Wales 2016: Day 1 – “The day the Sea didn’t look as deep”…

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After the crap-ness that is packing the car, we managed to set off on our journey to The campsite in Wales.
The car boot was fit to bursting, as was the roof box that our friends kindly lent us so we could manage to fit some more shit in the car (I promise I only packed essentials…like a box of fruit cider, a Margarita mixer, some tequila and copious snacks, which incidentally filled an enormous ‘bag for life’. You can never have too many snacks…)
The sun rose over the M4 (picturesque eh?!) and all was well. We were on our way to the land of Dragons and Sheep.
The car was packed, 2 out of 3 kids had gone back to sleep and the other one was happy to sit and watch the world whizz by as we drove.
I cracked open the Jelly Snake sweets about 5:45am for sustenance and with that, before we knew it, we were already heading over the Severn Bridge.
We reach the bridge toll and see it’s now £6.60 to get into Wales. £6.60!!! That’s halfway to a bottle of Bombay Sapphire!! Absolute insanity.
Still, I managed to scrabble exactly £6.60 in change, pay the nice man in the booth and whoosh our way into Wales.
“Yay!!” comes a voice from the back of the car, “we’re in Scotland!”
“No poppet, we aren’t, we’re in Wales” I reply whilst shaking my head. “I told you lots of times we are going to Wales and we’ve been there for the last 2 years…”
“But I thought we always went to Scotland camping mummy?”
“No Hun. We’ve only ever camped in Wales. That’s why you bought a Welsh dragon toy last year and cuddle it in bed every night”.
*Face palm*
We press on and pause for a much needed wee and breakfast stop in the sanctuary of the Golden Arches, where we meet up with our camping companions. We sit indoors, all bleary eyed and sleepy so we can devour a suitably crap filled breakfast of pancakes and syrup, sausage and egg muffins and greasy Hash Browns. Just what the doctor ordered.
Just as we are about to leave, a lovely older lady who works there comes over looking like a balloon seller at a funfair. In fact, you can bearly see the woman for balloons.
Oh shit, I think to myself, she is going to give these to the kids…
I hold my breath as she shuffles ever closer, the noise of the balloons squeaking together sets my teeth, and my nerves, on edge.
I glance over at my husband who has now clocked the McDonald’s balloon maniac and to say he looks less than enthused about the impending situation it is an understatement.
The kids see her and that’s it, party fecking central…

“Balloons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” they all squeal!

They all grab one from her as they trampoline up and down on their seats.

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All us adults give each other, and the balloon lady, a wry smile and tell her thank you through gritted teeth. The kids by this point are already smacking each other over the head with said balloons and wielding them like Lightsabers. Joy of sodding joys.

So now, not only is the car going to be fully loaded with camping stuff, a husband on the edge and hyper kids after a McDonald’s breakfast, we now have 3 balloons on sticks to cram in. Beam me up Scotty…preferably to a bar where there is Gin on tap.

 We finish up, squidge our way back into the car along with the balloons and set off for the campsite. We aren’t far away now and this section of the journey is very interesting/scenic. We go past the Tata Steel factory, a random thing to note perhaps but the sheer scale and size of this place on the landscape is truly something to behold, with it’s smoke and steam bellowing out from it’s many chimneys. We then pass through Swansea, a mixture of retail outlets and seafront but it does look like a lovely place. On we then go through the countryside until we reach our destination, Port Eynon on the Gower Peninsular. A tiny old fishing village with beautiful coastal walks, a stunning beach and scenery to die for.

The campsite we stay on is called Carreglwyd and it is situated almost on the beach, just behind the sand dunes. It has a decent toilet/shower block, a small on-site shop which sells essentials like bread, milk and eggs and a pot wash area. It’s facilities are basic but clean, and nothing like reading festival… 😉

They have a van go around a few times per day selling essentials, as well as fresh fruits and veg if you don’t want to take all that yourself, and the Ice Cream lady also makes her rounds a couple of times per day. There are a couple of fish and chip shops a two minute walk away and there is also a pub and a restaurant. All bases are covered.

As we check in, my husband comes over and tells me that Keith Allen (Lily Allen’s Dad) is staying at the campsite. I can see him sat on a bench with his dog outside the reception. It takes all my willpower to not go over and disturb him to ask for a quick selfie, and it practically killed me to not start singing Vindaloo at the top of my voice…

Proud of my self restraint at not ambushing Mr Allen, we went off to find a suitable pitch and then did battle with the tents. Our friends are regular campers, we aren’t. We only go once per year and therefore, my tent putting up skills aren’t my strong point. Still, I do the dutiful wife thing and help my husband wrestle the enormous thing up and after an hour or so, with minimal swearing and toddler chasing, camp is made.

The kids excitedly put their blankets and pillows in their sleeping pods and me and my other half, naively, decide to stay in the same pod as each other because the boys want to split themselves up. No good can come of this. He hates air beds, being cramped and is quite broad. I am small, claustrophobic and hate grumpy men. You can see the problem that is looming can’t you…

We decide to head straight to the beach to stretch our legs and to make the most of the sunny afternoon we have thankfully been greeted with. We pack our numerous bags of crap up, buckets, spades, snacks, towels, swimming stuff, spare clothes for all the kids, you name it, it’s packed, and head off to the beach.

As we reach the end of the walkway, we get our first view of the sea and the kids all shout with delight. It’s a lovely moment, ultimately made even better by my eldest announcing, “Wow! The sea doesn’t look as deep today!” Truly insightful. He’s destined for greatness that one…*ahem*.

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“WOW! The sea doesn’t look so deep today guys!”

After a bit of a walk along the rocky part of the beach, we reach the sandy part. Warm, golden sand, sunshine, sea breeze, salty sea air and very happy kids. It almost feels too good to be true.

We set up camp on the beach and while away the afternoon making sand pictures, sand castles, body boarding, paddling and eating snacks. Perfect.

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We head back, shoes and bum cracks full of sand, and clean ourselves up ready for a lovely wholesome dinner of Bolognese that my friend had made and frozen ready for us to have for dinner that night. Such a good idea when you don’t want to cook on that first night when you’re all knackered from an early start. We have a beer/cider or two and a cheeky margarita (no, I wasn’t joking. I honestly did pack a Margarita mixer and some tequila!) before unanimously deciding bedtime is a good idea about 9:30pm. It rocks going away with friends who are equally as knackered as you are, no guilt about buggering off to bed early whatsoever, yippee!

We tuck the kids into bed and they’re all super excited about sleeping under canvas. I’m a little more apprehensive.

It all starts off well, until about 1am I hear the toddler crying. I try to leap out from the back of the sleep pod, having to hurdle over my half asleep husband in the process and fall out of it like a drunken teenager wearing stilettos for the first time.

#stayclassy

 I see to the toddler but he’s now fine so I leave him in with his brother and ungracefully struggle my way back into the double sleeping bag I am ‘sharing’ with my other half. I say, ‘sharing’ because while I was out seeing to the toddler, he has stolen the entire sodding thing for himself and I have no sleeping bag to climb into. What a tosser.

I wrestle it back off him and struggle back into it, but the small amount I am given isn’t doing my claustrophobia much good. I managed to drift back off to sleep only for the toddler to rev up again about 15 minutes later. Fecking hell.

I spring from the air bed again, clambering over my husband who by now is resembling an enormously annoying, and pointless, speed bump. I’m falling all over the place and decide this is a loosing battle so I shove the toddler in with my husband and I hop in with our middle one. The husband doesn’t look too pleased about the card he has been dealt but I am tired, cold and pissed off, so he can have the toddler and I will sleep next to the peaceful, angelically sleeping, middle one.

#mummyforthewin

We wake to sunshine on day 2….

(story continues tomorrow)




Northumberland Holiday: Day 6 (and Britmums Daily Photo Challenge: Day 31 – End)

Day 6 in the Holiday Cottage, we wake up to find 2 people out of the 7 of us are still sick – and the rest are eating a fry up for breakfast in order to deter the lurgie. Purely medicinal, I hope you all understand…

Luke is now getting better slowly and surely and manages to eat 3 spoonfuls of frosties and drink a cup of tea. My mum has begun to come down with a cold type bug a bit more now too and isn’t feeling top dollar. Funny how kids are utterly shite at sharing stuff unless it’s crap stuff like lurgies, half eaten biscuits with slobber over them and tissues covered in their bogeys.

Despite them not feeling top dollar still, it’s an utterly gorgeous day and too good to stay in so we decide on a drive so those that are sick can sleep or just rest and those of us that aren’t can sightsee a bit and maybe get out to stretch their legs a little. It’s a little like an OAP coach tour, but without the smell of White Musk and Elnett in the vehicle….

We don’t have a plan of where we are going (this always ends badly in past experience) but know we can get into the North of the National Park pretty easily from where we are staying so we load the car up and set off.

We come to a little village called Wooler, it’s very quaint and has all the essentials like a post office, pub and bakery. We drive past a road and my husband then decides, once we have gone past it, that we should have turned down it. We turn around and go back towards it. We then miss it again after turning around, so we turn around again. 3rd time lucky, we manage to turn down the correct road. It was my fault we kept missing the turning dispite me announcing a few metres before it that, “this is the turning we need!” – that wasn’t sufficient enough and I should maybe invest in some dual controls for the car in time for our next trip away…

After driving down some winding roads, almost running over a few pheasants and eating a few toffees, we reach the end of the road. It’s a car park which says it’s the end of the line but actually, there is a road marked on our map and my Husband thinks we can drive along it. I am adamant we shouldn’t. He thinks I’m boring and playing it too safe. After a little debate, we agree as a car that we shouldn’t drive down it and turn around. Undeterred however, my husband is now adamant he must find another way into the National Park. The imposter Stig has returned…lord help us.

We drive for a while through woods and rolling hills and even manage to come across a could of Fords much to my husbands delight – “splash!” the car goes into the water. His little face lights up like that of a teenage boy who is helping dress models at a Bikini Fashion Show.

  
We eventually manage to find a way into the park but this is the road that greets us…

  Now, the photo doesn’t do it justice but, there is a sheer drop at the end of this tree lined road. It looks very steep and I’m not entirely sure we should be on this road but descend we do and, again, hubby is super chuffed as he can play with the gadgets on the Land Rover and explain to us what he’s doing and why. I couldn’t give a toss what he’s doing and why and I’m now holding onto the door handle and my armrest for dear life again. I also develop cramp in my right butt cheek because I’m tensing so much…

Once we are into the park, as much as it pains me to admit it, we see a number of cars in there parked up, one of which is a little Fiat with 3 old ladies sat next to it on camping chairs eating sandwiches and drinking tea from a flask. The hill can’t have been that steep after all if all these folk had navigated it too.

We park up in a little spot next to the river and Jump out to have a little look. The water babbles over the rocks and boulders in the river and it’s shallow enough to paddle in at points. We spend a good hour throwing cobbles into the water, playing skipping stones (I did a few good ones, I was very proud of myself) and playing a good old game of Pooh Sticks…

    

  

  

  

  

 

Agter being scared crapless by a fighter jet flying really low over our heads, disturbing the peace – it literally came out of nowhere but it was pretty awesome to see it – we got back in the car and made our way back to the holiday house. The drive home was much quieter and we saw a few deer and a couple of castles.

Upon arriving back, Nanny and Luke had a lie down and the rest of us kitted up for an evening stroll through the dunes to the beach for one last time. The forecast for Friday wasn’t good so we knew this would be the last visit to the gorgeous beach. 

We walked for almost 2 hours, the sun shone and the wind stayed down for the most part. It was a really pleasant evening. The toddler and my middle one had a fab time running free range and enjoyed chasing the waves as the tide crept in. Super monents, just a shame my mum and my eldest couldn’t join us…

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

And here is my last photo for the Britmums Daily Photo challenge – Day 31: End.

The end of a wonderful spring day and almost the end of our holiday…this photo sums up all that has been perfect with this holiday.x

  
 




HelCat Emporium

                           

 

I’m always on the lookout for unusual pieces of home-ware, lovely gifts and something that little bit ‘different’. It drives my husband mad but, never mind. He likes bikes and lycra, I like pretty things. Yin and yang and all that jazz…

If you’re looking for some quirky and unique decor items for your home, look no further than HelCat Emporium. Their Etsy shop is full of handmade items of whimsy loveliness, which make fabulous gifts for friends, family and teachers or, you could just treat yourself to something purely because you’re totally awesome and you deserve to be rewarded.

HelCat’s online Etsy Emporium is run by a mother and daughter dream team (called Helen and Catherine – the latter just happens to be the rather smashing and clever girlfriend of my Cousin) who spend their spare time scouring our Great British Isle, like crafty Wombles, in order to find the perfect pieces of driftwood, flotsam and jetsam in order to craft their wares.

The Kit-Teas Cat Hanging, Jute String, Garland Bunting, Paper Garland, Cat Garland, Cat Decor, Paper Decoration, Party Decor, Cat, Cat Lover

From driftwood lighthouses, to hand-drawn and printed tea-party cat bunting, to giant cotton reel side tables, there truly is something for everyone.

So, if you need a gift someone who loves the coast, or you need to buy for that certain someone who has everything and you want to get them something they definitely won’t have, do give them a look – you won’t be disappointed!

You can find their Etsy shop here!

Much love.

Gems.x