Thursday, 23 October 2014

A North Wales Staycation!

In mid September, the day after we moved to Wales, we had our first little family staycation.  I'm hesitant to call it a holiday, because it was to Wales and I'd like to hope our first family holiday will be somewhere a little more exotic!

but in all fairness to North Wales...being the middle of September, the weather was really quite amazing and we had a great time!

Just check out that gorgeous smile...Ella was born to be outdoors! She takes right after her daddy that's for sure!

 This was our lovely campsite - a place called Llyn Gwynant which is in the heart of Snowdonia, surrounded by mountains!

and our pitch faced right onto this lake.

So Ella got to have her first little experience with sand...

and daddy taught her how to play in it!

She was a fan!

and didn't wipe that little smile off her face the whole day!

After we tucked Ella up for the night in the tent...

we got down to some campfire fun...

and s'mores! because that's the only reason I love camping so much! Haha, just kidding (sort of!)

It's safe to say Ella probably had the best nights sleep out of all of us! There I was worrying about how she'd managed in a tent but I don't think she even noticed she wasn't in her cot! Us on the other hand didn't sleep so well! All my most recent camping experiences have been in freezing cold locations - like in the mountains of Yosemite, and in the wimbledon queue! so I decided I wasn't going to get caught out this time around and layered up something crazy and then was WAY too hot in the night and spent all night waking up and peeling off layers! 

So we gave our plan of hiking Snowdon a miss and opted for a more chilled out day instead!

The view from our tent!

Ella looking all snug in her special camping pj's!

and her little baby suitcase! This baby travels in style ;)

By cooked us up a delicious french toast breakfast!

and we even managed to buy this super cute book at the campsite before we checked out! It was specifically about the campsite we were at and had all the local place names in it and stuff, it will be such a fun little keepsake for Ella!

Finally, after stopping to check out the view on the way out we headed off for the next adventure!

which took us to Betws-y-Coed.

We discovered a cafe that actually sold good cake the last time we came here before we moved, however sadly when we returned this time around all their cake offerings were along the lines of fruit cake and bara brith and date and walnut and all those old fashioned kinds this area seems to love!

We also struggled to find anywhere to eat for lunch and settled on a pub where we had an awful meal.

The place was overrun with tourists, and I don't know why they don't make more of it - it's such a shame!

Stopped to take a pic of this lovely view in Llanrwst.  

and detoured to the Conwy Water Gardens for a spot of hot choc...

and to introduce By to the pancake house!

A coconut, pineapple and banana pancake was the perfect afternoon treat!

We walked around the nature reserve, to show Ella the animals.

This giant rooster gave her the fright of her life when he let out a cock-a-doodle do! I was more terrified by the giant rodent beside it in that enclosure! yes, for real, that is a giant rat like creature.  

Ella was in love with this cat we kept seeing around...

so mesmerised! unfortunately after getting a little too over excited and kicking her little legs that were positioned next to the cats head, the cat was not so keen!

We arrived back home just as the sun was starting to set so we decided to introduce Ella to our local park in Penmaenmawr! Check out those 'picturesque' beach huts in the background!!

A swing with a view!

Love this pic of the two of my favourites together! 

The next day it was still sunny! so we headed to our favourite little coastal village of Beaumaris, which is on Anglesey.  

I pretended it was because we could take Ella to the nicer beach area there...but Byron busted me and knew it was just because I wanted some Red Boat ice cream! It's the best we've had round these parts. 

Ella got busy in the sand again!

The hat and top co-ordination were purely a co-incidence but one I was loving!

Hazelnut gelato accompanied with sunshine and sand and your favourite two people - what more could you want!

It turns out stacking cups make great improvised buckets and spades!

Beaumaris - you can bet we'll be back, several times over! 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Summer in Shropshire - Part 2!

So after celebrating our anniversary with Ella and Mara in London, we decided an extra celebration with just the two of us was in order! and we headed to Smoke Stop! thanks to some babysitting from Granny. It was our first night out with just the two of us since Ella was born!

Where did we end up? Shropshire's newest and probably only BBQ restaurant!

Mara and my mom had checked it out a few weeks before and had given it the thumbs up! so we were excited to check it out for ourselves!

A giant American flag at the bar, and American flag cushions on the seats - we were off to a good start!

plus some free popcorn while we browsed the menu!

Milkshakes!!! toasted marshmallow was the order of the day for me...

and these fried burnt ends were the tastiest little starter ever! I could have ended the meal there and gone home happy! but we didn't and made room for...

A huge slab of BBQ ribs for the rib lover...

and a snoop doggy dog for me! 
It was the perfect way for us to celebrate 7 years of doing what we love together - eating good food :)

The rest of the month was spent soaking up as much of the summer sun as possible!

by playpark fun in the village...

and lots of playing in the grass! Ella loves to pick strands of grass...and then try and eat them - what else!

 Our favourite part of the morning routine at Granny and Grandad's was to head in to the garden for some bubble fun! Gardens are great! (we didn't have one in Scotland!)


These particular bubbles liked to hang around and stay perfectly intact in all the flower beds!

Sunny Sunday's are also made for walks along the canal...

and duck feeding fun with Daddy!

There were many walks to and from Hodnet village...passing these beautiful flowers on the way, ironically the area we pass through is called Paradise!

Ella rediscovered her love for falling asleep in the sling!

and we had a slighty traumatic duck feeding experience at Ellesmere Lake!

We being me - Ella was loving the ducks and geese getting up close and personal!

but literally 2 minutes before there had been no ducks there! I produced a piece of bread, and suddenly we were mobbed! I now know why my brother in law is afraid of geese - these ones were especially vicious!

Duck lakes and parks - does a baby need anything else to be happier?

Ella doesn't think so!

I love her ecstatic little 'look at me, I'm on the swings' face!

Auntie Alli treated us to a trip to the newly opened Chiquito's one day...

Ella got her first taste of pineapple and was quite the fan!

Meals that start with virgin pina coladas...

and pulled pork enchiladas

and end in churros always make for happy occasions!

After a hard week at work, By was in the mood for a real American breakfast one Saturday morning.  We literally googled for an hour trying to come up with the end Frankie and Benny's was as good as it got. The bacon pancakes weren't quite the stack you'd get in America or Canada...

but Ella didn't seem to mind and loved her first little taste!

almost as much as she loved her first ever balloon!

We headed to Chester one day and came across a real imitation of Central Perk!

It was so fun that we had to make a pit stop there.  They play friends re runs all day!

Thumbs up for the sofas and the decor from Ella, thumbs down for the thin, is there really ice cream in here? milkshakes! Especially when we had been told they were thick ones!! The curse of a poorly made milkshake strikes again!

For our last weekend before we left, we headed to the Follies, which is only 10 minutes down the road from where my parents live but in the 8 years they've lived there we've never actually been!

Amazon were doing a deal on cheap entry so we decided we had better check it out.

It is described as a woodland fantasty with cliffs, caves, crags and deep woods, and was one of the first 'theme parks' back in the day...before theme parks turned into what they are today!

Gotta love a monkey puzzle tree!

We climbed this giant monument! It was quite a few steps...I counted but can't remember the figure now! but there was enough of them combined with the steepness that when we reached the top someone congratulated my dad for making it that far, hehe!

and we were rewarded with some rather lovely views of the fields and beyond!

It was a long way down to the ground! There's Mom waving up from below!

The forester was in his element loving all the trees!

Ella was enjoying some freedom from the sling by being passed around between us all...she's getting heavier now to just be carried out and about!

Then my camera died, so these last few shots were taken from my phone! This was inside of one of the caves!


and the view outside of the cave!


A quick ice cream stop at the top, there was some serious walking involved and it turned out pretty warm in the end so ice creams were enjoyed by all, even Ella - especially Ella!

Chilling out on the grass! Little and large ;)

and a nice family shot under one of the arches before we headed home!

Shropshire - we loved all the family fun you gave us! and your yummy treats, and your cute little villages and your farm shops galore! and a real taste of country living!

Stay tuned for our Wales adventures next!