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.

If you’re in Cardiff tomorrow…

…come and see me at Roath craft market, on Keppoch Street in the Mackintosh Sports and Social club! We’re open for extended hours, from 9.30am until 3pm for these last two Saturdays before Christmas. And now for the two extra enticements to my stall; firstly, I am having a pre-Christmas sale! Buy one item of jewelry, and get ¬£1 off each subsequent item of jewelry purchased in that same transaction. So, you can get a very nice set of jewelry at an extremely reasonable price! Secondly (and probably more importantly) there will be a lovely big bowl of chocolates on my stall for all who pass, in the hope of generating even more smiles and lots of Christmas spirit!

Just call me the Original Party Animal!

I had a fabulous time last Thursday evening! I was in a pub, drinking a cup of tea, knitting and reading Winnie the Pooh! Let me explain…!

Thursday night is knit night for me. It’s my only regular social outing and so I always look forward to it. However, this week was a little different as my sore ear and the evil antibiotics were making me feel very poorly. I nearly didn’t go, but Ellie doesn’t really take no for an answer so off I went! This week’s meetup was in Copa, a bar on Wharton Street in Cardiff. I usually look forward to Copa weeks as they serve delicious toasted waffles with toffee sauce and ice cream, but as I hadn’t been feeling too clever I didn’t think that waffles were the way forward. Neither did a glass of wine feel like a sensible decision, so I decided on a cup of tea as a ‘comfort drink’! So there was I, knitting on my jacket and sipping my cup of tea for all the world like a very eccentric elderly lady who may have got a little lost on her way to her OAP’s coffee evening. Also, my loss of hearing meant that I was entirely isolated from the rest of the group except for when I had the opportunity to lip read! But then my friend J took pity on me/decided to show off (take your pick as to his motive!!) by letting me play with his brand new shiny Kindle! And oh my goodness how I want one NOW!!! I’d read all the blurb, and listened to the hype about the e-ink but it really didn’t compare with actually seeing one up close. At first glance, it looked like one of those display models you see in electrical equipment stores where they have a printed label on them to give an idea of how the display will look. The e-ink and the lack of reflection was really that good. The text size was variable, which was fab for me as I’m a fast reader with good eyesight so I was able to reduce the text size right down in order to get the minimum possible page turns!

Then J showed me the list of books which you could get for free and for incredibly cheap, which led me to Winnie the Pooh, which in turn led to my reading that for most of the rest of the evening! It was a very happy place for poor deaf little me! The easy click of a button to turn pages was ideal for a multi-tasking knitter – I was able to have the Kindle on the table in front of me and flick the page turn button between stitches for minimal knitterly disruption! And from a pattern point of view, it would be brilliant for storing patterns, even those with charts, rather than having to print them out.

So, in conclusion, I am fairly certain that the 3G Kindle will be a part of my (not too distant) future. The only problem then will be fighting for access with GG!

I forgot to post again, didn’t I?

I keep doing it. I switch on the computer with every intention of blogging, but by the time I’ve done everything else I have to do online, it’s time for me to switch off and do something else. So yes, I’m rubbish and I know I am! It’s not that I don’t want to, and I can think of plenty of things to say! But I’m here now and that’s what really matters, right?!

First off, I took a picture on Tuesday with the sole purpose of posting it here;

Christmas chocolates. CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATES, on the SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER!! This is unacceptable, and left me muttering furiously as I made my way around the rest of the supermarket. Thankfully the¬†sweets looked untouched, so I’m fairly certain every other shopper was as disenchanted with the display as I was. What made this even more incongruous was that right next to this budding Christmas section was a still active barbeque and summer garden section! They could at least wait until they’ve packed away the charcoal before wheeling out the selection boxes!!

In other news, I seem to have picked up a lovely pair of ear infections, which is filling my life with boundless joy at the moment. The one ear started off about ten days ago, but was just irritating so my GP prescribed the same drops I’ve had before for a form of exzema¬†in my ears called otitis externa. However, by Saturday and while I was at Roath¬†Market the pain levels had increased exponentially and so I called the doctor and made an appointment to go to the out of hours clinic at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (which, on a totally unrelevant note, has featured in Doctor Who lots of times¬†including ‘Aliens of London’, ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ and ‘Turn Left’). There I was prescribed some very strong antibiotics (flucloxacillin, anyone?) which, over the course of a few days made my ear slightly better (much less pain) but had a very detrimental effect on my tummy. So, back I went to the GP on Friday and now I have super-strong eardrops and an invitation to go back again next Wednesday if they haven’t worked. If my ears are still full of yuck then, I will be enjoying a trip to the Ear Nose and Throat people in the hospital. So much fun to look forward to! Oh, and then yesterday I woke up with both¬†ears aching, so I’m now using my superstrong drops in the one ear, and my weaker drops in the one that’s just started aching.

Update on my hands; my rheumatologist has decided he has no ideas (as I already said) and my GP has said I’ll learn to live with it over the next couple of years. I went back to work on Wednesday after my long summer break with the boys. By Thursday lunchtime my hands were aching despite the more accessible hardware my employers have provided. So, this week I should hopefully be trialling a touchscreen monitor with a new on-screen keyboard, and hopefully this will allow me to do my job pain-free. Otherwise I’m not really sure what I’ll do.

Knitting wise, I’m keeping myself busy, especially as it seems to be good physio¬†and pain relief for my hands. I’m knitting a jacket using some Lopi¬†yarn that my parents brought me back from Iceland, a shawl to go with my new winter coat (that I’ve not yet bought) and a short sleeved¬†thin sweater with a fairisle yoke (like this one, in fact). I’m thinking of changing the pattern on the yoke to something rather than paper dolls as the variations that the designer showed looked so cool, but I can’t decide which one I like the best. So I may well do a paper dolls one first, then another one with another design later on. Talk about glutton for punishment! The jumper involves an i-cord cast on, which I’ve never attempted before. Suffice it to say that I can generally cast on the stitches for a jumper in well under one episode of a favourite TV programme. Last night I watched two episodes of ‘Bones’ and I was still only about a third of the way to casting on enough stitches! This is going to be¬†a severe test of my patience!

So now you’re all updated, I’m off to do something else useful. I hope you’re all having a lovely sunny Sunday like us!

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 Рloads 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!

Calling Cardiff bloggers!

I read a blog post today by The Guardian‚Äôs Cardiff beatblogger, Hannah Waldram (see original here), advertising a meet up for Cardiff bloggers, on Thursday 11th March at 7pm in Pica Pica bar on Westgate Street (opposite the Millennium Stadium). Any of you interested? I mention it mainly for those of you who use your blogs to help showcase your products for sale and who therefore would naturally be interested in any ideas to help grow your blog audience ‚Äď Machelle and Ellie spring to mind. However, I think this might be of interest to anyone with an enthusiasm and curiosity about using social media, and who (like me) would like the grow their blog, just for fun!

The concept interests me, I’d like to know a little more, like how long the event is likely to take, how many people they expect to attend etc. But what do all of you who live nearby think??

EDITED TO ADD…Also, have any of you attended an event like this before? Was it useful? Would you recommend it?

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!

No knitting today (but it was a good day despite that!)

I had a lovely day today, spending time in Cardiff with my friend Ellie, visiting bead and button shops and drinking huge amounts of hot chocolate! We went to the museum but unfortunately some of the exhibits were off limits, so we’re hoping to make a return visit at Easter when everything should be open to the public.

Unfortunately there were no pancakes in my Shrove Tuesday. Instead there was birthday cake – it was my sister in law’s birthday today, and I’m pleased to report that she loved her presents. From Handsome she had jelly babies and chocolate toffee eclairs, and from Cheeky she received this;

A bracelet and earrings set that he designed himself and partially made – I just helped with bending the pins into loops at the ends, but other than that it was all his work! Well done Cheeky!