Thinking Out Loud

Awesome Grown Ups Day

This is a vintage blog post from 2013 when I wrote under a different blogging name in which I wrestle with the concept of ignoring Father’s Day.

We all know Mothering Sunday goes way back but Father’s Day is a more recent addition to our lives and the more cynical amongst us might be of the opinion that it was invented by avaricious greetings card manufacturers. (My husband) was more than happy with his homemade hand picture and card from the 6, 4 and 1 year olds in his life. No £3.99 card for him!

hands

My sons’ nursery and primary schools veer well clear of the handmade cards that all small people usually sneak home around Mother’s Day when it comes to Dad’s turn. Last year some parents asked nursery staff why this was the case. The simple answer was that there were too many children without fathers in their lives so it was not something they wanted to draw attention to in the classroom.

Last week it was reported on the BBC and in print media that there are a million children growing up without fathers. My husband grew up in a single parent family. His father lived in the same town but never bothered with him so he never bothered back. However, he had good role models around him and his mum’s lovely. He is a fantastic dad to our sons and his daughter who lives with her (single) mum. His daughter has a very different relationship with her father than he did with his. She stays with us twice a week in her own bedroom and is a main character in our little family, involved in every holiday, trip and party. She loves her dad in exactly the same way as her (half) brothers do.

I heard some very sad news last night about a lovely fella I had the pleasure of living next door to while we were in university. His wife, pregnant with their second child, had died and the baby had been delivered prematurely. Mother’s Day will come around every year with a bittersweet sting in the tail and Father’s Day will fall at the same time of year as his children lost their mum. But will their schools ignore Father’s Day just in case it upsets any children without a dad in their home or their lives?

I don’t want to get on a political high horse about parents and families but I think it’s a shame for those children without traditional family set ups to miss out on a chance to say thank you to their fathers (who could be widows or not live with the child) and talk about other positive role models in school.

Rather than cut off our noses to spite our faces, why don’t we have a more general ‘Awesome Grown Up’ day (with a far catchier name) for all children to thank an important and awesome adult in their life? Father, step father, care worker, lollypop man, rugby coach, whoever they may be.

Thinking Out Loud

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week #RealMotherhood

It’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. This year’s theme is #RealMotherhood #NoShame and a reminder that getting real about motherhood is healthy for everyone.

I was first pregnant a decade ago and my youngest is 6 so maybe I’m too far removed from my own experience to be sharing it here but we all have a part to play. Supporting our friends, neighbours, colleagues and families is so important. It’s OK to not be OK.

I went to a friend’s wedding when my first baby was 2 weeks old and at the do I just remember feeling, how to describe it? Out of it? Woozy? Years later I tried explaining that I felt isolated, excluded, that everyone else was having a whale of a time and I was… I was content but not me. I was sober for a start! It was a scorching July day and I needed to breastfeed my shrimp of a child in the shade (because he might spontaneously combust in the sun, right?) so I ended up sat on my own in the shade of a marquee while everyone else basked in the sun. Jealously glancing over at friends drinking and laughing and looking fabulous, not the state I felt in flip flops because proper shoes didn’t fit my trotters and leggings under my dress because it wasn’t as boob accessible as I’d naively assumed when buying it. A mum of a friend came over and talked with me. She’s not someone I knew well but I was so thankful. She talked to me about my job, dance, all sorts. It felt like the first time someone saw through the fog and not some mother and baby package.  It wasn’t out of pity, it wasn’t patronising, she chatted away and listened, it was as simple as that.

Of course I loved my babies and of course they do take over but remember a mum of a newborn is more than a milk machine. She might be like a swan, looking serene and graceful on the surface but underneath she’s paddling away trying to stay afloat. She might be physically battered but she’s possibly mentally battered too.

With at least 1 in 10 mums developing a mental illness during pregnancy, or in the year that follows, it is so important to raise awareness of maternal mental health: tommys.org/maternalMHmatt…#MaternalMHMatter @TommysMidwives

I was fine, I am fine. Not everyone is. I had a wobble, I didn’t have a diagnosed maternal mental health condition. For every joyful #blessed #mama out there, remember that it’s not the same for everyone. My second time around was so much easier for me. No cabin fever, I felt more in control, I didn’t have nightmares about my newborn fading away into nothing which I didn’t tell anyone about because I knew it sounded worrying.

7 in 10 women will hide or underplay the severity of their perinatal mental illness #everyonesbusines everyonesbusiness.org.uk @MMHAlliance

Sometimes the best support is not trying to get someone to talk about their feelings but just being there. If they’re not ready for visitors, just send a hello by text. In those earliest of days the best visit was my mum bringing a Sunday roast around for us, making no demands to coo over the baby or cwtch her grandchild but being a practical help. It’s the offering to take the dogs for a walk, doing the ironing, making cups of tea instead of expecting to be waited on hand and foot. (Note to self: remember all this for when the new niblings arrive in the next couple of months.)

I set up this blog partly in response to the gazillions about babies and toddlers. Mine are older and my parenting experience isn’t about nappies and baby vom anymore but the pregnancy and the mad year that follows is so important and you don’t forget it.

As for #RealMotherhood I suppose I’m part of the problem. I tend to share photos of the lovely things we do, the brilliant places we go and on my personal social media their smiling faces. Should I be more real and photograph the tears and tantrums? I really don’t think it would have helped my 9 year old this morning if I’d snapped him in a grump and I’d feel the same.

Just take my word for it that for every photo of a wholesome daytrip we also have a Saturday morning watching cartoons and eating cereal. For every matchy matchy special occasion outfit that my boys wear there’s a mismatched set of pyjamas or school joggers with a hole in the bum (the 6 year old has done this to three (yes THREE) pairs of joggers this year). I’ll try to post some Instagram shots of my week’s chaos to give you a flavour of my real life.

If the content of this post has made you think of anything that has happened to you or someone you know and you feel upset, worried or uncomfortable then please visit Maternal Mental Health Alliance for a list of support services. I am not an expert in anything.

If you want to join in with the #RealMotherhood 5-day Challenge then just share your piccies and posts about the barefaced reality of motherhood. Warts and all. Keep it light and silly or use it as a chance to be truthful about your own experience. Let’s not judge ourselves by unrealistic standards.

 

#RealMotherhood #NoShame @TheBlueDotProject @MMHAlliance #everyonesbusiness #MaternalMHmatters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking Out Loud

Wishing my life away

Anyone else feel like they’re wishing their life away? “Only one more term of this school year left to go.” Whaaaat?! I still think of ages in school years – if you were born between September 1982 and August 1983 then we are kindred spirits. Age, schmage, when did you do your GCSEs? Class of ’99 you are my people.

I don’t think I’m ready for 2018 yet and it’s well and truly underway. I can’t keep up with the politics (WT actual F are they thinking?) or the fashion (did you hear that the scrunchie is back? The bloody scrunchie!)

I’ve said before that I’m not into the whole “they grow too quick” rhetoric. I’m fine with my kids getting older and more independent, that’s cool. It’s the rest of the world I can’t handle. I’ve been in my “new” job for more than 3 years and I still think I’m the new girl. I was in uni for 3 years and that felt like a lifetime. In a good way.

On a positive note, I’ve embraced body positivity so I’m no longer wishing away weeks at a time with that “when I’ve lost a stone” type of thinking but I’m still clinging to the magical payday with “I’ll book those tickets at the end of the month” or “just a week to go until I buy those shoes.” I’m no Imelda Marcos, I’m not binging on a shoe flavoured shopping spree. I have holes in the soles of my leather boots, rips in the heels of my Primark hi-top daps and snapped laces in my other boots. 

Does time go faster as you get older? Maybe it’s because I’m flailing about with no major life marker in the year, no more children, no career change, no wedding, no big birthday. I’m sure there’s some motivational meme out there about enjoying each day. I do something every day that scares me (answering the phone, checking the front door’s locked at night, getting in lifts). Carpe diem and all that even if your boots are falling apart and time is going too fast.

 

Thinking Out Loud

To #ad or not to #ad

If you’re a fellow mum blog lurker on the gram, you can’t fail to have picked up on a recent anti-ad mood. I’m not an influencer. Not by a long shot. No siree. Not in the blogosphere, on any social media platform or even in real life (I can barely influence my on kids to eat vegetables). My relentless “Easter things to do” recommendations are exactly that, they’re ideas and suggestions. Some I’ve tried out with my own kids in the past and some just sounded incredibly cool and I wanted to tell more people about them. No one has paid me to mention their place or promote their thing. No #sponsored #gifted or #ad here.

That said, I’m not anti-ad. A gal’s gotta eat. I blog, insta, tweet and facebook in between work and mothering and the rest of my life. It still takes up a heck of a lot of time. My following is miniscule (but ever so appreciated, thanks for coming). I’m typing into the ether, ranting in a vacuum most of the time.

From comments on social media and chatting with real life mates I’ve picked up a sense of frustration with influencers, with mum bloggers who’ve built up a “I’m just like you”, “we’re all just muddling along together”, “yay for Mums” type of vibe. Then it turns a little sour, a tad ingenuous when they’ll go on a fancy holiday, go to a swanky restaurant or wear something and you’re foolish enough to click through to the company and then you do a little sick in your mouth at the cost. Jealousy is an ugly little beast but sometimes I just can’t help it. I feel out of depth, poor, worthless and a bit like I’m still at school where it felt that it mattered to be cool (which I wasn’t) and popular (which I wasn’t).

It’s made me question why I’m even bothering with this. Why me? What have I got to say that some other mum isn’t already sharing online? Does the world really need another white, straight, female, English language parent blogger? Nope. I might come across as confident in real life but I assure you that nearly every waking hour I am wallowing in self-doubt. I’ve not started this to make money. I’ve not started this to be popular. I’m doing this, in the words of Billie Piper, “because I want to, because I want to”.

So good luck to the others, the behemothers (see what I did there?) and monetising moms. I follow a massive range of them, some for their clothes, some for the giggles, some for the campaigns, some for a mix of all three. I’m just using the approach I apply to the rest of my life, making it up as I go along. Some people feel a weird fandom ownership over the most followed and well known mum bloggers and intagrammers. They’re just playing the game like all of us. Maybe they’re better resourced or ahead of the game but so what. Just do you. There’s room for all of us and if only 5 people read this (OK, that’s optimistic and I’m definitely related to at least one of you if there are 5) then that’s fine too. Oh and if anyone wants to give me any free stuff I’m definitely not too principled to consider the offer!

Places To Go, Things To Do

A dozen eggs-ellent things to do in the Easter hols 2018 (part 2: the stuff that is Easter themed)

Easter trails, Easter egg hunts and Easter crafts are plentiful. Here are some egg-cellent places hosting their own Easter themed stuff:

  1. National Museum Cardiff
  2. Bute Park and Arboretum
  3. Dyffryn Gardens
  4. St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life
  5. Cardiff Castle
  6. Mountain View Ranch
  7. Amelia Trust Farm
  8. Cosmeston Lakes
  9. Porthkerry Park
  10. Techniquest
  11. Victoria Park, Cadoxton
  12. Barry Tourist Railway

 

1. St Fagans National Museum of History

 

St Fagans Easter Hunt 30th March – 2nd April (10am-3pm) £3.50 (age 4+)

Easter Holidays: Family Craft Activities 3rd – 6th and 9th – 13th April (12-4pm)

Always a favourite with us. If you’ve not checked out their new playground, go have a peak. Free to get in but £5 for parking and you have to pay for some of the extra activities. There’s so much to explore there. They’ve got some special Easter things going on. Animal Mask Making is £2 per child and Pop up wildlife scene making is free.

 

2. National Museum Cardiff

 

National Museum Cardiff Easter Hunt – 30th March – 2nd April (10am-3pm) £3.50 (age 4+)

Or as we call it “The Museum” is a go to free day out for us and my 6 year old’s favourite place in the world. He wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up so he might be biased. He’s also oddly obsessed with a guy who works in the gift shop who shares his name.

Wriggle! The wonderful world of worms – now – 3rd June – free

We’ve been to this a fair few times and it’s well worth checking out. As you’d expect there are lots of worm related things to do, see and explore. Perfect for curious kids.

Who decides? Now – 2nd September – free

This exhibition isn’t designed specifically for kids but it’s really family friendly. Expect weird and wonderful paintings, sculptures etc curated by people who have experienced homelessness in Wales. We filled out some bits of paper asking who picks what art we see and what art can do for the world. Big questions but great conversation starter with my kids. Plus it’s free.

 

3. Cardiff Castle

 

Easter Trail 30th March – 15th April £1 (on top of admission price)

http://www.cardiffcastle.com/whats-on/2018/03/30/easter-trail/

Easter Fun 31st March – 2nd April (included in admission price)

A weekend of traditional Easter japes including storytelling with Dylan Adams, egg rolling, The Warwick Warriors with their witty bants and dramatic fight sequences and egg and spoon races. http://www.cardiffcastle.com/whats-on/2018/03/31/easter-fun/

 

4. Bute Park and Arboretum           

Easter Egg Hunt 1st April (1pm-3pm) £2 age 3+

Egg-citing art and craft activities and an Easter egg hunt. Meet at the Bute Park Education Centre. http://bute-park.com/tribe_events/helfa-wyau-pasgeaster-egg-hunt-2/

Spring Stories 5th & 10th April (10.30am-12pm) free

http://bute-park.com/tribe_events/storiaur-gwanwynspring-stories/

If you don’t drive, this is a nice one to get to on the train or bus.

 

5. Dyffryn Gardens

 

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt 30th March – 2nd April (11am-3.30pm) £3 and normal admission

Lovely National Trust place in the Vale with a massive mansion and 55 acres of gardens to explore. You have to pay to get in at £4.95 for children and £9.90 for adults (or slightly more with gift aid) and from £25 for a family. Or you could join the National Trust and really get your money’s worth by returning regularly and heading to other sites like Tredegar House in Newport. We had a really special day at Dyffryn Gardens in the Christmas holidays on the 12 Days of Christmas trail so I’m sure the Easter activities will be great. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyffryn-gardens

Plant Hunter Expedition 24th March – 15th April (during opening hours) free but normal admission price applies

 

6. Mountain View Ranch

Easter Fun at The Ranch Friday 30th March – Sunday 15th April (9.30am-5pm) last entry & café closes at 4pm.

Under 2s free, family of 4 £23, family of 5 £28 or £6 per person.

A fresh air fuelled family fun day out. On top of all the usual things to do at Mountain View Ranch there will also be a an Easter Egg Trail, Funny Goat Walks, Campfire & Marshmallows, Archery and the Gruffalo Trail. The High Ropes course will also be open but you’re advised to book in advance.

We’ve had some really lovely days out here.

 

7. Amelia Trust Farm

30th March- 15th April (10am-4pm) Entrance free for under 2s, children £1.50, £3 adults, £5 family. Tractor Rides £1, Lamb Feeding £5 per person, Easter Egg Eggstraveganza Hunt £2.50 each with pencil and prize)

Have a go at feeding the farm’s adorable baby lambs, take a ride on a tractor and cart and have a go at their Easter Egg Eggstraveganza Hunt with a prize at the end!

Lamb feeding is very popular so book ahead.

https://www.ameliatrust.org.uk/

 

8. Cosmeston Lakes

Easter Egg Trail 30th March-1st April (10am-3.30pm) £3 per person

Collect your map from reception, find the Easter egg posts and answer the 10 questions. Once you’ve completed the Easter egg trail return to check your answers and claim your bag of goodies. All kids need an adult with them. Obvs.

 

9. Porthkerry Park

Easter Egg Trail 30th March-1st April (10am-3.30pm) £3 per person

Pretty much the same as above but at Porthkerry!

Collect your map from the Golf Hut, find the Easter egg posts and answer the 10 questions. Once you’ve completed the Easter egg trail return to check your answers and claim your bag of goodies. All kids need an adult with them. Obvs.

 

10. Techniquest

Amazing Eggsperiments 28th March-15th April (10am-5pm)

Families £28, under 4s free, child £6.50, adult £8. (did you know there’s a special £3.30 price if you go in after 3pm?)

Who doesn’t love a bit of Techniquest? This Easter hols one of their Science Theatre Shows is dedicated to the egg.

How strong is an egg? Why do they turn solid when heated? Go and check out this eggsciting show created especially for Easter, full of science and bad yolks!

https://www.techniquest.org/events/amazing-eggsperiments-2-2018-03-28/

 

11. Victoria Park, Barry

Free Easter Family Fun Day Friday 30th March (11am-2pm)

There’ll be a colouring competition, cake decorating, face painting and lots more. Free Easter Egg for each child who takes part.

Children under 16 must be with an adult. Raffle tickets with a draw at 2pm and proceeds going to charity.

 

12. Barry Tourist Railway

Vintage Train Rides 30th March-2nd April (11.35am, 1.10pm, 2.10pm and 3.10pm)

£25 family of 2 adults & up to 3 children, under 3s are free. Adult £9.50, child £5.50.

Vintage Train Rides at Barry Island over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Friday 30th March-Monday 2nd April. Every child travelling on the vintage train gets a free Lindt chocolate Easter bunny or a soft toy. The military museum and café will be open too.

Barry Tourist Railway will be running a 40 minute out-and-back journey from Barry Island Station at 11.35am, 1.10pm, 2.10pm and 3.10pm each day including a guided tour of the railway depot where the vintage trains live. They’re dog friendly. No steam over Easter, but the diesel railcar’s lovely.

https://www.facebook.com/Barry-Tourist-Railway-196540117115590/?hc_ref=ARROoB-d8X0yET3RBFTGk9EntzbdBq6H6c-_jVJvUpQ2fsKkjVY1na9OV547IBjV8Lg&fref=nf

 

I know, I know it’s a lot to take in. It’s been a tad overwhelming just typing it all up.

Places To Go, Things To Do

A dozen egg-cellent things to do in the Easter hols 2018 (part 1: the stuff that’s not Easter themed)

I’ve tried to herd together some stuff to do over the Easter school hols in the Vale of Glamorgan and beyond (within a reasonable drive time).

This is not a list of all of the stuff ever. There’s a mix of free stuff, cheap stuff, treat stuff, outdoors, indoors, puppets, castles, shows, workshops, all sorts. I’ll save the Easter themed stuff for another post.

The Vale of Glamorgan school holiday for the Easter break this year starts on 30th March (Good Friday) and they’re back to school on Monday 16th April. So here goes…

Stuff to do in the Easter holidays that’s not Easter themed (times and prices below so just keep on scrolling):

  1. Man Engine Cymru: Forging a Nation / 8 – 12 April
  2. Caerphilly Castle 750th Medieval Birthday Bash / 30 March – 2 April
  3. Amazing Beasts – Find them at Margam Park / 2 April
  4. Family Dance Festival 2018 / 4 April in Barry (more details below)
  5. RHS Flower Show Cardiff / 13 – 15 April
  6. Sherman Theatre for The Flying Bedroom / 6 – 7 April or Brainiac Live! / 10 April
  7. Wales Millennium Centre for The Girl with Incredibly Long Hair / 10 – 15 April or Almost Always Muddy / 1 – 4 & 7 April
  8. Memo Arts Centre for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly / 13 April or Welsh Wrestling Live / 7 April
  9. National Dance Company Wales: Dance Days / 9 – 10 April
  10. The Talent Shack Drama Workshops / 3 – 6 & 9 – 13 April
  11. Barry Library for Minecraft Club, crafting sessions and more / date details below
  12. Barry Island’s Eastern Shelter / 6 April

 

1. Man Engine Cymru: Forging a Nation 8th – 12th April

This looks truly awesome and I cannot wait to see it. A 11.2m tall puppet steams across some of the UK’s most significant mining heritage sites. Animated by a team of more than a dozen miners, the colossal puppet will begin his grand tour of Wales on 8th April with an opening ceremony at the Big Pit and a parade down to Blaenavon Ironworks. https://www.themanengine.co.uk/cymru There’s a lot of information to take in below but do follow the links to find out what’s happening at each place, there are choirs and all sorts.

8th April – Blaenavon: (Big Pit (gates open 11am, ceremony starts 12.30, event ends 1pm) – unticketed and FREE, Gilchrist Thomas Industrial Estate (procession starts 1pm, ends 2pm) – unticketed, 2pm Blaenavon Ironworks (ceremony starts at 3pm, event ends at 5pm) – tickets £3 https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/452961

9th April – Parc Bryn Bach (gates open 9am, ceremony starts 2pm, event ends 4pm) https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/460890

10th April – Cyfarthfa Park and Castle (gates open 12, ceremony starts 2pm, event ends 4pm) https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/450071

11th April – Ynysangharad War Memorial Park (gates open 12, ceremony starts 2pm, event ends 4pm) Tickets are FREE but you need to book: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/449950

12th April – National Waterfront Museum Swansea (gates open 11am, ceremony starts 12.30, event ends 4pm) – unticketed and free, a parade in Swansea City Centre (procession starts 2.15pm, procession ends at 3pm) – unticketed and free and an evening finale at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks (gates re-open 6.30pm, ceremony starts 7.30pm, event ends 10pm) – tickets from £2.50. https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/448982

caerphilly castle

2. Caerphilly Castle

Medieval Birthday Bash 30th March – 2nd April (11am-4pm) Adult £8.50, Children £5.10, Family (2+3) £24.60, Seniors £6.80

Celebrate 750 years (!) of Caerphilly Castle with a monster medieval birthday bash! Join Historia Normannis for combat displays, stunt teams and all sorts. I went to the castle last year for the first time since I was a kid and we flipping loved it, even just touching the walls and imagining how much change they’ve seen over the years. Contrary to what a certain demoralising A level teacher would have me believe I bloody loves history I does.

http://cadw.gov.wales/events/allevents/medieval-birthday-bash-caerphilly-2018/?lang=en

margam

3. Margam Park

Amazing Beasts – Find them at Margam Park! Easter Monday Adults £7.70, Children £5.50, Family (2+2) £25.28, 3s and under free.

Head to Margam Park in your favourite animal costume for what sounds like an utterly barmy day of family entertainment in the sprawling grounds. I love Margam Park on an average day (the fairytale village, the massive wooden fort playground, the train thing, the sneaky farm at the end of the walk) but this day takes it to another level with giant puppet beasts. Click the link for all the details. https://npttheatres.co.uk/princessroyal/events/amazing-beasts/

 

family dance festival 14. Family Dance Festival 2018

I went on about last year’s version a fair bit but only because it was brilliant and I wanted more people to go see it and it’s FREE. It’s back. The hour is jam packed with short performances and a chance to dance with a workshop at the end. Bombastic is quirky and interactive. Gary and Pel mix dance and slapstick. Jukebox Collective brings world class Hip Hop. Local dance groups will be bringing something extra to the mix.

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March (12pm, 2pm, 4pm) https://www.chapter.org/cy/family-dance-festival-2018 

Memo Arts Centre, Barry Wednesday 4th April (12pm, 2pm, 4pm) free https://www.memoartscentre.co.uk/events/familydancefestival/

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay Wednesday 11th & Friday 13th April (10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm) & Thursday 12th & Saturday 14th April (10.30am, 12.30pm, 4pm) free

It’s also going to Galeri in Caernarfon, Hafren in Newtown, Ffwrnes in Llanelli, Torch Theatre in Milford Haven and Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon. There are Touch Tours and Audio Description at all venues but not at each showing. Full tour details including Audio Description information and a film trailer on Arts Scene in Wales: https://www.asiw.co.uk/news/family-dance-festival-fun-funky-and-fabulous-for-your-festive-feet

5. RHS Flower Show Cardiff

Friday 13th – Saturday 14th April (10am-5.30pm) & Sunday 15th April (10am-4.30pm) Children free (2 per paying adult. Adult tickets £11 advance and £14 on the day.)

Botanical family day out with glasshouse mini labs, a family trail, ferris wheel, flower arranging and headdress craft workshops and roaming entertainers. https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-flower-show-cardiff/news/2018/family-activities

6. Sherman Theatre

If you live in a Communities First area, I thoroughly recommend that you join Sherman 5. It’s a fab membership scheme. Details on the Sherman’s website.

The Flying Bedroom – Friday 6th (4.30pm) and Saturday 7th April (10.30am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm) £9

A lovely show with dance theatre and projection following Elinor and her bedroom on an adventure. There are dance workshops at the shows on 7th April at 11.30 and 2.30pm where you can learn to dance part of the show. http://www.shermantheatre.co.uk/performance/children/flying-bedroom/

Brainiac Live! – Tuesday 10th April (2pm) Adults: £16. Children: £8

Based on the telly show, this is a live Science show with plenty of experiments and explosions. http://www.shermantheatre.co.uk/performance/children/brainiac-live/

wales millennium centre (2)

7. Wales Millennium Centre

As well as the huge musicals like Shrek, the Centre have smaller and more affordable family shows, workshops and activities. Good toilets too.

Almost Always Muddy (outside the Centre) 1st – 4th April (11am & 3pm) & 7th April (11am) £7 age 7+

An outside interactive, improvised family show with you as the Story Builders. Perfect for imaginative and adventurous families. https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2018-2019/WestonStudio/AlmostAlwaysMuddy/

Almost Always Muddy Workshop Saturday (in the David Morgan room at the Centre) 7th April (3pm) free

Games, chats and interrogation of the cast. https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2018-2019/375204/AlmostAlwaysMuddy/

The Girl with Incredibly Long Hair Tuesday 10th April – Sunday 15th April (11am & 3pm) £7 age 4+

A delightful hour long play reimagines the Rapunzel story for our times in the Weston Studio at the Centre.   https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2018-2019/WestonStudio/TheGirlWithIncrediblyLongHair/

8. Memo Arts Centre, Barry

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly Friday 13th April (2.30pm) £8.50 (group of 4 only £30)

A feast of sing along songs, colourful animal characters and heart-warming family fun, this show brings one of my favourite nursery rhymes to life in celebration of Pam Adams’ bestselling book turning 45. https://www.memoartscentre.co.uk/events/there-was-an-old-lady-who-swallowed-a-fly/

Welsh Wrestling Live! Saturday 7th April (7pm) children £9, adults £12

Exactly what it says on the tin. Wrestling entertainment. Live. https://www.memoartscentre.co.uk/events/welsh-wrestling-live-2/

9. National Dance Company Wales

Dance Days 9th and 10th April (10am-1pm for ages 7-11 and 2pm-5pm for ages 12-18) £15 for one day or £25 for both

A chance for your kids to get involved and create some of the moves performed by NDCWales. They welcome complete beginners or regular dancers. My 9 year old has been to a few in the past and really enjoyed them even though he’d never think of himself as a dancer. His 11 year old sister did a few in the past and also had a good time. They get to do a warm up, learn about the themes of the show, learn and create their own moves and get to do it all in the Dance House in Wales Millennium Centre, the base of our national dance company. You need to book ahead, details in the link. http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/get-involved/dance/dance-days/ 

10. The Talent Shack

Easter Drama Workshops Week 1 3rd – 6th April £80 Week 2 9th – 13th April £100 or single days for £25 a day (10am-4pm) ages 4-7 and 8+

Open to everyone, you don’t have to be a regular at the Talent Shack. Sounds like a great chance for kids to do some Drama workshops in the holidays. Advanced bookings only.

https://www.facebook.com/events/594801730854616/

barry library11. Barry Library

Libraries often have great value holiday activities going on (as well as all those books you can borrow for free), here’s what’s on in Barry this Easter.

Flower Power Tuesday 3rd April (10.30am-12) age 3+ £1 / drop in to make some flowers

Create & Craft Theme Boxes Wednesday 4th April (10.30am-12) age 3+ 50p / book at library counter

Unicorns & Dragons Crafty Workshop / Monday 9th Wednesday (2.30pm-4pm) age 3+ £1 / book at library counter

Minute to Win It / Tuesday 10th April (2.30pm-3.30pm) age 7+ 50p / book at library counter

Minecraft Club / Thursday 12th April (2pm-4pm) £8 per session / book online www.milittlepad.com

barry island12. Barry Island

Whatever the weather, head to the beach. Blow away the cobwebs and grab a hot chocolate in a café or bask in the unlikely spring sunshine with an ice cream and chippies. There’s also this:

Easter Under the Eastern Shelter Friday 6th April (11am-3pm) FREE

Vale Family Information Service present a free fully inclusive event for the whole family featuring interactive performance by Almost Always Muddy, dance performance and warm up workshop by Motion Control Dance, V-Pod interactive bus by Vale Youth Service mini sports workshops by the Leisure Centre, pedal powered bubbles by Pedal Emporium, music by Bro Radio, arts, crafts, games, all sorts. Plus it’s at the seaside so you can make a real day of it.

 

As I said, I will post again with more ideas for places to go and things to do but this time with more of an Easter flavour. Think Easter trails and crafts.

Thinking Out Loud

International Women’s Day 2018

It’s International Women’s Day and trawling through Twitter I was reminded about why I took a Twitter break last year. The negativity. The arsewipes asking when International Men’s Day is because that’s real equality innit? Hmm.

I’m late in the day adding my voice to the melee because I’ve been busy doing what I do. Trying to adult. Juggling two jobs, life admin, school trip permission slips and all the rest. Not quite getting there but still trying. Thankfully my track record with children and dogs is better than houseplants. (My cheese plant is terminal I fear – any tips?!) The 3 human males in my house are fed, showered and sleeping. The 2 canine males are snoozing by my side.

I’ve been fortunate to work with strong women, I live close to my sister, mum and grandma, I’ve got awesome female friends who inspire me with their range of careers and achievements. I’ve somehow muddled my way through motherhood with a job (or two). I can see how the world has changed through the generations. That said, I still remember the struggle I had about a decade ago to get working hours that fitted my life.

2018’s IWD is riding in on a wave of high profile activism. Time’s Up. #MeToo got me thinking about moments in my life that were just out of f***ing order, in my teens alone there was the flasher at a gig, the gropers in an alley in the middle of the day, the sleazes in clubs.

Privileged, successful Hollywood superstars sticking to black for their expensive, sophisticated awards ceremony outfits feels so far removed from my life of leggings. I’ve not bought an item of clothing for myself since the end of November. But that doesn’t mean that things shouldn’t change. For all women.

We’ve now had a centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK and Ireland. Yes, we’ve got a female Prime Minister but a “record high” number of female MPs were elected in the 2017 General Election. That’s still only 32% of all MPs. In early February only a quarter of the Cabinet were female. How’s that right when we make up (just over) half of the population? As Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women says “healthy societies have a mix of voices”. We need more varied voices in power. We need to raise our children to be ambitious, to never expect less of someone because of their gender and to not let the twitter arsewipes drag them down.