Tag Archives: days out

Our Countrykids Hitlist

It hasn’t been a great week for getting out and about, thanks to school, work, and wet dark evenings, though we did manage to feed the ducks in the rain…

Feeding the ducks in the rain


But the week’s not been wasted – we’ve been having fun compiling our Countrykids Hitlist for the next couple of months! Here it is…

  1. The Taff Trail. We are lucky enough to live very close to the Taff Trail, which runs all the way from Brecon to Cardiff; and although we often go for a wander along the part that’s closest to our house, we’ve never explored the rest of the trail – something we need to put right this year!
  2. Bat walks! I’ve been promising my kids that we’ll go and see some bats – the Taff trail is full of them, and there are also several organised bat walks that take place round and about – so there’s really no excuse!
  3. Newport Wetlands Centre. This RSPB bird reserve is less than half  an hour away from us by car, yet we’ve never visited. As well as birdwatching screens, there’s nature trails, guided walks and different family events throughout the year.
  4. Heath Park in Cardiff – we’ve actually never been to this park in all the years we’ve lived here, which is daft as it’s just a short bus ride away…apparently there is a model railway there as well as a pitch & putt and woodlands to explore.
  5. Funfests in the forest – I’ve just discovered the ForestXplorerWales app which has details of forests around South Wales, plus useful info like car parks, activities and trail maps – a great way to get started discovering some new woodlands.
  6. Our garden – I’ve written before about our not always successful attempts to grow edible goodies, but we’re getting better bit by bit!
  7. Castles! We’ve got loads of them here in Wales, but we tend to go back to the same (closest) ones again and again. The kids love running about and exploring them so this year we’ll be dusting off our CADW cards and checking out some new ones – Tintern Abbey and Ogmore Castle are next on the list.

So – that’s our Countrykids hitlist from now until the Easter Holidays, plenty to keep us busy – and we’ll report back via Countrykids of course!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

On Silly Kings at Cardiff Castle


One of the things that I am loving about this stage of our life is that that there are so many things opening up to us that we can enjoy all together. Now the littlest is nearly 4, we are way past the nappies and pushchairs, and mostly past the tantrums too, so that things that were out of our reach a year ago, are opening up as possibilities.

I am really, really excited this year about our first theatre trip as a family. We’ve been to a fair few shows with the kids over the years, but because of their ages it’s always been one of us taking one or two of them while the other one entertains whoever is left. But this year I have found a show that I reckon will be a hit for all of us – even the Husband who doesn’t know he is going yet and will probably mutter a bit about it when he finds out, until I pacify him with the fact that we are practically going to see Monty Python.

Well, sort of. I am not sure my kids are quite ready for dead parrots, the Spanish Inquisition and Mr Creosote. But the National Theatre Wales production of Silly Kings – adapted from Fairy Tales by Terry Jones (yes, that Terry Jones) looks all kinds of ace for all kinds of ages, even grumpy 45 year olds. Not that I know any of those of course. *innocent face*

The show is based around the story of Herbert XII, a wise old King who is unfortunately becoming somewhat silly as he grows older. And we’re talking clothes-off-sitting-in-the-fountain-and-shouting-RADISHES!-silly…but despite this, his subjects throughout the kingdom love him so much that they pretend to him that he is still the wise and competent king that he was. This leads to all sorts of shenanigans acted out by ‘extraordinary characters and madcap musicians telling tall tales from a Kingdom East of the moon and West of the sun’. Sounds a lot of fun, and dare I say it, a refreshing change from the panto….

Silly Kings is on at Cardiff Castle – surely the perfect place for magical tales – but don’t worry, you won’t freeze – the production takes place in a Spiegeltent – which promises to be warm and cosy, with practicalities like buggy/wheelchair access, baby change, toilets etc. And there is also mention of festive food and drink on sale. That’s got to mean a bar, right? Excited as I am about our first theatre trip I am realistic enough to know that herding 3 kids around during the peak pre-Christmas excitement phase may have its stressful moments, so a wee glass of mulled wine will certainly be welcome!

Silly Kings is on 19th December – 4th January, – you can watch the trailer here and you can find more details on the National Theatre Wales website.

**Disclaimer – we’ve been kindly invited to Silly Kings by the National Theatre Wales**

On Lazy Jacks – Review

**Disclosure – I received these tops to review free of charge, but Lazy Jacks did not tell me what to write, or ask me to mention anything specific. As always, I write as I find**

I’ll come right out with it – you’ve probably already spotted from photos on the blog that I’m a big fan of Lazy Jacks clothes, so I was absolutely over the moon when I was asked to review some items from their Autumn/Winter 2013 children’s range. Of course, I’m a teensy disappointed that once I hit ‘publish’,  several thousand* LearnerMother readers will be in on the secret too, but on the bright side, that practically makes me a fashion commentator, right? *preens, awaits the call from Anna W*

Well, she’s quite busy, you know. And there’s a time difference, she’s probably asleep. So while I wait for the call that will surely come, how about I tell you a bit more about this small, independent brand.

Based in Devon,  Lazy Jacks is a family firm which started out back in 2002 with just one design. Though the range has grown over the years, the quality has not been compromised – I can vouch for this as a longtime customer. Eleven years later, the Lazy Jacks catalogue includes brilliant quality hoodies, sweats, tees and fleeces for adults and children – and not only do they look great, but they last the distance. I know, when I buy my kids Lazy Jacks tops, that they’ll get a couple of years of abuse out of them (I buy big) and they’ll still be hand-on-able to my sisters’ kids.

Here’s a few pictures of the kids putting the tops through their paces at Ogmore Beach today. As you can see the tops are great for this time of year – warm and breathable, but also they look brilliant – the colours are strong and deep, and the Lazy Jacks branding is distinctive without being overwhelming. You can see a few more shots of the clothes in action on a colder and blustery day here, and I’ve also requested some catalogue images which I’ve put at the bottom of the post, so you can see the tops more clearly.

IMG_3626 IMG_3625IMG_3624 IMG_3623 IMG_3622photo


I already know that Lazy Jacks clothes wash well, even on repeated hot cycles. Why do I know it? Because here’s a picture of an older Lazy Jacks, looking, well, pretty normal after a day’s wear on my littlest.


After a couple of years of this sort of treatment, I have to say it still looks pretty good after washing. Obviously, having only had the new tops for a couple of weeks, they’ve only gone in the machine about 83 times so far (please tell me it’s not just my kids???) so I can’t give you a long term report; but early signs are that they’re as hard wearing as previous seasons’ offerings.

All in all, I’d say that Lazy Jacks clothes are well worth the price tag. These tops all retail at around the £30 mark, which to be honest is more than I spend on any other item of kids clothing. But because I know I will get two full years wear out of them and still be able to pass down, I think it’s well worth paying that bit more than for ‘high street hoodies’ which will be fraying at the edges after a few hot washes.

So, where can you get them? Lazy Jacks are available in independent shops throughout Devon and beyond, though if you’re not lucky enough to live in the South West your best bet is probably to order from their online shop at www.lazyjacks.co.uk. Service is good, delivery is fast and returns/exchanges are no fuss. If you’re a fan of high quality, practical clothing that looks great, I’d definitely recommend you give Lazy Jacks a try – and not just for your kids!

*maybe not  several thousand. Though my stats have gone up a bit lately, so possibly, say, five?

LJ3CP-Twilight-Back LJ3CP-Twilight LJ30CP-Twilight LJ84C-Berry

 Family Fever

March 2014 – linking up with my new discovery ‘Tried and Tested Tuesday’ over at FamilyFever – why not head over for some other ‘tried and tested’ posts!