candle is probably my favourite!

Chestnuts – Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is one of the iconic scents of Christmas. This handmade soy wax candle is really evocative of roasted chestnuts. The smell of this lovely candle makes my mouth water. I really must buy some chestnuts this Christmas!

Cranberry Gin – This attractive candle is wrapped in a festive red tapestry print and when lit quickly fills the room with a fruity Cranberry Gin scent. It’s not overpowering and it’s actually quite a refreshing fragrance. It’s got festive hints, but you could happily burn this throughout autumn and into winter.

Review: Christmas Candles from Valley Mill

There are many more delicious sounding Tapestry Tin Candles in the Valley Mill range, including; Amaretto, Welsh Cake, Spiced Apple and Black Orchid.

The Valley Mill candles are well priced and would make a lovely gift for a candle lover. I really like these kinds of candles in tins, they’ve got just the right amount of burn time and I think tins look smart too.

For more information, visit the Valley Mill website.

WIN A tapestry tin candle from valley mill

To be in with a chance to win a Tapestry Tin candle from Valley Mill, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a Tapestry Tin Candle from Valley Mill.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 2nd December 2018.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto Valley Mill to post the above mentioned prize out to the winner.
11. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
12. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Disclaimer: We were sent a selection of candles from Valley Mill for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

With the first signs of spring slowly making an appearance, and with St David’s Day around the corner, what better craft to make than a cheery daffodil or two. This lovely daffodil craft is perfect for toddlers and small children to make. It’s very simple to make and little ones will be as pleased as punch with their efforts.

St David’s Day is on 1st March and is a day of celebration of both St David’s life and the Welsh people and their culture. St David is the patron saint of Wales and on 1st March it is traditional for Welsh people to wear daffodils or leeks, both of these are the symbols of Wales. The wearing of a daffodil on St David’s Day was made popular by the Victorians, in Wales it is also known as “Peter’s leek” and its Welsh name is “Cenhinen Bedr”.

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

Daffodils are a lovely, bright, cheery spring flower, they’re hard to find at other times of the year. Bring a bit of sunshine in with this cheery daffodil craft!

How to make a cheery Daffodil

You will need:
Some yellow paper or card, card is better
Green lolly sticks or straws
Some yellow or orange mini muffin cases
Bostik Glu Dots

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

How to make your daffodil:

Using a pencil, draw the outline of your flower on your yellow card and carefully cut it out. An adult might want to help with this part.

Using the Glu Dots, stick the green lolly stick or straw to the back of the flower.

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

Using another Glu Dot, stick the mini muffin case in the middle of the flower. Now admire your pretty daffodil!

It’s as simple as that. They look great, we’ve made a few and stuck them around our kitchen. They’re a cheery reminder that spring is nearly sprung and that winter will soon be behind us for another year.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like these other Crafts:

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

Review: Valley Mill Wax Melts & Soap

Working from home I often like to light scented candles to fool my brain into thinking I’m left the building and gone to work, it sounds a bit silly, but it’s just something I do when I start work for the day along with switching on my laptop. One of the things I sometimes have on the go are scented wax melts, I was sent a box of these perfumed treats from Valley Mill to try out for myself.

Wax melts (sometimes known as tarts) are little disks of scented wax which you melt in a special burner using the heat from an unscented tealight. The wax sets again once the candle has gone out and it can be reused and reused over and over, all you need is a new unscented tealight to warm it through again.

As with all candles the wax melts should never be left to burn unattended and shouldn’t be used when children and animals are around. Better safe than sorry!

I chose the Welsh Cake Soy Melts which are currently £6.25 for a box of 5 melts. The melts are set in a distinctive cog shape, which obviously melts into a puddle of scented wax when in use. 

The Welsh Cake melts really do smell of Welsh Cakes, they have a really good throw too, meaning my whole house was filled with the fragrance of baking, These would be great to burn in the kitchen to give the impression of domestic goddessness without ever switching the oven on!

valley mill

Valley Mill also sent us a chunky bar of their Rosemary & Lime Natural Soap to try. With two mucky boys in the house I wanted a soap which was natural and nourishing, but which also had antiseptic properties.

Apparently rosemary and lime have been used in skin care for hundreds of years for their cleansing and revitalising properties. This natural soap contains shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil and castor oil to make it even more nourishing for hardworking hands.

The Rosemary & Lime Natural Soap is colourful and chunky, when you rub it between your hands it foams a little, but throws up a delicious scent (rosemary is one of my all time favourite fragrances). My hands were squeaky clean and sweet smelling after I’d used the soap. I think this would look eye catching in any soap dish and is good value at £4.

Valley Mill stock a selection of lovely products and gifts, all handmade in Wales, and almost all on my Christmas list!

For more information on these Valley Mill wax melts and natural soaps visit their website.

Note: We were sent these Valley Mill products for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own.

Our Bluestone Wales Holiday – May 2015

In May this year we were lucky enough to go to Bluestone Wales for a break (Monday 11th May – Friday 15th May). We were delighted to be selected as ‘Bluestone Bloggers’ and offered a break to review. We loved our time in Pembrokeshire and were sad to leave, here’s what we thought of Bluestone Wales.

The Journey
We live in South Manchester and drive down to Devon and Cornwall several times a year, we are not strangers to a long journey and this took around 6 hours. It was a bit of a schlep and I’d be unwilling to drive all that way for a night or two, but for a Monday-Friday break it was tolerable. We drove over the Severn Bridge into Wales and I’ve put a clip on YouTube of the crossing. As long as you’re prepared for the journey with activities, drinks and snacks you’ll survive.

Arrival & Check In
Bluestone Wales was pretty easy to find, following the brown road signs we got there without getting horribly lost. We drove up the long driveway and up to the welcome gate, there was no queue (it was around 6pm) and we were given our lodge keys and welcome information pack and we drove straight to our lodge, unpacked the car and took the car back to the car park. We found check in really quick, simple and efficient. Though I think there might be queues if you arrived at peak time.

Accommodation
We were allocated a ‘Ramsey Lodge’ which sleeps four people and has two en suite bathrooms. The bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs and the living areas are upstairs, which makes the most of the stunning views at Bluestone. The living area had a well equipped kitchen, dining area and lounge area, all open plan, all modern and stylishly designed.

Bluestone

We didn’t spend that much time hanging out at the lodge though, I think I cooked two meals there and everything I needed was available in the kitchen and pretty straightforward to use. We were supplied with a few essentials to help with the washing up. Everything was clean, modern and much nicer than home, sad to say.

Downstairs in the bedrooms, the small boy was delighted to have his very own bathroom which was a wet room. His bedroom had two single beds in it which were very comfortable and with really lovely bedding which felt quite luxurious. In the master bedroom there was a comfy double bed, again with the same luxurious feeling bedding and lovely furniture, this room had patio doors which you could open if you wanted, we didn’t because it wasn’t that warm, but it was a nice touch.

bluestone

The en suite had a shower over the bath which I didn’t use. The small boy did as he prefers baths, but we enjoyed the wet room, it was nice to have a choice and with my disability it was easier for me to shower in the wet room. The floor does get slippy, so do take care.

The accommodation got a really big thumbs up from us, it was by far one of the best places we’ve stayed. The lodge was far superior to other lodges we’ve stayed in. It was clean and well maintained with everything we needed, apart from a hair dryer, though these are available to hire, but we took our own.

Village & Restaurants
Having stayed in similar lodge based holiday villages, we were pleasantly surprised with the layout of the village. We were used to large noisy bio-dome type places; but the Bluestone village was set out like an actual Welsh village, with narrow rambling lanes, shops in traditional looking buildings, with a smattering of places where you could eat and drink.

Bluestone

Over the stay we tried a few different places, our favourite was the Knights Tafarn which was a child-friendly pub. The food was hearty and they had a good selection of drinks, as well as colouring activities for the kids. You could sit outside if you wanted, it’s a good spot to sit with a pint while the kids play havoc in the huge playground next door.

One night we went to the Farmhouse Grill. We were expecting quite lovely things, the specials board outside listed some great sounding dishes made with local produce, so we booked a table and got a bit dressed up. We were pretty disappointed with the meal, we ordered the kids macaroni cheese which arrived looking good, but when we dug into it there was a thick black solid layer of cheese underneath the top layer, indicating that it was re-heated, which you do kind of expect, but serving a child a thick layer of burnt cheese is disappointing. My meal was ok with the sweet potato fries a highlight, but hubs ordered the fillet of sea bass off the specials menu. He loves eating sea bass fillets and has them all the time, however this was riddled with bones and clearly hadn’t been checked at all before cooking, after three mouthfuls and 8 or more bones he gave up. We complained to the waitress who said it was meant to be full of bones (it wasn’t), so we complained to the manager who didn’t charge us for the sea bass or the kids meal. We left feeling disappointed but I think the manager handled it well, which is all you can ask when mistakes are made.

Getting Around
Bluestone is set in a small valley with a lake at the bottom of it. We were very lucky that we were less than 5 minutes walk from the village centre, which meant that the playground, spa, shops and pubs were all within easy reach. Lots of people hired golf buggies to get about in and we did enquire but they were all booked up. I was easily managing about 8k a day and because I’m not great on my feet I was starting to struggle after day 2. The small boy was finding all the walking we did quite hard work too, if we went again we would pre-book a buggy for the duration of the break, but it wasn’t terrible without it. There was a free bus which ran through the village and up to the car park, activity centre and Blue Lagoon. The bus was a godsend and the driver was really lovely.

Building Work
At Bluestone they are busy building some new lodges which they are planning to open this summer. Our lodge backed on to the fenced off building site, which in some ways was brilliant for our digger loving son, especially as there was a viewing platform nearby where you could watch the diggers at work. We were given a call before we went to warn us that building work was taking place so we were prepared for it. I suspect if we had been unhappy we could probably have been moved, but we were fine with it, especially as for most of the time during the day when they were working we were out anyway. I made a little vlog (be gentle, I’m not a natural vlogger) about the building noise at Bluestone Wales.

The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a fabulous addition to Bluestone, it is open to the general public, but if you go before 11am it is open exclusively for Bluestone holidaymakers. It’s free to use, you just have to flash your lodge key and they issue you with a pass for your stay. It’s a brilliant pool with a wave machine and two water flumes, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi and a lazy river that meanders outside, plus a wet play area for little ones, there’s plenty to enjoy and it’s well worth a visit. The changing areas are good and there is a cafe by the pool where you can grab a drink or a snack. We went every day!

Bluestone

The Activity Centre
The Activity Centre is located at the top of the village. I took the small boy there for a morning and we enjoyed the huge soft play centre, which was free to go in. Later he joined the ‘Bluestone Buccaneers’ where he and his fellow pirates got to dress up and go on a pirate adventure, exploring Bluestone looking for buried treasure. He really, really, really loved being a Bluestone Buccaneer. The activity centre has a good range of activities for children and adults alike, I would have liked to have tried a few more out but there just wasn’t enough time.

The Well Spa
Both hubs and I managed to separately grab some time in the spa, located in the village centre it was minutes from our lodge. I have devoted an entire blog post to the spa, so you can read more about my experience and thoughts about it here. But yes, in short, I’d move in if they’d let me!

Well Spa

Things To Do in Pembrokeshire
The area around Bluestone is absolutely stunningly beautiful, with seriously breathtaking beaches and lots of family activities you can get involved in. Again, I’ve written a separate blog post about what we did while we were in Pembrokeshire which you can read here, but highlights were the stunning beaches of Tenby and Saundersfoot and a rainy day visit to Dylan Thomas Boathouse.

Overall Thoughts
Bluestone was hands down the best holiday of that kind we’ve ever been on, and we’ve been on a large number of them. The accommodation, pool, spa and activities were spot on, the village was well designed and the shop was well stocked and the playground was by all accounts lots of fun. The problem with the meal was handled well and the on-site customer service team were lovely and very helpful.

What we commented on was that although judging by the full car park the site was obviously very busy, with most of their 300 lodges in occupation, it all felt quite quiet and peaceful which is exactly what you want in a holiday. Overall there were no real negatives about Bluestone, nothing we couldn’t live with and nothing which left us with a bad impression. We’re saving up for a return visit as soon as we can. We have very much fallen for the white sands of Saundersfoot and the calm clean air of Bluestone Wales.

Note: We were invited guests of Bluestone Wales and were not asked to pay for our accommodation. All food, activities and travel expenses were covered by us. All images and opinions are our own.

Things to do in Pembrokeshire

We have recently returned from a short family holiday at Bluestone Wales which is located in Pembrokeshire, a stunning part of the world with beautiful, lush landscapes and pristine sandy beaches. It’s just gorgeous and we hope to go back again soon. I’ve pulled together a list of things to do in Pembrokeshire, or rather some of the things we did which are worth a look if you’re visiting Pembrokeshire or Bluestone Wales.

The Beaches
There are some simply stunning beaches in Pembrokeshire. They are renowned for being clean and having soft pale sand. We always feel that if the sun is shining there is no better place to spend an afternoon than on the beach building sandcastles, paddling in the sea, beach combing and looking for sea glass. Within 20 minutes drive from Bluestone Wales you can find the stunning beaches of Tenby and Saundersfoot. Both have harbours and a good selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.

I have to say that both South Beach at Tenby and Saundersfoot were the most accessible beaches I’ve ever found. As someone who struggles to walk on uneven surfaces these days, having a wooden path down to the shore was a godsend. Well done Pembrokeshire!

Things to do in Pembrokeshire

Just a few minutes drive, or half a mile walk from Saundersfoot is Wiseman’s Bridge where you can find the Wiseman’s Bridge pub which serves very good pub grub with an even better view. It’s a great place to while away a few hours over an evening drink and a nice meal, their kids menu is good too.

Dylan Thomas Boathouse
This was a bit of an unexpected find, but well worth it, I wrote a blog post about our visit to Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne. It’s a slightly longer drive from Bluestone Wales, but well worth it for the views alone.

dylan thomas boathouse

The Coastal Path
We both used to be keen walkers, so we had a small jaunt along the coastal path in Tenby, which is well signposted and beautiful, especially at this time of the year. We couldn’t walk for long because the small boy was tired and we were tired of carrying him, but a little was better than none at all.

The Blue Lagoon
Although this is located within the grounds of Bluestone Wales, it is open to the public each day, so if you’re staying nearby you can still enjoy this lovely pool. Sporting a wave machine and two water flumes, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi and a lazy river that meanders outside, plus a wet play area for little ones, there’s plenty to enjoy and it’s well worth a visit. The Blue Lagoon is the only pool the small boy has been upset to leave!

The Well Spa Retreat
Family holidays can sometimes err on the side of hectic rather than relaxing. I managed to spend a morning in the spa while the boys went swimming and enjoyed the playground. If you can manage to slip away for a few hours, then it’s well worth a visit to the Well Spa. I’ve blogged about my blissful morning there. Truly. Blissful.

Well Spa

So those are some of the things we did while we were in Pembrokeshire. There are tonnes of other attractions and things to do, but the sun was shining and the beach was calling, maybe we’ll get round to exploring a few more things next time we’re there!

The Well Spa Retreat at Bluestone Wales

I’m not a person who likes to treat myself much, I rarely buy clothes, or spend hours browsing posh beauty counters, I’m not one for a new pair of shoes each month and a matching handbag. My treat to myself is getting everything waxed every month and occasionally going for a pamper. Whilst on holiday in Bluestone Wales I booked myself in for four hours of pampering in The Well Spa Retreat. It was incredible.

I’d spent a long time (weeks, months maybe) looking at the website and examining in detail everything The Well Spa offered. I knew I wanted to do the “Celtic Spa Experience” and I also fancied a treatment, my favourite treatment being a facial. After being forced to make my mind up the week before we went to Bluestone Wales, I opted for the “Early Bird & Spa”, which was breakfast, three hours in the Celtic Spa Experience and a 50 minute treatment.

Well Spa

I arrived at 9am on the day of my treatment and was asked to sit in the “Cwtch” area (cuddle in Welsh) and complete my health and safety form. I was then given a bathrobe and a towel and shown to the changing area and told where to go for breakfast. The Well Spa changing area is large and open plan, there were no private changing cubicles, but at a push if you’re shy you could change in a toilet cubicle.

I put my swimming costume on, wrapped myself in a big snuggly bathrobe and went to find breakfast. There was no breakfast menu on the website for Caffi Mor so I wasn’t sure what to expect. On the tables were individual bottles of britvic orange juice and a box which contained a croissant (with butter and jam), a pain au chocolate, a pot of creamy yoghurt and an apple. The waitress came along and took my coffee order and I was left to munch my big continental breakfast in relative peace. It was a very lovely breakfast, I was very full by the time I’d eaten it all, I’m a sucker for a croissant so it was perfect for me.

After breakfast I had about half an hour before my treatment, so I had a very quick look around the Celtic Spa Experience, I would go back in after my treatment for a few hours of relaxation. The Celtic Spa Experience is a selection of thermal rooms you can use and spend some time in relaxing and unwinding. The Well Spa has six rooms including, the Red Brick Sauna, the Herbal Steam Room, the Marine Steam Room, the Hot Slate Sauna, a Salt Inhalation Room and an Ice Room. There are also Experience Showers and The Sanctuary Relaxation Room as well as an outdoor Hydrovitality Pool.

I didn’t want to get too hot and bothered before my treatment, so I had a quick sauna in the very lovely Red Brick Sauna which was a nice temperature for me, bearably hot, it was probably my favourite room so I did go back in a few times.

The time came for my treatment, so as instructed I went back downstairs to the Cwtch room and waited to be called. This was by far the least fun part of my experience. Having unwound a little upstairs in the spa I was in a fairly draughty waiting area with the most awful pop music blaring loudly at me. At one point I sat with my fingers in my ears for a few minutes to stop the aural assault. Thankfully Ruth my therapist arrived after about ten minutes and took me to my treatment room. I may well be showing my age, but I’m not sure why places, especially places which should be quiet temples of relaxation feel the need to blare out loud pop music all the time. Silence is underrated.

Ruth showed me upstairs to the Opal Treatment room and we had a little chat about what I was expecting from my facial. I had opted for the ESPA  Re-Hydrator Facial as I’d been told a few months ago that parts of my skin were quite dehydrated and the previous day I’d managed to burn my face a bit in the sun, so hydration and pampering were the order of the day. Ruth wrapped me up on the treatment couch, made sure I was comfortable and began the blissful and relaxing treatment. The 50 minute Re-Hydrator facial is an intensive and regenerating facial for dehydrated skin leaving it supple and nourished. My skin looked and felt fantastic after it and continues to feel good a few days later.

After the treatment I retired to the Sanctuary Relaxation Room for a few minutes, had a drink of water and returned to the Celtic Spa Experience for a proper look around. I visited each thermal room in turn, here’s what I thought of them…

The Salt Inhalation Room – This was a room with two curved seats in it, it was slightly colder than room temperature and I wasn’t really sure of the benefits of it, though it did seem quite popular on the day, it wasn’t for me, my old bones prefer heat.
The Red Brick Sauna – A good sauna which runs at about 65 degrees. It was a great temperature for me, comfortable and I kept going back for ten to fifteen minute sessions.
The Herbal Steam Room – A lovely steam room with herbal steam, running at around 45 degrees this was a very pleasant room to spend time in, again I returned to this room a few times.
The Marine Steam Room – I thought I’d love this room, the marine steam smelt incredible and the sign suggested it was a 45 degree steam, but it was much hotter than the sign suggested and I couldn’t tolerate it for more than a few minutes. I did ask a member of staff but she didn’t know why it was incredibly hot in there, I heard several other people complaining to each other about it too.
The Hot Slate Sauna – This is a hot sauna, running at 85 degrees I really enjoyed it but couldn’t tolerate it for as long as I would’ve liked.
The Ice Room – This is a cold room, it’s about 10 degrees and there’s a big bowl of ice you can rub all over yourself. I didn’t linger, but understanding the benefits of an ice room, I popped in for a few minutes at the end.
The Experience Showers -Three showers of varying temperature and power, these were very pleasant and refreshing, especially after a session in the Hot Slate Sauna.
The Outdoor Hydrovitality Pool – This is probably my favourite thing. It was a lovely hydrotherapy pool on the roof top, it was incredibly peaceful and I enjoyed floating in the pool and enjoying the jets of water even in the slight drizzle, in fact I think the rain added to the experience. I wasn’t cold, it was just blissful.

Well Spa

The Well Spa Retreat is so lovely, it was pretty quiet, it wasn’t full of people, at other places I’ve been they’ve been full of large, noisy groups which I feel aren’t conducive to relaxation, this was just right for me. Peaceful perfection.

I only have two words of negativity about the spa, the first was the blaring pop music in the Cwtch room (it was like being trapped in Top Shop in my swimming costume); and the second is the slate floor can get quite slippy, especially when it’s wet, I think it would be good to offer people the use of spa slippers.

My four hours in The Well Spa and my Early Bird Experience cost just £75 which I thought was incredibly good value. The facial treatment alone should have cost £70, a two hour spa visit is £35 and the breakfast was plentiful and good quality. I’d love to go back, it was probably the most restful spa experience I’ve ever had. For more information about The Well Spa Retreat at Bluestone Wales visit their website.

Note: I paid for my visit to The Well Spa in full.

My Sunday Photo 17.5.15

Saundersfoot

Visiting the Dylan Thomas Boathouse

I had an incredible experience while we were holidaying this week at Bluestone in Wales. We were heading off to go on a steam train somewhere in the Welsh countryside, but we got horribly lost and it soon became apparent that we’d miss the train. Instead of getting stressed out, I told Hubs to keep driving and see where the road took us. At the next junction there was a sign pointing to “Dylan Thomas Boathouse” so I suggested we follow it.

The road weaved and climbed though the Welsh landscape, wending down through Laugharne and towards the wonderful Taf estuary. We parked at the back of a bakery and walked down the coastal path towards the house, we found his writing shed at the top, almost as he’d left it, the curtains open to afford a view of the sea and the coastline from his writing desk. It made me want a writing space half as special as that. A girl can dream.

dylan thomas boathouse

We followed the path down some more, leaning over the wall we could see the clean slate roof of his home near the shore of the estuary. We walked down the wooden steps and through his garden, shells littered the flower beds and an old shirt and pair of long johns hung jauntily on the washing line. It felt very intimate and quite special.

dylan thomas boathouse

Opening his front door we were met with a hubbub of chatter, the home felt warm and welcoming. We were damp from the rain and the small boy was hungry, so we walked down the steep staircase to the bottom and found an old parlour of sorts, we bustled in and found a table in the corner.

dylan thomas boathouse

A wonderful lady called Cheryl Beer (an award winning singer, song writer and musician) came over for a chat with the boy. She showed him some of her great selection of musical instruments and they were soon playing a variety of drums together, whilst I played with a singing bowl. Together we made some lovely music and it felt very, very special. The house felt almost spiritual and I can’t help but feel that something had drawn us there, especially when we were told that it was the very first International Dylan Thomas Day (on 14th May 2015).

dylan thomas boathouse

We had tea and cake (both excellent), popped to the gift shop and then lazily walked back up the path to our car. It was an intensely wonderful experience, on the way home we stopped to pay our respects at the grave of the great man at St Martins Church in Laugharne. His grave marked by a simple wooden cross and at its base the ground is scattered with seashells and pennies left by visitors.

dylan thomas boathouse

In the garden of the boathouse there is a bench with the words “The funny thing is, I find myself going back again and again”, and do you know what, I think I will.

You can find out more about Dylan Thomas boathouse on the website, if you’re in the area I urge you to visit.

Packing for Pembrokeshire

Next week is the Husbear’s birthday, he will be that big number which everyone dreads. As a birthday treat we’re escaping to Bluestone in Pembrokeshire for four nights of rest, relaxation and fresh air. We’re taking the small boy of course, and there’s nothing he likes more than the beach, so Pembrokeshire seems the perfect spot for us all.

We’ve never been to Pembrokeshire before so it’ll be an adventure for us all. I like to do my research before I go anywhere new, find out where the shops are, a few nice places to eat, where the good beaches are and what attractions there are for kids nearby.

I like to have a few ideas of what we’ll do before we actually get there, I find it really helps to take the pressure off. We don’t have a strict itinerary, but it’s helpful to have some fluid plans for both wet and dry (and hopefully sunny) days while we’re in Pembrokeshire. Naturally my first stop was the Visit Wales website which is a pretty solid place to start your information gathering mission if you’re visiting Wales.

Pembrokeshire

Having never visited the area before we were keen to get to grips with what we’ll find when we get there. I was blown away by the pictures of the beaches which looked beautifully sandy, sunny and gorgeous, not to mention perfect for kids. A quick scroll through the kinds of activities available locally shows lots of great outdoor activity suggestions, with a few great wet weather options too.

I think if the sun is shining, or even if it’s not, we’ll make the most of the local beaches and countryside. We holidayed in Devon in February and still spent lots of time wrapped up against the weather, exploring the beaches, so it can’t possibly be any colder or wetter than that!

As well as our car full of “everything you ever need and most of the things you don’t” that we normally take on holiday, we always pack a day bag with a few essentials in it, we can always leave what we don’t need in the car to save us carrying it about. So here’s what will be in our Berghaus bag of Pembrokeshire essentials –

  • Sun cream (we are ever hopeful)
  • Walking boots
  • Swimming gear
  • Bucket and spade
  • A camera
  • A few good books
  • A flask of coffee
  • A pac-a-mac (you never know)
  • A proper map (I don’t trust sat navs)

We can’t wait for our little holiday, I’m really looking forward to exploring a part of the country we’ve never visited and I’m really excited to be spending some lovely quality time with my boys. I’ll be reporting back (naturally) on how we get on in Wales and what we get up to, so watch this space!

PS. If you have any top tips for what we cannot miss in Bluestone, Pembrokeshire they would be very much appreciated!

Note: We were sent a brilliant Berghaus rucksack of goodies by Visit Wales as a thank you for writing this post. All images and opinions are my own.