Out and about with baby Sweetie – IKEA Cardiff

As I said in a previous post, I’ve been trying to have a little trip out every day, even if only for a walk, since baby Sweetie arrived. One of the first trips was to IKEA.

We moved into our house four months ago, but I was able to do less and less as the weeks went by because of the problems I had in my pregnancy. So we’ve still got a fair bit of unpacking to do as well as furniture to buy.

GG had been eyeing up a POANG chair for some time and I had promised to buy him one for his birthday. So we decided to make a trip of it and get some lunch as well.

Sweetie needed feeding as soon as we arrived so I headed off to find the feeding area. It’s in the restaurant, tucked away behind the smaller cafe. There’s a partition, behind which is an armchair, a couple of side tables, a big clock on the wall and some toys in case you have an older child to entertain. There’s a bottle warmer in there too, although I’m not sure why you’d need privacy to bottle feed an infant and would have thought that could go out on the side where they have equipment for warming baby food.

I liked that there is a private area to sit which isn’t next to the nappy changing area or the toilets – no matter how clean, those places still whiff of dirty nappy, and I’ve got no wish to sit in that for half an hour or more! I liked that someone had been thoughtful enough to include the little tables and the toys. I appreciated the clock as I always like to keep an eye on when and for how long I’m feeding.

I would have liked it if the cubicle had been a little bigger. I had my buggy with me and so once that was next to me, GG had to get a chair from outside and sit by the entrance as there was no room for him in the feeding area. And I wish that they had picked a chair with better back support as the chair had a very sloping back which made feeding Sweetie quite uncomfortable. Oh, and I wish I’d thought to go and get my free cup of tea with my Family Card before I sat down to feed!

All in all, IKEA was an easy place to take the baby. The food is cheap, although I guess that’s a loss leader as you’re bound to pick a few things up as you walk the three miles round the rest of the store! They have good facilities for warming older babies’ food. Perhaps the changing area could be better, as the only one I’ve seen is a fold down table in a toilet cubicle. But on the whole, I’ll be comfortable to go back whilst Sweetie is little.

Out and about

Since Sweetie Baby arrived, I’ve been out almost every day. I was limited with my mobility for so long, I was really keen to get out and go places as soon as possible. Now, there have been no hugely exciting trips; the majority of my outings have been to supermarkets or other big shops like IKEA or Homebase. But I felt that it was important just to get outside the house for a little while. It would be very easy for me to get into the habit of staying in the house all day, especially now the boys are old enough to take themselves to school.

However, Cardiff has changed a lot since I last had a nursing baby as my constant companion so I need to relearn the best places to go to feed and change her, as well as which places are kiddy friendly and which ones I should probably avoid until she’s at school!

I thought that I’d write posts now and again about the places I go, if only because my own memory is pretty bad at the moment and it would be good for me to have something to refer back to. And if I can help other new mothers who want to get out and about in Cardiff with their little ones, so much the better.

A weekend away

We’ve had a busy weekend since I last wrote to you all. We spent Friday to Sunday with my husband’s family in London, and managed to fit in two trips to the city centre. On Friday we arrived by lunchtime and then headed into London on the train, which my boys always find exciting as it’s a rare occurrence for them. We had planned to have an hour on HMS Belfast, but after finding out we’d be shelling out a little over forty quid for the three of us adults, we decided that looking at it from the side of the Thames was quite sufficient! We did, however, get a good look at Tower Bridge, and as I’ve not lived in London since I was nine years old I get the touristy thrill every time I see it!

This is the kids and their cousin, and I think they were trying to gauge how deep the river was, although I wouldn’t swear to it!

Having seen and coveted the London Bridge Lego set, they were suitably thrilled to see the real thing. After this we got a Thames Clipper boat back to the London Eye pier, and set off to meet my brother in law near the Royal Festival Hall to find some dinner. Each time I go near the Festival Hall I’m reminded of a visit when I must have been in my early teens and we went into the hall for some lunch. I remember very distinctly listening to a string quartet whilst eating the best bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich I’ve ever had! The things that stay with you down the years!

On Saturday, it was decided that we should visit the Natural History Museum. Unfortunately, I think that most of the south east of England had had the same idea, as we were queueing for a good half an hour to get in. Inside it was very much as I remembered it from my trip whilst I was in primary school, including the blue whale model and the different sharks suspended above it. I passed on the offer to look at dinosaurs (they’ve never really excited me that much!) and left the boys to it whilst I enjoyed a sit down, a drink and a catch up on my Dad’s latest blog posts (one of the comments on the first in a recent series of posts of his nearly made me cry in public, but I’ll leave you to find that!). After about an hour the kids (and I include their fathers in that category) emerged from the dinosaur exhibit and we made our way to the investigation centre, which was easily the best bit of the museum that I had seen on that trip, and probably worth the visit on its own. After booking in for a half hour slot, the kids were allowed to touch any of the exhibits, put them under microscopes or zoomed-in camera lenses attached to a monitor to examine them, play on computers and even handle some replica skulls. Nothing was off-limits in this room, and they had lots of different things to look at such as fossils, bones, antlers, insects in plastic housings, what looked like a very small stuffed alligator (do they come in miniature?!) etc etc. There was more than enough to keep them occupied for well over double the alloted half hour, and we could have gone back in but all four kids were getting weary and so we decided to call it a day and head back.

After a nice dinner it was time to get the kids to bed. On Sunday morning GG taught Cheeky the main elements of chess (I think he’s started something there, as Cheeky seemed very keen to keep playing!) whilst Handsome spent more time playing with the younger of his two London cousins. He’s always been very good with smaller children, and has a lot of time and patience for playing their games and reading them stories. I think he probably inherited this from my mother in law, as we always found it hard to keep her attention if there was a child in the room with us, as they’d always have top priority! After lunch it was time for the journey home. I don’t like the M4 very much, and so I was glad to spend a good three quarters of an hour asleep – it was well worth the stiff neck! We all arrived home ready to have a chilled out evening catching up on Strictly Come Dancing and making sure everything was ready for school. We’re not used to travelling very much, but it’s nice to get away for the occasional weekend. I’m very glad though that now my parents and my sister in law live in Cardiff so most of our visiting involves no more than a fifteen minute drive!

Roath Craft Market

Today was the first time that I’ve had my own market stall. OK, it was only half a stall, and only for half a day, but it was interesting, none the less! I shared a stall with my friend from my Thursday knitting group, Alison. She had half a stall of hand-knitted and crocheted goodies, I had half a stall of my own made jewellery and we had a whacking big basket full of skeins of Jelliebean Yarns in the middle!

This was my end of the stall, after the initial set up but before tweaking (and I did put one of my signs up, Dad, just after I took the picture!). Half a stall was just right for the amount of stock I had, and now I know what sort of amount will fill one of these stalls.

I made some sales as well! Not many, but I came away having made a profit on the day, which was lovely! And as it’s in a student area, apparently trade may well pick up once the University term starts again. Plus it’s not long until we’re in the official run up to Christmas, so hopefully people will think that my jewellery would make nice gifts!

I’m in the process of setting up my Etsy shop, and once it’s all ready, you’ll be among the very first people to know! I’ve got some awesome photographs, thanks to my Dad, so I’ve just got to work out details like postage, descriptions and other shop like policies! Yeah, give me a little while longer!

A lovely day out

Today, given the sunshine after the week (or more) of miserable, we decided to take a trip down to Cardiff Bay. This weekend has the ‘Fish and Ships’ festival down there, as well as a general food festival, so was good and busy by the time we got there.

We took a picnic, and stopped to eat it beside the Norwegian Church, which stands out on the side of Cardiff Bay with it’s crisp white paintwork.

As we walked back around the Bay we could see a couple of tall ships moored for the weekend.

We had a walk around the wetlands which is right beside the Bay, but quite well hidden if you don’t already know it’s there! There was a large selection of birds flying and swimming around, although GG was disappointed that he didn’t see a kingfisher!

After that walk, we saw the lifeboats circling in the Bay and realised that it was about time for the Royal Artillery parachutists to do their display, so we hung about to see and weren’t disappointed!

It must have been bloody cold landing in that water! I know they didn’t stay in long before pulling themselves onto the nearest lifeboat!

After the display, we were just about to head back to the car when I spotted this group of swans proceeding in an orderly fashion towards the river – maybe a swan double date?!

And finally, beside the Millennium Centre we spotted this  Gilbert and Sullivan-esque Captain with his Ship performing for the crowds – loads of fun!

It really was a good few hours out of the house, and really hot when the wind died away. Cardiff seems to be getting better and better at organising these sorts of events – there were certainly enough people around to be able to declare today a success! Oh, and I was incredibly strong and didn’t go to the food festival. Resisting Temptation are now my new middle names!

Springtime at last???

Well, today came as a pleasant surprise. I’ve given up watching the weather forecasts as they are largely unreliable and mainly gloomy! So, having become accustomed to cold, wet, snowy, cloudy (or all of the above) weather, today’s rise in temperatures and blue skies really cheered me up. Especially as I’ve not been sleeping too well for a few days, so I was incredibly tired this morning. The cheerier weather was a valuable pick-me-up.

After lunch with my in-laws, GG persuaded me into a bit of a walk before we came home. If I’m honest, the only place I wanted to be was in my bed, but I knew how much he and the boys wanted to get outside, so I made the best of it, got my camera out and enjoyed the sunshine.

Roath Park, especially the area in the photo above around the promenade and lighthouse, was very busy today. Many other people obviously had the same idea as us to get out into the sunshine. I especially love the sky in the above picture, with the gradations in colour caused by the clouds.

The sunshine made some beautiful relections in the river possible. Roath Park is split into several parts. The two main parts are where we were today. The best known is the lake part, with (I think it’s) a five acre lake, well populated with fish and the accompanying ducks, geese and swans. Across the promenade begins the other part, with the beautiful big trees, planted borders and beds, lawns and river. I think that the latter is my favourite part. The lake is very beautiful, but other than to walk around it, there’s not much more scope to enjoy it. Whereas, in the rose gardens you can watch the changing seasons pass, you can picnic on the lawns and let the kids run off some energy while you enjoy your seat on the picnic blanket, you can watch flowing water in the river and you can admire the grand old tall trees (I love trees!).

After our walk, we returned home and I set up camp on the sofa. Wrapped up in my blanket, I’ve enjoyed lots more Winter Olympic action and have knitted another repeat of the lace pattern on my Ravelympics medal attempt, Shawl of Doom. I’ve been spoilt rotten by both my children and my husband, and now I’m watching some ice dancing. Hopefully I’ll get a couple more rows knitted before bed time. I’m really hoping to finish this shawl in the next couple of days – I’m getting really bored writing about it! At least if it was a jumper I could say that I’ve done back and front and am heading up the sleeves. With a wrap it’s all about how long it is. Progress pictures won’t mean a lot, which is why there was only the one after the first couple of days!

Please, please please God, I’ll come back tomorrow and tell you that it’s finally done. And also please God, we’ll see some more of those blue skies in the near future!

Another night at the theatre

Last night, my mother and I went to St David’s Hall to see Anton du Beke and Erin Boag in their new show, ‘Steppin’ Out’. And it was fabulous! We had left it a little late to book tickets, and so ended up sitting in the choir stalls behind the stage, but we enjoyed it enormously despite that! And in fact, I think we had better seats than the people who were sitting in the high tiers at the back of the hall.

Anton and Erin were dancing to swing music in the main, and were accompanied by four more fantastic dancers and singer Graham Bickley. There were some ‘talky’ bits in between times, including a Q and A session in the second half. I think my favourite dance was either the tango, the dance to the music from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ or maybe ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’ which was right at the end of the show. I think to narrow it down to just three possible favourites is fairly impressive!

The two hours of the show was over before we knew it, it really did go amazingly fast! I think Mum and I could happily have sat through a show twice as long, although maybe Anton and Erin would have been a little tired after a show that length!

Well, if they bring another show back to Cardiff, Mum and I will definitely be in the audience…and we’ll make sure to buy tickets earlier next time. There’s a Strictly Come Dancing show in the spring which we’re considering, as well as a Latin show starring Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova at the end of June. Depending on my mother’s globe trotting, if we’re lucky perhaps we’ll manage to go to both!