Monthly Archives: October 2018

September 2018

September has been a busy month for Camp MAD! First and foremost, we reached a big milestone with Morgan starting school. Here he is on his first day (6 Sep 2018) —  can’t believe he is going to school!  We are so proud of him 🙂

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For those of you who are curious about what a British primary school looks like, here is the main playground where we drop the kids off and pick them up:

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We are really happy with the new routine — the school is a 6-8 minute walk from the house across a nice park.  Initially, we did this journey on foot but by week 3 we introduced the scooter which has made it even speedier!

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Let me tell you, neither of us misses the nursery drop offs and pick ups en route to work!  This is far more straightforward — no bike seats in the nursery shed, no rush to find a parking spot on the nursery road, etc etc.

On the way home from school, we often convene at the fallen tree for some mud excavation work with best buddies Zeke and Oliver.  It’s a good opportunity for playing after a day at school and catching up with other kids and parents in the neighbourhood.

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Aled had Wednesdays off in September so on the first sunny one we headed up for a walk in the Brecon Beacons, the mountains north of Cardiff.  It is the first time we’ve been on a hike without Morgan for well, what feels like forever!

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While we loved walking a fairly quick pace, admittedly we felt really guilty sneaking off for a walk while Morgy was at school!  (How life has changed!)  Here’s Aled at the top enjoying some sandwiches and the view:

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There were a of fun events in September, starting with Sandra’s birthday.  Sandra is our neighbour 3 doors down who has lived here for about 30 years.  It was so nice to get so many people together to celebrate!  We all pitched in with cooking but I think Paul and Anurag got the “most dedicated neighbours” award for the amazing hor d’oeuvres and salads!  Here are Paul and Sandra:

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And a rarely seen photo of me and Aled (thanks Anurag!):

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Days later our sister-in-law Angela was down in Cardiff for work so we had a mums’ night out in Cardiff!

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We started with some really fancy G&Ts at the gin bar on St. Mary’s and then had a fab meal a Bar 44 — tapas, yum yum!  Yes there are flowers in that pomegranate gin with elderflower tonic!

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On the following weekend, Morgy, Aled and I spent a very touristy day in Cardiff with an excursion from Bute Park to Cardiff Bay on the St. Katherine’s river boat.

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As you can see, Morgy loved the boat ride and it was a nice way to see the River Taff.  We had a nice lunch down in the Bay, followed by a walk along the waterfront.   Check out the houses in the background here down by the wetlands — they look very Dutch!

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In other news, we are on the home stretch with our home improvement work with the hallway redecoration project.  It doesn’t sound like it should be that difficult but it’s turned into a bit of an epic tale.  Long story short we picked out the wallpaper for the top section and the matching paint for underneath.  The decorators arrived on time and worked away very efficiently… here we are halfway through… things were looking great…

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… then late on day 1 I was wondering why the wallpaper hadn’t been delivered so I called the company to find out what was going on and lo and behold the wallpaper was OUT OF STOCK!  Thanks for letting me know…!  … and would take 9-10 weeks (YES WEEKS) to re-print.  This led naturally to a Penylan sort of mental breakdown but with moral support from all our immediate neighbours I have made it through this rough patch (first world problems!!).

Anyways Mike and Andrew the decorators were great and advised that the wallpaper was the last thing to go up anyways so everything else has since been done and they will come back when the acorns and oak leaves are finally etched by small elves somewhere in England on 80 meters of wallpaper — hopefully this side of Christmas!

Yes everyone this is my life as a stay at home mum — please God let a good contract turn up soon or I may go completely mad!

Lastly we celebrated my birthday in late September.  Milestone depicted in vegetables below as we have been instructed by the school to practice numbers in any way possible:

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Thank you to Paul and Anurag for such a lovely birthday meal:

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These guys should really open a restaurant here in Penylan — not only because they are fantastic cooks but also because we have recently been overrun by pizza restaurants! Don’t get me wrong, the newest pizza place is good — but do we really need 4 pizza places on a road that is only 200 yards long? I’m not so sure.

 

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August Bank Holiday

Almost as soon as we were over our jet lag we went up to North Wales to visit Uncle Ceri, Auntie Angela, Kate and Rachel. The weather was hit and miss but we still managed to get out for some really fantastic day trips in the area.

We started with a lovely walk in the Snowdonia National Park:

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Here are Ceri and Aled:

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And a great pic of Angela and Ceri:

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I couldn’t resist putting this one in of Ang and the kids — obviously taking this walk very seriously!

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The girls took turns riding in our car to spend even more time with Morgy — here he is with Rachie:

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…en route to this beautiful lake:

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The careful observer may note that Rachie is up to her usual tricks… just about to fill her boots with WATER… AGAIN!

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Everyone got pretty soaked so soon we headed back to the house:

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…for Uncle Ceri’s favourite: BBQ!

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I purposely chose that pic to show off the amazing kitchen/dining room extension that Ceri and Angela worked so hard on last year. They have created such an awesome space — well done guys!!

BBQ in the sun with wine was also quite pleasant!

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I’m always keen to see a new part of the country so the next day we headed out onto the Llyn Peninsula to do some exploring. Here is a cute little village called Nefyn on the north coast.

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It was a nice walk for everyone along the beach with a few minor delays here and there:

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Here is Morgy at the cliff head:

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Check out these quaint views of the countryside:

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And then we headed to the south side of the peninsula to Abersoch, another popular destination on the Llyn.  To be honest, the place was crawling with people in very posh vehicles so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Nefyn.  Not to be dismayed, we headed to the pub but with three 5-and-unders it wasn’t as relaxing as perhaps first imagined.  I think this picture pretty much sums up parenthood these days:

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The next day Aled, Morgy and I headed over to Portmeirion, an “Italianate village” on the coast.

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It’s kind of hard to describe.  Wiki says Portmeirion “was designed and built by Sir Clough William-Ellis between 1925 – 1975 in the style of an Italian village.”  Admittedly it was kind of random but Aled and I thought it was a great spot — full marks for quirkiness and creativity!

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Around every corner we found some pretty snapshots:

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We hopped on a walking tour and the guide let us in on a secret: the architect made a lot of “tricks of the eye”.  For example see the boat down by the estuary… from far away it looks like it is docked…

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But if you look closely you can see that it’s built out of stone and concrete and is really just an extension of the sea wall… funny right?

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There was a lovely walk around the cliffs — unfortunately the tide was in so we couldn’t enjoy the village’s beach — and then we walked back through some nice forest towards the village and came across this beautiful pond:

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So all in all it was a very nice day at Portmeirion, complete with some fantastic gelato.  If you are passing through this area, I would definitely recommend a visit.

On Wednesday, we left the northerners in peace and headed east towards Chester, a city on the border of Wales and England where Aled went to university.  He has been telling me  how beautiful and wonderful Chester is for over a decade now so I was really excited to see it.  Chester was a Roman fort founded in 79 AD and is one of the best preserved walled cities in Britain.  Here is one of the main streets with these lovely black and white buildings:

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The weather wasn’t the greatest and by then I think Morgy and I were sick of seeing new places so we walked around some of the city walls…

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…quickly saw the Cathedral…

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… and then went to a lovely pub on the river for lunch:

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And then it was time to head home to Cardiff.  But Dadda was insistent that we make one more stop to see the Llangollen Canal, an impressive feat of 19th century industrial engineering.  Originally built around 1805, it was used to transport limestone — now it is used for summertime canal boating.

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Here are Aled and Morgy on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the oldest and longest navigable aqueduct in Britain and the highest in the world apparently…

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Now I’m not usually that bothered by heights but there was quite a drop off this one…

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So this last stop had the desired effect — I have been bitten by the canal boat bug and can’t wait to spend a few weeks one summer puttering around Britain at 4 miles an hour!

Well this post was also supposed to include September but I am too tired now… so I will stop here!  I hope you have enjoyed this little adventure of ours through North Wales!  Thank you to Uncle Ceri, Auntie Angela, Kate and Rachel for having us XOXOXO