Places To Go, Things To Do

Mwah Ha Halloween Half Term

October half term is here and no doubt there’ll be a glut of Halloween related activities on offer. I’m not a massive Halloween fan. There, I’ve said it. Why can’t we just carve a pumpkin, dunk some apples and wear a sheet to be a ghost? What’s all this decorating the house faff about?

What’s jumping out at me so far:

Memo Arts Centre, Barry

One Man Shoe Monday 29th October (2pm) £7 / £24 for 4

A family show with puppetry, slapstick and magic. My youngest currently wants to be a ventriloquist when he grows up so it sounds right up his street.

The Little Mix Experience Thursday 1st November (6.30pm) £13.50

This Little Mix tribute act were incredibly popular last time they were in town.

Dyffryn Gardens

Lots of activities on offer here and it is a lovely day out.

Autumn Apprentice Trail Saturday 27th October – 4th November (10am-3pm) entrance fee but event is free

Whack on your wellies and join in with five tasks like raking up piles of autumn leaves.

Pumpkin Carving Saturday 27th October – 31st October (11am-3pm) £4 per pumpkin plus the entrance fee

If you don’t fancy tackling this in your own kitchen, make the most of the stencils, carving sets and helpers at this event.

Make It Mondays Monday 29th October (12-3pm) entrance fee but event is free

Craft activities.

Cook on a Campfire Friday 2nd November (12-3pm) £2 plus entrance fee

As the name suggests, you get to cook on a campfire.

Amelia Trust Farm

Pumpkin Patch Trail Saturday 27th October – Sunday 4th November

Kids Crazy Headwear Monday 29th & Tuesday 30th October £5.50 per child, pre book on website

Mini Beasts & Pond Dipping at the Farm Saturday 3rd November £5.50 per child, pre book on website

Penarth Pier Pavilion

Snowcat Cinema: The Curse of the Wererabbit – scratch ‘n’ sniff experience. Wednesday 31st October (2pm-3.30pm) £7.50 / £6 concessions (50p extra if you buy on the door)

Watch this family film from the makers of Wallace and Gromit with a special scratch ‘n’ sniff card. Fancy dress is encouraged. No adverts so arrive for a 2pm start.

Mountain View Ranch

Halloween Daily Events Saturday 27th October – Sunday 4th November (11am & 1pm)

Room on the Broom read by the Ranch Witch (11am & 1pm)

Marshmallow Toasting at Creepy Creak (2pm-3.30pm)

Spooky Pumpkin Trail (all day)

All activities are included in the entrance fee of £23 for a family of 4 and £28 for a family of 5. Wrap up warm, take a flask and a picnic and have a lovely time. Dressing up is optional. Last time we went we bought delicious pizzas and hot chocolates in their café which I’d thoroughly recommend.

St Fagans National Museum of History

Halloween Nights Monday 29th – Wednesday 31st October (6pm-9pm) £15 adults, £8 children, under 2s free but recommended for ages 4+

I really want to go to his. Expect Halloween special effects display across the outdoor Museum, Creepy Craft workshops, wand making, ghost stories for children and adults, Halloween character walkabouts, live music, lantern parade (no naked flames), Burning of the Wickerman (!) and a Scare Zone for bigger frights with a 12+ age advisory! The timing makes this perfect for those of us working over half term with older kids.

 

Sadly, they’re not running their usual Halloween event at Hendrewennol Fruit Garden this year. No pumpkin picking for us.

Let me know what you think of any of these goings on if you get a chance to try them out.

theatre, Things To Do

Sci-Fi Treasure Hunting in Blackwood – Project: Oggbots

Today, I went hunting for a professor and a crazy artist while dodging shady agents on the streets of Blackwood on a mission to save some aliens.

True story. I took my nine and five year olds to help with the mission. They flipping loved it. They’ve seen more theatre than most kids could shake a stick at but this interactive intergalactic family adventure made a huge impression on them.

We started in the library, getting the back story and some essential training in observation and evasion tactics. Over an hour later we were working on circuit boards in a secret location. The boys were thrilled with the extra-terrestrials and electronics..

“I hope we get to go to another one like that soon!” – the nine year old said at bedtime.

Project: Oggbots is a show for 7-11 year olds by Root Experience. It’s only on for one more day but with plenty of times to choose from. Book your tickets with Blackwood Miners’ Institute:  Blackwood Miners’ Institute website or go old school and phone the box office 01495 227 206.

Thinking Out Loud

5 Reasons to Love Half Term (even if you’re working)

I’ve managed to wangle a few afternoons off but no full on day trips for us this week. For all the research and “ooo I like the sound of that” that went into the February Half Term post, I won’t be able to do many, if any of them with my children. Cue working parent guilt. The guilt will be slightly quelled by Facebook posts from SAHMs pulling their dry shampooed hair out (thank you and commiserations in advance). It’s not all bad. I’ve plucked five silver linings from a burst of rare optimism.

No Lunch Boxes

Sunday night I did a gleeful jig when I remembered that I needn’t do an inventory of bread, ham, cereal bars and frubes. No evening trek to the corner shop for lunch box supplies for me. Straight on the PG Tips. Oh yeah. Smug AF. I am a terrible quartermaster and we never have all of the lunch box things. We do always have fruit but that’s mainly because the same clementine accompanies each child every day until it’s “on the turn”. I’ve tried a variety of fruits and lovingly chopped vegetable batons but they all come home again. The satsuma, clementine and other orange-type things are by far the hardiest travellers so they’re frequent flyers.

No School Uniforms

The boys’ school is pretty relaxed uniform wise but I’ve had a gutsful of polo t-shirts and black joggers. Half term means I don’t have to do a wash every day. It’s best to avoid a mountainous backlog but it doesn’t matter. They finally get to wear the clothes I actually like and have bought for them. I was wistfully flipping through photos of my youngest as a two year old (because my sister has his old gear and my nephew’s just bursting into the 2-3 bag of cousin hand-me-downs) and he had some awesome outfits. Now he’s 4 nearly 5 and favours “comfie trousers”, joggers to you or I. The 8 year old poo-pooed my suggestions this morning (he also refused to get out of bed, get dressed, brush his teeth etc.) and left the house looking like he’d had to don something from the lost property box. But hey, no school uniform washing, ironing and folding at least. *whistles Always Look on the Bright Side of Life*

Most Clubs and Hobbies Take a Break

The 8 year old’s sport doesn’t do half term breaks (sigh) but everything else does (yay). Fewer chauffeur duties, cub uniform, rugby boots and musical instruments to find/clean/remind child about. Tea time can be more leisurely. Less downing of dinners and struggling to find food that can be made in under 10 minutes. (30 minutes Jamie Oliver?! That’s a luxury!)

The B Team Present on the Radio

I have the radio on constantly. It gives my solo working from home days some element of routine.

10:30am Popmaster is time to make a cup of tea and practice my 3 times table

12 noon Jeremy Vine reminds me that it’s nearly lunch time

2pm Steve Wright makes me panic that all the things I should have done haven’t been done yet

5pm Simon Mayo helps me realise I still need to work for another half an hour but (depending on the day of the week) I need to make dinner for everyone and taxi kids to their hobbies within the next hour.

At half term and holidays, the regular Radio 2 presenters disappear and we get the reserves. Like those days a supply teacher had your class at school and there is a whiff of anarchy about the place. Sadly, this half term we’re on a different week to most of England so this reason should fall off the list. It should but “4 Reasons…” sounded a bit lame.

It’s a Quieter Week at Work

It would seem that most other people are more forward thinking than me and actually think to take annual leave over half term. I get fewer phone calls, meetings and replies to emails. A great chance to get a few more things ticked off that work-to-do list. If I had one. It’s all up here *taps head with biro*. *Regrets tapping head with biro upon realising it was the inky end*.

Do you also have a love/hate relationship with half term? Don’t worry, once it’s over there are only six weeks until the Easter holidays!

 

Places To Go, Things To Do

February Half Term

Half Term is almost upon us. Oh joy. I’ll be working for most of it *gets out tiny violin* but if I weren’t singing for my supper and palming my kids off on grandparents we’d be spoilt for choice with things to do and places to go.

Barry

Memo Arts Centre, Barry / Cinememo / £3 – £3.50

The Memo have family screenings all week including Moana and Sing. They’ve got a Relaxed screening on Thursday 23rd February at 11am. “Relaxed” means these are designed to welcome people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, sensory or communication disorders or learning disabilities.

Memo Arts Centre

Barry Library / Code Club / Ages 9-11 / Free

Friday 24th February. 4pm – 5pm.

As usual, our Vale libraries have plenty of things going on including Code Club. Booking is essential so drop in or give them a call on 01446 422425. If your child has an idea for a game or an app but doesn’t know where to start then get them to go along and learn to code. While they’re in there you could browse the shelves or check out the Holocaust Memorial Day Exhibition in the Art Central Gallery. Or if you’re feeling less cultured, escape the building, pick up a few bargains at the shops and maybe a cheeky steak bake.

Barry Library on Facebook

Communities First, Barry / Free

If you live in a Communities First area in Barry take a peak at their facebook page for details of activities going on.

Barry Communities First on Facebook

Penarth

Penarth Pier Pavilion / Space Day / Ages 4-11

A day of fascinating facts, brilliant experiments and out of this world activities for future astronauts and their families. The Planetarium and Mad Science Show sound awesome.

Penarth Pavilion

 

Cardiff

National Dance Company Wales at the Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre / Dance Days / Ages 7-18 / £15

Monday 20th February. 10am – 1pm (age 7-11) and 2pm – 6pm (12+)

My 8 year old has joined in with a couple of these and had a whale of a time. It’s basically a taster day for any level of dance experience.

NDCWales Dance Days

If you have a child doing Dance Days but spare children left over you can either blow away the cobwebs with a stroll across the barrage or head around the corner to…

Wales Millennium Centre in the Glanfa Foyer / Create a Paper Garden / All ages / FREE! (just turn up on the day)

Monday 20th – Saturday 25th February. 11am – 4pm.

Sounds similar to days we’ve spent building model houses, gardens and shops in the huge foyer space in Wales Millennium Centre. Go along and help transform the Centre into a beautiful garden made from paper. It’s free (huzzah!) and indoors.

Wales Millennium Centre – Paper Garden

St Fagans National History Museum / Childhood themed Half Term Activities / Free – £2

Saturday 18th – Sunday 26th February. 12noon – 4pm.

An obligatory half term day out for me when I was growing up, I take my tribe for school holiday adventures. It’s free to get in, £5 for parking and we usually take a picnic and a flask to keep the costs down. Their extra activities (Make a Toy Craft Sessions, Playtime Toy Sessions and Victorian Childhood Guided Tours) this half term range from free to £2. Check their website for details of what’s on which day.

St Fagans Half Term Activities

Bute Park Education Centre / Frog Themed Sessions / Age 3+ / Free

Tuesday 21st and Thursday 23rd February. 10:30am, 11:30am and 1:30pm

Remember Barry the Frog? He was one of the unusual animals on the Castle walls during City of the Unexpected in the summer. You can take a selfie with him in Bute Park this half term and do some frog related model making, crafting, games and stories. You’ll need to accompany your child and all wear wellies. What’s not to love?! It’s free and froggy.

Bute Park Fun with Barry the Frog

 

There are many parks and beaches in the Vale and beyond to explore for free but that’s a whole other post!

Let me know about anything I’ve missed out and I’ll try to shoehorn it in somehow.

My young humans would quite happily while away the whole week playing minecraft, building lego masterpieces or “decorating” everything in washi tape but I will drag them out by hook or by crook (when I’m not bringing home the bacon).