15 things you’ll learn as a parent on a day out at a theme park

1. Someone always needs a wee at the worst time. Either when you’re 50 miles from a service station or mid-way through a mind-bogglingly long queue for a ride with no loo nearby.

2. When you do locate a loo, the queue will be as long as the one for the rollercoaster.

3. You will fantastise about ankle-ramming the people who absentmindedly stop in front of your buggy. Look where you’re going people.

4. You will have arms of a weightlifter by the end of the day from carrying your toddler who has to walk absolutely everywhere and then needs to be carried absolutely everywhere as their little legs can’t cope.

5. You start to question your principled decision to refuse forking out for queue jump tickets after enduring 45 minutes waiting for a two-minute ride with an energetic and impatient toddler. There will be tantrums, tears and short-lived bribery snacks. 

6. And those smug queuebuster pass holders will always turn up when you get to the front of the queue meaning you have another final wait to go. And you will hate them for it.

7. The drinks and snacks you’ve lovingly prepared in advance will be refused in favour of a soft drink and packet of crisps that cost £3.99. Each.

8. You will fork out a small fortune at the gift shop while knowing you could get the same thing much cheaper on Amazon. Much cheaper.

9. Your child will find it impossible to chose what they want in said shop. And they’ll always insist on something that costs the same as the theme park ticket. You’ll then face a miserable battle of wills trying to convince them that the small teddy is just as good as the £65 play set they’ve set their little heart on.

10. Someone will always end up getting their clothes (or shoes) soaked. 

11. You spend an age getting into the car park and have to park a long walk from the theme park entrance. That walk feels even longer when walking back there and trying to locate your car with overtired children. What row were we in again?

12. You need to be prepared for all weather eventualities so you’ll be carting around enough gear for a week abroad. Coats ✅ sun hats ✅ wellies ✅ sun cream ✅ 

13. Finding your way out is as difficult as finding your way there. How is it so complicated? 

14. You’ll feel like you’ve walked a marathon by the end of the day but your Fitbit only says 8,000 steps.

15. You’ll forget all of the above when you and the children remember the day and look back at magical photos. All completely worth it. Now, where’s the wine? 😉

A trip to Folly Farm Wales – a review

Pembrokeshire’s Folly Farm is a popular day out for families in Wales and that includes us. 

Boasting both exotic and farmyard animals and a fantastic range of indoor and outdoor play, it was has won accolades from TripAdvisor for being a top family day out.

We do a family day out to Folly Farm at least once a year and it gets better with every visit with new animals and updated sections. 

Our first stop was the barn, where you can find traditional farm animals including goats, pigs, donkeys and a variety of chickens. The hatchery allows children to watch eggs hatch and the interactive cwtch corner enables them to cuddle smaller animals such as guinea pigs. 

The children then made their way to the vast outdoor play park starting with the sand diggers. They both loved digging mounds and steering the diggers. Then it was off to the different sections of the park to explore the pirate ships, castle and network of slides and tunnels.


After an hour of play, we made our way to see the more exotic animals including rhinos, meerkats, lions, zebra and the giraffes. 

One of the lovely things about Folly Farm is the interactive and educational element that accompanies each species meaning you learn along the way. Our five-year-old loved the measuring chart which showed him how tall he was in comparison to a baby giraffe. 

There is excellent information about conservation too, which is helpful to start talking to children about these issues.


Our highlights were seeing the the giraffes and the visit to penguin cove. Both of our children were thrilled to see the penguins swimming, especially through the glass viewing area. 



We ate lunch at the fast food diner at the soft play centre. It cost us £26 for two adult and children’s meals and drinks. The food was good and portions were very ample. There were other dining options including a cafe near the entrance, but we decided on a treat after two hours’ exploring. The children then burnt off some energy by racing around the vast soft play area before returning outside for more play and animals.


The facilities at Folly Farm are great for accessibility, including prams and wheelchairs. There are plentiful drinking water stations and toilets, which is vitally important when venturing out with a recently toilet-trained toddler! 

It cost around £45 for the four of us to get in, but we exchanged our Tesco Clubcard vouchers for four times the value in advance to pay towards the entrance cost. 

The entry fee covers the vast majority of activities at Folly Farm, but some cost a small fee such as the fairground rides.

Overall, we had another fantastic day out at Folly Farm. Fun, informative and interactive.

Blogger note: We paid for our visit to Folly Farm and the venue was unaware I was writing a review.

Colby Woodland Garden – a review

Tucked away in tranquil Amroth in Pembrokeshire, The National Trust’s Colby Woodland Garden is a stunning place to explore. 

It’s a hidden gem of walks, blooms, streams and a never-ending meadow filled with daisies and wild flowers.


After arrival, we headed straight to the walled garden. Walking through the metal gate, you are greeted by trees and gorgeous flowers of all colours. Statues are dotted around walkways and paths and a fountain babbles downstream from a summerhouse. 

As someone who loved The Secret Garden as a child, it felt lovely to look around this hidden place.

The Walled Garden


Our toddler was enchanted by the flowers and the ducks who were taking a swim in the fountains.

From the walled garden, our next step was to find the meadow and the network of paths and bridges around it. The children enjoyed discovering steps and walkways, picking up sticks and leaves and hunting for dandelion clocks. As it’s early May, the bluebells were also out in force.


The children loved the freedom of running through the huge meadow and climbing the fallen tree trunk.

Tired young legs meant we only explored part of this beautiful, expansive place. But what we saw was gorgeous.

There is ample car parking by the garden and a cafe on site serving a selection of meals and light bites for hungry walkers.

We paid £17.50 for a family ticket to the garden, which included access to the walled garden. 


Where are your favourite family days out in Wales? I’d love to know to add them to our to do list.

Pontypridd Lido – a review


It’ll be two years in August since Pontypridd Lido reopened after an extensive renovation. It’s been on my to do list since then and we finally made our first visit there yesterday.

The lido reopened for the current season on Saturday and we booked online in advance. It cost just £7 for the four of us to swim – including an extra £1 per child to access the activity pools. 

The lido is located in Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd and is just a few minutes from the A470. Although there is no parking at the park, there is a choice of affordable car parking options that are a few minutes away. 

When we got to the pool, we booked in and were given wristbands to access the activity pool. 

The lido has a choice of changing areas – indoor and retro outdoor cubicles inspired by its 1927 roots. There is a good mix of family changing cubicles, which is handy for families with younger children like us, and lockers. Ratios are one adult to every child under four. 

The lido features three heated outdoor pools, which are heated to around 28 degrees. There’s a splash pool, a swimming pool and a smaller swimming pool, which is set up for activities such as an inflatable assault course. The pools are surrounded by sunloungers for friends and family who want to spectate rather than take a dip (or swimmers who want to catch some rare Welsh rays!).

Our toddler loved running in and out of the splash pool and getting soaked by the water fountain whereas our five-year-old headed straight for the activity pool, which was kitted out with a giant inflatable assault course. He loved taking on the challenge and launching into the giant slide at the end.

The lido has a cafe which serves snacks poolside through a serving hatch and a visitor centre upstairs, which tells the story of the lido’s history.

Outside of the lido is a beautiful play park and the main cafe entrance. We refuelled in the cafe after our dip. Drinks and snacks for all coming in at less than £10 so it was reasonable. 

After our pit stop it was time to explore the play park, which opened with the lido in 2015. The children spent more an hour exploring and playing in the network of tunnels and sand sections as well as a zip wire. 

Overall, it was a fantastic few hours out as a family. The children were in their element and we’ll definitely be back! In fact, our toddler asked to go swimming again as we were about to leave.

Have you been to the Lido yet? Are you planning to visit? I’d love to know. 

Disney on Ice comes to Cardiff

As a child, I was enchanted by a myriad of Disney films from Beauty and the Beast to Cinderella to the Lion King. I loved the music, the stories and the characters, watching them time and time again.

Now, it’s my children’s turn to love all things Disney. So when I heard that Disney on Ice‘s 100 Years of Magic was coming to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, I snapped up some tickets.

We arrived at our seats half an hour before the show started and walked in to an arena of excited children donned in Disney dress and a sea of flashing wands and windmills.

The 100 Years of Magic concept meant the show brought together a range of famous Disney characters through the ages. The show kicked off with a warm up to introduce hosts Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who then introduced classic Disney characters.


The skating and the choreography was spectacular ranging from gorgeous solo performances from Pinocchio’s ethereal blue fairy to the underwater world of Finding Nemo.


One of my favourite sections was the couples’ dance where famous Disney duos including Belle and the Beast, Cinderella and the Prince and Rapunzel and Flynn danced duets before joining each other on the ice.

But it’s no surprise that the stand out moment was Frozen with ice proving a perfect setting to transport us to Arendelle complete with snow flurries. 

The choreography for these segments was particularly beautiful, with Elsa and Anna’s wildly different personalities reflected in every move.


At around two hours, including an interval, it was a long show. I felt it worked well, but both of the children were getting restless as the finale neared so it could have been a little bit tighter.

We expected merchandise at the show to be on the expensive side, but I was surprised to see small soft toy characters for £22, not much shy of what a ticket cost. So we didn’t buy one!

Overall, it was a magical few hours that we all enjoyed. My never-sits-still toddler sat entranced throughout and told me she wanted to watch it again when it ended. 

And our son whispered “It was super!” to my husband as we left the arena (high praise indeed from a five-year-old). Couldn’t have put it better myself.


Blogger note. We purchased our tickets to Disney on Ice and the venue and promoter were unaware I was writing a review.

Our top Twixmas walks

The weather was kind to us in South Wales in the last few days of 2016. This was good news as we were able to get out for fresh air and outdoor walks.

Both of our children love the outdoors from parks to beaches to the garden. And I’m a big fan of going for walks to get moving. So we enjoyed wrapping up and getting out and about between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Here are the top walks and places to visit we enjoyed in Twixmas 2016.

Swansea Bay Beach

We spent Boxing Day morning on Swansea Bay beach. It’s a long beach with views over to the Mumbles and the children loved tearing up and down it. They also made sand angels much to my amusement. Soggy trousers all round. 

Roath Park

Roath Park has been a favourite of mine since I was a student at Cardiff University. It’s now one of our children’s most loved parks. They love the lake and the playground and it has flat sections that make it a great destination for scooter and bike rides. It was bustling with families when we visited on 27 December.

Ogmore-by-Sea

Ogmore-by-Sea in the Vale of Glamorgan is one of our most loved destination for a family walk. Its rugged landscape, views of Porthcawl and beaches make it a popular destination for walkers and surfers alike. We went there for a stroll on 28 December and the children loved exploring the beach and watching the groups of surfers catching waves. 

Where are your favourite places to walk or visit as a family? 

Brecon Mountain Railway Santa Special – a review

Both of our children are fans of trains so we often do day trips to steam railways for our family days out. So Brecon Mountain Railway‘s Santa Specials sounded like a lovely way to visit Father Christmas.

We tried it last year and loved it so we booked again when tickets were released earlier this year.

The railway station is based at Pant Station in Merthyr and is open on selected dates throughout the year. When you visit for a Santa Special, you walk in to a station decked out in tinsel and Christmas decorations. It had us feeling festive from the outset. 

After collecting our tickets, it was time to make our way to the steam train through a walkway filled with Christmas trimmings. We were greeted by staff in festive garb and cosied in to our seats listening to Christmas music in the background.

For the Santa Specials, the journey leads you to Pontsticill Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It’s a journey full of gorgeous views, which the children enjoyed.


As we neared the reservoir, the carriage became abuzz with excited chatter as the children waited for their first glimpse of Father Christmas, who greeted us ringing a bell.

We alighted to head to Father Christmas’s grotto, which was decked out with Christmas lights. The adults were offered a mince pie and some mulled wine while the children were given mini train chocolates as we queued.

Then, before we knew it, it was time to see Father Christmas. Although neither of the children were quite sure, they told him what they wanted and how good they had been this year. They were thrilled with their gifts and us grown ups weren’t left out as we were presented with gifts of our own.

As we were fortunate enough to be near the front, and for it to be a sunny day, we then spent the time before the journey exploring a bit and visiting the children’s playground. I also loved taking in the gorgeous views.

30 minutes or so later, it was time for our return journey to Pant. Again, it was a journey filled with pretty landscapes to see but most of the children on the carriage were getting tired by then.

Overall, it was another memorable day out for us as a family. At £43 it wasn’t cheap, but it is a day out that will go in the bank of memories of nice things to do together in the run up to Christmas.