Wicked, Wales Millennium Centre

If you are a regular reader, you will know that I love the theatre. Myself, Mum, Auntie & cousin are regular theatre goers and we’ve seen many shows, some have been hilariously funny and others sad, I’ve left the theatre a blubbering mess on many occasion.

Some shows have been better than others but I can honestly say, I’ve never seen a bad production.

DSC_0237

The Wales Millennium Centre is such an impressive venue, both inside and out. I enjoy trips to Cardiff Bay, it’s such a lovely place, with plenty to do. The Wales Millennium centre even got into the spirit of things and is lit up green for the Wicked shows!

We weren’t originally going to see Wicked, it didn’t appeal to me and I thought it would be more for children, how wrong was I?!

A friend of a friend couldn’t make the show, so Mum & I bought her tickets at a discounted price. We were sat in the upper circle, we had a good view but we prefer to be seated in the stalls (yeah, yeah, seat snobs). We would have like to have seen the costume details and the casts facial expressions.

073

Glinda (Emily Tierney), tells the story of her friendship with the not so ‘Wicked’ green witch, Elphaba (Nikki Davis-Jones). Both Emily and Nikki are perfect for the roles, with the most beautiful voices and personalities. They were both kind enough to sign our programs at the end of night (yep, we hang around the stage door to get signatures after every show). There are twists and turns to the story but I won’t spoil it!

The rest of the cast were equally as good, the songs are catchy, if you went to see the show a second time, you would be singing along.

I only wish we had bought our own tickets, we could be sat in the stalls, up close to all the action and details.

If you enjoy the theatre, you should see Wicked. It’s a must see show and you won’t be disappointed, I might even go back for more……

 

 

 

The past week or so

Jump for joy! My second Mother’s Day was a success! I was spoilt rotten with cards, flowers and a voucher for a facial, massage and manicure.

It was totally different from my first Mother’s Day, I wasn’t an emotional wreck and we actually made it out of the house.

We had a lovely day, we visited both sets of parents and we somehow managed to buy a new car!

We had been looking for another car for a few weeks and found this one by chance, whilst driving past a local car dealer. The dealers had only just received the car, she (yes, I’ve decided it’s a girl car) hadn’t even been priced up. We put a deposit down and we picked her up on Thursday!

We decided we wanted a car with low tax and insurance. I’ve always been a named driver but Simon wanted me to build up my no claims, we also needed a little car that’s economical on fuel. She’s a Toyota Aygo, in a silver/light blue colour and she’s super cute! I’ve always liked super small cars and I’ve been pestering Simon about one for years, hahaha finally got my way!

Thursday, I had my Mother’s Day pampering, I enjoyed a hot chocolate facial, full body shea butter massage and a manicure. It was AMAZING! I realise I’ve been a bit slack with my skin care routine since having Willow and I’m trying to rectify it. Last night I purchased some new products and hopefully I will be on the way to glowing skin. I can’t wait to try them.

I will leave these products and results for another blog post, as I’m pretty sure I’m going on a bit now.

I hope all my lovely readers had a great week! X

GymTots

For the past three weeks, we have been attending GymTots at the local YMCA. GymTots play sessions are aimed at 1-3 year olds and it encourages little ones to learn basic gym skills and movements in a fun, safe and child friendly environment.

After hearing some good reviews, I decided to take Willow to a session. I wasn’t expecting too much, as any new activity tends to end up with tears because it’s something new and out of her comfort zone. But, it was a success!

During the GymTots sessions, little ones have access to the whole of the gymnasium, all of its equipment, plus soft play, ribbon sticks, balls, hoops and mini trampolines.

 

DSC_0217

Willow spends most of the session on the go and we are constantly chasing around after her.

I think it’s important that little ones attend some sort of class, they learn new skills and get to socialise with others. Willow also attends a rhyme and sign class at the local library, but since she has started walking, she doesn’t seem as interested.

DSC_0228

After just 3 sessions, Willow is gaining confidence and was contemplating going on the ‘big’ trampoline!

DSC_0214

After the age of 3, children progress up to the Gymjynx class. If Willow wishes to progress, the gym and the equipment won’t be scary and new. At the moment she just runs around like a lunatic for an hour!

DSC_0212

We will continue to go to the GymTots sessions, as long as Willow enjoys it.

I’m always on the look out for new toddler classes, I’d love to try some messy play classes next. Sometimes the info on classes is hard to find. Not many classes are advertised and you hear about them by chance. There does seems to be a lot of play centres around but they can be costly, especially if you have more than one child and then you have to factor in the cost of food and drinks. I have heard about a playcentre in Cardiff that allows you to bring your own, again, I only discovered this playcentre by chance, as a friend posted some picture on Facebook. It has indoor and outdoor areas and you can take a picnic! We will be visiting soon……..

 

CheckoutSmart

Since having Willow and returning to work part time, I’m more conscious about our spending costs of day to day living. We have switched energy suppliers to reduce our bill, I use coupons, cashback sites, meal plan and buy in bulk to save money.

I’m already familiar with cashback sites but I’d never heard of CheckoutSmart before. CheckoutSmart is an app that rewards you for buying your favourite supermarket brands. After downloading the app, it took less than a minute to sign up and get started.

I found this app very user friendly, it was easy to use and navigate. I was expecting the offers to be for junk food or for items that don’t interest us. Far from it, there’s a nice mix, you can make meals from the offers, it including day to day essentials, store cupboard items, treat items and even cleaning supplies. I’ve taken some screen shots, so you can see some of the offers on this week….

20140401-044658 pm.jpg

20140401-044707 pm.jpg

20140401-044712 pm.jpg

20140401-044718 pm.jpg

20140401-044725 pm.jpg

If you are planning on buying these items, you might as well get rewarded for doing so!

Download the app on your phone or tablet device and check before or during your shopping trip to see if you can benefit from any of the offers. Some offers can be redeemed more than once, you could earn a few extra pounds every month for doing your shopping as normal.

Once you have completed your shopping, tell the app what offers you wish to redeem and how many, upload a picture of your receipt, sit back and wait for your free cash! Money will be paid into your PayPal account or directly into your bank account.

I will be recommending CheckoutSmart to everyone, especially fellow families. One thing that really impressed me, is that you can claim rewards for supermarkets own branded food and not just premium brands, plus some offers can be redeemed for shopping at Aldi or Lidl, families on a budget can also benefit!

The CheckoutSmart app gets 5 stars from me and will be part of my weekly shopping routine!

 

*I have received payment in return for writing this blog post*

 

 

 

Ladies Night – St David’s 2

Last night, Mum, my Auntie and Myself attended Ladies night in The St David’s shopping centre. We had previously registered a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait for a night of discounted shopping, treats and competitions.

St David’s always build up a frenzy on their social media in the days leading up to ladies night and we weren’t disappointed.

After collecting out wrist band and voucher for free popcorn (who doesn’t love a freebie?) we started shopping. Most shops were offering special discounts, free gifts or champagne and canapés.

There was a buzz in the air and everyone seemed to be in a good mood, it wasn’t too busy but that was a good thing, waiting in the que is the worst part of a shopping trip for me. I wonder how much our lives we waste waiting in a que and losing valuable shopping time?!

On top of the discounted shopping, rewards were on offer depending on how much you spent. From free parking, gift cards to cocktails, make overs and nibbles in the VIP area.

This was the second time I’ve attended ladies night, they have made it bigger and better than before with more and more shops joining in and offering discounted shopping.

We thought wed make a night of it and stopped off at the Red Hot World Buffet and have a bite to eat (more like a few plates to eat). There’s something for everyone, they cover a decent range of cuisines, there’s bound to be something you will like and you will leave fit to burst!

Red Hot World Buffet even joined in with ladies night offering a 20% discount and even had a magician entertaining guests.

I love how the majority of shops got involved and everyone seemed upbeat and happy.

Well done St David’s, you pulled it off yet again! x

 

Liebster Award

liebsteraward

The lovely Jen over at Jen JbBoutique has nominated me for the Liebster Award. There are certain rules I need to follow and I also have to answer 11 questions. I love doing these type of Q&A, my readers get to know more about me and I get to know more about my fellow bloggers.

The rules for this are as follows:

1. You must link back to the person who awarded you.
2. You must answer the 11 questions given by the nominee before you.
3. You pick 11 nominees with under 200 followers to answer your questions.
4. You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.
5. You must tell your nominees that they have been nominated by you.

These are my questions…..

1.  What is your must have beauty product?

St Ives Apricot Scrub, love it, used it for years and I will continue to do so. I apply it to my face and leave it on as a mask for a few minutes before working it in then rinsing off.

2.  If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Hmmmmmm, tricky one! I love Chinese and Mexican food but I think I will play it safe and say a Roast dinner. At least you can mix things up and have different meats and veg, or is that cheating?!

3.  What is your go to make-up look?

Quite natural I think, I never experiment with colour and I stick to neutral colours. If I’m going out I will just wear more of it and throw in some eyeliner.

4.  The hairstyle you wear the most?

A very boring pony, although I do wish I had more time to make an effort with it. Sometimes it’s just easier to pull it back, especially if I’m running short on time. If I’m going out, I will try and do something with my hair, curl or straighten it.

5.  How would you describe your fashion style?

Fashion, what’s that? HaHaHa! Casual for me, I’m a jeans and top kind of girl. You can dress jeans up with a nice top, boots, scarf ect. I’m still trying to get some motivation to lose the baby weight, so, I haven’t spent an awful lot of clothes since before Willow arrived.

6.  Tell us about your ideal weekend?

A lie in! A massage, some shopping, cinema, meal out and a nice lazy Sunday with a yummy Sunday lunch and a trip to the park.

7. What’s the best pressie someone has ever bought for you?

We are such big kids, we went to Disneyland Paris for my 25th Birthday. Simon made me go on a big ride and I came off crying lol

8.  Who is your favourite designer?

I’m more High St than designer, but I would spend a bit of money on a nice bag or coat.

9.  Tell us a secret…

but then it wouldn’t be a secret……

10. Who is your celebrity crush?

Vin Diesel and Alexander Skarsgard, phwoar!!!!!!!!!!

11. Share with us your favourite blogger?

My good friend, Daniella over at Madame Gourmand. Daniella started me on my blogging journey and has help me so much. At times I have struggled, been close to pulling my own hair out with frustration and she been there to give advice and guide me.

So, there’s my answers and I hope my readers feel like they know a bit more about me.

I’d like to nominate the following blogs, I don’t have 11 at this moment in time but I will continue to add to the list.

http://www.addictedtobabystuff.com

http://dundeediva.wordpress.com/

1. Who do you most admire?

2. What is your favourite film?

3. What was your favourite toy as a child?

4. Best holiday memory?

5. Favourite piece of jewellery?

6. Something you wish you’d done differently?

7. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

8. What made you start your blog?

9. What is your favourite song of all time?

10. If you were a Disney character, who would you be?

11. Do you have a favourite picture?

So, these are my questions to you, I can’t want to read your replies!

 

 

 

iCandy Peach Jogger

I WON A PRAM!!! Yes, I’m shouting because I WON A PRAM! And not just any old pram, I won an iCandy Peach Jogger! As you can tell, I’m pretty excited that I won this bad boy…..

PeachJogger_Cranberry

When I was pregnant with Willow, we originally looked at iCandy prams but sadly they were a little bit out of our budget. With so much to buy for our new arrival we couldn’t stretch our budget enough to buy an iCandy, that’s why I’m over the moon that I managed to win one!

When the iCandy arrived, I was quite shocked at how compact the box is, I did receive an additional box but it contained an extra set of wheels, cup holder and a foot muff.

003

004

It was a long afternoon waiting for my Husband to finish work, he wanted to help unpack and assemble. I was like a kid at Christmas, I wanted to rip the box open and get stuck in!

008

We had both watched this instruction video, so we knew what to expect. The iCandy was more or less assembled and required minimal work from us. The air-filled wheels needed to be pumped up but this was a little trickier than we thought…..

012It was quite difficult to attach the pump to the valve, if the valve was a bent valve, it would have been much easier.

Hurry up Daddy!

006

This is where the front wheel goes, Daddy!

011

 Like I said, it was really easy to assemble. We just had to unfold the frame, attach the wheels and seat, and in less than 10 minutes, we were good to go.

Check out my new ride!

015

It was that easy to assemble, we didn’t need to look at the instructions. We only looked at them when we wanted to know how to put it back down.

I couldn’t wait to get out an about with the iCandy, it’s feels like a nice solid, sturdy pram with no rattles or squeaky wheels. It maneuvers like a dream, the front wheel turns on the spot and any uneven surfaces, are hardly felt.

We have used the iCandy on tarmac, pavements, in the supermarket and out and about town with the same result. It’s easy to move and the air-filled wheels cushion any bumps.

Getting Willow in and out is easy because the seat is so generous with plenty of room, it will last for years. The harness is easy to use, adjust and not at all fussy like some prams I’ve seen. Baby can be Parent facing or forward facing with 3 different recline positions. Up until now, Willow has been Parent facing, we tried her forward facing and she loves it. She’s more aware of her surroundings and she likes to see what’s going on.

The fabric is beautifully silky soft to the touch and the fleecy inside of the foot muff will keep little one warm.  I love how stylish and modern the iCandy is with its matt finished metal, I can see people looking at me with pram envy!

The Peach Jogger has a very generous basket, if you are popping to the shops or taking baby out for the day, there’s plenty of room for your supplies. I felt a little vulnerable with an open basket because our other pram’s basket is enclosed. I’d feel better if the iCandy had an enclosed basket but it would obviously affect how the pram collapses ect.

Everything is adjustable, the seat, the wheels, foot rest, handle, even the hood is adjustable. The iCandy designers really have thought of everything!

005

004

002

Our other pram now lives at the Grandparent’s house, it feels cheap compared to the iCandy.

I’m so impressed with the iCandy, you really do get what you pay for, I just wish we could have stretched our budget and purchased an iCandy when I was pregnant. The quality is outstanding and I urge any parent-to-be to test the iCandy Peach Jogger

 

 

Barry Island Life

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day, we thought we’d take advantage and have a walk down to the front. Other people obviously had the same idea and it was pretty busy, as soon as the sun comes out, lots of people head to Barry Island. Dogs and their owners were also out in force, enjoying the beach before the summer ban comes in at the end of the month.

Even though we only live a stones throw away, we don’t visit the beach very often, this is starting to change the older Willow gets. Family day’s out can be expensive but for us, Barry Island is cheap.

As it was lunch time, we decided to get a bite to eat. Barry Island is full of chip shops and cafes but someone recommended a new coffee-house that has recently opened, we decided to give it a go.

Cadwalader’s, is a small chain that originally started out as an ice cream parlour.

027

Cadwalader’s is full of interesting bits and bobs, and books if you fancy a spot of reading. The seating area is a mixture of leather, fabric and wood, it sounds a bit miss-matched but everything works well.

I was surprised that they are also dog friendly, there’s no other place on the Island like it!

When we arrived they were very busy, we went for a walk and returned 5 minutes later and managed to get a table and high chair.

We decided to do the £4.95 meal deal (£2.95 for children’s), including Panini, toastie, flatbread or sandwich, packet of crisps and a drink. The menu was just the right size for me, plenty of choice but not too much that you spend all day trying to decide what to have. We ordered a tuna melt Panini, a bbq chicken Panini and a bbq chicken toastie for Willow.

032

031

030

We didn’t have a long wait, maybe 10 minutes, which I thought was great considering how busy they were. Our food arrived on lovely wooden boards with a side salad that could have been a little more interesting. The Panini’s were a decent size and were super tasty.

After reading some reviews on trip advisor, one reviewer complained that the floor was dirty, I have to agree BUT, it’s a bit of sand, the café is next to the beach, what do you expect?!

I have one complaint, I felt like I was sat in a furnace, it was absolutely boiling inside because the café front is made up of full length windows. At the moment there’s still a chill in the air, come summer time, it will be unbearable! Maybe they should invest in an air con unit.

We will most definitely be returning, I NEED to try some of their ice-cream, it looks yummy!

028

 

Mother’s Day outfit with Vertbaudet

Last year was my first Mother’s Day. It was such a horrible day, Willow was just over two weeks old and I cried for most of the day. The midwife later told me that it was a combination of hormones and tiredness, she was right but my first Mother’s Day had been spoilt.

I’m hoping that this years Mother’s Day will be a special day and that I wont be an emotional wreck!

I’m not sure if my Husband has organised anything for Mother’s Day or not but I’m sure we will go out and do something.

I’ve decided to enter a competition for bloggers, I have to put together an outfit for Willow to wear on Mother’s Day, with clothes from the Vertbaudet, www.vertbaudet.co.uk/ website. We already have a few items from Vertbaudet, mainly vests and some nightwear, but they have washed very well and are of a decent quality.

Fotor0307171253

1. Baby Girl’s Checked Blouse. £9.00.

I love this little blouse, I think it can be dressed up or down. It would be suitable for a party, meal out or just day to day wear depending on what you team it with. I like how the designers haven’t skipped any details, notice how the sleeves can be rolled up?!

2. Baby Girl’s Soft Denim Shorts. £13.00

Because of Willow’s size, she has to wear clothes the next size or two up. Obviously this makes clothes too long in the leg, so shorts are the perfect solution. They are made out of soft denim, wont get stiff or restrict her movement.

3. Baby Girl’s Printed Lined Cardigan. £13.60

I wanted to include an item with some colour, this super soft cardigan is ideal for layering in the summer months.

4. Pack of 2 Baby Girl’s Bodysuits with Shoestring Straps. £9.00

I’ve chosen vests with straps, such a versatile item, perfect for summer and even using as nightwear on those hot nights.

5. Pack of 2 Baby Girl’s fancy tights. £18.00

Every little girl needs tights, especially if they are crawling about. They are a little bit more expensive than I would normally spend but tights can totally transform an outfit and they have so much give in them.

6. Girl’s Ballet Pumps. £14.00

Because a girl can never have enough shoes, right?! Little miss independent is walking, we need to protect her little feet and another perfect item for the summer months being lightweight.

As our British weather is a little unpredictable at times, I have chosen items that can be layered and easily removed if need be.

The total cost of this outfit is more than I’d normally spend but all the items can be worn again, either as an outfit or teamed with other clothes.

*This is my entry for the Vertbaudet, Mother’s day outfit competition*

 

 

 

 

Re-create

After reading about scrap stores and how most cities should have one, I was on the look out. I finally found a local scrap store about 8 miles away! People have kept that one quiet, and I can understand why.

Now, I wasn’t going to write this blog post but I feel I have to share the love. Re-create is a scrap store that collects usable waste and surplus stock from local businesses, they then sell it on (very cheaply) to local clubs, play groups, crafters ect.

Re-Create is an Aladdin’s cave, a real hidden gem and has something for everyone. Some of the things we found, fabric, frames, wood, card, paper, prints, bottles, bottle tops, ribbon, packaging materials, carpet and I haven’t even touched the surface. I wish I had taken some pictures for you to see but there was so much to take in and I completely forgot!

Membership is free and a £1 fee is payable every time you visit.

Re-create also have their own little arts and craft store, they don’t have the biggest selection of products but what they do have in stock, is a lot cheaper than most shops. I managed to pick up packets of crepe paper – 65p each, postage boxes – 20p each. Their current stock includes, paint brushes, paints, glue, glitter and glitter spray, modelling clay and tools, fabric paint, t-shirts, pipe cleaners, paper, ect.

When you visit Re-create, you are supporting such a good cause. The local communities will benefit and more importantly, you are looking after the environment. Re-create has the mantra, Reduce, re-use, recycle!

Have a search and find your local scrap store, pay a visit and see what items you can pick up. Don’t visit with a project in mind, visit and let the items you find inspire you.