Point+Shoot 9: 29/09/2015

This weekend we visited a farm park not too far from our house called Cefn Mably Farm Park. It was only a short visit as BattleKid wasn’t in brilliant form but we were determined to get out of the house! We bought some animal feed when we paid our entrance fee but BattleKid didn’t want to try feeding the animals so it was down to me, BattleMum, to do the honours.

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I didn’t mind it too much, especially feeding my favourites, the goats! When it came to the ducks, however, it was a different matter. I’m not afraid of them but when they all gang up on you at once like they did me it can unnerve you a little. Here’s me doing my best Wallace and Gromit impression (according to BattleDad, thanks!).

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I threw a few pieces of feed at the foot of BattleKid’s buggy and the ducks swarmed around but he wasn’t fazed at all!

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We had a lovely time there and will be back to visit in the future no doubt!

Linking up with Em from snowingindoors and Aby from YouBabyMeMummy for Point+Shoot!

 

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Cefn Mably Farm Park

This weekend saw us visit Cefn Mably Farm Park on the outskirts of Newport. Not far from Junction 28 of the M4, it is a farm park with lots to see and do.

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We decided not to sit in the house on Saturday morning and had been meaning to find and visit this farm park so thought it was as good a day as any to visit. It took us about 40 minutes to get there from our house and when we arrived at around 11am, there was lots of space in the car park. We made our way into the farm park building, paid our entrance fee (more on that below) and found our bearings. Inside the building is the coffee shop/bistro, the soft play area that has a section for babies and older children, the toilets and the farm shop. From here we made our way outside to explore and see what animals we could spot.

We first passed by the indoor animal pens which included sheep, goats and lots of rabbits. These rabbits, of all shapes, sizes and colours, are pets which have been rescued and need adopting. It was quite sad to see how many they had, and although I felt like this we didn’t crumble. I know from friends having had rabbits that I have enough on my plate looking after the two BattleDogs. We had bought a bag of animal feed when we paid our entrance fee and I fed the animals as BatteKid was having none of it. I guess he’s still a little young and wary of the various animals.

After this area we ventured outside and passed some horses which BattleKid was fascinated by. We stopped to play in the small play area. The Farm Park has two play areas, this small one and a much larger one too. We pushed BattleKid on the swings and then he had a ride on one of the many play tractors they had around the Farm Park. He didn’t want to get off it but I had to play bad cop and let another boy behind us have a go too.

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There were lots of various farm animals including pigs, donkeys, sheep, goats and horses.

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2015-09-26 11.36.54Ducks roam freely near their pond, and the horses are clever animals. If they see a brown paper bag of animal feed in your hand as you pass by they run their hooves on the ground to attract attention. Clever! I couldn’t resist feeding these ones. They’re not stupid.

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We spent about an hour wandering around but BattleKid was starting to get a bit tired and cranky so we didn’t hang around much longer. We passed by the pony rides which cost £2 per go on our way back to the farm building. I’ll definitely be taking BattleKid on one when he is older. The pen for the ride is long enough so I feel £2 is a fair price.

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To exit the farm building you pass through the farm shop and we took a few minutes to browse the shelves. They have everything you can imagine from chutney and jam of all flavours, to fresh vegetables grown locally, to a butchers selling meat produced on the farm itself. We couldn’t resist buying a few things including sausages and rashers for Sunday morning breakfast.

2015-09-26 11.55.58We also bought some of their lamb and mint burgers and their award-winning beef burgers. We’ve yet to try them but I’ll report back once we do. I can tell you that their smoked back rashers are extremely tasty.

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All in all we had a lovely Saturday morning at Cefn Mably Farm Park before heading for home where the reason for BattleKid’s crankiness became apparent. As it is quite close to home I think we’ll be visiting this more as BattleKid grows up. However, I do feel it doesn’t beat the Small Breeds Farm Park in Kington that I’ve written about before. That farm park remains our favourite, although it’s much further away!

Cefn Mably Farm Park is a great place to visit with children of all ages. Open from 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm, it has lots to see and do. It costs £4 per person during weekdays and term time, and £6 per person during weekends and non-term time. There is an additional charge for animal feeds, pony rides and for actual farm diggers (which BattleDad wants a go of next time we visit). As mentioned there is a coffee shop and bistro, indoor soft play area, which we are yet to partake of, and a farm shop. You can touch and hold animals in the indoor area and pet the various farm animals through their pens in the outdoor area. They’re all very friendly and none of them tried to eat my fingers!

There are plenty of hand washing stations dotted around the park to keep both little and big hands clean and free of germs. You can buy animal feed at the admissions desk and parking is free of charge. As I’ve already said we arrived around 11am on a Saturday morning and there was plenty of parking, but by the time we left at 12.30pm the main car park was full and arriving visitors were starting to park in the overflow car park. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to get to from Junction 28 of the M4 and I’d recommend it to anyone in South Wales as it’s a great place for little people to get up close and personal with farm animals of all shapes and sizes. We enjoyed our morning there and I am sure we’ll be visiting again soon.

Bye bye mama…

… and a wave of his hand is how BattleKid sent me off to work this morning as I dropped him off at nursery.
It’s the first time he’s stopped what he was doing or where he was going and voluntarily said goodbye without a prompt. Normally he heads straight for the dolls prams and I might get a quick glance thrown in my direction as I say goodbye but today he made a point of saying “bye-bye mama” and gave me a wave goodbye.
Needless to say it melted my heart and I drove off in the car one very happy and proud mum. My little boy is growing up so fast. He’ll often say goodbye to dad when he leaves for London on a Sunday evening or on the phone but he’s never really said it to me. I’ll get a ‘bye bye’ but not the whole sentence. Well, this morning that changed and no matter what my day was going to throw at me, that little sentence made my day. I was ready for anything that came my way!

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The Gro Clock: Our Review

We were kindly sent the Gro Clock earlier this month to road test by the Gro Company. Hailed by many, including one of my personal friends, as the best product they’ve invested in for helping to ensure their little ones do not get up too early, I was a little apprehensive as to how the Gro Clock would be received by BattleKid, bearing in mind he is only 20 months old.

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Helping mum set up our Gro Clock.
Helping mum set up our Gro Clock.

 

gro clockWell, I need not have worried. The Gro Clock has slotted into our nap and bedtime routines very easily and has had a huge impact on making those times less stressful than they were not so long ago.

You see, BattleKid had started having major tantrums when we brought him upstairs for naps or bedtime. He would properly kick off. He would also cry as we put him in his cot and when we closed his bedroom door. I can now report that since installing the Gro Clock in his bedroom the tantrums have greatly reduced with just an occasional whimper as we leave the room. How have we managed this change you ask? It’s simple really – the introduction of Mr Sun and Mr Star.

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Mr Sun is a bright, cheery yellow sun who denotes wake-up times and daytime. When we see him we wave and I’ll say “Hello Mr Sun” or “Good morning Mr Sun”. BattleKid waves hello and smiles and he knows it’s time to get up in the morning when he sees him. If we go up to his room for anything other than sleep, so long as he sees Mr Sun and we say hello, he knows I’m not going in there to put him to bed. Heading upstairs and into his room used to start the tantrums off. Now we look for Mr Sun and BattleKid remains calm and relaxed.

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At night, or nap time at the weekends, we go into his room, and after I’ve pressed the magic button, we say “Bye-bye Mr Sun” and watch while he winks, closes his eyes and makes way for blue, sleepy Mr Star. When Mr Star appears and closes his eyes we say “Hello Mr Star, it’s bedtime”, to which BattleKid will wave night-night to him, like we do the BattleDogs every evening. We then get our kisses and cuddles from BattleKid and just before we put him into his cot we say “Night-night Mr Star”.

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Since bringing this into our bedtime routine BattleKid will now actively look to get into his cot, without the protests we were getting, ready for his story (or nap if during the day). He is calmer and more settled getting into his cot than before meaning we are less stressed as parents and it has resulted in happier, calmer bedtimes in the BattleHousehold. Also included with the Gro Clock is a story book which introduces the Sun and the Star too, and we’ve taken to reading that to BattleKid at night before a second story. It’s a lovely little illustrated book with a nice story which even BattleMum enjoys!

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I really cannot tell you how much of a positive difference the Gro Clock has had on our bedtime routine with BattleKid in the short few weeks we’ve had it. And all this at only 20 months old. The recommended age for use of the Gro Clock is 2 years but the Gro Clock has helped us with BattleKid already!

Although BattleKid has occasionally given us a lie-in at the weekend I have set the Gro Clock to wake-up at 7am so that it might help make those occasional lie-ins more permanent, and so far BattleKid hasn’t woken before 7am at the weekend. In fact he slept through the wake-up change last weekend! I still have to become more familiar with the Gro Clock, like setting the time for daytime naps at the weekend (BattleKid is in nursery during the week), and later on with setting an audible alarm but so far I’m very impressed with the Gro Clock.

The Gro Clock is packed with lots of features. Firstly, as mentioned, we have Mr Sun which denotes wake-up time and Mr Star who denotes sleep time. Both images are fun and will appeal to children of all ages. Mr Sun is bright and cheery as you’d expect while Mr Star is blue and sleepy. Mr Star is surrounded by 12 little stars who disappear one by one during the ‘sleep’ time phases to show the passing of time. I think this feature will come into its own and become invaluable as BattleKid gets older and understands the concept of time more.

You can choose to display the digital time or not, handy for helping to teach older children the time. You can also set the brightness of the display to suit you. I’ve chosen the lowest setting and during the night this is ample for the Gro Clock to act as a night-light.

You can set two separate wake-up times for weekday/weekend or night-time/day-time naps, although I still have to set up the second wake-up time. The Gro Clock is silently operated and you have the ability to lock the keys, very important and handy with an inquisitive toddler about!

The Gro Clock is mains operated so you will need to think about the placement of it. I’ve set ours up on BattleKid’s shelves next to his Gro Egg while he remains in his cot. He can see it from his cot but can’t reach it. Once we move him into a bed I’ll move it so he can see it better from his bed. The Gro Clock also conforms to the highest British and European Standards, big pluses in my scientific books, as with all Gro Company products.

The Gro Clock has a great built-in energy-saving mode so although it is mains operated you don’t need to worry about energy consumption. How is the Gro Clock energy-efficient? It uses LED’s which are naturally energy-efficient and 1 hour after Mr Sun comes out the display turns off the coloured LED’s and runs on just a tiny amount of electricity. Genius! You can turn the display back on with just the touch of one button.

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There is also an audible alarm whose time can be set separate from the wake-up times but I’ve yet to use this feature.

What we love about the Gro Clock:

  • Great night-light with adjustable brightness.
  • Fun characters in Mr Sun and Mr Star.
  • Key lock option.
  • Can set two separate wake-up times.
  • Small stars countdown the time during the night.
  • Easy to use instructions.
  • Conforms to British and European Standards.
  • Has helped stop the bedtime tantrums with BattleKid and has captured his attention.
  • A great distraction aid!
  • Has made bedtimes calmer and more settled meaning a more relaxed bedtime routine.

What we don’t like about the Gro Clock:

  • Nothing!

Although it is stated that the Gro Clock is suitable from age 2+ years, we’ve been using it with 20 month old BattleKid and he has responded brilliantly to it. Our nap and bedtime battles have all but ceased and the Gro Clock has slotted so easily into our bedtime routine. I was apprehensive about whether we’d see any difference in BattleKid at bedtime with him only being 20 months old but it’s made a world of difference at bedtime in a very short space of time. The Gro Clock is a great bedtime aid and is a product I can see coming more into its own as BattleKid gets older and as he moves from cot to bed.

So if you are having a battle of wills at bedtime like we were, why not see if the Gro Clock can help ease them like it has for us.

Another great product from the Gro Company, the Gro Clock is available from the Gro Company online store priced at £29.99, and is also available through other major retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis, Boots and many more.

*We were kindly sent the Gro Clock for the purpose of this review. However, all the opinions expressed about the Gro Clock in this review are wholly my own and have not been influenced in any way other than by our experience of using it.