My Top Welsh Fairytale Destinations

Wales is full of fairytale destinations, we have castles in abundance, pretty scenery a-plenty and many gorgeous woodland settings. Inspired by Netflights, I decided to track down my own, local, fairytale destinations.

Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, CardiffCastell Coch, Tongwynlais, Cardiffimage credit

Known by locals as the fairytale castle and the Princess castle, Castell Coch is without a doubt my number one fairy tale destination in South Wales. This beautiful castle can be spotted from the motorway, and every time we passed it on our Summer trips to Barry Island as children we would excitedly announce that we had spotted the ‘fairy tale castle’. It’s a beautiful castle both outside and in and will alway feel magical to me.

The American Gardens, Pontypool, Torfaen
The American Gardens Pontypool Torfaen

Another trip back to my childhood with The American Gardens in Pontypool. I went for a lot of walks through these gardens in my younger days, and while they aren’t a ‘tourist attraction’ the gardens are well known to the locals. As children we loved to walk through the gardens and discover the ‘alligator swamp’, the ‘troll bridge’ and, of course, the fairytale cottage.

Mountain View Ranch, Caerphilly
Mountain View Ranch, Caerphilly

This particular fairytale destination is new to us, it’s one that Spencer and I have had the pleasure of introducing our own daughter to. A place where we saw her eyes come alive with magic as we took a walk through the fairy forest and spotted fairies a plenty dancing amongst the trees.

I look back now and I know that none of these places really are magical, but thanks to my parents imagination I will always see them as fairytale destinations. All it takes is a little imagination and a large sprinkling of fairy dust and you to can find fairytales right on your doorstep.

*Disclosure – Sponsored Post*

Win A Family Ticket to Cardiff Winter Wonderland – 12 Days of Christmas

The giveaways are coming fast and fierce here at A Slice of My Life Wales and I really hope that you are enjoying them so far, and will continue to do so as there are lots more coming your way! The 9th November sees the return of Cardiff Winter Wonderland and today I am giving you the chance to win a family ticket!

Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland is set to run from 9th November 2017 – 7th January 2018 and is set to be spectacular. The outdoor undercover ice rink provides fun for all the family. Please note that the minimum age for skating is three years old.

There is plenty of off ice fun to be had at Winter Wonderland. Other attractions include Alpine Village catering area and a fun fair with rides, games and attractions for everyone.

You can book your Winter Wonderland tickets at Cardiffswinterwonderland.com and TicketSource on 0333 666 3366.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&Cs : The winner will be contacted by email, if I receive no reply within one week I will draw another winner. UK only. Over 16 year olds only. If you claim to have submitted an entry which you haven’t all of your entries will be disqualified. Winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter. 

Image credit :

03/12/2016 Pics (C) Huw John, Cardiff.
MANDATORY BYLINE – Huw John, Cardiff

Winter Wonderland, CARDIFF

(C) HUW JOHN, CARDIFF

e-mail: mail@huwjohn.com
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Twitter: @huwjohnpics

A Family Staycation at The Vale Resort, South Wales

We’ve enjoyed staycations for quite a while now, usually travelling around 1-3 hours from home to enjoy a beautiful destination without enduring the stresses and hassles of flying. More recently I have decided to incorporate a few short stay staycations into our family trips, we live in such a beautiful part of the country it seems silly to travel too far away for a break, let’s be real, who really wants to be stuck in the car for hours on end with a two year old? Not me that’s for sure!

toddler pulling along peppa pig suitcase

For our most recent staycation we teamed up with The Vale Resort*, near Cardiff, South Wales for dinner, bed and breakfast. The Vale Resort is only half an hour away from us and is host to many a celeb, so I figured if it’s good enough for them then it is good enough for us, and so we went along on my birthday.

birthday celebrations at the vale resort near cardiff

We headed to The Vale Resort for our check in time of 3pm, upon checking in I was delighted to see that they left out birthday gifts and a card for me, this, along with several other little touches throughout our family room really made us feel special. They even left out an activity pack for Aria. The Vale Resort sure thought of everything.

review of the vale resort near cardiff south wales

With plenty to keep us entertained we decided to make the most of our comfortable surroundings and relax in our room before heading for dinner in the Vale Grill Restaurant. We had a wander around the beautiful grounds, which are home to a golf course and a castle. We decided that we wouldn’t take advantage of the spa and creche facilities as we were only there for a short while.

the vale resort grounds

The dinner was included in our package, and for this we could order three courses from a set menu, we also had the option to order from the full menu for an additional charge, but we were more than happy with the choices on the set menu so stuck to that. The food was delicious and the staff were superb and very friendly.

Following the meal we retired to our room to make the most of our lovely comfy bed, we had a brilliant night sleep and loved the thick black out blinds, although we did almost sleep through and miss breakfast because they make the room so dark! Breakfast was your standard buffet breakfast, busy buffets always make me anxious so Spencer picked mine for me while I sat at the table with Aria. Breakfast was served until 10am, and we were slightly disappointed that the pancake machine had been switched off when we went to use it at around two minutes to ten, that will teach us for sleeping in so late!

Watch my video to see our stay in more detail and for a tour of our lovely family room.

Find out more about The Vale Resort and book your break here.

*Disclosure -We received dinner, bed and breakfast at The Vale Resort in exchange for promotion*

Five Reasons Why It’s Great To Be From Wales!

Chances are if you’re on this blog you know that I am Welsh and proud, I love Wales, I love living in Wales and I love all things Welsh!

Whether you are interested in its history, stunning landscapes, world famous musical talents, or its gorgeous inhabitants (ok I may be a bit bias here…), Wales has so much to offer, and sometimes doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves. The people of Wales are known to be fiercely proud of their home country, and with good reason! So here are just five of the many reasons why it’s great to call Wales your home.

Sporting History

We are quite proud of our sporting ability. While you have probably heard of Manchester United (even if you are less than knowledgeable on the subject of football), Cardiff is one of the most impressive sporting cities. The Millennium Stadium hosted football matches during the Olympics, and is home to football, rugby, and Moto X. As if that wasn’t enough, Cardiff has a cricket pavilion in the centre of town along with individual rugby and football stadiums.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Welsh capital of Cardiff is an incredible amount less than living in London. In fact, in 2014, Cardiff was ranked number one out of the UK’s 10 largest cities with the highest quality of life. Working in Wales’ capital provides a fantastic opportunity for all prospective employees. There are a lot of jobs in Cardiff available for any would-be job seeker. This makes it a pretty competitive place in the breadth of the entire country, and an ideal location for the many British youths, recently graduated, and looking to start their life in a new and beautiful spot.

Stunning Beaches

Because it is not widely regarded as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, you may not have heard about the beautiful beaches Wales has to offer. However, the coastline around the Gower has some of the most stunning beaches in the world. In particular, Swansea Bay is an amazing destination for all, and can be enjoyed alongside some world class hiking nearby.

Festivals

The Welsh are proud of their Celtic heritage, which includes hosting plenty of festivals. In fact, Wales is widely regarded as a cultural hub of festivals. Enjoy the Hay Festival if you are interested in culture, enjoy music, arts and performances at Green Man, and even underground electronica at Gottwood. There is so much diversity in Welshe festivals, it can go up against the entire world of culture. It even is home to a jazz festival, Brecon Jazz.

The list of benefits to living your life in the beautiful country of Wales could go on and on, with each resident of Wales having their own personal reason for loving this amazing country. You should come and see for yourself!

*Written In collaboration with Mary J*

Exploring the Wetlands with Bax and Bay

We were recently sent a few items from Bax and Bay for review, items included their waxed cotton changing rucksack, The Zack, a Mama Fox sweater and the cutest little Fox Cub sweater. With new items to try out and photos that needed taking we decided to head to Newport Wetlands for a family day out / photo shoot.

Family photo at Newport Wetlands - Mother and Daughter are wearing matching mama fox and fox cub sweaters from Bax and Bay - a review

The Wetlands, based in Nash Road, Newport is an RSPB site, and with a visitor centre, cafe, play area, lots of walks and wildlife it is a the perfect family day out. It ticks all the boxes for us as we got to go for a nice walk, Aria got to spot some birds and I got a pretty backdrop for my photos. Winning.

Mama Fox and Fox cub sweaters from Bax and Bay - a review

Aria and I love our matching Mama Fox and Fox Cub sweaters. They are great quality and a lovely fit. Aria’s is a hoody style sweater which she loves, this girl is a huge fan of walking around with her hands in pockets and also stashing items in said pockets. We did think it was a shame that they don’t stock a matching men’s jumper, well I did, Spencer was actually relieved as, unlike me, he finds the whole matching clothing thing a little cringe!

fox cub hooded sweater for two year old from Bax and Bay review

We’ve been looking for a practical rucksack changing bag for a little while, now that Aria is walking and we don’t always have the pushchair with us we wanted a more practical bag that didn’t fall off our shoulders and hit Aria in the face when we bent to pick her up mid strop. Not that that ever happened of course…

a review of the zack rucksack unisex changing bag from Bax and Bay

The Zack bag from Bax and Bay suits our needs perfectly. It is functional and unisex but doesn’t compromise on style. The inside of the bag is bright orange and it comes with a thick changing mat and a bottle insulator. There are two stretchy inside pockets which are perfect for storing the nappies and other changing essentials like cream and nappy bags and another smaller pocket on the outside of the bag which is the perfect size for a mobile phone. I would prefer an easier to release clasp but that really is just a matter of personal preference.

the Zach unisex changing bag from Bax and Bay comes with a bright orange portable changing mat and a bottle insulator

The portable changing mat that comes with the bag is nicely padded which makes it ideal for impromptu outdoor changes!

Bax and Bay are a relatively new Scottish based company specialising in multi-functional changing bags and clothing.

*Disclosure – the Bax and Bay items were sent to us in exchange for a feature*