North Wales: Llandudno and Conwy #familyholiday

llandudno seafront walk

A weekend is not a long time for a break but it is sufficient. It’s time to discover new places, recharge your batteries and have fun with the family somewhere you wouldn’t normally be.

We took ourselves off recently on a family holiday to north Wales, we had booked to stay in Llandudno, a place we had visited years ago when the girls were 1 and it was the right time to return and rekindle our love for Wales.

llandudno 2009

Llandudno

After a quick check-in at the hotel we walked to the long and beautiful Victorian promenade of Llandudno. It was freezing cold Saturday afternoon but the sun was out, and the place was full of walkers and dogs and seagulls.

llandudno seafront

The hotels along the seafront add a glamorous touch to the long sweeping front. Sadly the pier was shut; mind you by the time we reached the pier I was quite glad as it was a really long walk and the girls had to walk all the way back so it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

llandudno seafront

It was our first time away with Baxter, he’d been with us just one week and luckily we had found a family friendly hotel that also took pets. He was in his element running on the stone beach after the seagulls on his extended lead.

llandudno seafront

Once we reached the pier dad fancied some fish and chips so we made our way towards the town centre and soon stumbled across a chippy, much to the girls disappointment ice creams were not to be found.

We passed Gerrard’s Bakery and picked up some Eccles cakes to try back at the hotel with a cup of tea. I also got some Bara Brith to take home with me.

llandudno seaview

Sadly that evening I wasn’t able to book for us to eat at the Cottage Loaf which looked like a really interesting pub with lots of local Welsh beer on tap. However we ate a very good meal in our hotel; I had the lamb shanks which were delicious and a very good Full English the next morning too before checking out.

Conwy

Conwy Castle Wales

Conwy is only a few minutes drive from Llandudno, and the sun was high in the sky as we drove across the bridge that passes beneath Conwy Castle. It is one of Britain’s best preserved medieval fortified towns and over 200 buildings in the town date back to the 14th – 19th centuries, a stunning vista.

Conwy Castle wales

King Edward started building Conwy Castle in 1283 and the power of the building can still be felt today. We spent an entire morning walking around the rooms, climbing to the top of the turrets for the stunning views and looking for the clues of the Conwy Castle Trail for kids.

Conwy Castle Wales

It’s a castle that prompts questions and imagination, what do you think the cooks prepared for the king to eat? How did the princesses pass the time? What were their favourite games?

Conwy Castle Wales

The girls loved our visit and although Baxter wasn’t allowed in with us we did take him for a walk around Conwy.

Conwy harbour view from the castle

 

We walked down to the estuary and found piles of lobster pots waiting to be used.

Conwy waterfront wales

 

We were amazed to stand outside the smallest house and imagine how anyone could have lived in there?

Conwy smallest house wales

We ate more fish and chips from a shop along the seafront and slowly made out way back to the car via the high street.

Conwy harbour wales

Our journey home was full of questions and remarks about our time in Wales, the girls know they have been before when they were one but they both said they don’t want to wait that long before they return again. I don’t want to wait that long either.

Conwy waterfront wales

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We stayed at Links Hotel on the outskirts of Llandudno which had a family room and accepted small dogs. The room was clean and comfortable, the included breakfast was a full English and delicious and the meal we ate on Saturday night was perfect too.

Find out lots more information of where to go and what to do at Visit Wales

Holidays; time for fun and learning new skills

We love holidays. I bet you do too, whether they are at home in the UK, short breaks, long breaks or in exotic places abroad, holidays are time for the family to come together and enjoy each others company.

We try to keep our holidays relaxed, time to eat new things, visit new areas, seek out local beauty spots and also time to learn new skills. I wanted to look back and see what skills the girls had developed over the years during our favourite times together, it’s pretty amazing as you see just how far they’re coming along.

Swimming

swimming with arm bands

The first skill our girls learnt on holiday was swimming. We spend a LOT of time at the pool simply because they loved it, they would spend the entire day there paddling with wings on getting more and more confident in the water. Before you know it they are lying in the water with the ears under the water and next they’re jumping off the side.

Swimming is a life skill and one I encourage all of my children to learn and of course they keep getting better, we’re now diving off the side and doing ‘somersaults’ in the water over and over and over again. At least they are tired come night time.

This video was taken on one of their first holidays in Spain, they couldn’t walk yet and they are having a scream here in the paddling pool with the rubber rings.

Confidence

kids club retallack resort

A great part of being on holiday is meeting new people and learning the art of making friends and we have found the kids clubs to be invaluable for our children, giving them the confidence to stay with other adults other than their mum and dad and to mix with children they have never met before. It is a handy social skill they will take through life with them and one not to be undermined especially when your children, like ours, are naturally shy. The confidence they learn on a holiday helps them in class when they have to speak in front of their peers, it helps them prepare for exams and it helps them make decisions about their future. The photo above shows various creations from joining in kids clubs on holiday at Retallack.

Driving and road awareness

butlins kids fun

On a recent holiday there was this fabulous track with petrol run bumper cars. It may seem odd but to start with the girls couldn’t get the hang of steering the car, it took a few circuits before they worked out how much to turn the wheel for the desired curve in the track. Once they’d gained the ‘knowledge’ we couldn’t get them off! At the same time they learnt road awareness and to stop, look and listen. They learnt not to walk on the track in case other cars were coming, to turn around and look and to keep themselves safe, a vitally important part of everyday life.

Rock climbing

rock climbing

The first time our girls came across one of those ‘rock climbing’ walls they were afraid, I stood behind Alice and held on to her as she trembled in my arms moving from one point to the next. I coaxed her onwards as I could see it was her fear upsetting her, I knew if she completed the small trail she would feel very pleased with herself. The next time we came across a similar wall she was much more confident and although I stood close by she didn’t need me holding her anymore.

On our last trip to Cornwall the girls were delighted to find beaches strewn with boulders and rocks and dad and I watched them playing on them shouting out to anyone who cared to listen ‘We are rock climbers.’

Surfing

surfers woolacombe bay devon

We had a first attempt at surfing back in June last year on a break in Woolacombe, Devon. We bought them a wet suit each, looking back it would be better to invest more money and buy the full length suit as the moment they are cold they lose all interest and the short suits don’t keep you warm for long in our cold British seas. They loved it and belly boarding became a number one hit.

On our recent Cornwall break we were lucky to discover that Retallack also has a Flow Rider, we booked up and with full wetsuits on we had lessons on how to surf, it was exhilarating and thankfully there was a hot tub to warm up in, in-between surfs as it was the coldest day of the year.

FlowRider Retallack

Things we still want to learn

Of course we’re at the beginning of our learning curve and the beauty now is that they can slowly do activities with us, like the Flowrider above. We shall always encourage our girls to have a go at all sorts of sport and pastime so they have a wide range of skills and hobbies, a few things on our list to tick off this year are flying a kite, tennis and zip wire.

I’ve been looking at a Centre Parcs holiday review, it seems there is plenty going on there

And things I dream of doing with my children? Swimming with the dolphins, walking a mountain, orienteering, skiing, white water rafting, canoeing and sailing.

Wales is the perfect place for a fun-filled family break, we have been twice to Wales. We took Megan (eldest daughter) when she was still living at home to the beautiful town of Tenby, it was my first trip to Wales. Megan was about 16 at the time and not the easiest teen to please but she loved her stay with us, we walked along the beaches, we explored the local area and we tried as many welsh products as we could find. Megan still has her Welsh dragon to this day.

Our second trip was to north Wales when the girls were still tiny and we stayed in Prestatyn. My highlight of that break was the trip to the beautiful beach of Llandudno.

Climbing Snowdon for Comic Relief with #TeamHonk

The 2nd March had been marked off on the calendar for quite a while, Mari’s Hen Party. With the school mums, the twin mums a few long standing friends and my sister in law to be we were going to hit the giddy heights of our local town, eat Italian and crawl the pubs to celebrate the last Saturday night before I got married as a hen.

Then #TeamHonk announced they would be climbing Snowdon that very day to raise money for Comic Relief, invitations to the blogging community went out to join them and I knew deep in my bones there was nothing I’d like more to do than spend my Saturday, most likely in the rain, walking up Snowdon with a great bunch of inspiring, intelligent and funny people.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, actually my dream is to one day climb Machu Picchu but Snowdon will do perfectly for now. I’m not sure how many of us there are, possibly between 10 – 16 coming from all over the UK the common denominator is we all blog. Some of my fellow trekkers I have met on many occasions like Penny Alexander, others I am to meet for the first time.

I’d like to say an enormous and very special THANK YOU to all my mums who accepted my cancellation with grace and didn’t make me feel bad about it. We will get out soon enough I promise xxx

The CLIMB

The climb is on Saturday 2nd March. We will be meeting at 8.30 for a 9am start – meeting place and route to be confirmed.

KIT:

A waterproof coat (needed)
Waterproof trousers (recommended)
Warm clothes – fleecy jumper / trousers ( not jeans – they are crap if they get wet!)/ tshirt / warm socks and spares
Sturdy footwear / walking boots
Rucksack
Water bottle/thermos / lots of high energy snacks
Gloves / hat / scarf and spares
Penny and I will be bringing a map, compass, torch, whistle and first aid kit each but it you want to bring your own too that’s cool.

So I have a few bits to get like the waterproof trousers and coat, a decent rucksack would be a good investment and I might get a fleece too to go over my ski thermal underwear. Dressing in layers is the way forward I am told.

I’ll be leaving home on Friday afternoon to make my way towards Stoke on Trent by train where Penny will pick me and Danielle up and we’ll drive the rest of the way there and stay in the Youth Hostel at the bottom of the mountain.

That leaves me just one question to ask you –

Can you sponsor me please?

Any donation, even just £1, would help because if every reader were to leave £1 that would be a hell of a lot of pounds all going to Comic Relief and continuing the #goodwork they’ve been doing for the past 25 years.

Penny is one of my Panasonic Mums and here she is modelling one of their fridges, doesn’t she look cool? (Did you see what I did there?)

Penny Alexander checks out the Panasonic fridge

and here she is in Ghana assessing the days work at the Bakery

Penny Alexander about to break bread

That Tuesday when they were out in Ghana, I had an idea of the programs they would be featured on and here is me watching the show in the UK

#Teamhonk Comic relief

But more importantly here’s one of Penny’s shots of Jonathan Ross tirelessly on the phone, as was Davina, all day long reporting back to us in the UK the work and efforts being made in Ghana
jonathan ross on phone

Please be assured that any donation you make to my Red Nose Page will automatically be added to the #TeamHonk pot and we’d like to smash the target of £1000

Please share and spread the word xxx